Planning for Biodiversity

As an Agricultural operation we are committed to managing our resources in a way that is both environmentally and economically sustainable. We believe that Biodiversity is a key pillar of Sustainability thus it is always a consideration in all decision making. We are aware that what we think about we bring about and developing an appreciation and valuing the biodiversity in our surroundings is the first step to enhancing the habitat and developing more complex ecosystems on the land that we manage.

Biodiversity for us includes, genetic diversity, species diversity, diversity of ecosystems and diversity of the health of the resource components. As we become more diligent in our observation skills we become more and more aware of the billions of interrelated organisms that contribute to the health of our soils and thus the diversity and resilience of our environment.

Our focus is on sustainability to ensure regenerative ecosystems. We are looking beyond conservation to regeneration and resilience of our biological resources.

Our approaches include:

  • Reducing negative impacts
    • Example when we observe soil eroding in a water run or wash we choose an action to minimize it. This could be re-landscaping the area or planting perennial species whose roots will stabilize the soil
    • Minimizing tillage operations and seeding with reduced soil disturbance
  • Promoting positive impacts
    • Stimulating biodiversity by planting multi-species crops, or protecting fragile areas or areas with species at risk ( ie leopard frog project)

We are guided by the concept of Creative thinking to develop potential solutions that are not restricted by current knowledge or “industry standard best practices”. Better questions can bring more thoughtful options and more effective strategies.

The dynamic framework by which we operate includes:

  1. developing  baseline information
    1. For us this has occurred over the past 40 years and continues to occur. We practice and develop observation skills to become more aware of the diversity in and on the land in the short grass prairie part of the province in which we live, This includes:
      1. Continuous learning
        1. Taking advantage online regenerative ag presentations
        1. Attending workshops to increase knowledge of species at risk, their preferred habitats, indicators of change and strategies to support their communities and critical habitats
        1. Holistic Resource Management training experiences
        1. Western Grazing and Forage Conferences
        1. Beef Industry Conferences
      1. Participation in organizations which value biodiversity
        1. SSGA membership – 40 years
        1. CCA Environment Committee chairperson – 10 years
        1. Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Council – 30 year member
        1. Member and past director of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada
      1. Participation in inventory opportunities of the natural resources
        1. Grasslands song birds inventory
        1. Half acre grazing exclosures est. 1991
        1. Migratory bird observation 3rd week of May, over 110 species observed ( Gus Yaki)
        1. Bug research
        1. Soil infiltration test sites
        1. Plant species identification monitoring
      1. Collaborative Ventures (recent)
        1. Working with Simply Ag Solutions re infrastructure development to enhance Leopard frog habitat – 2018
        1. Product trials with Back to your Roots Soil Solutions – 2020
  2. Monitoring
    1. We use observation, photos and journaling to document
    1. This year we have added infiltration data to our baseline and monitoring strategy
    1. We have participated in and completed the McDonalds verified sustainable Beef Pilot
    1. We have completed an Environmental Farm Plan
  3. Adaptive Management
    1. Ongoing evaluation of actions through observation and monitoring, implement re-adjusted measures, review
  4. Review, reassessment and Update of next steps
    1. All measures must be appropriate for the capacity of our resources, we may also seek collaboration for implementation.

We are intentional in our approach to management and all decisions are made through the lens of biological diversity, profitability and environmental sustainability.

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