New tools to understand natural habitats on farmland

Alberta EFP is updating to a new version of the online webbook.  Included in the update is a new Habitat Management Tool that includes the Habitat & Biodiversity Assessment Tool.  In this post, we hope to answer some of the more common_questions on this new update.

What changes are being made?

Alberta EFP is introducing a new Habitat Management Chapter with other updates with the launch of the new version of the AEFP WebBook.  The Habitat Management Chapter will be unlike any other as it also includes the Habitat & Biodiversity Assessment Tool.  Using a similar format as the rest of the webbook, a series of question prompts will guide the farmer through the assessment to help develop an action plan.  This tool will allow farmers to understand the habitat on their land better, how they can positively contribute to Alberta’s biodiversity and offer another perspective on the value of their land. 

Some chapters previously located under farmstead sites and field sites are now considered whole-farm chapters.  The whole farm chapter section will appear as follows;

Chapter 1 - Site and Soil Characteristics
Chapter 2 - Water sources
Chapter 3 - Water Bodies is now a stand-alone chapter that will include the water body inventory
Chapter 4 - Environmental Emergency Planning will  now be mandatory
Chapter 5 - Habitat Management is a new chapter
Chapter 6 - Trees, Shelterbelts, Woodlots and Bush

Upon approval of the workbook, producers will also receive a report indicating how they would have scored against the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) 2.1. The FSA is a global standard that allows producers to demonstrate their sustainability performance against an internationally accepted framework. The report is for awareness purposes, and cannot be used to make a claim.

Why is this new content being added?

Alberta EFP is also working towards alignment with the global Farm Sustainability Assessment silver standard.  Habitat and biodiversity are components of this assessment.  In order to support Alberta farmers and maintain market access, it was clear that this was a useful component to add to the Alberta EFP.

When is the launch of the new webbook?

Alberta EFP is launching the new webbook version on March 29, 2021

Who it will affect?

When the webbook is updated, the producers who are currently working through their EFP will likely be the participants who it will affect the most.  Since all online EFP workbooks will be updated to this new system, those who are close to finishing their EFP are encouraged to complete and submit before the end of March so they will not have any disruption with their EFP. There will be a grace period of 4 weeks for producers currently working on their workbooks. After April 26, 2021, all in-progress workbooks will be automatically upgraded to the new version.

How long does working through the new content take? 

Producers with completed EFP workbooks wishing to upgrade to the new version 3.1 can expect to complete the new material in approximately 1 hour. 

What support can I expect from Alberta EFP?

The Alberta EFP team will be offering webinars for specific questions on the Habitat Management Tool.  Over the next few months, you will see more content also available through the website, social media or email.  Alberta EFP welcomes suggestions for support materials so that we can ease the transition with these new changes.  As always, the technician assisting you with your workbook or the Alberta EFP team is available by phone or email to answer any questions you may have.


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