Farmers in the County of Wetaskiwin and Leduc County are being asked to submit proposals to the non-profit Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) for potential funding for upcoming projects.Qiam Noori, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Farmers in the County of Wetaskiwin and Leduc County are being asked to submit proposals to the non-profit Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) for potential funding for upcoming projects. 

ALUS is run through the Counties’ Sustainable Agriculture Program partnership, which promotes the adoption of beneficial management practices as they pertain to water, soil, and energy management. Often these same practices enhance or improve nature on the landscape. 

Kim Barkwell, the agricultural coordinator for the County of Wetaskiwin told the Pipestone Flyer that they’re hoping to receive those applications by April – the beginning of the spring season so that the ALUS would have enough time to review and approve eligible projects. 

“There isn’t really any deadline. They can approach us throughout the year, however, it’s best if they approach us before the spring or April,” Barkwell noted. 

“So, we could help them build them a proposal and have it approved so that they could have all the season to do their projects,” she added. 

A Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC) reviews projects and makes funding decisions. 

Once a proposal is being accepted, ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc finances half of the costs of that project. 

“One of the benefits of the ALUS is the financial aspect so that the farmers don’t have to pay as much to implement projects on the ground,” Barkwell explained. 

Barkewell further detailed that “the other benefit is that the livestock have off-side watering. The livestock aren’t going to get their feet wet. They’re drinking cleaner water and production benefit can be from that,” she said. 

ALUS enrolled 133.5 new acres and renewed 37.5 contract acres with a combined 10 participants in 2023, Barkwell added. 

“Projects established were solar watering systems off wells and surface water bodies and fencing to manage livestock access to waterbodies and other environmentally sensitive areas. One project converted one acre of marginal cropland to tame forages,” she said. 

Barkwell also noted that in 2023, more than $30,000 was awarded to farmers. 

ALUS is a national not-for-profit organization that works with farmers across the county to help them better manage their projects. 

As per their website, more than 1,600 farmers and ranchers participate in the ALUS program in Canada. 

“They create, restore and enhance nature on their lands to help build community resilience,” their website reads. 

In the meantime, a spokesperson for the County of Wetaskiwin, Naomi Finseth said in the coming months ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc would arrange a series of educational programs for farmers about how the organization can help them. 

“Letting people know what’s available and helping them through the questions they might have,” Finseth said. 

By Qiam Noori, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 05, 2024 at 13:46

This item reprinted with permission from   Ponoka News   Ponoka News, Alberta

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