Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan

Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Program Update:

For further details on the availability of cost-share funding under the cost-share program associated with the Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan, the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program (COFSP), please see the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement (OSCIA) website.

For information on other Growing Forward programs, please visit www.ontario.ca/growingforward or call 1-888-479-3931.

A Voluntary Environmental Education and Awareness Program delivered by the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition

 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. How You Can Get Involved
  3. The Workbook
  4. Infosheets

Introduction

What is the Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan (EFP)?

Environmental Farm Plans (EFP) are assessments voluntarily prepared by farm families to increase their environmental awareness in up to 23 different areas on their farm. Through the EFP local workshop process, farmers will highlight their farm's environmental strengths identify areas of environmental concern, and set realistic action plans with time tables to improve environmental conditions. Environmental cost-share programs are available to assist in implementing projects.

Visit the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) website to find out more.

The idea for Environmental Farm Plans originated from the Ontario farm community. Farmers have been involved in every stage of developing Environmental Farm Plans (EFP), through the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition.

The Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition is lead by four main organizations:

The EFP is delivered locally by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Technical expertise is provided by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

EFP is funded through Growing Forward (GF) Best Practices suite, supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

With over 35,000 participants since the program began in 1993, this internationally recognized program has been very successful in helping Ontario farmers adopt more environmentally sustainable practices.

History & Funding

The EFP Program began as a pilot project in 1993 in seven selected counties across Ontario. Funding for the pilot project was provided by the Land Management Assistance Program, under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Green Plan. Technical support was provided by OMAFRA. Farmers involved were asked "Would you recommend the EFP process to your neighbour?" Ninety-five percent said yes.

Between 1992 and 1997 funding for the EFP was provided through the Canada - Ontario Green Plan by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

Between 1997 and April 2004, financial support was provided by AAFC through the CanAdapt program, administered in Ontario by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

Between April of 2005 and March 31, 2008 funding was provided by AAFC and OMAFRA under the Agricultural Policy Framework, an agreement among federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Now that under the Growing Forward framework agreement, which replaces the Agricultural Policy Framework, AAFC and OMAFRA will support the continuation of EFP until March 31, 2013.

Participate in the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Program and increase your awareness and knowledge, build competitiveness and strengthen your industry. 

How You Can Get Involved With the Environmental Farm Plan

Each step of the EFP process is voluntary. You may proceed as far as you wish.

Step 1. Attend an EFP Workshop scheduled for your area. You'll be provided with instructions and help on how to progress through the risk assessment and action plan development contained in the third edition EFP workbook.

Step 2. Submit your EFP action plan for a confidential review by a group of locally-appointed farmers. They may be able to offer suggestions to help you achieve your environmental goals. Government personnel will not see your information.

Step 3. Begin implementing your EFP Action Plan.

Step 1 Details - Attending an EFP Workshop

Workshops are organized and delivered locally though the Program Representative of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Technical expertise is provided by OMAFRA. For specific dates and locations in your county/district, contact OSCIA toll-free at 1-800-265-9751, or find out who your Program Representative is by visiting the OSCIA website. There is no charge for the workshop.*

* Lunches may carry a modest cost.

Completing the Risk Assessment

The EFP Risk Assessment gives you the opportunity to rate your current level of environmental concern in various areas on your farm (e.g. water wells, fuel storage, soil management, pest management) as presented in the EFP Workbook. The worksheets are easy to follow. They help to highlight environmental strengths on your farm as well as areas of environmental concern.

Each of the worksheets are set up in a similar manner and have an average of 20 questions. You complete only the worksheets and questions which apply to your situation.

Developing an Action Plan

When the worksheets are completed, your ratings will show areas of your farm that would benefit from changes to reduce potential environmental risk. The development of an Action Plan will help you analyze the situation, decide what you can do, and when it can be done. Infosheets for each worksheet and Best Management Practices books are references available to help get ideas and establish priorities.

Step 2 Details - Submitting Your EFP for Review

Submit your EFP through your Program Representative for confidential Peer Review. The Review committee is comprised of local farmers experienced with farm environmental issues. Once your Action Plan is deemed appropriate by the Peer Review Committee, you can participate in the EFP Cost-Share Program to help cover a portion of the costs of implementing eligible projects from your action plan. Many participants have expressed a tremendous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once their EFP is complete and peer reviewed.

Step 3 - Implementing Your Action Plan

Complete projects based on your priorities. Technical assistance is available from OMAFRA.

The Workbook

The goal of the Environmental Farm Plan Workbook is to help you see your farm in a new way. It asks you to think about your land, the buildings on your farm, the products you use, and many other things from a new point of view. It asks you to rate how each of these things could affect the environment - the air, soil, wildlife and water sources - around your farm. And, it asks you to consider new ways of working that will decrease the risks to our precious natural resources.

The EFP Workbook has two parts - the Farm Review and the Action Plan.

In the Farm Review section you will assess the soils on your farm and rate their ability to offset, or increase, potential risks to the environment. The Farm Review includes 23 Worksheets to help you rate different situations on your farm. From these ratings you will develop an Action Plan.

Note: EFP Worksheets are not included on this web site.

As you work on your Action Plan, you will have to decide whether potential problems result from natural risks on your farm (e.g. soil type or depth to water table) or from the way you manage some part of your farm operations. You will have to think about what you need to do to solve these problems or control them, either right away, or over the next few years.

Remember that the Farm Review and the Action Plan belong only to you. They will help you identify potential problems that may affect the environment, and find solutions to reduce the risk.

Infosheets

Twenty-two of the twenty-three worksheets in the Workbook have a corresponding infosheet. There is no Infosheet for Worksheet #1 – Soil and Site Evaluation. These infosheets have been developed to provide you with more information to help you effectively complete your action plans for peer review. Infosheets are structured just like the EFP worksheets by dealing with each issue one question at a time.

Infosheets are ...

  • a quick reference for information specific to the worksheet question
  • a short list of possible actions that will change your situation for the better
  • a list of some acceptable compensating factors that adequately address a situation without changing the rating you specified in the workbook
  • a good benchmark to see how your proposed solutions measure up

Infosheets are not ...

  • the only solution (other solutions may have become available)
  • the last word on an issue (some issues are complex and more technical information may be required from other sources)

In Partnership with:

Government of Ontario logoAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada logo

 



For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 November 1998
Last Reviewed: 24 June 2013