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

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.

2018 ESATS report

New to the 2018 ESATS is a section that further explores awareness and readiness of Alberta producers to meet current and emerging sustainability initiatives with expectations on agricultural production systems.


Kynetec Canada, an agriculture market research company, conducted a telephone survey with a random and representative sample of 500 Alberta agricultural producers between January 2 and 21, 2018. 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 2016 Census of Agriculture. With a sample of 500, 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

The 2018 Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Tracking Survey Report presents key results from the 2018 survey. Information about farm practices relates 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 below.

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 presents key results from 2021 and compares to some of the previous ESATS results for 2012-2018. The key agri-environmental risk areas examined in 2021 are:

  • Soil Health
  • Water Quality
  • Air Quality
  • Biodiversity

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

Survey Results

The 2021 Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Tracking Report is available on a University of Alberta’s 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.





Connect with the ESATS team:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-980-4200
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

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