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Phosphorus in rivers: sixty referred farms

(Bedford) Farmers whose lands are most affected by erosion problems in the Brome-Missisquoi MRC get the help of an agronomist. Sixty of them will receive the visit of the professional during the next three years to help correct the situation.
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This special project is the initiative of the Watershed Organization of Missisquoi Bay. The organization has received confirmation Tuesday of obtaining an annual grant of $ 45,000 for 2016, 2017 and 2018 from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec. The Brome-Missisquoi MRC will invest $ 15,000 per year.

An analysis of the Institute for Research and Development in Food (IRDA) over the water of the MRC concludes that 54% of the phosphorus and solids suspension of agricultural origin that are found in Lake Champlain from 10% farmland, says Simon Lajeunesse, coordinator of water management at the MRC. “Several farms have erosion problems. But we see that some sectors are more vulnerable than others. This is where we want to intervene. ”

The identified farms are located in the municipalities of Farnham, Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, Pike-River and Sainte-Sabine, all located in the western part of the MRC, where major crops are ubiquitous. “We want to go in the most sensitive places to have the greatest impact,” says Lajeunesse.

The agronomist hired by the Missisquoi Bay OBV first meet with prospective farmers. It will analyze the situation and report to a committee of experts to prepare a response plan and apply for grants to fund work to correct runoff and erosion problems.

The participation of farmers is voluntary reports Johanne Bérubé, Executive Director of OBV Missisquoi Bay. She believes that the vast majority will jump at the chance. “The support of farmers to find solutions is essential. If they present a realistic action plan, which corrects problems without affecting the profitability of their activities, they will embark. ”

The extent of erosion on some farmland will cause difficult discussions, recognizes Ms. Bérubé. “There’s cropland are in a flood zone. We know it. It will stop to make great culture, compensate farmers and used as pasture. He’ll have the money to go for help, “she says. “This is a very ambitious project.”

The expert committee will include representatives of MAPAQ, the Ministry of Environment, the MRC, regional and local branch of the Union of Agricultural Producers, IRDA, agri-environmental clubs and OBV and Missisquoi Bay Yamaska.

Oats, rye and mustard

Contingency plans will take into account the particularities of different types of soil, crops and equipment used, said Dr. Lajeunesse. Among the outset solutions studied, the cultivation of other plants after harvest will be privileged, has he said, listing oats plantations, mustard and rye. “We do not want to leave bare soil after harvest. It causes large water runoff problems snowmelt, “he said.

The Brome-Missisquoi CLD may be asked to lend its expertise in the framework of this project, says Ms. Bérubé. In the event that farmers grow other crops in the fall, she said, opportunities should be found for sale.

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