:. why update your EFP
Why Alberta farmers should have a current Environmental Farm Plan
Many Alberta producers are wondering if they need a current Environmental Farm Plan (EFP).
The EFP is meant to be reviewed and updated regularly for each operation. Here are four reasons why revisiting and maintaining an EFP makes sense."
It's simple to do. The program is handled by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and EFP Technicians are available across the province to provide assistance.
You may qualify for funding support. A completed EFP is required for the Stewardship categories of the Growing Forward program. More information on those programs is at the Stewardship Programs area of the Growing Forward website www.growingforward.alberta.ca.
Be prepared for future opportunities. Stewardship is being tied more closely with business opportunities.
Show commitment to stewardship. The agricultural industry is realizing this is a partnership with the food industry in meeting consumer expectations. Being able to document that makes this process more powerful in all areas.
There may be a day coming in the not too distant future where farmers are asked if they have an updated, 'current' EFP.' It makes sense to be prepared.
The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) process helps identify environmental risks and strengths and to develop a plan to reduce the risks and build on the strengths. Every step in the process is entirely voluntary.
The EFP is a tool that farmers and ranchers can use to assess and improve their environmental stewardship, at a direction and pace they choose themselves.
Producers use a workbook to undertake a self-assessment of their operation. This gives them knowledge and options to develop a plan that is the right fit for what they want to accomplish. Along the way, producers have access to knowledgeable EFP Technicians who can help answer questions and provide advice. The outcome is a plan they know is technically sound, doable and in line with their overall farm management planning.
The EFP process in Alberta has three main components that all revolve around self-assessment and planning. Producers complete these components by following the steps clearly outlined in the EFP workbook, which they can access online or by request through Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD), who currently coordinate the program in Alberta.
There are two quick ways producers can get started.
An online option using a Web Book for developing an EFP will be available soon. Stay tuned for updates on the availability of this option.
Alberta farmers and ranchers who have completed an EFP know the backbone of the program is its network of knowledgeable people across the province who provide EFP services.
These EFP Technicians are available to anyone who is in the process of developing or updating an EFP. The fastest way to find an EFP Technician in your area is to check the list available on the Growing Forward website. Click here to link through to that list.
The producer has the choice to submit the Farm Plan to the EFP resource person for a final critique and review.
After the Farm Plan has been reviewed it will be personally returned with any necessary suggestions along with a letter of completion acknowledging the producer's participation and interest in making agriculture more environmentally sustainable.
The action steps in the Farm Plan should be implemented continuously from one year to the next according to the priorities established by the producer. Annually, the producer reviews the Farm Plan to evaluate progress.