Erin, October 7, 2009 - Farmers are proud of their work to protect our land, air and water and are sharing this with trail users in the Greenbelt. The first in a series of interpretive signs describing these environmental achievements was unveiled today by Jackie Fraser, AGCare Executive Director, on the Elora-Cataract Trail in Erin, Ontario.
"Farmers and our conservation partners are proud to share their environmental achievements with hikers, trail users, and outdoor enthusiasts along the Greenbelt trails," said Fraser. "The colourful and informative signs showcase a range of advancements made by farmers from general environmental planning on farms, to specific achievements in greenhouse gas reduction and reduced energy use."
Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by the equivalent of taking 125,000 cars off the road through improved soil conservation measures. Farmers have spent at least $600 million on environmental improvements and 300,000 days in environmental training. Over 70% of them have voluntarily participated in the Environmental Farm Plan program.
Farmers are proud of these achievements and the Agriculture Hits the Trails project was designed to share this information with trail users within the Greenbelt. Today's launch coincides with Ontario Hiking Week, an annual celebration sponsored by Hike Ontario that aspires to get people outside and on the trails.
"Farmers are doing a great job of protecting and enhancing the environment," added Ms. Fraser. "Many hiking trails within Ontario's Greenbelt are located on or near farmland, allowing trail users the opportunity to see farmers' commitment to the environment first-hand."
"The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has granted millions of dollars over the past three years to support the many Greenbelt farmers who are taking on environmental projects on their lands. This particular project is about helping those farmers tell their story with pride." said Shelley Petrie, Program Manager of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
AGCare (Agricultural Groups Concerned About Resources and the Environment) and the Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC), with funding from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, created Agriculture Hits the Trails. Many conservation partners also supported this initiative, including Conservation Ontario, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), Conservation Halton, Hamilton Conservation Authority, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA), the Bruce Trail Association, and the Oak Ridges Trail Association.
Please visit www.caringfortheland.com for more information about the Agriculture Hits the Trails project.
AGCare is the voice of Ontario's 45,000 farmers who grow fruit, vegetables, and field crops on environmental issues. OFAC is the voice for animal agriculture, representing over 40,000 livestock and poultry farmers, associations and businesses on issues in animal agriculture such as animal care, food safety, biotechnology, and the environment. Wrapping around the Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario a better place. Encompassing the Niagara Escarpment, the Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge Park, hundreds of rural towns and villages and some 7,100 farms, Ontario's Greenbelt is the largest and most diverse in the world.
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For further information please contact Jackie Fraser, Executive Director, AGCare at jfraser-at-agcare.ca, office 519-837-1326, or cell 519-831-6557.