Sustainability at the Provincial Level
Agri-Environmental Partnership of Alberta
Alberta Wheat Commission is a member of the Agri Environmental Partnership of Alberta (AEPA), a forum for the cropping and livestock sector and the provincial government to discuss common issues as they relate to the environment. AEPA is in place to ensure that Agri-environmental policies are balanced, support sustainable industry growth, and increase social acceptance.
Phase I – Alberta Crops Sustainability Certification Pilot Project
Sustainable agriculture is growing increasingly important in the international marketplace. Buyers are commonly sourcing commodities based on sustainability certification standards and subsequently; adhering to these standards is becoming more imperative at the farm level to stay competitive in the marketplace long-term.
We believe Alberta farmers are already practicing many of the on-farm sustainability certification requirements and in response; we have developed a project that would assess producer readiness for these market-driven standards.
The four crop commissions; Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Barley, Alberta Pulse Growers (APG) and Alberta Canola Producers Commission (ACPC), launched the Alberta Crops Sustainability Certification Pilot Project that saw auditors from Control Union perform 32 on-farm assessments across Alberta.
The framework for the assessments aligned with three internationally recognized, consumer-driven sustainability certification programs: the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) Plus, the Sustainable Agriculture Initiatives (SAI) Farmer Self Assessment 2.0 and the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code.
Watch the videos below to learn more about the Alberta Crops Sustainability Pilot Project.
Phase II – Benchmarking the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) against major sustainability programs
Throughout the assessment process of the Alberta Crops Sustainability Pilot Project, we learned that many participants had completed an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP). This knowledge led to a new partnership with the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan (AEFP) to benchmark the EFP against the three programs included in the sustainability pilot project. The national EFP steering committee will look at the results of this benchmarking exercise to identify opportunities to better align the EFP to international standards. The end-results of this work will streamline the process of certifying on-farm sustainability practices and will better fulfill end-user requirements.
Phase III – New collaboration: Extension and education on sustainable farming practices
The results of the Alberta Crops Sustainability Pilot Project identified specific areas that Alberta farmers have excelled at, as well as gaps that need to be addressed. AWC will continue to collaborate with Alberta Barley, APG and ACPC in a new partnership with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) to develop extension and education initiatives for farmers that will address these gaps. This extension work will be rolled out in in 2016.
Sustainability on the National Level
Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops
AWC is a member of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) along with industry representatives from a variety of sectors across the agriculture supply chain throughout Canada. AWC has representation on the communications committee, as well as a position as co-chair of the national pilot project committee. Made up of 20 members from farmers to end-users, the committee is tasked with developing sustainability indicators for grains and oilseeds that are appropriate for a Canadian context. Having the entire supply chain at the table ensures that indicators not only meet requirements for end-users but make sense at the farm level as well.