More and more farmers and ranchers in B.C. are demonstrating leadership as stewards of the land by completing environmental farm plans, announced Ed Fast, Member of Parliament for Abbotsford and Agriculture and Lands Minister Steve Thomson today.
"Farmers know that investments in environmental stewardship make good economic sense because their land is their livelihood," said Mr. Fast, on behalf of federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "They already have years of successful experience in protecting the environment and we are proud to help them become world leaders in environmentally responsible agriculture."
"B.C. producers are taking positive steps to adopt farming and ranching practices which contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment and top quality, safe, healthy food for consumers," said Thomson. "I am proud of the investment the industry has made to date and encourage farmers to participate in this program so we can continue to see more completed environmental farm plans over the coming years."
The announcement took place today at the Bakerview Eco-Dairy in Abbotsford, a new demonstration farm focusing on innovation, education and green technology. The Eco-Dairy recently completed an environmental farm plan and received its official signage today.
There are currently almost 3100 environmental farm plans completed in B.C., with close to 800 funded under the current Growing Forward Agreement, a national agriculture framework to coordinate federal and provincial agriculture policy and related activities. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are delivering $1.3 billion to Canadian farm families from 2008 to 2013. British Columbia's share under these agreements will total $78 million.
The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Program will receive $3.23 million in funding until 2013. It is a broad based, voluntary, producer-focused program aimed at identifying and reducing environmental risks on farms. A completed EFP includes an environmental risk assessment and recommended action items prioritized on the basis of identified risks and benefits.
The delivery of the EFP Program is coordinated with the Beneficial Management Practice (BMP) Program, also under Growing Forward, which will receive up to $6.7 million until 2013 to provide incentive funding to producers to enhance environmental farm stewardship. This program is focused on dealing with environmental issues around water quality and quantity, and climate change.
The BC Agriculture Research and Development Corporation (ARDCorp) is delivering EFP and BMP in B.C. on behalf of the Province.
For a complete list of Growing Forward programs in B.C., visit www.gov.bc.ca/al/