Land Care Programs
The Kneehill County Agricultural Service Board is committed to preserving and protecting our land, water, and ecosystems through the sharing of significant, innovative advances in sustainable agriculture and land care practices.
By partnering with various organizations striving to improve environmental stewardship and agriculture sustainability, Ag Services provides support and correspondence reflective of the world and industry today. Part of this initiative involves hosting educational events on a variety of topics throughout the year.
Riparian areas are the natural, diverse ecosystems between water bodies and upland areas. They have a substantial impact on water quality. By establishing permanently vegetated buffer zones and restricting livestock access to less sensitive times of the year, we can enhance their natural ability to reduce flooding and erosion and increase nutrient and toxin filtration. Agriculture Services staff have experience and resources available to assist with riparian management.
In an effort to improve and protect water quality within Kneehill County and for those downstream, the Kneehill County ASB developed a program for repairing and/or enhancing riparian areas and seasonal waterways. The Riparian Restoration Program is funded through the ASB Environmental Funding Stream Grant from Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development. Through this program, producers, (upon project approval by Agriculture Services staff) will receive enough certified grass seed mix to complete their project for FREE. Participants are also eligible for 75% of the costs of other enhancement supplies such as fencing or woody vegetation, up to a maximum of $2000. This program is open only to Kneehill County ratepayers, and only on lands within County borders. The program will also be on a first-come, first-served basis and will be available for a limited amount of people.
Kneehill County partners with the Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society, also known as “Cows and Fish”, a non-profit society striving to foster a better understanding of how improvements in grazing and other management of riparian areas can enhance landscape health and productivity, for the benefit of landowners, agricultural producers, communities and others who use and value riparian areas.
Water Well Decommissioning
Private water wells are a vital part of rural life. Maintaining and protecting their integrity is essential. Kneehill County supports and promotes the Alberta Government's Water for Life Strategy and Working Well Program. Agriculture Services Land Care regularly offers Working Well Workshops for residents.
Household Water Testing can be completed through Alberta Health Services.
Abandoned wells allow for direct access to the aquifer through rusting casings and missing caps. These well-access points are where vermin, above-ground minerals, nutrients, animal waste, pesticides, and chemicals can directly access and contaminate the aquifers and watershed. There are a number of methods for decommissioning a well that can be completed by a local licensed water well-drilling company. Currently, a maximum of $500 per well is being offered to Kneehill County ratepayers to aid in water well-decommissioning costs, while funds last, operated on a first-come, first-served basis. (Projects are subject to the approval of the Agriculture Services staff.) The Canadian Agriculture Partnership Program also offers funding for the decommissioning of abandoned water wells.
Environmental Farm Plan
An Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary, confidential, whole-farm self-assessment tool that helps producers identify their environmental risks and develop plans to increase environmental sustainability. EFP Technicians work together with farmers committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable farm practices to create a well-rounded EFP and enhance their knowledge of best management practices. Recently, many commodity groups and product buyers have started to require EFPs for their producers. Kneehill County has a trained EFP technician available to assist producers in completing their plans. Contact Kneehill County or visit www.albertaefp.com.
Green Acreages Program
The Green Acreages program offers publications, workshops, and incentives developed especially for acreage, hobby farms, and recreational property owners to help them implement stewardship practices that conserve and protect their valuable natural assets (such as air, land, water, and wildlife).
The Green Acreages Guide Workbook takes stewardship to the next level. This self-directed Workbook is organized into chapters; each chapter begins with an overview of an issue and background information, includes relevant legislation, offers examples of beneficial management practices, and provides sources of additional information. At the end of each module, worksheets allow acreage owners to evaluate how they manage their property.
As part of the Kneehill County commitment to land stewardship and sustainability, we have a limited amount of Green Acreages Guide Workbooks available for Kneehill County ratepayers for FREE. Contact the Kneehill County office for more information or visit the Green Acreages website.