Bryan Gilvesy, CEO of ALUS Canada, presented to the Wheatland County Agriculture Service Board during the Jan. 10 meeting, speaking about what ALUS is, as well as their purpose.

He explained the purpose of ALUS is to help rural communities, particularly farmers, provide environmental solutions and return positive impacts for the environment. 

“It is a response to the way that easements are delivered to us so that the only way conservation from our communities could happen was through a big conservation group like NCC or Ducks Unlimited,” he said. “It was a bit of a reaction to that, in that we wanted to control the agenda and it was also a rejection of the notion that farmers and ranchers should be regulated to be environmentally more sound.”

ALUS initially launched in 2004 with the Farmer’s Conservation Plan, which was a proposal in Norfolk County, Ont. to test Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) and create positive environmental impacts.

ALUS is currently networked in 38 communities across six provinces, with the initiative looking to spread to the United States later this year.

“Farmers in Iowa and Ohio have come to us and asked us to bring (our) program or the concept to them as well, and I think that is a real testament to how ALUS travels, and it can be applicable to any community setting, anywhere on the planet,” said Gilvesy. “It is becoming apparent that one of the things that we do very well is, we have opened the doors to try and create lots people that could come in to fund our programming, while maintaining a one-stop-shop for the farmer.”

The idea being that any given agriculturalist within a participating community can make a request from their local branch of the partnership, and money can be delivered to complete work from nonprofit organizations, government, or from philanthropic foundations. 

Gilvesy also emphasized ALUS is actively testing modified and regenerative agricultural practices, and applying a whole-farm approach to building nature based solutions. 

“The organization at ALUS Canada has an extensive programming now where we are trying to quantify the work, quantify the ecosystem services through technology and research partners,” he said. “The better we can quantify the work, the better we can understand the value that is being created through our work, and the better we can then communicate to our funding partners the value in dollars and cents, and that allows us to drive investments.”

More information regarding ALUS programming is available through their website, as well as via their presentation to the Agriculture Service Board, posted to the county’s YouTube channel.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 18, 2024 at 23:15

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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