Support for Local Governments Planning for Agriculture
Central to the Strengthening Farming program is the work of the
Ministry of Agriculture and the
Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) with its local government
partners - working together to strengthen farming in BC.
Building upon long-standing planning processes, Strengthening
Farming provides an opportunity to integrate local government
experience with the agricultural knowledge housed within the
It also integrates the considerable work of the ALC with regional districts and
municipalities in administering the farmland preservation program.
The core of this effort rests with the Ministry/ ALC Agri-Teams and the
co-ordinating function of the Resource Management Branch of Ministry
of Agriculture and Lands.
Support for local governments in their efforts to strengthen
farming is outlined below:
To provide direct assistance to those local governments with land in
the Agricultural Land Reserve, a two or three person provincial "Agri-Team"
has been formed.
Each Agri-Team is made up of at least one regional Ministry agrologist and
a regional planner from the Agricultural Land Commission - drawing
together their agricultural and planning skills. Depending upon
the initiative or issue at hand, only
one of the Agri-team members may need to be directly involved. At the same
time, Agri-Teams are able to consult with colleagues to draw upon the
broader resources housed within the Ministry and the ALC.
When working together with local government representatives
and members of the farm community, the Agri-Teams form only part of a
broader "strengthening farming team".
Agri-Team staff can be called upon for assistance
and advice on a wide variety of agricultural related topics including:
questions about farm practices;
inquiries about the ALR;
acting as a resource person in support
of Agricultural Advisory Committees;
working with local governments on
official community plan and bylaw review;
assisting with the development of agricultural area plans or farm bylaws;
providing links with farm organizations and individuals associated with particular commodities;
assisting with the organizing of farm tours
and other awareness efforts.
Agri Team Members-
Over several years, the Agricultural Land Commission and the Ministry
have developed a wide range of factsheets, brochures
and guide documents to support both the strengthening farming
and farmland preservation programs.
Many of these documents have been developed with the assistance and
input from local governments, approving officers, other provincial
agencies and members of the farm community.
to Strengthening Farming
GIS and LAND USE INVENTORIES
A strong understanding of the land base is vital when undertaking
any planning process or dealing with land use issues. A long history
exists of applying geographic information systems (GIS) and
land use inventories in urban areas - but far less so in
In 2001, the Ministry worked with the District of Pitt Meadows on
the "Pitt Meadows Pilot Project". This project looked in detail at
methods of effectively applying GIS technology and land use
inventories in an agricultural area.
To directly assist local governments further, the Ministry has been
actively partnering with local governments to complete
agricultural land use inventories and apply the technology.
Linking land use inventories to the undertaking of an agricultural
area plan, or an official community plan, or zoning bylaw review, has
proven particularly effective.
Sustainable Agriculture Management Branch
staff would be happy to meet with local governments that are
interested in pursuing the application of GIS or undertaking a land
GIS and Land Use
The Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAF) provides funding assistance to local governments for the development of agricultural area plans. Built into IAF support is the need to directly involve representatives of the local farm community.
Please visit the IAF website for more information on their Local Government Agricultural Planning Program or contact the Foundation at:
Telephone: 250 356-1662
For more information about possible funding
assistance, please contact the following:
Sustainable Agriculture Management Branch
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE MANAGEMENT BRANCH
The Sustainable Agriculture Management Branch of Ministry of Agriculture plays a co-ordinating role
for the Strengthening Farming Program - working closely with the
Agricultural Land Commission and others in the Ministry. The Branch
has also been responsible for developing many of the guide documents and other
information associated with the program.
Agri-Teams play a central role when working with local governments
and should be considered as a point of first contact. In
consultation with Agri-Teams, Resource Management Branch provides
advice on the following:
general enquiries about the
Strengthening Farming program;
questions related to Strengthening
developing policy and
guidelines related to zoning and farm bylaws;
information concerning the appointment
of agricultural advisory committee and associated workshops;
information and advice on agricultural
GIS and land use inventory projects;
initiating agricultural area plans;
undertaking edge planning processes;
funding support for
information about local government
agricultural statistical products;
general advice only on Strengthening
Farming associated legislation - (more detailed interpretive
questions should be considered by legal counsel); and
input / comments on the
Strengthening Farming web site.