Credit Valley Conservation (CVC)’s Bird-Friendly Certified Hay program is now accepting registrations. The program’s online marketplace (www.birdfriendlyhay.ca) connects farmers looking for land to grow hay and landowners with available land. Once connected, they can negotiate rental agreements to grow Bird-Friendly Certified Hay.
“Participants in the program protect farmland, create opportunities for local farm businesses and help grassland birds,” said Mark Eastman, Senior Coordinator, Agricultural Outreach at CVC.
One family, Uta Messerhuber and Harry Posner from Caledon, sees the Bird-Friendly Certified Hay Program as a way to improve the quality of wildlife habitat on their property. They noticed their old farm field had more wildflowers and less grass.
“Wildflowers are great and we encourage them to grow in our hedgerows, but we know that grassland birds need grass,” said Uta. They decided to enroll 15 acres of fallow farmland into CVC’s Bird-Friendly Certified Hay program.
Harry and Uta found a tenant farmer through the online marketplace that shared their environmental values to protect habitat. They’re making a difference by preserving agricultural lands. They can also reduce their property taxes through the Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program. Participating farmers in the Bird-Friendly Certified Hay program agree to delay their hay harvest until July 15 to protect grassland birds. Grassland birds such as eastern meadowlark and bobolink nest in hay fields. The program protects these grassland birds by giving their young time to leave the nest before the hay harvest. Local grassland bird populations have declined significantly in recent years due to the loss of natural grassland habitat.
“The program provides benefits to all participants and helps the birds. It really is a win-win situation and it’s so easy to participate,” said Uta.
For more information, visit www.birdfriendlyhay.ca or call 1-800-668-5557.
Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is a local conservation authority established by the Ontario government in 1954 to protect, restore and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River watershed. That watershed is the area of land defined by where all rainfall, snowmelt and runoff drains into lands and waters flowing into the Credit River. CVC creates connections between people and nature, knowledge and action. It inspires a deep appreciation for the role of nature in keeping people connected, healthy and happy. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.
Specialist, Marketing & Communications
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 224