The On Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF) is a federal program being administered by 12 organizations across Canada. In Ontario, the funding for nitrogen management, cover cropping, and rotational grazing is largely being administered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). EcoCert is also administering a portion of funds for organic growers.
Margaret May, regional coordinator with OSCIA, is encouraging farmers interested in accessing funds to get working on their project applications, as the window to apply to this first round of funding closes August 17.
For the Ontario program, eligible cost share expenses can be retroactive back to February 15, 2022, when the program was announced.
“Here’s an opportunity to recoup some of those costs for things maybe like nitrogen stabilizers, nitrification inhibitors, biologicals, if maybe you move to split application of nitrogen, or banding, or in-crop application, you know, those things may have already been completed. And we are going to allow you to go back and recoup some of those costs. So this program is very focused on expanding good practice. So if it is, it is not intended to reward you for the good things that you’ve already been doing. It’s asking you to expand those good practices to some different acres. So new here means you’ve not done it before, on the acres that you’re applying for,” May says.
May recommends farmers start with the program guide to ensure they understand what is and isn’t eligible for cost share funding, and to make sure they have the required maps or grazing/nutrient plans in-hand before they apply.
There is a cap per farm of $75,000 for the life of the fund, with a $30,000 cap per funding stream, however there’s no limit to the number of project applications. For example, a farm could put in applications for cover cropping some acres and equipment upgrades to manage N differently on others. (Story continues below interview)
Also new for this fund are knowledge sharing events (KSE). Once a project is approved, farmers will have to attend a related event, either in person or online, that is qualified as a KSE by OSCIA, before they can successfully submit their final report.
Projects for this first intake must be completed by February 2023. There will be another intake, May says, but there’s no announced date for the next intake.
For Ontario farmers, head to ontariosoilcrop.org and select Programs for more.
OFCAF funding is available across Canada, either through provincial or national organizations. Farmers are encouraged to contact their provincial or commodity organization for details on each program.