Living Lab - Ontario

Farmers, researchers and industry working together to develop, test and evaluate climate-smart beneficial management practices.

About Living Lab - Ontario

Living Lab – Ontario is a five-year innovation project that brings together farmers, organizations, researchers, and other experts to co-develop, test, and evaluate beneficial management practices (BMPs) that address climate change challenges in livestock and cropping systems.

Living Lab – Ontario is one of 14 living labs across Canada that are part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) – Living Labs program. The project builds on the success of the previous living lab project in Ontario (2019-2023) but with a focus on identifying, developing, evaluating and adopting BMPs that address climate challenges and solutions in livestock and crop production systems, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration on farms.

For information about the previous Living Lab in Ontario, click here.


Living Lab – Ontario is currently refining project priorities and selecting farm sites to begin work in 2024.

The BMPs to be tested in this project include:

Increasing soil organic carbon

These projects will monitor soil organic carbon changes resulting from the development and adoption of BMPs, such as perennial cover and woody biomass soil amendments, on cropland and pasture over time.

Nitrogen efficiency and use

This study examines and develops various 4R nutrient management strategies, including inhibitors and incorporation techniques, through agronomic field trials and GHG measurements. The goal is to enhance nitrogen use efficiency while mitigating the environmental impact of corn production in Ontario.

Cover cropping grazing

This project compares grazed and ungrazed cover crops within a typical cash crop rotation in Ontario to assess the agronomic and environmental benefits of livestock grazing and to develop BMPs. It specifically focuses on enhancing soil health, reducing input requirements, and increasing productivity for the subsequent corn crop.

Manure storage management

This study will develop and test practical strategies to reduce methane emissions from liquid manure storages in real-world conditions, including additives and other management practices.

Field edge practices

This project aims to investigate how effectively restoring low-profit, marginal land – such as field margins – fosters pollinators and beneficial insect communities, while enhancing carbon sequestration and reducing emissions on farms.

Decision support tools

This study will evaluate farm-level financial and economic net benefits of BMP adoption in Ontario and consider variations across temporal and spatial scales. It will also explore approaches to sharing this information with farmers to support decision making.

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Project Partners & Support

Under the leadership of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, this living lab collaborative partnership reflects the diversity of agricultural commodities and production systems in Ontario.

Core Partners

Funding Statement

Funding for the project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada under the Agricultural Climate Solutions – Living Labs program, and core partners.

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