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Spotlight on Soil Health

This year, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show is excited to announce the presence of the new Soils at Guelph initiative.

Soils at Guelph is an outreach initiative that aims to bridge gaps between farmers and soil researchers across Ontario. The initiative is led by University of Guelph professors Kari Dunfield, Laura Van Eerd and Claudia Wagner-Riddle, all from the School of Environmental Sciences.

“Soils at Guelph will be providing a special opportunity for farmers and industry to connect with our soil researchers from the University of Guelph at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show,” explains Cameron Ogilvie, Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the initiative. Ogilvie joins the team with a B.Sc. (Agr) degree and an M.Sc. from the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph.

“There’s nothing I love more than helping different groups of people understand each other,” says Ogilvie. “I hope that over the next five years I can help farmers, researchers and consumers discover tangible reasons why we’re better off working to improve soil health together.”

Soils at Guelph boasts an impressive roster of research professionals. “Our researchers specialize in a range of topics including soil biology, cover crops, soil organic matter, nutrient cycling and more,” says Ogilvie. “We want to engage with producers on these topics to discuss burning questions, breakthroughs and to collaborate on solutions for sustainably managing our soils in Ontario.”

The Soils at Guelph initiative was made possible through a joint donation of $500,000 by Lillie Ann Morris, who has worked for many years in agricultural advertising sales; Glacier FarmMedia, the agricultural division of Glacier Media Inc.; and Bob and Moira Kerr, farmers in Southern Ontario Chatham-Kent. The donation was announced to mark World Soil Day.

More on the initiative will be revealed during the opening ceremonies of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show on Tuesday, September 10 at 10:00 a.m. “It’s an incredible honour to be asked to help kick-off Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show this year,” says Ogilvie. “Soil is the foundation of the agri-food industry – it’s agriculture’s bottom line. And the University of Guelph’s Soils at Guelph initiative is proud to join an amazing network of people emphasizing the importance of healthy soils, strengthening our farmland and improving life in Canada.”

Soil Health in Ontario

In 2018, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs released the extensive New Horizons: Ontario’s Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy, which it claims will help grow and sustain the agricultural sector in Ontario. The strategy sets goals for soil health and conservation, and provides actions suggested to meet those goals.

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