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P.E.I. plans meetings to introduce ALUS

Prince Edward Island’s agriculture department will host a series of public meetings next week for farmers and landowners to learn about the province’s new Alternate Land Use Services (ALUS) program.

“We are developing a community-led program that identifies desired environmental outcomes and rewards farmers for work that delivers the environmental protection we seek,” provincial Environment Minister George Webster said in a release Wednesday announcing the meetings.

The provincial government, which in April announced its plans to take ALUS provincewide, set aside $750,000 to fund ALUS in its first year.

The program offers annual payments in exchange for five-year commitments to farmer-delivered environmental measures in areas under annual crop production.

ALUS has run as pilot programs in Manitoba and Ontario, but P.E.I. is the first province in Canada to try such a program provincewide.

“The introduction of an ALUS program is important in showing recognition for the environmental stewardship practiced by P.E.I. farmers,” said John Colwill, a farmer at Tyne Valley, northwest of Summerside, and president of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.

“We are confident this program will initiate a number of long-term environmental activities that will benefit farmers and Islanders alike,” he said.

The province’s ALUS meetings are scheduled for Covehead on Dec. 15, Kensington on Dec. 16, O’Leary on Dec. 17, Montague on Dec. 18 and Souris on Dec. 19. For more information on the program, farmers may also want to call the province’s ALUS co-ordinator Shawn Hill at 902-620-3725.

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