Sask. environmental farm planning options sweetened

A list of beneficial management practices (BMPs) for which Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers can get funding through the federal/provincial Farm Stewardship Program has been expanded.

The provincial and federal governments on Wednesday announced five new BMPs and “enhancements” to seven already-eligible BMPs available through the program.

Among the new BMPs, for example, are rollers for plastic grain bags, allowing producers to better store and manage used bags. If approved as part of a grower’s environmental farm plan (EFP), the program will cover 50 per cent of his or her costs, up to $5,000.

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For another example, carcass disposal planning has also been added to the BMP list. As part of an approved EFP, up to 75 per cent of related eligible planning costs can be covered, to a maximum of $30,000. The full expanded list of BMPs is available online.

Funding caps have also also increased on several existing BMPs, the province said Wednesday, so as to “further encourage producers to make environmentally beneficial changes to their operations.”

“Developing an (EFP) and participating in the Farm Stewardship Program helped me redirect my runoff water, improving the quality of nearby water sources,” Grenfell cattle rancher Jack Hextall, who’s also chairman of marketing agency Canada Beef, said in the province’s release.

“That’s been a benefit not only for my family and my cattle, but also, and more importantly, for the land and environment around us.”

The province and federal government on Wednesday also unveiled a new web portal for Saskatchewan’s EFP program.

The new portal, now live online, is expected to allow eligible farm owners to “create, review and update their EFPs online and at their own pace.”

Federal Ag Minister Gerry Ritz said the new portal will be a valuable tool as farmers are “constantly analyzing the effects of their farming and ranching practices on the environment and putting best management practices into place.” — Network

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