Mid Island Farmer’s Institute discusses environment and water plans

First meeting of the fall season is Sept. 19

Environment and water plans will be on the agenda for the first fall meeting of the Mid Island Farmer’s Institute on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m. at the Merville Hall, 1245 Fenwick Rd.

Speakers from the Environmental Farm Plan and the newly established Tsolum River Agricultural Watershed Plan will be present.

First off, Melanie Dyson, the North Island Environmental Farm Plan advisor, will be talking about the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP); a voluntary, confidential environmental risk assessment program that is free to producers.

Developing a plan can help producers increase the farm’s environmental sustainability, while identifying ways to increase efficiency, profitability and even gain new customers. The program is a great tool for farmers to see how they’re doing. Producers with an EFP also have the opportunity to access cost share-funding to address environmentally-based improvements on their farm through the Beneficial Management Practices Program.

After a short break, Christina Metherall will talk about her work with the Tsolum River and agricultural water demand. The Tsolum River watershed and its aquifers provide water that is critical to the health of the local agricultural community and the health of the environment. In addition, the Tsolum River and its aquifers also provide drinking water for homes, businesses, a school, and community centres.

The CVRD is developing the Tsolum River Agricultural Watershed Plan to address current and future concerns about water availability for both agriculture and instream needs. This work is funded in part through a grant program administered by the British Columbia Investment Agriculture Foundation.

The CVRD wants to hear from watershed residents, producers, and other stakeholders. Is access to water affecting your home, farm, business, or future planning? Stakeholders can also provide feedback on the planning process through a project questionnaire and public meeting (details to be released shortly).

Entrance to the meeting is by donation or free for members of the Mid Island Farmers Institute. Memberships for the 2018-19 year are currently being renewed and cost $20. Any resident of the Comox Valley is welcome to register. For more information, please contact Arzeena Hamir at 250-702-5657 or visit the Institute’s Facebook group.

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