Personal labour, farm equipment use can boost farmer CAFSP contribution
February 13, 2006:
Alberta farmers and ranchers wishing to access recently increased Canada-Alberta Farm Stewardship Program (CAFSP) cost-share funding may have more money for their share than they think, say program administrators.
"The CAFSP program, which now offers up to $50,000 to producers for environmental improvement projects, shares 30 or 50 percent of the cost of approved projects with farmers and ranchers who have developed an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP)," says Bob Cameron of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (AAFC – PFRA), which delivers the CAFSP.
"That means the producer still has to come up with the other 70 or 50 percent for projects that can sometimes be quite costly. However, what producers sometimes do not account for as part of their contribution is that they can claim their personal labour and farm equipment, and that can boost their contributions to the cost-share arrangement.
"Obviously, the biggest potential for this is on Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) for which producers supply a lot of personal labour and use of their own equipment, so it’s important to know the CAFSP policies in order to get the most value from the program."
The first step for producers wishing to receive CAFSP funding is to develop an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP), a free, confidential self-assessment of the environmental strengths and weaknesses of a farm or ranch. The EFP process begins with two half-day workshops hosted by a local facilitator. Once the EFP is completed and deemed appropriate, the producer is eligible for CAFSP funding.
CAFSP accepts labour contributions at $20/hr for the producer’s own work on an approved project. That’s an increase of $8 from when the program was introduced, a change made to more fairly compensate producers for their work on CAFSP-supported projects.
"The value of labour on a project that takes an entire summer to do, such as moving a corral, can be substantial," says Cameron. "Depending on the project, it can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Producers will want to recoup some of that outlay if possible."
Farm equipment use also counts towards a producer’s contribution for a wide variety of projects, including those involving fencing, farmyard runoff control, livestock confinement facilities and more.
"This is based on two principles," says Cameron. "One, it’s compensation for the wear-and-tear on producers’ equipment. Secondly, it’s based on the fact that if producers did not already have access to the equipment necessary to complete the project, they would have to go out and buy it or rent it."
Contribution values for equipment are set according to the custom rates established in the Alberta Farm Operations Cost Guide. "For example, the hourly cost of using a four wheel drive, 275 horsepower tractor can amount to as much as $143," says Cameron.
For more information on the EFP program, visit the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company 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.