Compliance Assessment of Agricultural Practices over Two Sensitive Drinking Water Aquifers in the Lower Fraser Valley, British Columbia

October 2003 - February 2004

The findings in this report come from visits to 82 farms, both commercial and hobby.

The report finds that, overall, the vast majority of commercial farms (86%) are in compliance with standards for environmental protection.

It also showed areas where compliance rates would improve by providing farmers, particularly hobby farmers, with the latest standards for environmental protection. Steps have already been taken to ensure this educational material is available.

The study developed several recommendations which have or will be acted upon through joint efforts of government and the agriculture sector.

Below, you will find the six key recommendations from the above named report and actions taken to date, or planned. The full report is available through the link below.

Recommendation 1

The agricultural sector is leading the Environmental Farm Planning (EFP) program and producer involvement has been impressive to date. Ministry staff continue to encourage producers to take advantage of the program to address on-farm environmental issues. Industry is also involved with many other initiatives including the International Airshed Strategy.

Recommendation 2

The ministry, in conjunction with industry and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF), continues to prepare the manure spreading advisories and post on the Farmwest website. Other practice information continues to be posted on the website as well. The Lower Mainland Regional website is also being upgraded to include postings of compliance assessments.

Recommendation 3

Although detailed risk assessment of environmental impacts from non-compliant hobby versus commercial farms is not planned at this time, a follow-up compliance assessment in the Cloverdale area is evaluating observed water quality impacts as they relate to hobby and commercial farms. The findings from this assessment will help to provide guidance on further work.

Recommendation 4

With respect to working with the horse industry, ministry staff will be contacting representatives of the horse industry to look at options for improving compliance. It is expected that the ministry will prepare information that can be distributed at the various horse industry functions. In addition, ministry staff is exploring opportunities to visit individual horse farms to discuss environmental issues specific to each farm.

Recommendation 5

The ministry has acted on the fifth recommendation and is currently assessing the degree of compliance of those producers found spreading agricultural by-products in February 2005. The assessment had an aerial and ground component and is being completed in conjunction with MAFF and industry.

Recommendation 6

The ministry is working to improve its relationship with the various commodity associations as a solid relationship will result in a better understanding of each other's issues and improved overall compliance. To date, industry has accompanied ministry staff on a tour of a dairy operation in Lynden WA, where manure is used to generate electricity. The commodity associations have assumed some responsibility with responding to complaints that the Ministry receives and working directly with their members to resolve non-compliance issues. The ministry also continues to work with industry and MAFF on the Nutrient Management Committee and the Partnership Committee on Agriculture and the Environment.