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Government consults on farmland, ALR

Betting-the-Farm_optThe Ministry of Agriculture has begun consultations with BC farmers to help farming families earn a better living and have more opportunities to use their land.

“We’re talking with BC farmers, local governments and the ALC to draw on their collective expertise about how we can support BC farmers and their families, and ensure the generations to come can continue to produce food on BC farmland," says Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick. "I look forward to hearing the ideas and opportunities identified in the coming weeks.”

The consultations with farmers will inform the drafting of regulations related to Bill 24. Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick recently met in Richmond with representatives from the B.C. Agriculture Council, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to discuss the consultation process.

Based on their feedback, 11 questions were identified as key areas for consultation. The questions focus on identifying what steps can be taken to balance our desire to protect valuable farmland and further support farming families and the farming sector.

“Discussion with farmers and ranchers throughout the province is an important step in the process of updating the ALR regulations," says ALC chair Richard Bullock. I look forward to hearing from those ALR stakeholders on how they believe changes can enhance farm and ranch businesses and strengthen the protection of the land base that is essential to sustainable agriculture in the long term.”

Submit your ideas

In the coming weeks, senior ministry officials will host stakeholder consultations in each of the six regions of the province’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), and in addition to these meetings provide British Columbians an opportunity to review the discussion paper and submit their ideas by August 22 at: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/landreserve or directly via Canada Post.

At the close of the consultations, the input from the regional meetings and website will be summarized and presented by Minister Letnick to the minister's reference group consisting of the BC Agriculture Council, UBCM and ALC representatives for further comment and discussion, before being presented to government for consideration.

From the archives

OkanaganLife_June_2007Betting the Farm

June 2007 Okanagan Life Magazine Archives
BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)is recognized internationally as a progressive tool for protecting farmland and a model for other jurisdictions. But the land it safeguards is increasingly under threat, especially here in the Okanagan.

  • Should the parameters for allowable on-farm food storage, packing, processing and retail establishments be revised?
  • Should breweries, distilleries and meaderies be allowed on ALR land on the same or similar terms as wineries and cideries are currently allowed?
  • Should the allowable footprint for consumption areas (or lounges) ancillary to wineries and cideries (and potentially also breweries, distilleries and meaderies) be increased, and if so on what basis?
  • To what extent should wineries and cideries (and potentially breweries, distilleries and meaderies) be allowed to sell alcohol that was produced elsewhere in B.C., not at the winery or cidery?
  • Should anaerobic digesters be permitted in the ALR if the inputs are generated from farming activities?
  • Should on-farm cogeneration facilities be permitted on farms where a portion of the energy created is used on-farm?
  • Should the parameters be expanded for when non-agriculture related businesses are allowed to operate on ALR properties in Zone 2?
  • Should the subdivision of ALR properties in Zone 2 to a minimum parcel size of a quarter section be allowed without an application to the ALC?
  • Should greater clarity be provided on what constitutes an agri-tourism activity that is allowable in the ALR without an application?
  • Should the subdivision of ALR parcels in Zone 2 that are of a defined size, and that are divided by a major highway or waterway, be allowed without an application to the ALC?
  • Should temporary leases of portions of a property in Zone 2 of the ALR be allowed without an application to the ALC for:

(a) intergenerational transfer of an active farm or ranch operation; and/or
(b) to encourage the use of otherwise unfarmed land by existing or new farmers?

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