Leader in sustainable agriculture headlines at Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company Annual General Meeting

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Leader in sustainable agriculture headlines at Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company Annual General Meeting

October 8, 2008:

A leader on the front lines of marketing sustainable agriculture will be a highlight of the 2008 Annual General Meeting of the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company (AEFP), to be held October 17 in Calgary.

AEFP is the non-profit company responsible for delivering the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program to Alberta farmers and ranchers. Matthew Buck, assistant director of the Food Alliance, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that certifies farms, ranches and food handlers for sustainable agricultural and business practices, will be the keynote speaker at the Annual General Meeting. He will speak on the benefits of creating market incentives for sustainable agriculture.

Launched in 1998 in Portland, Oregon, the Food Alliance has certified nearly 300 farms and ranches throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. These producers manage over 5.6 million acres of range and farm land. “Food Alliance is a highly successful initiative that boasts benefits for the future of on-farm environmental programming in Alberta,” says Mike Slomp, executive director of AEFP. “It is an example of the ‘leading by stewardship’ approach that more producers across Alberta are considering.”

Buck’s presentation is set to be a good kick-off for what is shaping up to be an exciting year for the EFP program in Alberta, says Slomp. “The fall season of the EFP program will soon be in full swing with new workshops set to begin in mid-December.”

The new workshops are a combination of two workshops that were previously delivered separately. These workshops will be hosted according to producer demand by four District Program Coordinators jointly with Technical Assistants.

“One thing that has not changed is that Technical Assistants will continue to play an integral role in EFP workshops and are resources for producers making on-farm environmental changes,” says Slomp.

The annual business meeting, to be held following Buck’s presentation, will offer an overview of the company’s business activities over the past year as well as plans for the coming year. Producers, industry and anyone interested in attending the Annual General Meeting are asked to register. Information on registration is available by calling the AEFP Company toll-free at 1-866-844-2337.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development provides support services to help the agricultural sector develop and implement EFPs. Support has also been provided by the Agriculture and Food Council of Alberta, through the Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Initiative, the Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Council (AESA) Program and various ministries of the Government of Alberta.