A group in Alberta is hoping to determine how prepared farmers are to meet internationally recognized sustainability standards.
“The Alberta Farm Sustainability Extension Working Group is a very new project, and its continuing on the work from the Alberta Crops Sustainability Certification Pilot project that was completed in the spring of 2015,” says Jolene Noble, AFSE extension coordinator. “And our Working Group is comprised of Alberta Pulse, Alberta Wheat, Alberta Barley and Alberta Canola.”
Last year’s pilot was a survey that went out to directors on the four commissions. Though it wasn’t a representative sample, it paved the way for this year’s survey, which, Noble says, will assess grower readiness to meet sustainability standards in the future.
“The survey will be coming out in the latter part of June and it will take approximately 25 minutes for growers to go through. Of course the majority will centre around environmental questions — everything from waste disposal to soil health to crop inputs — but there will also be some things on the social and economic side of things.”
AFSE has hired Ipsos Reid to help develop and conduct the survey, and expects the final report by this fall.
“Our project moving forward after the survey will be looking at areas that producers did really well in, but also areas where we have opportunity for improvement,” says Noble, adding that the focus is to increase awareness of sustainability standards and preparing to meet them.
The entire project is set to conclude in the first quarter of 2018.