Environmental Protection & Preservation
Niagara Farmers are Leaders in Environmental Stewardship
Farmers in Niagara lead all regions across the
Greenbelt in undertaking environmental improvement projects which qualify for
cost-sharing grants from the $1,4 million Greenbelt Farm Stewardship Program
the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation announced today. The program has
received 400 applications since it was introduced eight months ago; of those,
223 are from farmers in the Niagara region or some 56%. As the farmers
complete their environmental projects they will receive over $750,000 in
grants from the program.
The program is so popular with farmers across the Greenbelt that the
$1.4 million has been allocated in just eight months, rather than over two
years as was anticipated. The Foundation is now considering adding more money
to the program.
"The Niagara region is known around the world for its bountiful vineyards
and orchards and natural beauty," said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. "Niagara wines are known internationally
for excellence. Now, looking at the enthusiasm to invest in environmental
protection expressed by Niagara farmers, there's no doubt the region is also
gaining a reputation for caring responsibly for the land."
Environmental farm practices eligible for cost share through the
Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program, are also eligible for additional
cost-share funding under the Greenbelt Farm Stewardship Program. With the
additional Greenbelt Foundation funding, hundreds of farmers across the
Niagara Peninsula are ensuring that thousands of acres of land benefit from
environmental improvements such as reduced pesticide use, improved waste
management, decreased pollution, and new habitat for wildlife.
"The Greenbelt Foundation is contributing to a well-respected program
that is administered through farm organizations," said Andy Graham of the
Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, who delivers the programs on
behalf of the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition. "Funding dollars increase
the total cost-share rate available to Greenbelt-area farmers to as much as
75 per cent of eligible costs which can greatly ease concerns over the
investments required by producers to adopt these environmental practices."
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
has to-date awarded more than $4.4 million in agricultural grants, including the Greenbelt Farm Stewardship Program, to assist Greenbelt farmers and support organizations to create new marketing opportunities, increase consumer awareness of the importance of buying local food, and develop partnerships with retailers.
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