GreenON Agriculture program helps farmers reduce carbon footprint

Ontario farmers have a new cost-share program to help them reduce their carbon footprint and become more energy efficient.

The GreenON Agriculture program, recently announced by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, is specifically aimed at producers of agricultural commodities in permanent, climate-controlled buildings. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association will administer the program, which launches with $7.25 million funding from the province’s Green Ontario Fund.

In this interview, OSCIA regional program lead Margaret May says the program will have two streams – retrofit and innovation. Farmers who use dryers or farm in indoor, climate-controlled production facilities such as greenhouses, poultry and swine barns will have an opportunity to apply for funding for retrofits to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

May explains that GreenON Agriculture will use the GO-CALC online calculator to help evaluate applications. “Using GO-CALC, you can input your fuel bills, identify changes or retrofits you would like to make and it will calculate savings in your greenhouse gas emissions. That figure will be used in the application process to determine the merit of the project and how effective it will be in reducing GHGs.”

Producers who meet the GreenON Agriculture Retrofit eligibility criteria can access 35 percent cost-share, up to a maximum of $500,000. For the program’s first intake, OSCIA will be accepting applications from March 6 to March 26, 2018.

More details on eligibility requirements for the GreenON Agriculture Retrofit Program can be found at www.GreenON.ca and ontariosoilcrop.org.

May notes that the GreenON Agriculture Innovation stream, which focuses on the design, development and implementation of new and innovative technologies, will be launched at a later date. She says it’s an opportunity to partner with new technology providers and try commercial-scale innovation on the farm. More details to come.

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