“So, what I would suggest,” says, Vander Waal, “is if you’re a new farmer, but haven’t done the Environmental Farm Plan, this is a [chance] to get a confidential assessment of what may or may not be right on your farm, and take advantage of the opportunities.” Vander Waal’s operation is one of over 4,000 farms and ranches in BC which have already participated in the EFP program. Others, like Michell Bros. Farm, The Happy Goat Farm & Dairy, Rusted Rake Farm and Eurosa Farms are proud to be a part of the growing group of sustainable and profitable enterprises. Even organic farms, already meeting certain environmental standards, can go through the process and earn the EFP signage to display and take advantage of the available funding to make further improvements. “The objective is to reduce agriculture’s impact on the environment.” Farms who participate in the Environmental Farm Plan program can benefit financially and will gain peace of mind knowing that their farm is having less of an impact on the health of the water, air and soil. Stability meets sustainability.
Stand Vander Waal, chair of BC Agriculture Council & owner of Rainbow Greenhouses in Chilliwack. Council’s website states, “Many EFP participants enjoy increased profitability as a result of reduced water use, decreased waste, increased productivity and new consumer confidence.” The site also contains detailed information about the EFP process and lists the numerous categories included for which the BMP funding is available.
The culture of farming includes management of the land, incorporation of agricultural advancements and following best practices with the goal to have the most profitable farm possible. The EFP plan can help farmers achieve this goal, and feel good about the choices they make affecting the environment. ●
Vander Waal encourages others to take the step towards obtaining an EFP, and adds, “Since farmers generally have an overwhelming desire to be sustainable and to do what’s right for the environment, this gives them a choice to improve their process.” Also making choices are consumers who are keenly aware of the foods they are feeding their families. Every day, more and more actively seek out produce, meat and grains grown with care and consideration for the environment. It makes sense for farmers to adopt best practices, choosing to make positive changes and shine a light on any environment-friendly decisions they are making in their operations. The BC Agriculture
Terry Michell of Michell’s Farm Market in Saanichton chats with EFP Advisor, David Tattam.
Want to know more about the Environmental Farm Program? Call 1-866-522-3447, or visit www.bcefp.ca Funding for the above program is provided by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
Island Farm & Garden ~ Spring 2016