Environmental Farm Planning Helps Nursery Growers Reduce Risk to the Environment

Berm used to stabilize and protect the environment
A berm is in place to stabilize and protect
the environment

Environmental Farm Planning is a voluntary process that producers can use to identify both the environmental strengths and potential risks on their farms. The process includes:

  • Attending a workshop where the risk assessment process is explained;
  • Conducting an environmental risk assessment of their farm or ranch, alone or with a planning advisor;
  • Developing a plan to mitigate any identified risk; and
  • Having a trained and recognized EFP planner review and approve the plan.

Early Successes
Environmental farm planners report that as a result of participating in EFP, nursery growers are making changes on their farms that reduce risk to the environment. The planners, most of whom are already industry specialists, are required to take a rigorous introductory two-week workshop and two days of upgrading annually.
Examples of nursery actions resulting from EFP involvement in the past year include:
Installation of double-walled petroleum storage to eliminate the risk of groundwater contamination;

  • Adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) techniques to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides;
  • Taking steps to eliminate erosion of soil into ditches and watercourses, saving fish and fish habitat;
  • Management of farm drainage to prevent the water from flowing directly off the farm into local drainage channels;
  • Construction of safer pesticide storage, handling and mixing areas to reduce the risk of spilled products ending up in the groundwater;
  • Adoption of more efficient irrigation systems to conserve water;
  • Replacement of wood waste used for plant beds with gravel to eliminate the risk of surface and ground water contamination from the wood;
  • Construction of fertilizer storage, handling and mixing areas that reduce the risk of spills ending up in the environment;
  • Construction of composting structures to divert yard waste and pruning debris from landfills and burning;
  • Enhancement of wildlife habitat.

The Canada-British Columbia Environmental Farm Plan Program complements and enhances current environmental stewardship practices of British Columbian producers. It is a partnership between Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the BC Agriculture Council.

For information, go to www.bcac.bc.ca/efp_programs.htm

PHOTO: Hot House Growers Inc.: berm