Alberta Environmental Farm Plan:
Empowering Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship
The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan (AEFP) is a voluntary whole-farm self-assessment program designed to help producers identify environmental risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. Initially developed by farmers, the AEFP has gained recognition as an educational and planning tool, contributing to environmental outcomes, and building public trust in the agricultural sector. This blog post explores the growth, flexibility, and support provided by the AEFP, highlighting its role in promoting sustainable agriculture and enhancing market confidence.
Program Growth: Since 2018, the AEFP has experienced significant growth, with a 130% increase in the number of accounts on its online system. This growth reflects the program’s value and its alignment with industry groups’ strategic visions for environmental stewardship and market access. Additionally, new funding programs that require an EFP have brought awareness to the importance of environmental risk planning.
Flexibility and Support: The AEFP program offers flexible tools and resources to assist producers in completing their Environmental Farm Plans. The on-demand webbook allows farmers to register, learn, and plan at their own convenience, selecting content relevant to their specific farms. The webbook is regularly updated with resources from reputable organizations across Alberta, ensuring the availability of relevant information. Support videos, materials, and the assistance of local technicians help troubleshoot technical issues and provide one-on-one guidance throughout the process of completing the EFP.
Technician Network: The AEFP maintains a network of over 40 technicians who play a crucial role in the program’s success. These technicians, identified through municipalities or local research associations[DL1] [LN2] , provide producers with local context and support. They coordinate workshops, review, and approve plans, and offer personalized assistance, recognizing that every farm is unique. The program invests in technician training, fostering their involvement in committee work and providing opportunities for networking and mentorship.
Education and Extension: As and education and extension program, the AEFP empowers Alberta producers with a simple and effective tool for managing environmental risks in agriculture. By participating in the program, producers positively impact ecosystems, contribute to sustainable sourcing in the supply chains, and enhance market and consumer confidence in the food they produce.
The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan is a valuable voluntary program that promotes sustainable agriculture stewardship. With its growth, flexibility, and dedicated support network of technicians, the AEFP continues to empower producers in mitigating environmental risks, fostering a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector in Alberta.