Ranching and Grassland Stewardship
With the majority of private, Provincial Crown and First Nations or Federal grasslands experiencing grazing use, education programs and incentive initiatives are vital to promoting grassland stewardship amongst ranch land owners and managers. Extension programs play an important role in environmental stewardship and grassland management and have many benefits. There are several stewardship programs and initiatives in BC including: the British Columbia Environmental Farm Plan Program, the Cariboo Watershed Stewardship Council, the Peace River Forage Association of British Columbia, BC Agriculture Council and the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration in addition to others. All of the programs and initiatives play a vital part in the continued maintenance and enhancement of a variety of grassland animals, plants and habitats. To see related GCC programs and initiatives, click here.
British Columbia Environmental Farm Plan Program
The British Columbia Environmental Farm Plan Program (BCEFPP) was launched in 2003 and was developed in partnership between the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (BC MAFF) and the BC Agriculture Council (BCAC).
The Environmental Farm Plan Program (EFPP) is a tool that is used by ranchers to increase the awareness of environmental issues, examine current production practices, identify potential risks and develop a practical plan to manage those risks on their farm operation. Environmental farm plans have no expiry date but need to be updated as conditions and farm operations change. The purpose of environmental farm planning is to ensure productive, profitable and sustainable agriculture for future generations. The EFPP will complement and enhance the current environmental stewardship practices of BC producers.
How does Environmental Farm Planning Benefits Farmers?
- Increases environmental awareness and knowledge (by demonstrating more environmentally responsible farming practices)
- Helps to identify environmental risks and gives better access to more information and expertise
- Can lead to on-farm improvements and changes in practices that will help to reduce the negative impact of farming on the environment
- Brings funds to farmers for new activities or to modify current practice
- Provides technical support and marketing advantages
Demonstrates environmental stewardship to Canadians and enhances the reputation of the agricultural sector
Who to contact about the EFPP in BC
The British Columbia beef industry has 12 farm planning advisors that work under the Beef Industry Environment Farm Advisor Service (BIEFAS) as a part of the EFPP. For more information on the EFPP in BC please call 1-877-522-8853 (toll free). For more detailed information regarding Environmental Farm Plans please visit the British Columbia Agriculture Council website at http://bcac.bc.ca
The Cariboo Cattlemen's Watershed Stewardship Council (CCWSC)
This Cariboo Watershed Stewardship Council (CCWSC) was developed through the combined efforts of Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. Its objectives are to engage ranchers in stewardship and to promote better range management practices. Ultimately the CCWSC will work with ranchers to develop and deliver on Environmental Farm Plan’s and other stewardship programs. For more information, click here.
The Peace River Forage Association of British Columbia
The Peace River Forage Association of British Columbia (PRFA of BC) has developed through the combined efforts of several forage-keen livestock producers in Peace River country in late 1991 and early 1992. Their efforts led to the creation of the Peace River Forage Association of BC. The purpose of this association is to improve the knowledge regarding forage among local producers.
Since that time the Peace River Forage Association of BC has continued to grow and in 1999 the association received an Environmental Stewardship Award for 20 subprojects that focused on several key areas including: communication, improving forage and grazing systems, addressing the wildlife situation and developing water systems.
Today the PRFA of BC has a multitude of projects that are currently underway in areas such as forage and grazing management projects, land and soil management projects, water development projects and pasture management workshops.
The objectives of these workshops and projects are to promote, encourage, develop and protect the forage industry; to increase forage knowledge; and to develop appropriate methodologies to effectively apply knowledge. To visit their website, click here.
BC Agriculture Council
The BC Agriculture Council was founded in 1997 and works to provide leadership for the combined interests of all agricultural producers in British Columbia. The council promotes cooperation and collective response to matters that will affect the future of agriculture in BC. It also facilitates programs and delivery for a number of initiatives that benefit the industry. To visit their website, click here.
Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration
The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) was established in 1935 by an Act of Parliament in response to drought, farm abandonment and land degradation.
The PFRA works with residents of the prairies to develop a viable agricultural industry and sustainable rural economy in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Peace River Region of BC. The PFRA offers ongoing programs and short-term initiatives from a network of district and regional offices. The programs work to ensure the sustainable use of the prairies irreplaceable soil and water resources. For more information, click here.
Rangeland Management School
The British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association, in partnership with the Beef Cattle Industry Development Fund, Ducks Unlimited, Ministry of Agriculture & Lands, Horn Levy Fund, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration and Thompson Rivers University, provides courses in rangeland management.. The workshops are designed to improve range managers’ understanding of plant growth, grazing rotation, and sound rangeland management practices in an effort to improve ranch profitability. The school provides an overview of the multiple uses of rangelands and highlights the need for ranchers to interface with all other users of the land base. In addition, ranchers may find opportunity to increase the production on their private land, as well as their Crown range, through the implementation of the tools presented in the workshops. More information.
Environmental Stewardship Awards
Stewardship has become an important part of the ranching industry in British Columbia. The British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA) has established an Environmental Stewardship Award to recognize good stewardship practices. The annual award recognizes individual or local groups of cattle producers that have benefited the environment through their management practices.
For details on the Environmental Stewardship Award and a list of past award recipients, click here.