What is an EFP?
Environmental Farm Plans are voluntary, confidential, self- assessment tools used by producers to raise awareness about environmental risks and opportunities on their operations. As part of their EFP, producers develop their own action plans to identify management practices that can reduce environmental risk on their operations.
Who can participate in the EFP Program?
Anyone involved in agriculture operations in Saskatchewan is encouraged to complete an EFP. Farm managers and management teams are also encouraged to participate.
Why should a producer do an EFP?
Developing an EFP shows that producers care about environmental protection and want to be a good stewards of the resources they manage. EFPs provide a way to increase awareness of environmental issues, to improve environmental management practices, to foster public recognition of farmers’ stewardship efforts and to positively position Canadian agricultural products in world markets. Completion of an EFP is also one of the eligibility requirements if producers wish to access cost-shared funding to implement environmentally beneficial management practices (BMPs) on their farms.
How do producers complete the EFP process in Saskatchewan?
- Step 1: Workshop 1
There are 8 PCAB Program Representatives spread across the Province who deliver two different workshops. There is no charge to attend workshops. Producers attend Workshop 1 and are introduced to the EFP workbook and begin assessing the soil and site characteristics of their own operation.
- Step 2: At-Home Farm Assessment
After the workshop, producers review all aspects of the operation and complete the worksheets in the workbook that apply to their operation. They then begin to identify possible solutions for identified risks and start to develop an Action Plan.
- Step 3: Workshop 2
With a completed workbook and the help of the PCAB Program Representative at Workshop 2, producers finalize their action plan to manage any identified risks and prioritize action items.
- Step 4: Peer Review
Completed Action Plans are submitted to a Peer Review Member for confidential, anonymous review.
- Step 5: Implementation
Once the Peer Review Member has endorsed the action plan, producers begin implementing their Action Plan.
Are producers required to complete an EFP?
No. The EFP program is strictly voluntary. However, it is anticipated that there will continue to be widespread producer participation in the program into the future.
Who will see the completed EFPs?
The EFP process is confidential. When producers attend a workshop, they are provided an ID number. Only this number, and no identifying features, will appear on the action plan that is submitted for review. All those involved with the delivery of the EFP (Program Reps, technical assistants, peer review, etc) are required to sign confidentiality commitments. Producers retain the original copy of their action plan and all the copies sent to Peer Review (with just ID numbers on them) are confidentially disposed of.
A completed EFP is similar to other business planning documents used in managing farming and other business operations. Individual producers decide whether to share this information with others.
Will regulatory agencies be aware of any contravention of their regulations due to the EFP process?
No. The EFP process is confidential and the EFP is the property of the producer. However, one benefit of doing an EFP is that the producer becomes aware of existing regulations that may impact the farming operation and if desired, can then take action.
Does documentation and acknowledgement of environmental risks and liabilities in a completed EFP change producers’ legal liability?
No, an EFP does not affect whether or not a farming operation is complying with regulatory requirements. However, completion of an EFP does constitute some measure of “due diligence,” demonstrating that the producer has taken the time to assess his or her management practices and has identified areas where improvements may be needed.
How can producers access funding for environmental improvements?
An endorsed EFP Certificate issued by the Provincial Council of ADD Boards (PCAB) is required to be eligible for Farm Stewardship Program funding through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. For specific information regarding funding, please call toll free 1-877-874-5365 or online http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/GF2-FarmStewardship.
What is the overall objective of the Environmental Farm Plan program?
EFP programs across Canada have been designed to address agricultural risks to the health and supply of water, air and soil resources and to promote compatibility between biodiversity and agriculture.
What is the history of EFP programming?
There are provincial EFP programs across Canada, some of which have been in existence for more than a decade. Saskatchewan’s EFP program is part of the federal/provincial Growing Forward 2 Framework, introduced in 2013 (after the expiry of the previous 2 Frameworks: Agriculture Policy Framework and Growing Forward Framework).