Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 09, 2005 11:09 ET

AAFC: New Incentives for Environmental Farm Plans in Alberta

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - June 9, 2005) - Farmers and ranchers who make environmental considerations a business priority could now be in line for financial assistance through the Alberta component of the Government of Canada's National Farm Stewardship Program.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Andy Mitchell and Doug Horner, Alberta Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, today announced launch details of the Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship Program (CAFSP). Under this program, producers who develop an environmental farm plan (EFP) will be eligible for funding to help implement specific practices that will reduce environmental risks on their farms.

Through the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), the Government of Canada is investing $48.8 million toward developing and implementing environmental farm plans (EFPs) to help improve Alberta's on-farm environmental practices. The Government of Alberta is contributing more than $32 million of in-kind support for environmentally sustainable agriculture programming.

The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company, a non-profit organization working in partnership with government, industry and other stakeholders, will deliver the EFP program, which is the access point for farmers to the CAFSP. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will deliver the CAFSP.

"Environmental sustainability is an integral component of the Agricultural Policy Framework, and critical to today's agriculture sector in improving the quality of life for all Canadians," said Minister Mitchell. "With industry support in the delivery of this program through the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company, producers will be in a better position to actively lead in the assessment and implementation of sound environmental practices."

"Having incentive dollars available through the CAFSP, coupled with technical support, will help producers put their plans into action," said Minister Horner. "This is where we'll see the real benefit to the environment."

John Kolk, Chair of the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company, says the goal for his group will be to develop and deliver a voluntary, confidential environmental risk assessment process to Alberta farmers and ranchers.

"Environmental farm planning is a very important program for the agriculture industry," said Mr. Kolk. "Farmers and ranchers will be given the opportunity to further enhance the stewardship of our farmlands. The partnership that we have with the federal and provincial governments strengthens our ability to help producers."

Producers can participate in the CAFSP by first attending free Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company workshops in their area. The workshops help participants assess the environmental strengths and risks on their farms, and develop an action plan to address those risks. Trained facilitators and technical assistants are available at the workshops to help producers through the process.

Once producers have a peer-reviewed environmental farm plan, they are eligible to apply for financial and technical assistance through the CAFSP to help with the implementation of specific beneficial management practices (BMPs). In Alberta, producers can choose from a list of 26 approved BMPs designed to reduce environmental risks. The program will pay either 30 per cent or 50 per cent of the eligible costs of implementation, depending on the BMP. A producer can receive a maximum of $30,000 from the program. The program ends on March 31, 2008.

For more information on the Environmental Farm Plan and Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship programs, producers can contact the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company at 1 866 844-2337 or visit the Web site at: http://www.albertaEFP.com.



Backgrounder
Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship Program

Program Overview:

The Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship Program (CAFSP) is a new
initiative designed to help Alberta producers address on-farm
environmental risk. The CAFSP is the Alberta component of the
National Farm Stewardship Program (NFSP), launched under the
Agricultural Policy Framework.

The CAFSP will provide financial and technical assistance for Alberta
producers to develop and implement viable and environmentally
sustainable agriculture practices.

Program Objectives:

To provide financial incentives to producers for the adoption of
beneficial management practices (BMPs) on farms to address
environmental risks identified in the environmental farm plan
process. A BMP is defined as any agricultural management practice
which:

- Ensures the long-term health and sustainability of land-related
resources used for agricultural production;
- Positively impacts the long-term economic and environmental
viability of the agricultural industry;
- Minimizes negative impacts and risk to the environment.

CAFSP and the Environmental Farm Plan program:

The CAFSP process begins with completing an environmental farm plan
(EFP). The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company is a non-profit,
industry-driven corporation which delivers the EFP program in
Alberta. Through a series of workshops, the company offers a
voluntary, confidential self-assessment process to increase awareness
of farm practices and environmental sustainability, and to provide
tools for developing and implementing environmental farm plans.

The process includes two workshops, led by an experienced local
producer. Each workshop takes four to five hours. The workshops and
workshop materials are provided free of charge.

The introductory workshop provides producers with the tools to assess
soil and site characteristics, an overview of the EFP worksheets, and
how to develop a plan of action. Producers are then able to assess
their own operations, and prepare a draft plan. The second workshop
helps producers review their worksheets and share ideas for options
to address identified risks.

The workshop process helps finalize an environmental farm plan that
will be reviewed by a committee of experienced farmers. Plans remain
anonymous throughout the review process. The committee identifies any
high-risk areas that are not adequately addressed in the plan. It may
also suggest additional options for addressing specific risks.

Once an EFP has been approved by the Review Committee, a certificate
will be issued to the producer, and they become eligible for funding
under the CAFSP.

How CAFSP works:

Once a producer has a peer-reviewed environmental farm plan, they are
eligible to apply for federal funds through the CAFSP to address on-
farm environmental risks. Applications are available through the
Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company or by calling 1 800 667-8567.
Project approval is required by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
prior to implementation.

Each registered farm business is eligible for a total of $30,000 in
funding for projects identified in the EFP action plan that are also
on the approved list of BMPs. Each project is subject to a 30 per
cent or 50 per cent cost-sharing level and maximum funding caps will
apply for each type of project on the approved BMP list.

Eligible projects must appear on the national list of beneficial
management practices and be identified in the participant's peer-
reviewed action plan.

Eligible projects:

Projects that fall under more than 25 different categories may be
eligible for funding through the CAFSP. A full list of approved BMPs
is available through the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company.
Projects contributing to improvements in water, soil, air or
biodiversity are eligible, including:


- Improved Manure Storage and Handling
- Farmyard Runoff Control
- Water Well Management
- Erosion Control Structures
- Land Management for Soils at Risk
- Improved Cropping Systems
- Improved Pest Management
- Irrigation Management
- Shelterbelt Establishment
- Enhancing Wildlife Habitat and Biodiversity
- Species at Risk
- Nutrient Management Planning
- Grazing Management Planning



Contact Information

  • Minister Mitchell's Office
    Elizabeth Whiting
    Press Secretary
    (613) 759-1059
    or
    Alberta Ag Media Line
    (780) 422-1005
    or
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972 or 1 866 345-7972
    or
    Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company
    Mike Slomp
    Executive Director
    1 866 844-2337