Why is the Canola Council involved in administering a government program?
The Canola Council and many other industry organizations are often involved in the delivery of government-funded programs aimed at helping the agriculture sector succeed. The On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF) is one of these programs. In a similar fashion, the Canola Council also administers the Canola AgriScience Cluster, investing federal funding into canola research and innovation.
The Canola Council encourages adoption of 4R practices to make the most efficient use of growers’ fertilizer investment, and to support yields while reducing emissions. Canadian canola farmers are leaders in sustainability, and we’re pleased that we can administer a voluntary program to facilitate the adoption of 4R practices. The funding provided by this program is an important opportunity to help expand the use of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices on canola acres as a way of improving fertilizer efficiency, getting more return from that investment and minimizing losses as nitrous oxide emissions. This program aligns with the canola industry’s strategic plan efforts to increase canola yields and profitability, including a key sustainability target that was added to our plan back in 2018 – which is to see 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices on 90 per cent of canola acres by 2025.
What is the goal of the funding from the Government of Canada?
This voluntary Canola 4R Advantage program supports farmers in initiating or advancing 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices that make the most efficient use of fertilizers in canola production. Funding for Canola 4R Advantage is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Climate Solutions – On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF), which supports farmers in adopting BMPs that store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, specifically in the areas of: nitrogen management, cover cropping and rotational grazing practices.
What are the Canola Council’s goal/objective and deliverables for Canola 4R Advantage?
The Canola Council’s goal is to help growers access financial incentives to initiate or advance 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices on canola acres to improve fertilizer efficiency, which is good for farm productivity and the environment. Canola 4R Advantage aligns with the canola industry’s strategic plan efforts to increase canola yields and profitability, including a key sustainability target that was added to our plan back in 2018 – which is to see 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices on 90 per cent of canola acres by 2025. Canadian canola growers are leaders in sustainability and we hope that this program can keep building on this excellent track record.
The Canola Council provides crop production services to growers through a team of agronomy specialists working with provincial canola grower commissions. Adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship is a key recommendation for growers. This program helps growers who voluntarily take part to initiate or advance 4R practices on their farm.
Our program deliverables include processing applications; promoting awareness among canola growers and their agronomy advisers; providing training, information resources and knowledge transfer activities to growers and agronomists; and providing AAFC with aggregate data on the use of BMPs, which will help show the progress of Western Canadian farmers as Canada contributes to the global effort to reduce GHG emissions.
Is the Canola Council making money for administering the program?
No. The Canola Council is not making money for administering the program. OFCAF does include reimbursement to the Canola Council as a recipient organization for their costs incurred to administer the program.
Is farmer money being used to deliver the program?
No. All funding for Canola 4R Advantage is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Climate Solutions – On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF).
How does the carbon offset part work? Is some other entity claiming carbon credits on the fields that the farmer enrolls in the program?
The grower has entitlement to all GHG emissions reductions arising from their Canola 4R Advantage project.
- Growers can use those GHG emissions reductions to participate in voluntary offset credit programs that are not regulatory or government-led, subject to the eligibility requirements set up by the voluntary offset programs.
- Growers can’t use those GHG emissions reductions to participate in any government-led or regulatory carbon offset programs. This is so that GHG emission reductions are not counted twice between the OFCAF program and regulatory offset systems.
It’s also important to note that we have no certainty as to how future carbon offset programs might work, and how your eligibility for these programs might be affected by your participation in this CCC program. Eligibility for participation in these markets will be determined by those developing them.
Please note that the grower is responsible for ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations of any carbon offset market, whether voluntary or regulated.
Why only canola? Why not a “whole farm approach”?
Canola 4R Advantage is an investment in the continued global leadership of Canadian canola growers. Canola is a unique opportunity for Canadian agriculture, and 4R Nutrient Stewardship is one of our best opportunities to grow the crop with greater precision, efficiency and sustainability. This program provides incentives to help farmers continue to expand these progressive, proven practices as they reinforce their reputation as the most experienced and knowledgeable canola growers in the world.
Is this program in response to the “30% emissions reductions goal” that the federal government announced? If not, where did this program come from and where did the funding come through?
Canola 4R Advantage is not a response to the federal government’s fertilizer emissions reduction target of 30 per cent. The Canola Council encourages adoption of 4R practices to make the most efficient use of growers’ fertilizer investment, support yields while reducing emissions. Funding for Canola 4R Advantage has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Climate Solutions – On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF) to provide support to growers to help expand 4R adoption. The Canola Council is one of the 13 OFCAF recipient organizations to help redistribute funding to farmers.
Are there differences in objectives for the various administrators of OFCAF program funding?
The objective of OFCAF is to support farmers in adopting beneficial management practices (BMPs) that store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, specifically in the areas of: nitrogen management, cover cropping and rotational grazing practices. You can find a list of the 13 different recipient organizations as well as their area and region of work on the OFCAF webpage.
The Canola Council has chosen to focus our program on nitrogen management, with the goal of expanding the use of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices when growing canola, which is good for both farm productivity and the environment.
Who would do the audits if triggered? Canola Council or government?
A certain proportion of applications will be audited to help ensure that everyone follows the rules and the program is equitable across all canola growers. These audits of grower claims would be done by the Canola Council of Canada.
How will taking part in this program help the agriculture sector in its dealings with government regarding GHG issues?
Through the program, we will provide Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada with aggregate data on the use of these BMPs, which will help show the progress of Western Canadian farmers as Canada contributes to the global effort to reduce GHG emissions. Canadian canola growers are leaders in sustainability, and participation in this program will help demonstrate that growers are continually building on this excellent track record, in ways that do not impede their ability to keep improving yields.
General program information
What is Canola 4R Advantage all about?
By providing financial incentives, Canola 4R Advantage encourages farmers to initiate or advance 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices when growing canola. Growers can apply for funding to help pay for implementation of best management practices (BMPs) in four areas: soil testing, field zone mapping consulting services, enhanced efficiency fertilizer (EEF) and preferred application.
To be eligible for Canola 4R Advantage, growers are required to have a 4R Nutrient Stewardship plan that has been verified by a 4R designated agronomist. New for year two of Canola 4R Advantage, growers can be reimbursed for 85 per cent of the agronomist consulting fees to have 4R Nutrient Stewardship Plans developed for their farms for the purposes of this project.
Learn more about the Program Guidelines and eligible BMPs.
Canola 4R Advantage is a two-year program. Learn more about the key dates for submitting applications and claims.
Funding for Canola 4R Advantage is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Climate Solutions – On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF). The CCC is one of 13 OFCAF recipient organizations across Canada.
Why is the Canola Council involved?
Canadian canola farmers are leaders in sustainability, and we’re pleased that we can help growers access this funding to continue their progress. Expanding the use of 4R Nutrient Stewardship is an important opportunity to improve fertilizer efficiency, which is good for both farm productivity and our environment. The 4R program is recognized internationally as an effective set of practices that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while optimizing yields and profitability. Learn more about 4R Nutrient Stewardship and the canola industry’s sustainability goals.
How is the Canola Council involved?
The Canola Council is one of 13 industry organizations delivering programs funded by the federal government’s On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF). Our role is to design and administer a program focused on nitrogen management that supports increased productivity and profitability while reducing nitrous oxide emissions. Our involvement includes:
- processing applications
- promoting awareness among canola growers and their agronomy advisers
- providing training, information resources and knowledge transfer activities to growers and agronomists that are specific to growing canola using 4R practices
- providing Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) with aggregated data on the use of BMPs, which will help show the progress of Western Canadian farmers as Canada contributes to the global effort to reduce GHG emissions.
How will the CCC use any grower data collected through this program?
The CCC will collect only the operational data, business and personal information needed to deliver the program and make payments, in compliance with Canadian data privacy requirements. Please see the Use of Grower Data section of the Program Guidelines page.
Is there a limit on how much funding canola growers can receive?
Yes. In year two of Canola 4R Advantage, canola growers will be eligible to receive funding for up to four BMPs, to a maximum of $20,000 per BMP.
A farm business can receive up to $75,000 in total from all OFCAF programs, including those administered by other industry organizations, over the lifetime of OFCAF funding.
What percentage of my expenses can I get back?
Growers can be reimbursed for up to 85 per cent of eligible expenditures. You will need to submit receipts for 100 per cent of the eligible cost. The program will then reimburse you for 85 per cent of this amount, to a maximum of $20,000 per BMP in year two.
How will program funding be allocated across canola-growing regions?
The goal is to distribute incentives across the nine reconciliation units (RUs) in Western Canada and the four BMP categories. If some RUs or BMP categories become over-subscribed, we will review the status of applications and decide whether reallocation of some funds is possible.
If I apply to Canola 4R Advantage, can I also apply for funding from a different OFCAF program?
Yes, growers may submit applications to more than one OFCAF program, but not for the same BMP on the same field(s). Growers need to attest that they will not participate in or receive funds from any other OFCAF nitrogen management program for the same BMP and the same field(s).
Farm businesses also need to make sure that they don’t receive more than $75,000 in total from all OFCAF programs, including those administered by other industry organizations, over the lifetime of OFCAF funding.
Why do you require a business number or social insurance number for payment?
This is a requirement of the Government of Canada. Using this information, the CCC will issue an annual AGR-1 Statement of Farm Support Payments form to any grower who was issued an incentive payment in the previous calendar year. Canada Revenue Agency considers these incentive payments taxable income and therefore requires that the payments be reported.
If the farm operates as a corporation, cooperative or partnership, the applicant can provide a CRA business number or partnership number. Growers who operate and apply as a sole proprietor or are unincorporated will need to provide their social insurance number (SIN).
Eligible best management practices (BMPs)
What new program enhancements have been added for year two?
In year two, canola growers can apply for more funding for more BMPs, as well as assistance for development of a 4R Nutrient Stewardship plan.
- The program will pay up to 85 per cent of eligible costs for up to four BMPs (versus two BMPs in year one).
- The maximum funding available for each BMP has increased to $20,000 per farm (up from $6,000 per BMP per farm in year one).
- Growers can seek funding to continue BMPs that were started since February 7, 2022.
- In addition to funding for BMPs, the program can reimburse up to 85 per cent of the consulting fee charged by a 4R designated agronomist to develop a grower’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship Plan, to a maximum of $5,000.
Which BMPs are covered by this program?
In year two, a grower may select up to four of the following eligible BMPs on selected canola fields over which the grower currently has operational control:
- Soil testing
- Field zone mapping consulting services for variable rate nitrogen
- Enhanced efficiency fertilizer
- Preferred application (covering a portion of fertilizer costs for growers switching from fall nitrogen application to spring banding, or from fall nitrogen application to a split of spring banding and in-crop application)
For more information, please refer to the BMP requirements.
I have already adopted some of these BMPs on my farm. Am I still eligible for funding?
Possibly, depending on the field and the BMP specific to the funding application.
To qualify for funding, the grower can’t have used the same BMP on that selected field as part of a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Plan before February 7, 2022. For example, if soil testing has been part of a 4R plan for that field, then soil testing for that field would not be an eligible expense under this program.
- In the example above, the field/BMP combination may qualify if the grower has used soil testing in this field, but never as part of a 4R plan for that field. Establishing a 4R plan with a 4R designated agronomist and advancing the practice under 4R Nutrient Stewardship would then make soil testing eligible as a new activity on that field.
- In addition, year two funding is available to continue using a BMP on a field if the grower started the BMP after February 7, 2022.
It’s also important to remember that there are four BMPs to choose from. A grower may have used one of the BMPs on a certain field as part of a 4R plan, but has not used all four of the BMPs on that field.
The overall intent is to encourage growers to initiate or advance their use of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices.
Why did you choose these four areas of focus?
These four BMPs are currently underutilized, have high potential to reduce GHG emissions and offer good feasibility for adoption by canola growers. Independent evaluation using sound scientific methods has shown that there is good reason to be confident that these BMPs will provide good value for money as an investment.
Can I submit an application for more than one type of BMP?
Yes, in year two you can receive funding for up to four BMPs.
Can I submit an application for more than one BMP on the same field?
Yes, as long as all of the BMPs haven’t been used on that field as part of a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Plan before February 7, 2022.
Are equipment upgrades or modifications eligible for funding?
Equipment upgrades and modifications are not eligible for funding under Canola 4R Advantage. However, these expenses may be eligible under the OFCAF programs delivered by other partners, including the Prairie Watersheds Climate Program led by the Manitoba Association of Watersheds and delivered by Manitoba’s Watershed Districts and the Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds, the Manitoba Metis Federation and the B.C. Climate Agri-Solutions Fund.
What are the requirements for soil testing depth and analysis?
To be eligible for reimbursement:
- Total sample depth must be at least 12 inches.
- Soil analysis for nitrogen content must be conducted using analytical protocols recognized by the Soil Science Society of America.
For more information on soil testing, please refer to the BMP requirements.
Which soil testing labs are approved for this program?
Eligible soil testing laboratories are: Agvise Laboratories, A&L Canada, AGAT Laboratories, Down to Earth, Farmers Edge, Western Ag, Elements, Midwest Laboratories.
What is enhanced efficiency fertilizer (EEF)? Why are these products better?
These products reduce nutrient losses to the environment while making more nutrient available for the plant or crop. They include nitrogen stabilizer products.
Which EEF products are eligible for this program?
The list of eligible EEF products is available here.
Why aren’t all EEFs eligible?
The list includes only products with chemical compounds (active ingredients) and formulations that have scientifically documented and valid performance assessments, and products containing a similar rate of active ingredient as a tested product. If the compound or formulation of the product is not provided or there is no published efficacy data for the compound or formulation, then it is not included for funding. Products will be added to the list in subsequent program years if efficacy can be demonstrated by independent testing.
What is meant by “preferred application”? Why is it better?
Nitrogen fertilizer efficiency is greatly affected by the placement method and application date. For our program, preferred application for efficient use means banding fertilizer granules into the soil, instead of surface broadcasting.
In-soil banding during or near seeding time reduces the risk that nitrogen will be lost to the atmosphere. Instead, there is more opportunity for gaseous NH3 to undergo conversion to soluble ammonium, which is readily absorbed by soil particles.
You may be able to receive up to 85 per cent of the higher cost (up to 3 cents/lb) for nitrogen fertilizer switched from entirely fall surface application to spring banding, or to a split of spring banding and in-crop application. For more information, see the eligible costs section of the Program Guidelines.
Why is field zone mapping important?
Field zone mapping can help growers make effective fertilizer rate decisions. Yield potential may not be uniform across all fields or even within a single field – therefore, using one rate of nitrogen fertilizer may not be the best management practice.
A field analysis by a qualified 4R designated agronomist can pinpoint optimum rates throughout fields by considering differences in management, soil properties, terrain, historical yields and many other factors impacting fertility and yield potential.
What are the grower eligibility requirements for Canola 4R Advantage funding?
Please refer to our Program Guidelines and Applicant Declaration.
Do I need to have an approved 4R plan when I apply?
You and your 4R designated agronomist must attest to the completion of a 4R plan no later than six weeks after your application. A 4R Nutrient Stewardship plan is a requirement of the program, and you may need to provide it if your claim is audited.
Can I participate in Canola 4R Advantage as well as a carbon offset program?
Participation in a carbon offset program may affect participation in the CCC program.
- Growers can receive funding from the CCC program if they are participating in voluntary offset credit programs, subject to the eligibility requirements set up by the voluntary offset programs.
- Growers can’t use any GHG emissions reductions generated with the support of the CCC program to apply to any regulatory (government-led) carbon offset program. This restriction only applies to the GHG emission reductions generated by the selected nitrogen management BMP(s) on the farm area supported under Canola 4R Advantage, and generated between the earliest date at which costs are eligible for reimbursement and the completion date of the grower’s Canola 4R Advantage project.
Growers should also be aware that it is currently unclear whether participation in this CCC program could affect their eligibility for enrolment in future voluntary or regulated offset markets. Eligibility for participation in these markets will be determined by those developing them.
Please note that the grower is responsible for ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations of any carbon offset market, whether voluntary or regulated.
Why do I need a verified 4R plan and 4R designated agronomist to participate in Canola 4R Advantage?
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship program is a formal way for growers to participate and implement the 4Rs on their farm and be recognized for doing so. The role of the 4R designated agronomist in this program is to complete and verify the applicant’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship management plan and attest to the accuracy of the claim. The designated agronomist will also submit 4R acres on a grower’s behalf to Fertilizer Canada, which allows for these best management practices to be accounted for and recognized. With acres counted under the 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework, canola growers can demonstrate their commitment to improved nutrient use. If you have questions about the 4R program or 4R designation, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a 4R designated agronomist?
Agronomists with the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Designation have been assessed and certified as having appropriate agronomic knowledge, skills and expertise related to their assigned duties and for the specific geographic areas where they work. 4R designated agronomists are reassessed every three years and may require additional training as courses are updated or new courses are introduced. Learn more about 4R agronomist competencies. If you have questions about the 4R program or 4R designation, please email: email@example.com
Canola 4R Advantage also includes training activities so that more Certified Crops Advisors and Professional Agrologists can achieve the 4R Nutrient Stewardship designation and receive new specialty training and resources specific to canola crops.
How do I find a 4R designated agri-retailer or agronomist in my area?
Visit the Fertilizer Canada website for a listing of 4R designated agri-retailers in Western Canada.
Application and approval process
When will CCC start accepting the next round of applications?
We opened our year one application intake on August 17, 2022 and it closed on February 17, 2023.
The application intake for year two is expected to begin in June 2023. The exact date will be announced soon. This next intake will cover expenses paid by the grower between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024.
The application intake for year one is now closed.
How do I apply? Can my 4R designated agronomist apply on my behalf?
You will apply online using a digital platform. Either you or your 4R designated agronomist can initiate the application process – however, both of you will be required to complete certain sections. Find more details on how to apply and make claims.
What information will I need to provide when I apply?
You will need to provide basic contact information for the grower and 4R designated agronomist, and details about the farm, the BMP activities you have selected and the fields on which they will be implemented. The grower and 4R designated agronomist will also need to make several attestations. The information you’ll need to provide is listed here.
What are the steps I need to follow in the application and approval process?
All details on the application process can be found here.
How long will it take to find out whether my application is approved?
Once your application has been submitted, it could take up to six weeks to notify you of whether your application is approved. We will notify you by email and inform you of next steps.
There may be some temporary delays while we process the year one intake of applications. Your patience will be greatly appreciated as we get the program up and running.
Is there a waitlist if my application is made in a region or to a BMP that is already over-subscribed?
Yes, a waitlist will be established if applications in a region or BMP category exceed the funding available. If more funding is made available, growers on the waitlist will be notified and further instructions will be provided.
Can I track my application as it goes through the process?
After your application is submitted, you will receive email notifications of any change in your application’s status.
If your application is approved for funding, you will be provided with information on next steps to proceed with your participation.
Find more details on how to apply and make claims.
Can I apply again in the year two application intake?
Yes. All growers and 4R agronomists who have registered in the CCC management system will be notified of upcoming application deadlines.
In year two, you can apply for assistance to implement totally new BMP/field combinations. You can also apply for assistance to continue using BMPs that were newly adopted since February 7, 2022.
Claims and payment process
How will the claims process work?
A new claims process will be introduced for year two.
For year one applications, we are using this claims process:
- The CCC has emailed a fillable PDF form to every grower who has successfully applied to participate in the program.*
- The grower then populates the form with all necessary details and attestations about how they implemented their BMP activities.
- The grower emails the completed form back to the CCC, along with either scans or digital photos of invoices, receipts and proof of payment for their expenses.
- Before payment can be made, the grower’s 4R-designated agronomist needs to attest that the claim is accurate.
- The CCC makes sure all necessary information has been provided, confirms eligibility of the claimed expenses, and then sends the payment to the grower by way of electronic funds transfer (EFT).
The process will be more automated and streamlined for year two applications and claims.
* “Successfully applied” means that the grower has already submitted a complete application, which has been approved by the CCC.
How do I apply for payment?
All application and processing details can be found here.
Is there a set time limit for sending in receipts?
The deadline for submitting receipts for the 2022 planting season has passed.
The remaining deadlines for the year one application intake are:
- April 15, 2023, for soil testing and field zone mapping BMPs, if the BMP was used for 2023 planting season
- June 30, 2023, for preferred application and enhanced efficiency fertilizer (EEF) BMPs, if the BMP was used for 2023 planting season
If you miss the deadline, you will not be eligible for the incentive.
What if costs for certain BMPs, like soil testing and field zone mapping, are billed as bundled services?
If eligible costs for the soil testing and field zone mapping BMPs are billed as bundled services, you will be asked to allocate a fair market value portion of the bundled cost to each applicable BMP (excluding any portions for ineligible costs). We will simplify this process as much as possible with our new application portal.
How long will it take to get the payment?
Before we can issue payment, you will need to submit all of your receipts and supporting documents, including an attestation that canola was grown on the field(s) where the BMP was introduced.
That means you’ll need to wait until the planting season to submit your attestation.
Once you have submitted all supporting documents, it may take several weeks to receive payment.
How will the payment be sent to me?
The funds will be sent to your bank account by way of electronic funds transfer (EFT) only.
Will there be audits?
Grower claims may be subject to audit by the CCC. This may include verification that a 4R plan is in place, that canola was planted on the designated field (via satellite imagery or crop insurance) or other requests to support audit requirements. Please be sure to keep good records for seven years in case your claim is among those audited.
If the audit finds that there has been misrepresentation – either by the grower or agronomist – the application will be invalidated, and the funds must be returned.
What is the role of a 4R designated agronomist in this program?
The 4R designated agronomist helps the grower meet the program criteria by completing and verifying the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Plan and attesting that the application and claim is accurate. For more details, please see the Program Guidelines.
How can I get my 4R designation?
A three-part training program is provided by Fertilizer Canada. More information about the Fertilizer Canada eLearning program is available here. If you have questions about the 4R program or 4R designation, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding for Canola 4R Advantage has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Climate Solutions – On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF).
The Canola 4R Advantage information presented on this website is the latest available, and is subject to change without notice as the program evolves.