Credit Valley Conservation’s (CVC) Bird-Friendly Certified Hay program is accepting registrations. Farmers looking for land to grow hay and landowners with available land can start the process at birdfriendlyhay.ca.
Farmers Barry and Tina Wright joined the program in 2014. They grow bird-friendly hay in part of their hay fields. In these areas, Barry delays the hay cut each summer until grassland birds have finished nesting.
“I like the flexibility of the program. I can enroll only a portion of my farmland. This allows me to grow higher-protein early-cut hay and leave a little space for the birds,” said Barry.
Marketing their hay as “bird-friendly” is a bonus for the Wright’s hay business. They enjoy telling customers how they’re helping grassland birds. But it’s actually the quality of their late-cut hay that drives sales. Their equine customers like the hay’s bright green colour, fresh smell and minimal dust.
“Recently, it seems like it’s the middle of July before we get the right conditions to cut dry hay. This program is a win-win for us and the birds,” said Barry.
Farmers participating in the Bird-Friendly Hay program agree to delay their harvest until July 15 to protect grassland birds. Landowners who have farmers grow on their land may be eligible for a 75 per cent reduction on their property taxes for the acreage.
Are you a hay grower, hay purchaser or landowner with land available for growing Bird-Friendly Certified Hay? Register at birdfriendlyhay.ca or contact Mark Eastman at 1-800-668-5557 ext. 720 for more information.
Bird-Friendly Certified Hay Participant Barry Wright (right) and CVC’s Mark Eastman (left)
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. Our watershed is defined by the area of land 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. We inspire a deep appreciation for the role of nature in keeping people connected, healthy and happy. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.
Acting Supervisor, Marketing and Communications
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 449