LEADS – Tillage and Nutrient Application Equipment Modifications
A Farmland Health Check-Up (FHCU) is required to apply for LEADS. A FHCU provides a unique opportunity to work with a CCA or P.Ag at no cost to the producer. It will assess three key fields on your farm to establish both baseline farmland health levels and targets. Click here for a list of CCAs or P.Ags.
Who should apply?
Producers who have not shifted to a strip-till or no-till system or who could improve existing reduced till systems with residue management equipment or nutrient application equipment modifications. Suggested for producers with Farmland Health Check-Ups identifying Farmland Health Challenges in: Water Erosion, Wind Erosion and Tillage Erosion.
To apply you must have a:
- Verified, 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan
- Proposed project located within the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds
- Completed Farmland Health Check-Up, working with a participating certified crop advisor or professional agrologist
Having a verified, 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan is required to apply for all LEADS Project Categories. If you haven’t completed one, sign up here.
Eligible activities and expenditures:
A separate application must be used to apply for each of the following activities:
Activity A: Fertilizer management options
Activity B: Tillage equipment and planting improvements
Activity C: Crop residue and soil health management improvements
To apply for multiple activities please submit multiple applications.
- Activity A: Improved Fertilizer management options that work in high residue or no-till situations
- Equipment or components to enable banding, variable or controlled applications, including high-clearance equipment modifications to facilitate in-crop applications
- Fertilizer carts, only if used in conjunction with existing strip-till units(e.g., for subsurface placement of fertilizer)
- Activity B: Tillage and planting improvements that work in high residue or no-till situations
- Strip-till units or components
- No-till planting units or components
- Row cleaners, trash whippers or similar
- Activity C: Equipment for the purpose of managing cover crops
- Roller crimpers
- Cover crop planting equipment
- In-kind contributions
Ineligible activities and expenditures:
- Activities and expenditures as detailed here
- Purchase of any complete no-till or strip-till unit if the operation has previously used reduced tillage equipment for a crop in the rotation (e.g., not a new practice to the farm operation, regardless of crop rotation)
- Yield monitors
- GPS receivers, new monitors/displays, autosteer or guidance systems and activations/unlocks related to guidance systems.
- Annual service fees of any type
- Upgrades to tractors, combines
- Upgrades to spray equipment, with the exception of high-clearance equipment to facilitate in-crop applications or modifications to allow planting of cover crops
- Tires or tracks
- Self-propelled equipment
- Maintenance costs
- Warranties for equipment or components used to modify equipment
- Any tillage equipment that is not strip-till
- Any planting equipment that is not no-till
- Any equipment or equipment customizations that do not support an increase in soil health or a decrease in nutrient loss
45, 55 per cent, up to a maximum of $20,000
- Certificate of completion for a 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan
- Copy of your Farmland Health Check-Up
Other useful information:
- Funding will be limited to the Moderate funding level (55%) or Base funding level (45%). Equipment projects in this Project Category are not eligible for the High funding level (65%) regardless of rating on the Farmland Health Check-Up.
- Cost-share funding in this project category is limited to a maximum of up to three eligible applications per farm business funded over the course of the LEADS program (2018-2023).
- Eligibility for tillage and planting equipment will be determined by consulting the Farmland Health Check-Up and previously funded projects issued through the Partnership.
- An additional 5 per cent in cost-share funding may be available to successful producers who provide information on the Systems Approach section of the application, which demonstrates that the project will be complemented or enhanced by the continued maintenance of two previously implemented Best Management Practices. For more information, click here.
Is this project for you? Find out if you meet the program requirements
Any established farm business that is a legal entity and produces agricultural commodities in Ontario, in the Lake Erie and/or the Lake St. Clair watersheds under a valid Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN) or allowable exemption (e.g., religious or cultural) is eligible to apply for cost-share funding under LEADS — provided that the business meets all of the requirements set out herein. You must also have a:
- Farmland Health Check-Up;
- Verified, 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan; and,
- Valid and up-to-date Premises Identification (PID) Number for the farm property where the project is to take place.
In addition, you are required to be in compliance with all Requirements of the Law and remain in compliance for the duration of the project.
To participate in the LEADS program, project locations must be within the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds. To determine if the location where the proposed project will be undertaken is located within the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds, please use the interactive map on the OSCIA website.
A farm business may submit up to three (3) applications to LEADS for consideration at one time, in any given program year. A farm business may have up to three approved LEADS cost-share projects underway during any given program year. Applications will continue to be accepted until the funds for that year are fully allocated. Eligible projects must be new to the farm business, unless otherwise indicated in the project category description. A separate application must be submitted for each project.
Projects submitted to LEADS cannot receive funding from any other Partnership program.
The LEADS program supports a merit-based allocation of funding. Eligible projects will be awarded a level of funding that reflects the information provided in the Farmland Health Check-Up:
- Project location (i.e. the field as identified on your Farmland Health Check-Up)
- Farmland Health Challenge addressed by the project
- Rating specific to the project field and identified challenge
Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received until the available funding is fully allocated. Applications are evaluated based only on the information submitted and may not be considered if they are incomplete or do not meet eligibility criteria.
Applications are submitted electronically3. You can apply and submit all required documentation at ontarioprograms.net.
You can also download the Application Form for the Project Category you are applying to and email it with all required documentation to LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org. Application Forms are available at ontarioprogramguides.net.
3 If you cannot apply online, you may send hard copy applications and all required documentation by post or courier to: OSCIA 1 Stone Road West, Guelph, ON, N1G 4Y2.
You will be notified by email and/or mail once your application has been reviewed and a decision has been made — approximately 30 business days from the date that your completed application is received by OSCIA. There are three possible Decision Letter outcomes:
- Application is approved – you will receive confirmation of the amount of funding allocated to your project, claim procedures and submission deadlines, a questionnaire that must be completed at the end of your project, as well as information about any specific requirements of the funding.
- Application is conditionally approved – you will be notified about what additional information is required to finalize approval of your project.
- Application is declined – you will receive a brief explanation for the decision.
The start date for your project is the date on the Approval or Conditional Approval Letter issued by OSCIA for each successful project. Projects cannot be started before this date. Eligible costs can only be incurred, invoiced and paid for by the applicant on or after the date noted on your Approval or Conditional Approval Letter.
The completion date for your project will be specified in the Approval Letter issued by OSCIA for the successful project. The project must be complete and eligible costs incurred, invoiced and paid for by the applicant on or before this completion date.
Projects must be completed and operational by the claim deadline for the program year noted in your Approval Letter (January). However, if you are undertaking a project that may require certain conditions to complete (e.g., weather, production cycles, longer timelines, etc.), there is potential to incur project costs across two program years (costs incurred before and after the claim deadline for the current program year). This would be considered a multi-year application. If you have questions about project timelines, claim submission dates or submitting a multi-year application, contact OSCIA at LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org.
Cost-share levels are determined by the risk rating identified within your completed Farmland Health Check-Up.
Projects being implemented on multiple fields are evaluated on a field-by-field basis. Each field may receive a different level of cost-share based on the field-specific challenge and risk rating identified in your Farmland Health Check-Up.
The maximum cost-share funding available is $20,000 per application, including systems approach funding.
Please note that equipment purchases are limited to the moderate funding level (55%) or base funding level (45%), regardless of the risk rating. This includes all projects under:
- Equipment Modifications to Improve Manure Application
- Tillage and Nutrient Application Equipment Modifications
- Equipment Modifications to Reduce Soil Compaction
New producers are new entrants to the agricultural production industry who:
- File personal income taxes in Ontario
- Have proof of ownership or control of productive agricultural assets to generate farm income
- Have a valid and up-to-date Premises Identification Number for the farm property where the proposed project is to take place
- Have not had more than $7,000 in gross farm income two and three years prior to enrolling in the Partnership
- Have business projects that demonstrate potential annual gross business income of $7,000 of more within three years of applying
New producers are eligible for Crop Nutrient Planning.
If you are a new producer, contact OSCIA at 1-800-265-9751 or LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org to request a copy of the New Producer Application Form.
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Edit date: March 19, 2021