Support the Recovery of Threatened Grassland Birds
Hay growers, purchasers and rural landowners with land to rent can support the recovery of protected at-risk grasslands birds by participating in the Bird-Friendly Certified Hay program.
Participating farmers commit to delaying their hay harvest until after July 15 to ensure young grassland birds have enough time to leave the nest before the hay field is cut.
Connect with us to get started.
About the Program
- As a hay producer: You can grow a new niche product and receive marketing assistance through CVC, including a free Bird-Friendly Certified Hay sign to post at your farm gate. We can also help hay growers find new land to rent for hay production.
- As a hay purchaser: You can simplify your annual hay purchasing process and support grassland bird recovery. You can market your environmentally responsible practices to customers (i.e. equine boarding clients or consumers of your meat products) to gain a market share advantage.
- As a landowner with land available to rent: We can help you simplify your search for a local producer interested in farming your land. After connecting with hay producers, you can negotiate a rental agreement. Land rented for agricultural production may be eligible for a 75 per cent property tax reduction through the Farm Tax Program. Hay production can be a low impact choice for agricultural land use. The perennial cover established on hay fields provides many environmental benefits as well as economic value to landowners and their tenant farmers.
- Property in the Credit River Watershed. Check your eligibility.
- One or more of the following scenarios applies to you:
- You currently grow hay on owned and/or rented lands located within the Credit River Watershed and you would like to grow Bird-Friendly Certified Hay on some or all of these lands either for sale or for personal farm use.
- You wish to rent lands in the Credit River Watershed to grow Bird-Friendly Certified Hay on some or all of these lands either for sale or for personal farm use.
- You wish to purchase Bird-Friendly Certified Hay.
- You own land in the Credit River Watershed and you are interested in having an agricultural producer grow Bird-Friendly Certified Hay on a portion or all of your land.
- Hay producers who register their fields as Bird-Friendly Certified agree to delay harvesting until July 15.
Grassland Bird Decline
Grassland birds like the bobolink and eastern meadowlark prefer to breed and nest in native grasslands. There are few native grasslands in the Credit River Watershed, so breeding and nesting often occur in non-native meadows (old farm fields) and active hay and pasture fields.
Unfortunately, the popular timing of the hay harvest aligns with their nesting periods. Typically, farmers cut hay in late May or early June, but young birds haven’t left the nest or learned to fly until mid-July. CVC’s Bird-Friendly Certified Hay program encourages and supports farmers in protecting these at-risk birds by delaying the hay harvest on all or a portion of their hay acreage to ensure young birds have enough time to leave the nest.
Farmer and Landowner Stories
Read what hay purchasers, hay sellers and landowners are doing to protect grassland birds.
In 2022, rural landowners and farmers are protecting grassland bird nesting habitat by delaying the hay harvest date on their lands.
Green Your Property News
Residents and landowners in the Credit River Watershed are eligible for our programs. Use our property look up tool to check to see if you’re eligible.
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