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Workshop helps farmers create environmental plan

Local producers will have a chance to set up an Environmental Farm Plan with the help of trained technicians during a free workshop at County Hall Jan. 14. Photo Submitted/For Rocky View Weekly

An upcoming workshop at Rocky View County Hall is designed to help local farm producers identify their environmental risks and develop plans to mitigate, monitor or manage them.

“Join trained Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) technicians as they help work through your EFP with individual, hands-on assistance,” said Delaney McNaughton, Agricultural Services Officer with Rocky View County (RVC). “The workshop will provide computer stations and the time for farm operations to work through the various chapter of the EFP workbook.”

The workshop will be jointly hosted by RVC, the M.D. of Bighorn and the Foothills Forage and Grazing Association (FFGA), and will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 14.

According to Sonja Bloom, communications and environmental co-ordinator with FFGA, EFPs are voluntary, whole-farm self-assessments that help farmers identify concerns such as water contamination or erosion from water, wind or other potential impacts to soil health and quality.

“There are components on energy efficiency, crop and pasture management and how it all works together,” she said.

Farms with a completed EFP also have an opportunity to receive funding for different types of projects, such as riparian management or water management under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, McNaughton said.

The Jan. 14 workshop will include a quick overview of the EFP online workbook, according to Bloom. Each participant will have the chance to complete the workbook at their own pace, asking questions of the three technicians on-hand throughout the day.

“If your operation’s smaller, not complex, there’s a potential that they can get through the whole workbook and action plan in the day, but a lot of times people need another day or two to work on it,” Bloom said, adding the workshop usually equips producers to complete the EFP on their own from home.

Ultimately, she said, EFPs provide an opportunity for farmers to take a close look at their operation, assisting them in long- and short-term planning.

“I believe EFPs are important because it gives the producer the ability to assess their operation and then empowers them to make some changes for the better,” Bloom added.

The workshop is free, but space is limited to 10 farms. As of Jan. 2, McNaughton said, seven spots remained available.

“Two members from each farm operation are permitted under one registration,” she added.

Registration deadline is Jan. 13, or when the workshop is full. Registration can be found online by searching “Environmental Farm Plan Workshop” on

According to McNaughton, another workshop will be booked in the future if there is enough interest.

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