Six producers join Environmental Farm Plan facilitator network
September 15, 2006:
Six Alberta producers have joined the team of workshop facilitators for the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company (AEFP), the company which delivers the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program in the province.
AEFP facilitators coordinate and deliver EFP workshops, which introduce producers to the program and teach them how to develop their own Environmental Farm Plans, free, confidential assessments of a farm or ranch’s environmental strengths and weaknesses.
Facilitators play a key role in the EFP program, says Mike Slomp, executive director of AEFP. "They often serve as a producer’s first impression of the EFP program, so that is a major reason facilitators are important."
Marlene Caskey, new facilitator for the County of Newell, Special Areas and the M.D. of Acadia, produces a variety of cereals and oilseeds on her farm near Oyen. The Caskey farm uses a variety of environmentally-sustainable production practices, including reduced- and no-tillage as well as continuous cropping systems designed to reserve moisture and build soil nutrients. "Stewardship of the land is vital to environmental sustainability and the agri-food business as a whole, and I look forward to helping advance that in this area," she says. Producers interested in completing an EFP can contact Caskey at (403) 664-1111.
Kim Robson, AEFP facilitator for Vulcan County and the County of Lethbridge, runs a cattle operation and grows green feed for on-farm use. She describes the development of her own EFP as a learning experience. "I found developing an EFP to be a very interesting and enlightening experience," she says. "It’s interesting to learn about the little things that can be done that can make a large impact on the sustainability of a farm or ranch." Producers can contact Robson at (403) 643-2051.
John Carlson, new facilitator for the Pincher Creek, Willow Creek and Ranchland area, runs a mixed farm with his brother. Prompted by environmental improvements he wished to make on his farm, he became involved with the EFP program. "I’m getting to the age where I’m starting to think about the impact of farm practices on future generations," he says. "I want my EFP to act as a document of the farm for future generations." Carlson can be contacted by calling (403) 627-4887.
Deirdre Muncy of Halkirk is a new facilitator in the County of Stettler and the County of Paintearth. Previously, Muncy served on the EFP regional review committee in her area and is looking forward to her new role in the program. "The number one thing about the EFP program is that it helps the sustainability of the environment," she says. "Number two, it’s a good way to get funding for on-farm environmental improvements; producers aren’t expected to do things all on their own." Producers can contact Muncy at (403) 574-2226.
Greg Pugh of Edgerton, new facilitator for the M.D.s of Wainwright and Provost as well as the County of Flagstaff, helps run a cow-calf operation on his family’s fourth generation farm. He originally developed his EFP as an agriculture student at Lakeland College in Vermilion and hopes to help producers in his area successfully develop their plans. "Producers are aware of environmental issues on their farms and they are looking for ways to become more sustainable," he says. "The EFP program provides a way to spread that message." Pugh can be contacted by calling (780) 755-2207.
John Wozniak of St. Paul is the new facilitator for the Counties of St. Paul and Two Hills as well as the M.D. of Bonnyville. Wozniak, who runs a mixed farm consisting of cereals, oilseeds, forages and a cow/calf operation, appreciates the fact that an EFP is a proactive tool for farmers looking to make environmental improvements. "Developing an EFP requires time and commitment. Producers should remember that an EFP doesn’t result in overnight change, but it’s a valuable change over time." Wozniak can be contacted by calling (780) 645-6955.
For more information on the Environmental Farm Plan program, visit the AEFP Web site at www.albertaEFP.com or contact the AEFP office in Edmonton toll-free at 1-866-844-2337. AEFP was established in 2002 as an industry-run, non-profit corporation that delivers EFP services to Alberta farmers. 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 EFPs.
Additional support has been provided by the Agriculture and Food Council, through the Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Initiative, the Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Council (AESA) and various ministries of the Government of Alberta. Contributions have also come from more than 100 local municipalities, businesses and agricultural organizations.