Nutrient Management and Soil Health Planning


Stream: Producer



Who should apply?

Producers who need to develop a first-time plan for nutrient management and soil health.

To apply you must have completed

Have you completed an Environmental Farm Plan?

Having a verified, 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan is required to apply for all Environmental Stewardship Project Categories. If you haven’t completed one, sign up here.

The project being applied for must be identified as an action in the EFP, and effectively move a “1” or “2” rating to “3” or “4” (best) rating

Eligible activities and expenditures

Consulting services of a qualified professional (e.g., nutrient management specialist, Certified Crop Advisor, engineer, biologist, etc.) to conduct a first-time assessment and develop one of the following written plans:

  • 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
    • 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
    • Nutrient Management Planning (NMP)
    • Riparian Health Assessment (includes a detailed soil survey or identification of soil and topographic features)
    • Soil Erosion Plan (includes a detailed soil survey or identification of soil and topographic features)
    • Water Management Plan/Wastewater Management Plan

Consulting services may include:

  • Data collection, materials, sampling or analysis
  • Contingency Planning
  • Engineering design services
  • Maps and land resource information costs
  • Planning and decision support tools (e.g., initial purchase of computer software, aerial photos)
  • Report preparation

Ineligible activities and expenditures

  • Activities and expenditures as detailed here
  • Computer hardware and software, with the exception of eligible software types noted above
  • Consulting services for renewal of an existing plan (e.g., Nutrient Management Plan)
  • Consulting services not directly related to one of the plans specified under Eligible activities and expenditures, including crop scouting, pest monitoring, and repeat services on the same crop acres or production area
  • Costs associated with developing engineer reports for municipal drainage projects
  • Feed additives (as related to the livestock nutrition planning to reduce greenhouse gases)
  • Field specific agronomic practices (e.g., variable rate application of crop inputs, seed selection, fertility requirements) for an annual cropping plan
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS) field mapping and soil sampling not part of a written plan
  • Normal annual planning (i.e., plans covering a one-year planning horizon)
  • Purchase and installation of irrigation monitoring equipment
  • Routine sampling and analysis, routine crop advice, etc., to determine annual requirements for crop and animal nutrients or pest control
  • Soil testing (i.e., soil sample analysis and soil physical property analysis) not part of a written plan or report
  • Upstream water distribution systems that are not part of a farmer’s operation
  • Water source development, drilling and changes to water licensing agreements
  • Yield monitors and other GPS-enabled data collection tools
  • In-kind contributions

Available cost-share

50 per cent, up to a maximum of $10,000

Required documentation

Merit assessment criteria

  • Project addresses risk identified in EFP Action Plan
  • Ability of project to facilitate multi-year planning to improve resource management activities

Other useful information:

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 to demonstrate that the project will be complemented or enhanced by the continued maintenance of three previously implemented Best Management Practices (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 Ontario under a valid Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN), or an allowable exemption, is eligible to apply for cost-share funding under the Partnership—provided that the farm business meets all of the requirements set out in the Program Guide. You must also have a 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.

A farm business may have up to two (2) applications approved in an intake or under consideration at one time. A separate application must be submitted for each project.

There is no limit to the number of cost-share projects that a farm business can complete over the five-year span of the Partnership. There is also no limit to the number of approved cost-share projects that a farm business can have underway at one time.

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.

Complete applications that meet eligibility criteria are assessed using Merit Assessment Criteria, which is specific to each Project Category. Applications that are selected using a merit-based review process are approved on a continuous basis while funds remain available.

Conditional approval for funding may be granted for complete applications with high merit that require confirmation of additional information before project approval.

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 CAP@ontariosoilcrop.org. Copies of Application Forms are available at ontarioprogramguides.net.

*If you cannot apply online or by email, you may send hard copy applications and all required documentation to OSCIA by post or courier to 1-367 Woodlawn Road W, Guelph, ON, N1H 7K9.

Applications will be reviewed, and cost-share funding decisions will be made after the Application Intake has closed. You will be notified by mail and/or email approximately 45 business days from the date a given Application Intake closes. (If there is an exception to this, it may be noted in the Project Category Description.) There are three possible outcomes:

  • Application is approved – you will receive confirmation of claim procedures and submission deadlines, and a questionnaire that must be completed at the end of the project.
  • 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 that 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.

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 CAP@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: January 6, 2021

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