Blog Angelle van Kleef (Canada): Environmental measures

In Ontario, sustainable investments in the agricultural and horticultural industries are supported by the Environmental Farm Plan. It’s a voluntary learning and awareness programme, designed to help farmers and growers conduct an environmental risk assessment for their own companies in a confidential and independent way. The assessment is followed up by action plans to limit the identified risks.

The programme started in 1993 and has been further developed and expanded since then. The assessment and action plans always cover a period of five years. We’ve already completed two five-year programmes. It consists of 23 worksheets for different areas, including water management, fertilizers, chemicals, fuel and waste. It also focuses on things like feed and manure storage in the livestock industry, waste water and nuisance as well as the efficient usage of water and electricity.

Furthermore, it discusses topics like soil management, field crops, crop protection and erosion of ditches and water flows. And finally, there’s also attention for natural flora and fauna and nature in polders and  woodlands.

For the indoor horticultural industry, there’s a separate worksheet about biological safety, food safety and origin and integrated crop protection. It also discusses heating and climate control, energy management and efficiency, energy saving and light and noise pollution. Other topics regarding environmental concerns include nutritional analyses, registration, administration, reuse, sterilisation, storage and loss. Finally, there’s also attention for improving marketing and labour efficiency.

Looking at the registration and self assessment processes, this system is similar to MPS. But the number of topics is larger. The Ontarian government encourages participation in the programme by offering subsidies for investments to improve out-of-date production systems and by stimulating innovations.

So, I spent two days in a classroom last week. We went through all the steps to assess our company and create an overview of points to improve. After that, we looked at options of gettigng financial support for improvements and innovations. A central focus point this time, was CO2-reduction. Now that our environmental plan has been approved, we can focus on applying for subsidies. For energy-saving measures, subsidies can amount to 35% for each investment part, with a maximum of  $100,000. A computer programme will calculate the savings of the proposed investment.

It takes a bit of effort, but the result is worthwhile.

Angelle van Kleef

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