Allingham Orchards Bears Fruit with EFP and BMP Projects

A lot can be achieved in just over a year; just ask the folks at Allingham Orchards. In 2023 they decided to pursue an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP), and by the end of the year they had already completed two subsequent Beneficial Management Practices (BMP) projects!

Reece and Jill Allingham had been involved in the family orchard for many years before the couple became owners for the first time in 2021. Their family has always tried to farm sustainably, but Reece and Jill wanted to modernize the farm and to make more use of regenerative agriculture practices. Their main goals were to increase their focus on soil conservation and biodiversity, and to improve the efficiency of their irrigation system to better handle extreme weather events. These goals led the orchard to pursue an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP).

In the spring of 2023, EFP Planning Advisor Kirsten Bevandick visited the family orchard and worked with Reece and Jill to complete an EFP workbook. The completed contents of the workbook are confidential and help farmers to identify opportunities to adapt and respond to changing environmental conditions. Once producers have completed an EFP, they become eligible to apply for cost-shared funding through the Beneficial Management Practices (BMP) Program to address items brought up in their EFP.

In the summer of 2023, with their EFP in hand, the Allinghams applied to the BMP program to complete an irrigation system assessment. Following the completion of this assessment, the Allinghams were successful in a subsequent application for cost-shared funding to upgrade their irrigation system that fall. This new system, which was designed by Bruce Naka of Sound Water Advise, will improve their efficiency by over 20% and allow for the monitoring of soil moisture and more efficient scheduling of water to individual plantings based on their specific water needs.
This is a big step for the farm in achieving their environmental goals. “We will now use less water, have a more efficient system to handle extreme weather events, and have a more reliable system that should last decades.” Says Reece Allingham, “Thanks for all the assistance and for supporting small agricultural producers.”

This won’t be the end of the improvements at Allingham Orchards though. “We also hope to plant a new shelter belt, complete a plan for Integrated Pest Management, and purchase a modern sprayer over the next couple years.” Says Reece, “The EFP also inspired us to take advantage of regional district funding to chip all debris from one acre of orchard we removed in the summer of 2023.”

Funding for the EFP and BMP Programs is provided by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, under the Beneficial Management Practices Program. The programs are delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.

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