Overview

The Alberta government sponsors a farm-level survey to track adoption of beneficial management practices (BMPs) in Alberta. Results from the Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Tracking Survey (ESATS) provide valuable information about BMP progress in Alberta. Survey results also help government improve environmentally sustainable agriculture programs and activities to encourage producers to adopt beneficial management practices.

2023 ESATS Report

In 2023, Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation contracted with Kynetec Canada to deliver the ESATS and build upon previous surveys. This year’s survey continued with the transition from 8 management focus areas to 4 key environmental areas: soil, air, water and biodiversity. However, additional BMPs are included as well as exploring producers’ knowledge and likelihood of using conservation easements tools and wetland identification.

Methodology

Kynetec Canada, an agriculture market research company, conducted a mixed approach of telephone and online survey with a random and representative sample of 502 Alberta agricultural producers. The final data were weighted to ensure the overall sample’s regional and gross farm sales composition reflects that of actual farm distribution in Alberta based on the 2021 Census of Agriculture. With a sample of 502, results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of Alberta farms been surveyed.

Survey results

2021 ESATS Report

In 2021, Alberta Agriculture Forestry and Rural Economic Development collaborated with the University of Alberta to complete a survey with some similarities to the previous ESATS. This report presented key results from 2021 and compared them to some of the previous ESATS results for 2012 to 2018. The key agri-environmental risk areas examined in 2021 were:

  • soil health
  • water quality
  • air quality
  • biodiversity

Assessing awareness and use of Decision Making Support Tools and Resources continued from the previous ESATS. New to the 2021 ESATS was the addition of economic, conservation and lifestyle measures as well as examining Alberta producers’ opinions on participating in sustainable sourcing opportunities.

Survey results

The 2021 Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Tracking Report is available on a University of Alberta reporting page. The environmentally sustainable agriculture practice use pertains to the 2020 production year while the awareness and use of decision making support tools and resources, the economic, conservation and lifestyle measures and sustainable sourcing opinions pertain to 2021. Also see this link for a webinar recording: 2021 ESATS Webinar.

2018 ESATS report

Key environmental issues examined in the 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 surveys were:

  • soil conservation
  • management practices that impact water quality and/or quantity
  • wildlife habitat conservation
  • grazing management
  • manure management
  • agricultural waste management
  • energy and climate change
  • general practices

In 2016 and 2018, additional survey topics included awareness and use of various decision support resources.

A new section in the 2018 ESATS further explored awareness and readiness of Alberta producers to meet current and emerging sustainability initiatives with expectations on agricultural production systems.

Survey results

The 2018 Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Tracking Survey Report presents key results from the 2018 survey. Information about farm practices related to the 2017 production year, while information about awareness and use of decision-making tools and resources and sustainability initiatives pertain to 2018.

See also the 2018 ESATS webinar.

Resources

Publications

Webinars

Watch the current ESATS webinar and previous webinars on Agriculture and Innovation’s Sustainability Series YouTube page.

Contact

Connect with the ESATS team:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: [email protected]