Location: University of New Brunswick
Research Team: Van Lantz and Libby Johnston
Duration: May-December 2011
Brief Project Description:
The government of PEI is the first to implement a province-wide Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program in Canada. This voluntary program, which began in 2008, pays annual incentives to farmers to implement better management practices (BMPs) that improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and other ecological goods and services (EG&S). To-date, approximately 400 farmers have enrolled in the program, and have received over $650,000 in annual payments. Recently government officials have indicated a need to evaluate the program. The goal of this research project is to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the PEI ALUS program, and provide recommendations for further development.
Information will be collected using surveys and interviews. We will survey 800 farmers across the province, including 400 producers who are involved in ALUS, and 400 who are not. Questions asked in the survey will be developed with the participation of the PEI ALUS coordinator. Information gathered from each farmer will include: their farm operation characteristics (fields, crops, animals, production costs, etc.); their existing BMP adoption levels; reasons they have (or have not) participated in the ALUS program; the manner in which the ALUS program could be augmented to increase their participation; and their perspectives about additional BMPs being included in the program. Information gathered from government officials will include: perceptions of program success and longevity; perceptions of farmer participation/non-participation; assessment of monitoring and verification processes; etc. Funding for this project will be used to fund a Masters student to design and implement the survey and interviews, and assess the responses.
Information gathered from the interviews will be used primarily by government officials associated with the PEI ALUS program to help them improve the program. Other governments and organizations can use the information collected to inform their agri-environmental policies and programs.