EFAO’s Small Grains Program aims to help farmers diversify their rotation by growing a spring small grain followed by a legume cover crop.
As many farmers already know, small grains offer big gains. Adding small grains to a corn and soybean-based rotation has both ecological and economic benefits. But, trying something new on the farm comes with some uncertainty and risk. EFAO’s Small Grains Program aims to address that risk by offsetting some of the initial cost of growing small grains and recognizing the ecosystem services that diversified rotations provide.
For the 2022 growing season — the second iteration of this pilot program — the Small Grains Program is a regionally targeted, auction-based bid and payment program that is focused on spring small grains. Eligible participants include farmers in the Grey-Bruce area and eastern Ontario who haven’t grown a spring small grain in the last three years. Learn more >
Not eligible to apply, but still want to be involved in small grains events and future funding initiatives? We encourage you to join the Small Grains Network, a free program of educational, agronomic and community resources around small grains production and marketing.
Header photo used with permission from Country Guide.
Who is eligible for the Small Grains Program in 2022?
To participate in this year’s Small Grains Program, farmers must:
- Be a current or previous member of EFAO, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), or both.
- Have not grown a spring small grain anywhere on your farm in the last three years (2019, 2020, 2021). For the purposes of this program, small grains include wheat, spelt, barley, rye, oats, triticale, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa.
- Plan to grow a small grain on land within an eligible county/region (see next question).
What regions are eligible?
Eligible counties in eastern Ontario:
- Kawartha Lakes (Victoria)
- Leeds and Grenville
- Lennox and Addington
- Prescott and Russell
- Prince Edward
- Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
Eligible counties in western Ontario:
Eligible counties in central Ontario:
When is the application period?
Intake opens: January 4, 2022
Intake closes: January 15, 2022 at 11:59PM EST
What do I have to do as part of this program?
In order to receive your payment you must:
- Plant and harvest a small grain in 2022. For the purposes of this intake, small grains include wheat, spelt, barley, rye, oats, triticale, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. The grain crop can be seeded as preferred (i.e. frost-seeded, spring planted.)
- Plant a legume cover crop, cover crop mix with legume species that is inter-, under-, broadcast or direct seeded with the small grain in the same field; or planted in the same field after the small grain is harvested.
How do I apply?
This year, applicants will submit bids to EFAO indicating the funding they require to plant a spring small grain followed by a legume cover crop on up to 100 acres in 2022.
The most competitive bids will be approved and funded. Bids will be ranked on a cost per acre basis, and funded starting from the lowest bid per acre, then the second lowest, and so on, until the available funds have been allocated.
This year’s Small Grains Program will not offer a set cost-share rate or a set cost per acre. Your application will be evaluated solely on the per acre cost of your bid.
To receive an application form, please provide your email address by submitting this form. Then, watch your email inbox on January 4 for application materials! (You might have to check your Junk folder.) Submitting your email at this stage does not commit you to apply.
Where can I learn more?
Read the Small Grains Program FAQ >
What is the Small Grains Network?
At the heart of the program is a Small Grains Network to support beginner to advanced small grain growers across Ontario, with monthly meet-ups, E-newsletters, and community-building around growing small grains, including:
- Monthly shared learning calls on small grains production and marketing topic
- Monthly e-newsletters with resources on small grains and diverse rotations
- Field days on small grains production and diverse rotations
- Opportunity to attend the annual small grains conferences in the midwest US
- Connection to experienced small grain growers and a community of other farmers interested in small grains
- Opportunities for experienced growers to be paid for mentorship
- Opportunities to conduct farmer-led research on small-grains production
What other resources are there for growing small grains?
- EFAO’s Small Grains E-newsletter | Sign-up here >
- Practical Farmers of Iowa | Rotationally Raised Video Series >
- OMAFRA Cost of Production | Pub 60 >
- The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security | Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) program >
- Government of Saskatchewan | Principles and Practices of Crop Rotation >
- University of Manitoba | Fertilizer Replacement Value of Legume Green Manure Crops >
- University of Manitoba | Seeded Legume Cover Crops for Late Season Production >
Please contact Jackie Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org, to find out how you can receive payment and support to add a small grain to your rotation.
This program is made possible by funding from the Weston Family Foundation.