The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) and Growing your Farm Profits (GYFP) are practical, confidential self-assessment training tools designed to help farmers in Ontario to better understand and improve their environmental and socioeconomic performance by defining best practices and relevant regulations. This plain language format has resulted in a high level of producer engagement and acceptance of the approach.
Over the past decade, retailers, foodservice companies and other downstream players have been demanding greater transparency and performance from producers and suppliers on environmental and social criteria, either through first or third party standards.
- International standards often have criteria which are developed for applicability to any country - and do not take into consideration the higher standard of social/environmental standards inherent in laws in developed producer countries.
- Producers see a need to reduce the burden of reporting to duplicative standards through harmonization and recognizing equivalency.
Compared to international programs, EFP/GYFP provide a strong base for measuring planet, people and profit criteria, with a particular strength in “profit”.
From a content perspective, EFP/GYFP met or exceeded the other programs in 82% of the identified performance areas.
- Planet: Overall, this section is strong. While more explicit references could be made to climate change, the other gaps are very minor, relating to water efficiency, cleaners, soil health, waste monitoring and targets, identity preservation and air quality.
- People: With references to the appropriate federal laws (Canadian Labour Code, Health and Safety regulations, Temporary Foreign Worker Program) and standards (NFACC, food safety), this section would be strong. Minor amendments are needed for training, sustainable farming practices and industry support.
- Profit: Overall, this section is very strong. Minor gaps include performance management of employees, wasted production and management of temporary foreign workers.
Caveats/Limitations of the analysis
- This analysis covers only the content of the programs, not the verification mechanisms - actual outcomes/impacts from programs/standards can only be validated through audits or other verification.
- For comparison between programs that only contain quantitative metrics, these were examined and compared based on whether or not EFP/GYFP questions inherently need metrics to provide an answer to the question asked.
- Please note that the rating scale does not correspond with the 3 point scale of GYFP or the 4 point scale of EFP.
- Although the gap analysis focused on EFP and GYFP, there are additional Growing Forward 2 (GF2) components on Food Safety, Biosecurity, and Traceability that were not included in this analysis, including extensive resource material and self-assessments on many topics. Some of the deficiencies identified under the sustainability analysis may be addressed in these additional GF2 components.
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