ARECA’s Paul Watson- Interim Chair of the National Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Steering Committee

November 24, 2016

 

Upon his arrival at ARECA, EFP Director Paul Watson began reaching out to his provincial counterparts to evaluate the possibility of the provinces working together to harmonize key environmental components of the EFP.  In late spring of 2016, the Alberta Wheat Commission showed their support for this initiative resulting in the National EFP Summit in November.

The initial talk was intended for provincial delivery organizations, but industry such as McCain’s, DFC, and Pulse joined the conversation. Demand for a baseline National EFP has been clear and Paul pursued this with the support of ARECA, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, and the Government of Alberta.  Paul worked steadily behind the scenes developing consensus, bringing stakeholders together, and drafting a terms of reference for a National EFP. 

 

The NEFP Summit not only served to showcase the many unique features of Canada’s EFP, but provided an effective forum to gauge cross-commodity, full-value chain support for the move toward a national program.  Positive remarks offered by Pat Finnigan (MP Miramichi-Grand) and Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food) relayed the federal government’s commitment to provide continued support for Canada’s EFP as it harmonizes nationally. In the future, this will enable farmers and ranchers to better meet sustainable sourcing requirements here in Canada, and around the world.

 

The closing discussion covered a variety of opportunities that will be explored by the NEFP Steering Committee.  The item that received almost unanimous support was the creation of a national program. Developing a consistent standard with the flexibility needed to address regionally relevant issues accommodates both farmers and industry. This is the most effective and efficient means to achieving environmental stewardship objectives.

 

Producers attending the Summit advocated the recognition and trust Canada’s farming community has for the EFP.  This is a program that was built by producers for producers. Producers are quick to show support for the evolution of the program that has always provided access to operationally-relevant extension, education, and financial resources.  

 

We invite you to contact Paul Watson at   efp@areca.ab.ca, 708-224-0911 to talk about how this process will affect your farm.

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