LEADS – Crop Nutrient Planning


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.

Stream: Producer



Projects will focus on developing first-time plans for improved nutrient management.

Who should apply?

  • Producers who need to develop a first-time plan for improved nutrient management

To apply you must:

  • Have a Verified Complete 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan
  • Be located within the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds
  • Have a completed Farmland Health Check-Up, working with a participating Certified Crop Advisor or Professional Agrologist
Have you completed an Environmental Farm Plan?
Having a verified complete 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan is required to apply for all Environmental Stewardship Project Categories. If you haven’t completed one, sign up online here.

Eligible activities and expenditures:

  • Written Crop Nutrient Plan covering one full crop rotation cycle (five-year plan required) that must include:
    • Soil sampling and analysis (including frequency of sampling, sampling plan and soil test results that include organic matter, soil phosphorus, pH, etc.)
    • Maps of fields, locations of any sensitive features requiring special management or setbacks
  • Plan must outline, at a minimum, the following details on a per field basis:
    • Crop rotation
    • Tillage practices for each crop
    • Nutrients applied from all sources (timing, placement, rates)
    • Crop removal and the nutrient balance for each crop, including credits from legumes and/or manure
    • Fertilizer recommendations for each crop
    • Management practices to reduce risk of nutrient loss
  • May also include the following other eligible activities to support the development of the Crop Nutrient Plan:
    • Manure sampling and analysis
    • Data collection materials such as soil probes
    • Plant tissue sampling and analysis
    • Contingency planning
    • Soil conservation practices and planning for implementation within the crop rotation
  • Annual subscriptions to data management systems (limit of one subscription per eligible farm business)
  • Consulting fees for plan development services provided by appropriate, qualified professional (e.g. Certified Crop Advisor)
  • Plans developed using NMAN or other planning and decision support tools

Ineligible activities and expenditures:

  • All ineligible activities and expenditures as detailed in the Program Requirements
  • Yield monitors and other Global Positioning System enabled data collection tools
  • Technology where phosphorus use efficiency is not the primary objective, including Greenseekers and Soilscan units
  • Manure storage plans (i.e. the MSTOR portion of any plan) Computer hardware and software with the exception of eligible software types noted above
  • Consulting services for renewal of an existing plan Repeat services on the same crop areas
  • Crop scouting and pest monitoring
  • Professional services not directly related to the Crop Nutrient Plan
  • In-kind time invested by the producer for preparing the plan
  • All-terrain Vehicles (ATVs) License activation fees
  • In-kind contributions are not eligible

Available Cost-share:

45, 55, 65 per cent, up to a maximum of $20,000

Required Documentation:

  • A Certificate of Completion for a 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan
  • A copy of your Farmland Health Check-Up must be submitted to OSCIA

Other useful information:

  • A copy of the Crop Nutrient Plan must be submitted with the project claim
  • An additional 5 per cent in cost-share funding is available to successful producers who provide information on the application, which demonstrates that the project will be complemented or enhanced by the continued maintenance of previously implemented BMPs. For more information, click here.

What's Next?

Is this project for you? Find out if you meet the program requirements
Program Requirements


For more information on upcoming application intakes, visit ontariosoilcrop.org

Any established farm business that is a legal entity and produces agricultural commodities in the Lake Erie and/or the Lake St. Clair watersheds under a valid Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN), or an allowable exemption, is eligible to apply for cost-share funding under LEADS — provided that your farm business meets all of the requirements set out in the Program Guide. You must also have a Farmland Health Check-Up, a current Environmental Farm Plan, and a valid and up-to-date Premises Identification 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.

You must also be undertaking an eligible project that is located within the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds. To determine if your farm business, where the project will be undertaken, is located within the Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair watersheds please use the interactive map hosted on the OSCIA website.

A farm business may submit up to three applications to LEADS for consideration at one time for the 2019-2020 program year. A farm business may have up to three 2019-20 approved LEADS cost-share projects underway at one time. Applications will continue to be accepted until the funds for the 2019-2020 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.

LEADS supports a merit-based allocation of funding. Eligible projects will be awarded a level of funding that reflects the priority identified by the Farmland Health Check-Up.

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 will not
be considered if they do not meet eligibility criteria or if they are incomplete.

Applications for LEADS will be accepted on a continuous basis beginning March 22, 2019.

Applications are submitted electronically*. You can apply and submit all required documentation at ontarioprograms.net.

You can also complete the Application Form for the Project Category you are applying under, and submit with all required documentation by email to LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org. Copies of Application Forms are availableat ontarioprogramguides.net.

*If you cannot apply online, you may send hard copy applications and all required documentation to OSCIA by post or courier to 1 Stone Road West, Guelph ON N1G 4Y2.

You will be notified by mail once your application has been reviewed and a decision has been made—approximately 20 business days from the date that your completed application is received by OSCIA. There are three possible outcomes:

  • Application is approved – you will receive a letter confirming the amount of funding allocated to your project, as well as information about any specific requirement of this 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 after the date on which the Letter is issued.

The completion date for your project will be specified in the Approval Letter issued by OSCIA for the successful project. Eligible costs must be incurred, invoiced and paid for by the applicant on or before this completion date.

Cost-share levels are determined by the risk rating identified within your completed Farmland Health Check-Up:

    Farmland Health Check-Up Rating: Poor
    Farmland Health Check-Up Rating: Fair
    Farmland Health Check-Up Rating: Good or Best, or a project on an unassessed field

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 risks and priorities identified in your Farmland Health Check-Up.

The maximum LEADS funding available is $20,000 per application. Please note that equipment purchases are limited to the moderate funding level (55%), or base funding level (45%), regardless of risk rating. This includes all projects under the following categories:

  • Equipment Modifications to Improve Manure Application
  • Tillage and Nutrient Application Equipment Modifications
  • Equipment Modi cations 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 projections that demonstrate potential annual gross business income of $7,000 or more within three years of applying

If you are a new producer, contact OSCIA at 1-800-265-9751 or LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org for a list of applicable Project Categories, and to request a copy of the New Producer Application Form.


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Edit date: May 23, 2019

Need Help?

For assistance with the Online Program Guide, please contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre – Mon. to Fri., 8 am – 5 pm, 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca