AEFP wins GALA environmental stewardship award
October 10, 2006:
The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company (AEFP), the non-profit company which delivers the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program in the province, has received the 2006 Growing Alberta Leadership Award (GALA) for excellence in promoting environmental stewardship in the province.
Growing Alberta, an industry-supported, comprehensive communications program dedicated to promoting awareness of agricultural issues in Alberta, launched the GALAs in 2001 to recognize innovation and leadership in Alberta’s agriculture and food industry in a variety of categories. The Environmental Stewardship category is sponsored by Alberta’s Credit Unions.
"We’re very honoured to receive the GALA for Environmental Stewardship," says AEFP executive director Mike Slomp. "The goal of AEFP has always been to facilitate the awareness and adoption of environmental stewardship practices by Alberta farmers and ranchers. The number of producers attending EFP workshops and developing their own Environmental Farm Plans, self-assessments of an operation’s environmental risks and strengths, shows that message is taking hold."
Over the 2005-06 fiscal year, over 2,300 Alberta producers completed an EFP, bringing the total number of developed EFPs throughout the life of the program to over 3,600. Also, according to the latest data, nearly 7,000 farmers and ranchers have attended EFP workshop one, which introduces producers to the program, since its inception.
Part of this success can be directly attributed to AEFP’s "farmers first" grassroots driven business structure. "All workshops are delivered locally by AEFP workshop facilitators who are usually producers themselves. Real farmers clearly like learning from their farmer peers about environmental sustainability," says Slomp.
Building on core initial stakeholders, AEFP has developed an effective corporate partnership program with 21 members. This broad range of supporters includes leading organizations in the industry and establishes a network of industry support for the EFP program. That "partner priority" has resulted in strong program liaisons and leading-edge projects to benefit all agriculture in Alberta.
A major example of AEFP’s efforts includes support of a recent benchmark study conducted by the Alberta Research Council (ARC). This study investigated the social and psychological barriers of Alberta farmers and ranchers towards adopting conservation and food safety Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs).
GALA winners are selected from public nominations in the spring. A committee of industry volunteers and participants judge all nominations and select the award recipients. This year’s winners were honoured at An Afternoon of Food for Thought in Edmonton on Sept. 13, 2006. A tribute to the 2006 winners will also be paid at the annual Harvest Gala in Calgary on Oct. 13, 2006.
More information on AEFP and the EFP program is available at www.albertaEFP.com. For further information on the GALAs, including profiles of this year’s winners, visit www.growingalberta.com.
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.