By Nick Dunn
An Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary free self-assessment tool for producers who are committed to environmental stewardship. The program began in 2003 with a goal to help producers identify their environmental risks and implement mitigation strategies.
Provinces and territories of Canada have different methods to complete the plan. When the program launched in Alberta, there were binders that would take producers and technicians through the process of developing their own personal EFP that they would take home from their municipalities. In 2019, the Alberta EFP transitioned to an online workbook to help with the costs and efficiency of the program. Most provinces and territories are transitioning to this completion method. There will be a new version launched in early 2023 that will include a renewal process as they expire every 10 years and will need to be updated. This new version will also have a conversion feature to encourage producers to convert their binder workbooks to the online platform. The online experience will also help producers update their EFP on an ongoing basis and allow for the plans to be carried out remotely with or without their technician. If you would like help with your EFP, there are technicians throughout the province such as myself, as well as workshops you can attend for support through this assessment process.
To date, one in four Western Canadian farmers have completed an EFP. Producers who have an EFP benefit economically, environmentally and socially. Some environmental benefits would be to help protect water, soil, air, and biodiversity. This all goes for being a steward of the land, which comes with intangible social benefits like recognition from neighbours and other agriculture operations. An EFP acts as a pre-requisite for federal (60%), provincial and territorial (40%) grant funding which will be formerly known as the Canadian Agricultural Partnership in Alberta (CAP). This funding can be fully reimbursed to be cost-shared with the producer and contains maximums depending on the program. In April 2023, the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) will be launched with $500 million in new funds, representing a 25% increase in the cost-shared portion. New focuses with SCAP will include building sector, climate and environment protection, research, science, innovation, market development, trade, resiliency and public trust.
If you have any questions or are thinking about starting or renewing your online EFP, please contact me at 780-390-0342 or Murray Warnke at 780-352-8651. You can also visit their website at www.albertaefp.com to start the application process or to find more information.
Nick Dunn is Flagstaff County’s Agricultural Fieldman. He can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 780-384-4138.