Clean water on the farm

Credit: Jupiter Images

An abundant supply of clean water is of critical importance to agriculture and to farm families. Good-quality fresh water is necessary for livestock health and productivity, as well as for crop production. Farmers often obtain their drinking water from groundwater and streams on their own property.

Producers have responded well to incentives offered under the Agriculture Environment Initiatives funds to assist them in addressing environmental risks on their farms. Some of the types of activities include:

  • Education and awareness on all aspects of sustainable production practices;
  • Building increased capacity for manure storage on dairy and poultry farms to allow spreading of manure in the most ideal situations;
  • Measuring impacts of manure and fertilizers on nitrates in groundwater to minimize application rates for optimum production;
  • Implementing practices to reduce the impacts of livestock on watercourses and critical adjacent areas;
  • Planting riparian areas to improve fish habitat and demonstrating maintenance practices that are fish friendly;
  • Investigation of new technically feasible and economically viable options for the handling, utilization and disposal of poultry manure;
  • Investigating the best ways to mix composted urban yard waste with poultry manure as an effective soil supplement for organic growers;
  • Working with regulatory agencies to facilitate the process of gaining approval for enhancing riparian areas and achieving economic benefits;
  • Expanding the Farmwest Climate Station Network to provide real-time climate information to producers that will assist in improving timing of manure applications, pesticide applications for pest and disease control, and improved water management through irrigation scheduling.

Farmers and ranchers are making significant contributions of their own resources to participate in these initiatives. A healthy agriculture industry is critical in securing the support of producers to continue to implement environmentally friendly farming practices.

Information provided by Brian Baehr, Agriculture Environment Initiatives Coordinator for BC Agriculture Council.