AGRI-TEAMS consisting of at least one Regional Agrologist and one ALC Regional Planner provide direct assistance to local governments and other stakeholders concerning agricultural land.
The Strengthening Farming Program provides guidance and support for local governments, First Nations and the farming community throughout the province relating to B.C.’s agricultural legislation.
Strengthening Farming is an initiative of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture that is jointly implemented with the Agricultural Land Commission.
The Strengthening Farming Program has two key components:
The first key component involves the Province’s Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act legislation which underpins efforts to protect current farm practices. This legislation is founded on the principle that farmers have a right to farm in the Agicultural Land Reserve (ALR), in licenced aquaculture areas, and other areas designated for farming by local governments. The right to farm, however, is contingent upon ‘normal farm practices’ being used and compliance with other legislation such as B.C.'s Public Health Act, Integrated Pest Management Act, Environmental Management Act and other land use regulations.
Planning for Agriculture is the second component, along with Farm Practices Protection, of the Strengthening Farming Program.
Planning for Agriculture is broadly focused on developing strong working relationships between local governments, the farm community and the province to ensure that agriculture is given appropriate consideration in local government planning processes.
The ministry’s Guide for Bylaw Development in Farming Areas is available to assist local governments and others advance through an often complex provincial and local government regulatory environment. Regulations which address properties within the ALR, or are municipally zoned for agriculture, can often involve multiple stakeholders with sometimes conflicting interests.
The Bylaw Guide includes information on Minister’s Bylaw Standards (for local governments), Farm Bylaw Standards, and how local governments can become ‘regulated’ under Section 918 of the Local Government Act.
The Investment Agricultue Foundation of BC (IAF) provides funding assistance to local government for the development of Agricultural Area Plans. Built into the IAF support is the need to directly involve representatives of the local farm community. Visit the IAF website for more information on their Local Government Agricultural Planning Program. For more information about possible funding assistance contact the Innovation and Adaptation Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture.