Deadline for environmental project funding fast approaching
February 9, 2006:
Alberta producers planning to apply for government funding to help cover the cost of on-farm environmental upgrades have only a few more weeks to meet the next deadline.
Producers who have successfully completed an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) and wish to make use of funds available through the Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship Program (CAFSP) need to have applications in to CAFSP administration by February 28, says Mike Slomp, executive director of the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan (AEFP) Company. AEFP is the non-profit organization which delivers the EFP program in the province.
"The Farm Stewardship Program, which provides up to $30,000 per farm to help cover the cost of a wide range of environmental improvements, has four application cut-off dates per year," says Bob Cameron, coordinator for the Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship Program. "If producers don’t have applications in by February 28, the next application deadline is May 31.
"CAFSP administration typically needs six to eight weeks to process applications, so the sooner producers apply the sooner they can start work on their planned improvements."
The Environmental Farm Plan and the Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship Program are separate, complementary programs. An EFP helps producers identify strengths and weaknesses of their farming activities from an environmental standpoint. More than 4,000 Alberta producers have already participated in EFP workshops with more than 1,500 plans reviewed and approved.
CAFSP provides funding in 26 categories to help cover the cost of implementing improvements identified in the Environmental Farm Plan. Producers across the province have applied for more than $2.8 million in CAFSP assistance to date.
Improvements in cropping technology, which includes equipment such as Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance systems, autosteer technology as well as monitors and shrouds for field spraying equipment, is one of the most popular categories of funding assistance available, says Cameron.
"Technology to help improve application efficiency of fertilizers and pesticides is a real benefit to the environment. In this category, CAFSP will cover up to 30 percent of the cost of the new technology to a maximum of $15,000."
Other assistance categories drawing producer applications include riparian area management such as fencing livestock away from environmentally sensitive areas along creeks and rivers, erosion control measures, relocation of livestock wintering and feeding sites, and product and waste management.
"Some common projects and materials covered include construction materials, fencing materials, seed, epoxy fertilizer bins, chemical storage facilities, double-walled fuel tanks, and sprayer accessories," says Cameron.
An important point for producers to remember is that they need to apply and have approval for the planned improvement before making any purchases or hiring services.
"CAFSP assistance is not retroactive and the program may not cover every improvement identified in an EFP, so be sure to receive CAFSP approval for the project before undertaking any improvement, buying equipment or hiring a consultant," says Cameron.
The four CAFSP application deadlines are February 28, May 31, August 31 and November 30.
For more information on Environmental Farm Plans contact the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company office in Edmonton toll-free at 1-866-844-2337 or visit the Web site at www.albertaEFP.com. For more information on CAFSP contact the program office toll-free at 1-800-667-8567.
Through the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), the Government of Canada provides major funding to the EFP program in Alberta, with the Government of Alberta providing additional in-kind support services to help the agricultural sector develop and implement Environmental Farm Plans.
Additional support has been provided by the Agriculture and Food Council, through the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Initiative, the Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Council and various ministries of the Government of Alberta. Contributions have also come from more than 100 local municipalities, businesses and agricultural organizations.