Social Responsibility

The advantages of environmental stewardship in your business and community

Farm businesses share the landscape, air, ground and surface water with our local communities. In most cases, the farmers and employees have family roots in the local community as well. Stewardship of our shared natural resources has many advantages for both our farm and our neighbours. For example, some farming activities enhance the quality of life (e.g. beautiful landscape, healthy foods, habitat for wildlife and lakes safe for swimming). The most important thing to remember is that long-term farming depends on meeting today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to provide for themselves.

Assessing your farm’s environmental stewardship management can help:

  • Maintain or improve land, water, air, woodland and wildlife resources.
  • Ensure compliance with regulations;
  • Manage the impact risk of farming practices on neighbours
  • Create long-term business opportunities

Community Involvement

The farm is an important part of the local community and farm practices can affect the community. Community issues and actions can also affect the farm.

Involvement with your local community makes sense for a number of reasons:

• Creates goodwill for your farm business
• Provides business opportunities
• Reduces risks to the farm
• Creates training opportunities for farm team members in decision-making, organization and people management.

Industry Involvement

Industry developments and issues may affect individual farms. By actively participating in agricultural organizations, value and supply chains, and other business organizations, farm team members can contribute to industry solutions and industry advancement:

  • Helps to monitor trends and issues that can affect the future of the farm
  • Provides business opportunities
  • Reduces risks to the farm
  • Creates training opportunities for farm team members in decision-making, organization and people management.


Environmental Stewardship

Community involvement and Industry level involvement:

• Balance time and resources dedicated to the community and the industry with time and resources needed to run the farm business.
• Create a bank of goodwill in the community and with your customers to draw on when resolving concerns from the public.
• Communicate how your farm benefits the community e.g. through a media spokesperson, by hosting tours, by sponsoring events, or by installing signage like an Environmental Farm Plan gate sign.
• While benefiting your community and industry by taking part in events and organizations, look for ways to improve your business and individual skills.


• Incorporate best management and stewardship practices to improve and maintain the land, water, air, woodlot, and wildlife resource bases.
• Research for new technologies, production methods and management practices that make the most efficient use of the farm’s resource bases.
• Meet regulations and industry standards.
• Manage the impact risk of farming practices on neighbours.
• Maximize business opportunities through environmental stewardship activities.
• Analyze environmental, social and financial, benefits and costs, when making business decisions.

Social Responsibility Terms and Definitions

Community Involvement

Can include activities in your local municipality, school, faith, sports, recreation, business, or other shared interest group.

Environmental Farm Plan

A voluntary education and awareness program designed to help farmers prepare confidential and self-administered environmental risk assessments for their farms. Action plans are developed to deal with identified concerns.

Environmental Stewardship

The responsibility to take care of our natural resources and ensure they are managed in a sustainable way for current and future generations

Industry Level Involvement

Can include attending farm organization or industry meetings, serving on farm organization or industry boards, and taking part in farm organization or industry-led projects to find solutions to issues or promote success stories to consumers or the general public

Industry Networks

Organizations or associations that provide contacts for people in the same or related industries

Nutrient Management Plan (NMP)

A document prepared for a farm that gives an evaluation of which application rate is appropriate for the land base and what other application standards must be met

Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS)

A document prepared for a farm that shows how much manure or prescribed materials are produced yearly, how they’re stored, and where they are used

Value Added Market Opportunities

Refers to additional perceived value added to a product or service through image and marketing (e.g. organic produce)