BC Agriculture Council and Ducks Unlimited Canada sign Memorandum of Understanding that provides $250,000 to Environmental Farm Planning

(Williams Lake, August 4, 2005). A partnership between the British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC) and Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) which will help BC farmers and ranchers implement beneficial management practices identified in their environmental farm plans was announced today by BCAC Chair Dick Klein Geltink and Ducks Unlimited?s Ian Barnett.

Ducks Unlimited will provide $250,000 this year to assist producers in taking action to address environmental risks related to water and wildlife. This will augment the $2,500,000 federal-provincial funding made available through the BC Agriculture Council that leads the Environmental Farm Planning Program in B.C.

?The BCAC-Ducks Unlimited Canada partnership will allow the producers of British Columbia to implement beneficial management practices, which are designed to minimize the environmental impact of agricultural practices while maintaining economic viability,? said Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Andy Mitchell. ?Producers across Canada take their role as environmental stewards very seriously and the Government of Canada is pleased to assist by developing environmental programs and services such as Environmental Farm Plans.?

“This program helps British Columbia’s farmers and ranchers become leaders in protecting our environment,” said Minister of Agriculture and Lands Pat Bell. “When you make your living off the land, you want to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect it. Environmental farm planning will ensure a strong future for farming and ranching in British Columbia.”

The Canada-British Columbia Environmental Farm Plan program provides farmers and ranchers the opportunity to undertake a whole farm review, and where applicable, develop a list of action items to reduce environmental risks. Two complimentary federal programs, the National Farm Stewardship program and Greencover Canada provide cost share funding that farmers and ranchers in BC can access to implement beneficial management practices that will improve on-farm stewardship.

The support provided by DUC will augment funds from the federal programs and improve incentives to farmers and ranchers. ?We are extremely pleased with this partnership with Ducks Unlimited,? said Dick Klein Geltink, Chair of BCAC. ?This will allow producers to further enhance stewardship on farms and ranches throughout British Columbia?.

George Hamilton, BCAC Co-chair of the Working Group responsible for the administering Environmental Farm Plan programming noted that ?the increased financial resources would be particularly valuable for those producers facing financial challenges?.

The partnership between DUC and BCAC will address those categories of beneficial management practices related to protection of water and wildlife. ?Our participation allows us to contribute directly to practices that will further protect those environmental values and the habitat provided by agriculture said DUC representative Ian Barnett.