District to host EFP 3 sessions

The Environmental Farm Plan 3 program provides more than $57 million in federal government support for programs to help Ontario farmers expand their environmental stewardship activities as well as make environmental considerations a farm business priority.
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association has qualified local program reps in place to administer the delivery of the third-edition EFP Workbook, and EFP workshops will be hosted in Rainy River District in the coming weeks.
Stephan Szeder (275-8208) is the local program representative while I will be providing the technical support at the workshops. We both will be available at these sessions to help producers complete their risk assessments and action plans.
Involvement in EFP 3 requires attendance at an initial one-day workshop, where the program is outlined and individual workbooks are explained and started with facilitators’ assistance.
Participants then go home and, during the next week, complete their workbooks based on their own farm situations. One week later, they return for a one-day workshop to ask questions they had on the process and finalize their workbooks.
Stephan then will collect the completed plans and submit them to a committee of three local farmers for peer review. Individual farmers’ names are not attached to the plan when they go to review.
Once producers have a peer-reviewed environmental farm plan, they are eligible to apply for financial assistance under the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program to help with the implementation of specific beneficial management practices (BMPs).
In Ontario, producers can choose from 25 categories of BMPs designed to reduce environmental risks. The program will cost-share either 30 percent or 50 percent of the eligible costs of implementation, depending on the BMP, up to a maximum of $30,000 per legal entity.
The program will end on March 31, 2008.
Projects contributing to improvements in water, soil, air, or biodiversity are eligible, including:
•Improved Manure Storage and Handling, Treatment, and Land Application;
•Farmyard Runoff Control;
•Water Well Management;
•Erosion Control Structures;
•Land Management for Soils at Risk;
•Improved Cropping Systems;
•Improved Pest Management;
•Irrigation Management;
•Invasive Alien Plant Species Control;
•Enhancing Wildlife Habitat and Biodiversity;
•Species at Risk;
•Preventing Wildlife Damage; and
•Nutrient Management Planning
Information on the programs is available from the OSCIA at 1-519-826-4214 or www.ontariosoilcrop.org/EFP/EFP.htm., or by calling Stephan Szeder at 275-8208.