Ministry of Agriculture

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 Ministry.  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; and

  • assisting with the organizing of farm tours and other awareness efforts.

Agri Team Members- Contact Information


Publications Related to Strengthening Farming


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.

Publications Related to Strengthening Farming





Land Use Inventory MapA 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 agricultural settings.

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 use inventory.

GIS and Land Use




Investment Agriculture Foundation

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




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 Farming publications;

  • 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 agricultural-focused projects;

  • 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.