Farmers and ranchers across the country are committed to producing safe food in a way that ensures the long-term sustainability of their land and business. For many, this commitment is put into action through the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP). Delivered at the provincial and territorial level, this voluntary, whole-farm environmental assessment tool helps farmers and ranchers identify and build on strengths, as well as mitigate risks on their operations. Over its lifespan of more than 20 years, the EFP has proven its success and built credibility within the agriculture community and has attracted several major buyers who have since implemented it as the environmental component in sector-specific sustainability programs.
However, a challenge still exists for buyers who are sourcing products from multiple Canadian regions. EFP delivery agents across the country saw the program’s momentum as an opportunity to address this gap by building a national, consistent standard that meets the needs of producers who farm and ranch in a wide variety of agricultural climates, while ensuring consistency for buyers, regardless of where in Canada they source their products. Fostered by the success of the 2016 National EFP Summit in Ottawa, stakeholders from farm to fork have formed the NEFP steering committee and are now working together to harmonize the provincial and territorial EFP programs from coast-to- coast as an outcomes-based, producer-driven national standard.