Environmental Stewardship: Defining Your Ethic in a Policy Statement

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    21-Jan-2015

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An environmental policy statement (EPS) is a proactive way to communicate about a farms environmental stewardship ethic. At first glance, this might seem like a feel good exercise with very little practical value. However, experience has shown that farmers and ranchers are quick to identify ways they can use the policy statement for their operation. The exercise stimulates conversations that many farm operators have not previously initiated with family or employees. In addition to providing a starting point for environmental planning, it is an excellent activity to include in business management programs and curriculum.

Transcript

1. Environmental Stewardship:Defining Your Ethic in a Policy StatementThomas Bass, Montana State UniversityJill Heemstra, University of Nebraska - LincolnBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 2. Environmental Concerns:Social ClimatePublic has increased concern for environmental issuesPublic also has lack of food, fiber and natural resource literacyNeighbor Relations & Complicating Factorsurban encroachmentnon-ag rural neighborsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 3. Environmental ConcernsPrimarily non-point source (NPS) water pollutionCollective run-off from an area (picture depicts sediment from a large construction site) Ag NPS could be from animal confinement & manure storage;chemical/fuel storage; fields;farm roadsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 4. Existing RegulationsPrimarily water quality drivenClean Water Act (CWA: USEPA, 1972, 77 & 87)State rules and delegated authorityState enforces on behalf of federal governmentLocal ordinanceszoning, setbacks, air quality, otherBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 5. Animal Feeding OperationsMost detailed rules apply to Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs & CAFOs)Permitting: federal and/or state levelBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 6. Pasture, Crop Land, Managed Forests & OrchardsLittle specific regulation existsPoor management could attract unwanted attentionClean Water Act can still applyOpportunity for voluntary conservation!Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 7. Fuel StorageUS EPA new rules in effect Nov. 2010Spill Prevention, Control & Countermeasure Plan(SPCC)above-ground fuel storage capacity exceeding 1,320 gallons42,000 gallons (capacity)of buried containersBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 8. Other Environmental IssuesAir Quality: interrelated issueschemical compoundsodor & dust Noxious WeedsWildlife/habitatOthers?Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 9. Overwhelmed? Help is available.ExtensionYoung Farmer/Rancher AdvisorsUSDA-NRCSConservation DistrictsFellow ProducersConsultantsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 10. Educate YourselfPublications from land-grant universities, agencies, associations and NGOsValid online resources!Local, state & national events or conferencesFarmer-to-Farmer, mentors, colleagues, peersIn-person (local connections)Industry groups, commodity groupsOnline; social mediaBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 11. Overwhelmed?Create Your Own Environmental PlanBe proactive, make your own decisions for good managementDeclare and document the good practices you already doPlan for future conservation practicesCOMMUNICATE about your stewardship!Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 12. What is important to you and your community?Are there environmental issues in your community, state or region for which farms or ranches are generally viewed in a negative way? Are there environmental issues in your community, state or region for which farms and ranches are generally viewed in a positive way?Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 13. What is important to you and your community?List examples of resources that need protection and how farms may be connected to them? What issues do you see as being especially important 5 years from now? Further into the future?Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 14. BREAK FOR DISCUSSIONBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 15. Planning Starts with a FarmEnvironmental Policy StatementA policy statement briefly describes your operation and includes commitments to:Environmental stewardshipContinual improvementCompliance with all pertinent laws and regulationsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 16. Environmental Policy as a Communication ToolHelp guide your business decisions, but also:Share with buyers/marketsShare with lenders/insurersShare with neighborsUse for emergency communication after an accident or natural disasterShare in first stages of a regulatory inquiryBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 17. Environmental Policy StatementsDescription: your farm, business and family goalsEnvironmental issues: relevant to your location, watershed or communityCompliance: commitment to comply with applicable rulesBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 18. Environmental Policy StatementsStewardship: specific resource and environmental goals important to your operation Continuous Improvement: commitment to evaluate yourself and improve continuously as your operation growsBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 19. Note: tips for statementsStatement should not be genericDO NOT use finite wording: use reduce or limit instead of eliminateDO NOT use time references: will continually improve or stewardship instead of will accomplish in 5 yearsExamples in packet are for guidanceBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 20. BREAK FOR EXERCISE(examples & worksheets)Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 21. Communicating Ag AdvocacyIf you have a web presence, use your policy statement onlinePost on your farm websiteAdvocate Ag in your social networkingWrite about your stewardship in blogsShare your stewardship on emerging social/online networkingBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 22. Becoming a LeaderAgriculture can be profitable;environmental issues should not scare anyone from the business!You can develop and protect natural resources while providing food, fiber and other services to the world.You must become your own advocate!Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 23. Conclusion and QuestionsThank you for your time and your commitment to environmental stewardship! Building Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA) 24. Contact InformationJill Heemstra: jheemstra@unl.eduTommy Bass: tmbass@montana.eduBuilding Environmental Leaders in Animal Agriculture (BELAA)

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