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Made in Ontario fertilizer plan takes shape

A 35 per cent Canadian tariff on Russian-made fertilizer had Ontario farmers calling for change this summer.

“Why not make it here and then we can be isolated from these of things in the future,” said Dave Woods, Chair of Ontario’s Bean Growers this summer near St. Marys.

Well, if would appear the Ontario government was listening. A reliance on Russian-made fertilizer, coupled with the tariff, made this one of the most expensive planting seasons on record in Ontario.

So the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs is challenging local industry to make more fertilizer in the province.

“We need solutions that are close to home so we’re shortening the supply chain and bringing certainty to Ontario farmers and the overall industry,” said Ontario’s Agriculture Minister, Lisa Thompson.

As previously reported by CTV News, the Fertilizer Accelerating Solutions and Technology Challenge is a $2-million, two-year challenge to invent and inspire made in Ontario fertilizer options.

In 2021, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture said Ontario farmers spent $1.2-billion on commercial fertilizer and lime to accelerate the growth of their crops.

“It’s hard to pivot on the spot and find new places for fertilizer or new ways to produce it. I think something like this has potential to create a bit more of a domestic industry on the eastern side of Canada. It could be beneficial for farmers in the long run,” said Brendan Byrne, Chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario.

Western Canada produces fertilizer but Byrne said it’s not been cost effective to ship that product to eastern Canada as of yet.

He and Thompson hope this new challenge makes a difference in the rising crop input costs for Ontario farmers.

“Each project will be capped at $200,000, but the essence of the program is about inviting, inspiring, and bring forward ideas and solutions that will see Ontario farmers be as productive and competitive, as possible,” added Thompson Top Stories

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