OFCAF extends cost-share funding to farmers, empowering them to implement best management practices (BMPs) that foster sustainability and environmental responsibility.
During its first year, RDAR provided substantial support for the program:
One million acres of Alberta farmland involved;
Over 1,200 producers supported;
$10 million awarded in 2022, ~$18 million more committed in 2023. The program is likely to continue in 2024.
“As leaders in livestock, forage and crop production, Alberta’s producers are embracing on-farm practices that benefit both their operations and the environment,” said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, federal minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “With support through the On-Farm Climate Action Fund, producers are tackling climate change while building resiliency and a sustainable, competitive agriculture sector.”
“We are pleased to share the program’s success, supporting producer-led projects to address environmental and economic concerns – increasing profitability, improving long-term productivity, and powering sustainability,” says RDAR CEO Mark Redmond. “The strong demand for funding is evidence that Alberta farmers and ranchers are motivated to mitigate climate change while still growing revenues at the farm gate, protecting the environment, and producing food for the world.”
The OFCAF program lowers producers’ cost barriers to adopting BMPs in nitrogen emission reduction; cover cropping; and rotational grazing; tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhancing carbon sequestration.
“Quite often, the cost of trying a new technique is a barrier to adoption, particularly when the cost of adoption is high, and the success of the technique isn’t well known or accepted locally. Cost share programs, such as OFCAF, help by reducing the cost of the technique to aid in increasing adoption.” said Mike Hittinger, who received OFCAF funds to implement rotational grazing on his farm operation.
Producers are significantly impacting the agricultural landscape through their eagerness to implement new practices.
“These funds, and going through this OFCAF application process, has made us more aware of the environment — more aware of our grass health and wetlands health. The biggest goal for us with this funding is to preserve the natural grassland of our farm.” says Paul and Lori Kinnee, who received OFCAF funding to implement all three BMPs on their farmland, including rotational grazing on their natural grassland.
RDAR’s OFCAF Team continues to connect with producers and make them aware of the program’s benefits. Communication has taken the form of in-person meetings, presentations, webinars, online materials development, a monthly newsletter, and micro-credential courses.
“One of the key features of OFCAF is that it allows farmers and ranchers to take incremental steps, big or small, to improve their environmental footprint. Our Team continues to learn and be impressed by the constant flow of innovative plans producers implemented across Alberta and on all sizes and types of operation,” says Fiona Briody, OFCAF Program Manager, “In addition to my work at RDAR, I am a cattle rancher, and so I am thrilled to see that our program is supporting livestock producers as well as crop producers equally – a balance that differentiates us from the other OFCAF programs across Canada.”
AAFC has advised RDAR that the OFCAF program distribution partnership is tentatively planned to continue through March 2025. RDAR looks forward to extending our work with AAFC and our partners in developing climate change resiliency while building a sustainable, competitive agriculture sector that delivers economic benefits to producers.
OFCAF Farm Tour with Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
To commemorate one year of OFCAF, RDAR hosted the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay and guests on a central Alberta ranch tour to see first-hand the impact of OFCAF program funding and to talk with producers.
RDAR’s mandate is to target strategic investments in producer-led, results-driven agriculture research to power the profitability, productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability of Agriculture in Alberta. A not-for-profit corporation, RDAR’s funding comes from the Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada, and Alberta’s Government through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. www.rdar.ca
About the Agriculture Climate Solutions Program
Agricultural Climate Solutions (ACS) is a multi-stream program that will help to develop and implement farming practices to tackle climate change. By developing, evaluating, adopting, and surveying agricultural technologies and practices, ACS is focused on sequestering carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and delivering environmental benefits. Agricultural Climate Solutions – agriculture.canada.ca
RDAR | Results Driven Agriculture Research