Environmental Farm Plans allow farmers to complete a self-assessment of their environmental strengths and weaknesses of their operation. Launched on Prince Edward Island in 1995, two hundred and forty five farmers have taken part in a total of twenty five one day workshops to learn how to use the assessments. All aspects of the farm operation are assessed through four major workbook sections: Farmstead and Homestead, Livestock and Poultry, Soil and Crop Management, and Sensitive Ecological Areas. Since August of 1998, one hundred and thirty thousand acres of land has been involved in the EFP process. Forty thousand acres of that is involved in potato production.
Participants rate their farm operations depending on the specific characteristics and operations of each farm unit. Once the self assessment is complete, users design an action plan for their own farm and set realistic goals for addressing any concerns.
Response to the EFP workshops is very positive with participants feeling they helped increase their level of awareness of the impact farming practices have on the environment. Farmers also felt they were a great planning tool when considering new farm structures or changes in management practices.
The EFP Steering Committee hopes to have ninty-five percent of the primary agriculture sector in the region complete an EFP within ten years.