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By Ken Lewis, Conservation Coordinator
Way, way back in 2013, Red Deer County started delivering an ALUS Program. ALUS was relatively unknown back in 2013, when we first started seeking farmers and ranchers to participate in it. To top it off, we had a limited budget as we were just dipping our toes into ALUS waters.
Despite that, five brave souls decided to dip their toes in with us, and they became the “First Five” in ALUS Red Deer County.
These folks signed five-year ALUS Conservation Agreements with us. 2018 is the last year of these agreements. So, the “First Five” also get the distinction of being the first farmers and ranchers who will be given the option of renewing their ALUS Conservation Agreements.
In 2018, ALUS is delivered in communities across the country, in partnership with ALUS Canada. Now national in scope, renewals with agricultural producers help us show the world, that ALUS Farmers and Ranchers are producing ecosystem services for the long term.
In total, the “First Five” enrolled 125 acres in the ALUS Program and installed over 10,000 feet (three kms) of riparian management fencing. These acres are now producing increased ecosystem services like flood and drought mitigation, water filtration, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, and much more. These ecosystem services have real economic value to society. ALUS transfers some of that economic benefit to the people who are producing these services…in this case, the “First Five.”
A huge thank you goes out to the Johnson, Burns, Poole, Nicholson and Church families for helping get the ALUS Program started in Red Deer County. Quite literally, we could not have done it without you.