Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

The CFFO Commentary: Moving Beyond "Random Acts of Stewardship"

By John Clement

October 22, 2010

I recently heard a long-time promoter of environmental goods and service (EGS) payments to farmers argue that it’s time to move beyond “random acts of stewardship.” He’s glad to see farmers voluntarily plant buffer strips beside streams and increase habitat for species, but he thinks the time has come to move beyond strict voluntary stewardship towards a series of payments for farmers willing to undertake natural projects benefiting the public.

The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario would agree with the promoter’s assessment. The CFFO has been a long-time supporter of EGS payments, particularly as carried out through a program called Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS). We like ALUS because it’s conducted on a farmer-to-farmer basis and is voluntary. The CFFO believes that farmers have a natural stewardship ethic and that this ethic should be expanded beyond “random acts of stewardship.”

All that being said, the key sticking point regarding ALUS and other EGS payments comes down to funding. In particular, who is responsible for funding and how is the funding to be distributed? Here are some of the common questions that are asked regarding funding ALUS:

· Where does the money come from? Depending upon who you’re asking, the key candidates are usually federal, provincial or municipal governments. In addition, the other candidates are private foundation funding or some form or “market mechanism” for creating projects.

· What, specifically, are we trying to deliver? Again, depending upon who you’re asking the key candidates tend to be clean water, clean air, increased biodiversity, or climate change adaptation.

· Do payments cover start-up costs or ongoing services? Some see start-up costs as being legitimate costs for the public to cover, while others say both start-up costs and the ongoing service to the public should be purchased.

· How does ALUS fit in with existing programs? Groups like Conservation Authorities have been working for years with local farmers to improve watersheds. Questions are asked about how these existing programs would interact with an ALUS approach.

In light of these questions, and others, it’s going to be imperative that programs like ALUS be fine-tuned to clearly identify the societal goods they are trying to deliver. We need to quantify the benefits so that all stakeholders know what they’re buying and how much of it. In addition, it will be important to gather the best information on how programs like ALUS need to be rolled out for maximum uptake and public benefit.

At the CFFO, we’re talking with our members regarding making ALUS part of our handbook for the 2011 provincial election. We think that a series of ALUS pilot projects should be funded by the province and delivered in diverse ecosystems. By doing so, we can experiment with diverse approaches and identify best practices, preferred funding models, connections with other public programs and clear goals on moving further forward. It’s all in an attempt to move beyond “random acts of stewardship.”

John Clement is the General Manager of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, Ontario and is archived on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,200 family farmers across Ontario.

Views: 44

Comment

You need to be a member of Ontario Agriculture to add comments!

Join Ontario Agriculture

Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

Smaller Crops Likely in StatsCan Survey-Based Report

Already small 2021 Canadian crops are likely to be revised even lower when Statistics Canada releases its final crop production report of the season on Friday. Prior reports in September and August were compiled using satellite imagery, with the December report the first of the year to utilize farmer surveys.

Old-Crop Canola Holds Gains as Crude Falls Back

Canola futures saw increases in the old-crop months on Wednesday, while new crop positions closed slightly lower. Support for edible oils from strong upticks in global crude oil prices evaporated by the close of the grain markets, which weakened edible oils.

The Maple Syrup Reserve: Serving its Purpose in a Time of High Demand

The substantial and ongoing growth of maple syrup sales and exports, combined with an average yield in the 2021 production season, has raised concerns in several media outlets about a potential shortage of supply. Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) wishes to reassure the public that demand, both domestic and international, will be met through the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. QMSP established its strategic maple syrup reserve in 2000 to respond to this exact situation. When production exceeds demand (as was the case in the two previous years), the surplus maple syrup is warehoused. Conversely, when the harvest is weaker than current demand (such as this year), the syrup stockpile is offered for sale to buyers. The Global Reserve is therefore serving its important purpose, ensuring a constant supply to the domestic and international markets, regardless the success of any single year's harvest. Furthermore, it stabilizes the product's price, eliminating variations caused by st

Canola Fails to Hang onto Early Gains

Canola futures pulled back on Monday, after rallying to new contract highs during the overnight session. Downward pressure came from the liquidation of the January contract as well as market concerns over the new Omicron strain of COVID-19. Losses in the Chicago soy complex and European rapeseed also weighed on values, while those for Malaysian palm oil were mixed.

Bringing robots to field crops

THE LATEST IN cutting-edge robotics is coming to a field near you — sooner than you think. A new team of in-field innovation enthusiasts have been working diligently over the past year to test, demonstrate, and troubleshoot robotic applications in a variety of Ontario crops, bringing the reality of robots within reach for farmers within this decade. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW • Each robot model tested was unique, with some powered by batteries and others by diesel. • Some robots struggled to work effectively in areas with heavy crop residue or cover crops. • Researchers note there are only a handful of working robotic units in North America, and since Ontario offers such a wide range of crops and growing conditions, we have the ideal environment for testing these systems. • Soil sampling is another task that autonomous robots could shoulder for farmers and agronomists.

© 2021   Created by Darren Marsland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service