Web site a growing resource for on-farm environmental information
January 31, 2006:
A recently revamped Web site offers Alberta’s agricultural producers leading edge knowledge on the growing field of on-farm environmental sustainability. The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company (AEFP) Web site at www.AlbertaEFP.com is the program’s anchor resource for information on the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program.
Designed primarily for producers, the goals of the site are to enhance awareness of the free, confidential EFP process, offer news on matters affecting the EFP program, and act as a resource for EFP participants seeking financial and technical assistance for their on-farm environmental improvements.
"For a growing number of farmers and ranchers, one of the site’s biggest assets will be the articles and information dedicated to on-farm environmental sustainability," says Mike Slomp, executive director of AEFP, the non-profit company which delivers the EFP program in Alberta.
The EFP process uses simple, industry supported tools to help farmers and ranchers evaluate the environmental strengths and weaknesses on their operations. It begins with an introductory half-day workshop, held in the producer’s local community. The AEFP Web site offers dates and times of workshops being held throughout the province as well as contact information for the local workshop facilitators who deliver them.
"If there isn’t a workshop already scheduled nearby, all producers have to do is visit the Web site, email or call their local facilitator, and we will do our best to set one up," says Slomp.
The Web site also keeps participants and partners up to date on business matters affecting the EFP program. Using tools such as the Report to Industry newsletter, the site covers new developments in the program and special information specifically for partners.
Also featured is information on financial and technical support for participants hoping to make the environmental improvements identified in their action plans. This includes the Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship Program (CAFSP), which offers up to $50,000 to producers who have completed an EFP.
The site is also a source for leading edge technical information, says Slomp. "The EFP program is supported by a large and growing knowledge base fuelled by people at the forefront of the agricultural industry, making the Web site a key source for technical information."
A couple of the site’s news and information tools include the AEFP Journal, a "Web magazine" featuring technical, business-oriented and perspective driven articles of importance to EFP participants; and AEFP Web News, short, to-the-point, frequently-updated items designed to offer a quick overview of key developments in the world of environmental sustainability and the EFP program itself.
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. For more information on CAFSP, contact the program office toll-free at 1-800-667-8567.
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.