Focus On The Environment

A wind farm that the locals mostly like

Farmers in the Ridgetown area banded together, negotiated a profit-sharing agreement with the company and are generally happy with the result


There’s an 11,500-hectare wind farm in the Ridgetown area that shares profit even with neigh-bouring farmers who do not have a tower on their property. Maybe that’s why, after a year of operation, there is only a whisper of opposition.

It all started in 2005-2006, when three different wind energy companies began to approach farmers about the possibility of building a wind farm in the area.

Ontario’s ongoing battle against sewage bypasses

The province is throwing money at Ontario’s sagging sewage treatment plants, but some towns, like Tavistock, have to bear the cost alone


Getting bypasses from sewage treatment systems under control takes money. Just ask the officials in charge of systems in the town of Hawkesbury, on the Ottawa River, east of Canada’s capital, and Tavistock, a village on the Thames River north of Woodstock, in western Ontario.

Phosphorus removal project in the Holland Marsh delayed for more testing

A type of clay developed in Australia may provide a temporary solution to phosphorus finding its way into the Holland River. But growers have some questions about its possible effects on their fields


When the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority delayed a pilot program to remove phosphorus along a portion of the Holland Marsh’s interior canals until more testing could be done, Alex Makarenko was among those who expressed relief.
“There are too many questions,” says this carrot, celery and onion grower, who is also chair of the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association.

Miscanthus – a plant that can produce a lot more than heat

The Tiessen family of Leamington is investing millions to turn this tall perennial grass into fuel, animal bedding, fibre and everything from bedpans to a planting medium for greenhouses


They started growing miscanthus in 2007 to have something sustainable and cost-effective to heat the 37 acres of greenhouses their family owns here. The more they looked at it, the more they realized they were dealing with a plant that could be used for a lot more than heat.

Ontario farmers take to solar power big-time

Of 16,000 applications received by Ontario Power Authority by July 2010, close to 14,500 were from farmers. It’s a perfect fit for them, says one installer


Feed-in tariff (FIT) programs have been around since 1978, when then U.S. President Jimmy Carter implemented a FIT program because of a perceived energy crisis and concerns over pollution.

But, while Carter may have been first, it was the Germans who got it right, at least on the second pass. Their first law was enacted in 1990, then amended in 2000, and that was the beginning of effective FIT programs, including Ontario’s which looks very much like the German one. Another thing we have in common with Germany is that the most enthusiastic participants are farmers.

Who will pay the bill for resolving ‘significant’ threats to drinking water?

Compensation is just one of the questions that are bothering local Source Protection Committees and their farm members as they try to get a handle on what the Clean Water Act means for them


John Fitzgibbon has been going through the stack of reports from Source Water protection committees on his desk. But the co-chair of the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition still doesn’t have a handle on what the Clean Water Act is going to cost Ontario’s farming community.

THE SEWAGE DOUBLE STANDARD: New rules still won’t penalize cities for sewage dumping

Farmers maintain it’s not fair that a municipality can dump many litres of sewage from an overloaded
sewage treatment plant when farmers get hit hard for spilling a tanker of liquid manure on a roadside


In 2002, Environment Canada announced that Hay Bay Farms Inc. of Napanee and its manager, Mark Davis, would each be fined $5,000 for violating the Fisheries Act and ordered to pay $25,000 to the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority for fish habitat and stream rehabilitation.

Large-scale digesters need more incentives, owners say

Ontario Power Authority’s ability to strip away 80 per cent of the profits from new uses for biodigester byproducts isn’t helping to meet the province’s green energy targets


Large-scale biodigesters are the orphans of the renewable energy industry, says consultant Garry Fortune. The reason? Ontario Power Authority (OPA) is offering contracts with clauses that strip away the profits from the sale of byproducts not yet developed.

Environment: Don’t forget to test your well water

Bacteria, natural impurities and surface contaminants can all affect the quality of your well water. Make sure you know how often to test and what test package to use


Water that is completely pure doesn’t exist for very long in nature. Water carries some of almost everything it touches. While falling as precipitation, it picks up gases, ions and dust particles from the atmosphere. When it reaches the earth, it flows over or through plant materials and surface layers of soil and rock, dissolving minerals.

Focus on the Environment: Agriculture is playing its part in water conservation

Agriculture has reduced water use considerably through improved health, housing, breeding, feeding and management and our farmers will continue to provide leadership in water use


With Canadian, North American and world populations expected to increase significantly over the next 20 to 30 years, the demand for fresh water will rise dramatically. This will escalate the need for water for food, fibre and fuel.