Farming & the Environment
Farmers are the original environmentalists. As farmers with families whose livelihood and way of life are very close to the land, we understand more than most the importance of healthy soil, water and air. Farmers live on their farms with their families and depend on the environment to create a healthy place to live as well as the right conditions to grow crops and raise livestock.
Protection of the environment, and in particular the protection of Canada's water quality is important to the agriculture and food sector. Animals produce manure, which is spread on the land to grow crops. Animals eat the crops, and the cycle continues.
Farmers' goals are to manage that cycle responsibly and match nutrients to their crop requirements. Farmers and other members of the agriculture and food industry are committed to protecting the environment and to being good neighbours and citizens.
In all provinces across Canada, a voluntary program called the Environmental Farm Plan is helping farmers audit their operations for environmental concerns and set goals and timetables for improvement. In Ontario, about 70 per cent of farmers have participated and have invested over $600 million in on-farm environmental improvements over the last 20 years. It’s a program that’s been actively copied and adapted in other provinces and around the world, truly making a positive difference for the environment and for the families who live on the farm.
Through farm groups, farmers invest in environmental research and help develop programs to disseminate the latest findings to their members. There are also environmental laws and regulations in place which farmers must obey. In addition to the provincial Environmental Protection Act and Water Resources Act farmers are also subject to local environmental by-laws which govern farm size and practices.
Canada is seen as a world leader in on-farm environmental programs.
The links section offers a number of government agencies and organizations responsible for promoting good environmental practices on Ontario farms.
Click on any of the environment resource library on the right of this page to learn more about environmental programs and initiatives on Ontario farms.