Reasons to Complete an EFP
Maintaining a healthy environment is essential to the success of Alberta’s agricultural producers. The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program helps you identify and address environmental risks in your operation. It will also increase your understanding of legal requirements related to environmental issues. Protecting water, air and soil quality is key to the sustainable production of crops and livestock and to leaving a healthy and productive farm for the next generation. An EFP will identify what you are already doing well and pinpoint where improvements can be made. By addressing these risks you increase operational efficiency while reducing farm costs, which results in increased profit for you. With your EFP completion certificate, you may become eligible for some funding under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Pairing environmental stewardship with agricultural production is also crucial in the marketing of your products. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the safety and quality of the food they eat and how that food is grown/raised. Sustainable sourcing is becoming a requirement of many major food purchasers, from manufacturers to restaurants. Having an EFP demonstrates to the public, government, lenders and/or investors that you are managing your environmental risks.
Learn more about sustainable sourcing and read one producer’s perspective on completing an EFP
The EFP Process
- Fill out the online form to register.
- A technician in your area will contact you to assist you through the EFP and implementation process. This person can answer your questions, help you get started, and even make a farm visit if needed.
- When your EFP is finished, submit it to your technician for review. If it is complete, the technician will arrange for you to receive a Certificate of Completion. If it needs more work, the technician will offer advice.
- Upon approval, you will receive a Certificate of Completion and gate signs for your farm. The EFP Action Plan you developed is a blueprint for you to make continuous improvements to your farm.
- The technician can help you implement this plan. We encourage you to continuously update your EFP.
Implementing Your Action Plan
The action plan you developed while completing your EFP is your blueprint for improving your operation and making it more sustainable. There is no timeline for making these improvements, but we encourage you to do so as soon as time and money allow. One producer recommends, “tackle the easy stuff, tackle the cheap stuff” to get you started. Your EFP technican can help you with implementation as well; he or she may even make visits to your farm to demonstrate a technique. AEFP is also developing how-to videos and technical topics that will show you how to make these improvements. Should you have any issues that are not addressed in our Resources section, we encourage you to contact your technician or the ARECA office.
The Business Case for Sustainable Sourcing
Completing an EFP is an important first step in producing livestock, field and horticultural crops that meet standards for sustainable sourcing. Many large agri-food businesses and major restaurant chains are moving toward only purchasing products that are from sustainably sourced operations. Producers who ignore this market tend will most likely see their market share decrease exponentially. Industry is also responding to this market demand. When food giant McCain’s said they would only purchase products that are sustainably sourced, the Potato Growers of Alberta made completing an EFP a requirement for membership.
Alberta EFP is a leader in the development of sustainable sourcing standards that meet international requirements. We partnered with Alberta Barley on a project to determine if our standards meet global standards. We are working with provincial EFPs across Canada to try and establish a national standard for sustainable sourcing in Canada.