Funding helps farmers and ranchers in Alberta implement best management practices for resilience to drought and extreme heat.
The fern glade in Wetaskiwin County offered participants an opportunity to connect with nature.
ALUS is pleased to receive financial support of $150,000 from RDAR (Results Driven Agriculture Research), of which the full funding amount comes from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP). This project will demonstrate the efficacy of Best Management Practices (BMPs) in creating resilience to drought and extreme heat throughout Alberta.
To meet these outcomes, ALUS has engaged farmers and ranchers, providing support for projects that mitigate drought and extreme heat conditions, creating nearly 300 acres of ecosystem projects as of July 2022 through the funding from RDAR.
Participants in ALUS receive help to create natural infrastructure projects that provide operational and environmental resilience. With the funding from RDAR, ALUS has engaged with the farming and ranching community, presenting critical findings on the importance of BMPs for drought mitigation and water quality improvements. Consequently, ALUS is working with farmers and ranchers, bolstering their networks, facilitating knowledge sharing and providing technical and financial resources.
“Farmers and ranchers are keenly aware of the pressures on land and water resources. Natural innovators, producers in Alberta are putting ALUS projects on their property, because they see that it works,” says Rhonda King, National Budget Director and Western Lead, ALUS. “The threat of extreme heat and drought are serious. They take a toll on our economy, our farms and our well-being. Adopting best management practices through ALUS, farmers and ranchers can help build resilience to these unprecedented challenges to their operations.”
The pressure on agricultural producers, whether cash croppers, livestock growers or market farmers, due to extreme heat and drought are undeniable. ALUS projects, such as advanced multi-paddock grazing, enhanced and restored wetlands, livestock fencing and alternative water systems, all help support the natural hydrological cycle, securing water on the land and maintaining it availability in natural watercourses.
“RDAR’s investment in this project will help accelerate the adoption of BMPs across Alberta by reaching new farmers and ranchers in need of support due to drought and extreme heat conditions,” says Clinton Dobson, Research Director, RDAR. “Outcomes from this project will equip Alberta producers with critical research findings on the impacts of drought mitigation BMPs to enable tangible changes to improve operations on-farm.”
In August, ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc hosted an experiential nature walk open to local farmers and ranchers, as an outreach component. Facilitated by Wild Calm Forest Therapy, participants were provided an opportunity to connect with nature in a direct way with a walk through the locally unique fern glades.
“The event was a new, unique experience for our community of farmers and ranchers, giving them an opportunity to connect with nature at a different pace than their day-to-day activities might otherwise allow,” says Kim Barkwell, Coordinator, ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc. “Through this event, we helped share the benefits of our local ALUS program, showcasing its ability to add to the value of nature, as a place for economic productivity and ecosystem projects, as well as a space for mental health benefits.”
Feedback from participants was incredibly positive, with several participants noting it helped them slow down, relax and connect with nature.
As of March 2022, farmers and ranchers in Alberta have enrolled over 21,000 acres into their local ALUS program, creating essential ecosystem services, including drought and flood resilience, on their land and for the benefit of their communities. ALUS has directed over $4 million in funding to assist Alberta’s farmers and ranchers in their role as stewards of the land.
ALUS (originally an acronym for Alternative Land Use Services) is a national charitable organization that provides expertise, resources, and direct financial support to 35 communities across 6 provinces where more than 1,400 farmers and ranchers establish and steward nature-based solutions on their land. These solutions deliver ecosystem services to help sustain agriculture and fight climate change and biodiversity loss for the benefit of communities and future generations. Projects such as enhanced wetlands, windbreaks, riparian buffer zones, wildlife habitats, adaptative agricultural practices and other impactful environmental solutions produce cleaner air, cleaner water, greater biodiversity, carbon sequestration, erosion control, flood and drought mitigation, pollinator and wildlife habitat, and other ecological services.
RDAR’s mandate is to target strategic investments in producer-led, results-driven agriculture research to power the competitiveness, profitability, productivity and sustainability of Agriculture in Alberta. As a not-for-profit corporation, RDAR’s funding comes from the Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada, and Alberta’s Government through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program. rdar.ca
About the Canadian Agricultural Partnership
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year $3 billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This commitment includes $2 billion for programs cost-shared by the federal and provincial/territorial governments, with the programs designed and delivered by provinces and territories. Cap.alberta.ca/CAP
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