Environmental Farm Plan

Environmental Farm Plan Program2024-04-19T08:20:31-07:00

Plan for peace of mind

Farmers who have an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) are serious about learning how to reduce agriculture’s impact on the environment. Many EFP participants enjoy increased efficiency, profitability and new customers as a result of increased environmental sustainability.

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What is an EFP?

The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Program is a complimentary program that provides eligible agri-food sector producers with access to consultants (known as EFP Advisors) to assist in the completion of Environmental Farm Plans. The EFP program enhances the capacity of producers to identify opportunities to adapt and respond to emerging environmental, regenerative agriculture, and climate challenges and changing environmental conditions.

Program Objective

An EFP is an on-farm agri-environmental risk assessment. Its purpose is to identify potential environmental, regenerative agriculture and climate risks within a farmer and rancher’s (Producers) operations and educate them about how these risks can be mitigated.

Program Goal

The purpose of the EFP is to raise environmental awareness amongst farmers and ranchers and to improve or enhance their environmental stewardship practices and the sustainability of their operations.

The benefits of this program will include:

  • Assist producers in completing new Environmental Farm Plans (EFPs)
  • Assist producers in renewing existing Environmental Farm Plans (EFPs)
  • Supporting producers to identify opportunities for funding through the Beneficial Management Practices program

Who’s Eligible for an EFP?

To be considered eligible to access the EFP Program, applicants (e.g., a farmer) need to be:

  • Farm and ranch operations in BC, including First Nations agricultural operations.
  • Licensed Aquaculture producer or Federally licensed Cannabis or Hemp Producers.

Note: The Advisor must verify whether a farm or ranch qualifies as an eligible participant. Farm/ranch operations or First Nations agricultural operations are eligible participants in the EFP Program. One EFP will be available to farm or ranch units in British Columbia. A farm or ranch unit:

  • Generally encompasses all the farming or ranching activities associated with a single Federal Business Number (formally known as the GST number);
  • Encompasses all the agricultural activities usually associated with the farm unit;
  • Normally includes all contiguous farm parcels but might also include remote parcels;
  • May include land leased for a term equal to or exceeding five years;
  • May include Crown lease land but not Crown license land;
  • May include more than one agricultural enterprise; and,
  • May consist of more than one owner.

What constitutes a “farm unit” is generally evident and determined by the Advisor during the producers on farm visit. If an Advisor is uncertain of what constitutes a “farm unit,” they may seek assistance from IAF staff.

Eligible Activities

  • Environmental Farm Plan development
  • Environmental Farm Plan renewal
  • Riparian Health Assessments

EFP Renewals

Three primary reasons for producers to update their EFP include:

  • If their EFP is more than five years old.
  • Changes to legislation or program priorities – Legislation and program policies and priorities are continually updated, which may require a producer to renew their EFP.
  • Changes to the farming operation – A 20% or more change to acreage or animal numbers requires a renewal.

Implement an EFP for your farm:

Step 1: Request an EFP

Fill in the form to request an on-farm appointment with one of our friendly Environmental Farm Plan Advisors. Once you have submitted your request, IAF staff will pair you with an advisor suited to your operation.* Your Environmental Farm Plan Advisor will reach out to schedule an on-farm appointment subject to both parties’ availability.

Before you start – make sure you have your CRA business number and previous EFP workbook number (if applicable) on hand.

* Subject to advisor availability and program funding.

Step 2: Assess Environmental Risks

Your advisor will provide you with an EFP workbook during your on-farm appointment, this workbook is confidential and yours to keep. Your advisor will work through the workbook with you to identify any environmental risks on your farm using the colour-coded checklist.

Once all questions initially answered with (?) have been answered, an action plan has been developed to address/prioritize red/yellow box questions, and a statement of completion has been signed by both the producer and advisor; Congratulations! You now have a completed EFP!

Choose to voluntarily address these risks to implement your EFP and receive your Environmental Farm Plan sign.

Step 3: Apply for funding

Funding is available to help reduce the environmental risks identified within your EFP workbook (i.e. red box answers).

Projects that can be funded through the Beneficial Management Practices program include waste management, air quality control, emissions control, soil and riparian integrity, water quality and on-farm materials storage.

Step 4: Implement your EFP

To qualify for implementation of your EFP and get your EFP sign, you must complete your workbook (reviewed by an Advisor), with no outstanding items requiring attention (red box answers).

To request a sign and/or certificate upon implementation, please contact your advisor to start the process.

Step 5: Put up your EFP sign!

Once implemented, display your new Environmental Farm Plan sign to proudly show your farm’s environmental sustainability and to help us spread the word about this great program! Don’t forget to contact your advisor to renew your farm plan every 5 years.

Implementation signs were redesigned in 2018 and do not include frames or hardware. Implementation signs will be mailed quarterly from the IAF office.

Resources

FAQ

How long can I expect to wait until I hear from an Advisor?2023-07-27T08:52:39-07:00

Generally, an advisor reaches out within 2-3 months, but this timeline can take a little longer depending on certain factors:

  • A high number of EFP requests during the busy summer season.
  • The availability of advisors in your geographical location.
  • The commodity type.
How long does it generally take to complete an EFP?2023-07-24T14:05:44-07:00

Your advisor will be able to give you a timeline when they reach out. Many factors determine the length of time to complete an EFP, including the number of acres and complexity of your operation (i.e. riparian area, dairy operation, etc.)

What constitutes a farm or ranch unit?2024-04-25T12:21:57-07:00

A farm or ranch unit:

  • Generally encompasses all the farming or ranching activities associated with a single Federal Business Number (formally known as the GST number);
  • Encompasses all the agricultural activities usually associated with the farm unit;
  • Normally includes all contiguous farm parcels but might also include remote parcels;
  • May include land leased for a term equal to or exceeding five years;
  • May include Crown lease land but not Crown license land;
  • May include more than one agricultural enterprise; and,
  • May consist of more than one owner.

What constitutes a “farm unit” is generally evident and determined by the Advisor during the producers on farm visit. If an Advisor is uncertain of what constitutes a “farm unit,” they may seek assistance from IAF staff.

What is a completed plan?2023-07-24T15:16:15-07:00

Completed plans denote the following criteria:

  • Producer has answered all the applicable Planning Workbook sections and completed all relevant Farm Review Worksheets. 
  • All questions initially answered with a (?) have now either a Yes, No or N/A response. 
  • An action plan has been developed to resolve all red and yellow box questions. 
  • All red box and yellow box questions have been prioritized based on the rankings on Page 79 of the 2023 version of the Planning Workbook. 
  • A Statement of Completion has been signed by both the producer and the Advisor. 
What is a red box answer?2023-07-24T14:07:33-07:00

Red box answers are items where a provincial or federal regulation applies to the farm, and a change is necessary. Once you have no red box answers, you are eligible for implementation with your advisors’ consensus.

What is an implemented plan?2024-04-25T12:27:15-07:00

Steps to implement your EFP include:

  • Ensuring all action items for all red box questions (those with high priority due to an associated high level of risk) have been achieved (i.e., turned green). 
  • Verifying that you have addressed all the outstanding issues on their EFP Action Plan by:  
    • Reviewing the EFP Action Plan.  
    • Confirming all issues triggered by a red box in the EFP have been addressed.  
    • Confirming all Planning BMPs that the EFP triggered have been completed.  
  • Review and sign your Statement of Implementation alongside an Advisor
What is the renewal process for an EFP like?2024-04-25T12:31:15-07:00

Make sure to get started with this process a few months before your EFP’s expiry date to ensure you maintain your eligibility for BMP funding.

The renewal process consists of four steps:

Step 1: Click here to book an appointment with your Advisor. 

Step 2. Review the outdated workbook with your Advisor. If your previous Advisor has retired or left the program, IAF will connect you with a new Advisor.  

Step 3. The advisor will recommend actions to follow. 

Step 4: Once the required documents are submitted for review, there are three possible outcomes: 

Outcome 1: No changes to the operation impact environmental risks on their operation

    • The original workbook has been retained, and the Advisor has a working knowledge of the operation. 
    • The Advisor reviews the new and original planning workbook and signs off on the EFP Renewal Assessment Form. 
    • The Advisor will review the original and current planning workbooks, assessment form and any files, maps, etc., to be comfortable with the knowledge of the site. 
    • A new Statement of Completion will be issued, identifying the original workbook number, original date, new workbook number, and new completion date with all signatures present. 

Outcome 2: No changes that impact the environmental risks on their operation; the Advisor does not have a working knowledge of the operation or the original workbook has not been retained. 

    • The producer (you) acknowledges there has not been a change in operation, but the Advisor does not have a current working knowledge of the operation and its activities. The Advisor must complete a full site assessment and verify that the farm operation has not undergone a change that would impact the environmental risks identified in the original EFP. 
    • The Advisor will review the Assessment Form against the original and current Planning Workbook, plus any files, maps, etc., to become familiar with the site. The Advisor will assist the producer in completing an updated action plan with the current program materials. 
    • A new Statement of Completion will be issued, identifying the original workbook number, original date, new workbook number, and new completion date with all signatures present. 

Outcome 3: Changes that have impacted the environmental risk have occurred in operation. 

    • The producer (you) completes the EFP Renewal Assessment Form and indicates a change in their operation (e.g., greater than 20% change in acreage or animal) that they believe has impacted their environmental risk profile. 
    • The EFP must be treated as a new EFP instead of a renewal due to the change to its environmental risk profile. 
    • The Advisor will review the Renewal Assessment Form, the original EFP (if retained), any files, maps, etc., and complete a site inspection to the same degree as if it were a new EFP. The Advisor will assist the producer in completing an updated Action Plan and updating the property mapping.  
Where is my EFP number?2023-07-24T15:14:42-07:00

Your EFP number is a 7-digit number printed on the back cover of your EFP Workbook.

Have a question?

We’re here to help! Send us an email.

EFP Renewal Assessment

Download the Environmental Farm Plan renewal assessment form 2023/24

Reference & Guides

EFP Program Guide

Download the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Program Guide.

EFP Reference Guide

Visit the Government of BC’s website to download the EFP reference guide to support the EFP Planning Workbook.

Biodiversity Guide

Download the Biodiversity Guide from the Government of BC’s website.

Link not working?

From time to time the links to resources change. We do our best to keep everything up to date, but in the meantime, visit the Government of BC’s Environmental Farm Plan Program page for more information.

Project Profiles & Successes

Funding for this program has been provided by the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a 3.5-billion, 5-year agreement between the federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector. Additional funding has been provided by CleanBC and British Columbia’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy (CPAS). The program is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.

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