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Helping Alta. farmers make use of unused land

Helping Alta. farmers make use of unused land

ALUS Canada has partnered with Rocky View County

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A new program is designed to help Alberta farmers put marginal lands to use.

The partnership between ALUS Canada and Rocky View County, Alta. helps address environmental issues through projects that produce ecosystem services for the community.

Interested farmers or rural landowners submit applications to the county. Then, a peer review committee studies the projects for their validity.

Once a producer’s idea is given the greenlight, ALUS Canada provides the community with tools and resources to help the project along, said Christine Campbell, Western Canada’s hub manager with ALUS Canada.

“Rocky View County will work with farmers and ranchers to use land that’s difficult for farming, whether that’s because it’s difficult to get equipment into or because the land just isn’t suitable for production,” she told Farms.com. “In this case, we’re asking them to look at performing ecosystem services like flood mitigation, carbon sequestration or pollinator habitat.”

Participating farmers can also earn income from the project.

Should a farmer put up riparian fencing, for example, they must ensure the fence isn’t damaged and make any necessary repairs. If the producer maintains the fence, he or she can receive per-acre annual payments, Campbell said.

 The program builds on producers’ skillsets.

Farmers are already good stewards of the land, and these types of projects reward them for that, said Jeff Fleischer, manager of agriculture and environment services with Rocky View County.

“I just think it’s environmentally responsible,” he told CBC. “It’s a great thing for us to do. In most cases, farmers and ranchers are doing this anyway, and so it just helps to reward them for the good things they’re doing.”


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