It’s a dirty job, but someone in Ontario — or somewhere, in this case — has to do it.
Congratulations, then, to Guelph, whose soil was recently designated as the province’s official soil — just in time for the final month of the UN-designated International Year of Soils and World Soil Day on Dec. 5.
Despite its name, the Guelph Soil Series can be found in other places. Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs says that more than 70,000 hectares of the soil series, which is made up of loams, sandy loams and silt loams, is also found in Brant, Dufferin, Oxford, Perth, Lambton and Wellington counties, Waterloo and Halton regions and the city of Hamilton.
“This particular soil series is highly productive, glacial-till-derived and as one of the best soil series in Ontario, it helps the province's farmers to grow a plentiful bounty of corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and other forages and legumes,” said a ministry statement about the designation.
Ontario joins Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta as provinces that have an official soil (see a full list below.) British Columbia is expected to announce its provincial soil on Dec. 4.
The news about the announcement was greeted with everything from skepticism to humour. The Chatham Daily News, for instance, reported that Kim Cooper, an economic development officer and agriculture specialist with the southwestern Ontario municipality of Chatham-Kent, said the designation was “just a political thing” that acknowledged the Guelph region’s contributions to agriculture in the province. Meanwhile, another person commented that the province’s official fertilizer was produced daily in Queen’s Park, the Ontario legislature.
Official provincial soils
Nova Scotia: Queens Soil
Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown Soil
New Brunswick: Holmesville Soil Series
Quebec: Ste. Rosalie Soil
Ontario: Guelph Soil Series
Manitoba: Newdale Soil
Alberta: Breton Soil