May 5, 2021 – In celebration of World Migratory Bird Day on May 8, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is launching a “Delay the Hay” campaign to encourage farmers to enroll in its Bird-Friendly Certified Hay program. Hay growers, farmers looking for land to grow hay and agricultural landowners with available land to rent can sign up at birdfriendlyhay.ca.
The program asks farmers to delay hay cutting until July 15. Typically, farmers cut hay in late-May or June, which coincides with nesting periods of ground-nesting birds, like bobolink and eastern meadowlark. There are few natural grasslands in the Credit River Watershed, so breeding and nesting often occur in old farm fields and active hay and pasture fields. By delaying the hay cut until July, farmers can protect at-risk grassland birds nesting in these fields.
“Farmers have the opportunity to grow a niche product that demonstrates their commitment to the environment,” says Mark Eastman, Senior Coordinator, Agricultural Outreach at CVC. “There are currently 300 acres enrolled in the program and our goal is to reach 400 acres of bird-friendly hay in the Credit River Watershed by 2022.”
Through the program, CVC helps connect hay growers with purchasers looking to buy bird-friendly certified hay and landowners with tenant farmers looking to grow bird-friendly certified hay. Farmers can enroll some or all of their owned or rented hay acreage in the program.
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 where all rainfall, snowmelt and runoff drains (“sheds”) 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.
Supervisor, Marketing & Communications
Credit Valley Conservation