Strengthening Farming

Strengthening Farming is an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture that is jointly implemented with the Agricultural Land Commission. It provides guidance for local governments, First Nations and the farming community related to B.C.’s agricultural legislation. There are two key components: Farm Practices Protection and Planning for Agriculture.

Farm Practices Protection

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 Agricultural 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

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.

Local Government Bylaw Standards and Farm Bylaws

The 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.

Strengthening Farming Objectives

The main objectives are to:

  • Foster strong partnerships between local governments, the farm and ranching community and the province;
  • Support the right to farm within the agriculture and licensed aquaculture areas of the province;
  • Encourage a more prominent role for agriculture in local government planning processes and foster local government policy and regulation supporting farming;
  • Improve land use compatibility between farm and non-farm uses;
  • Encourage greater focus by local governments on the positive resolution of farm issues; and
  • improve agriculture awareness.

In April of 1996, The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) (FPPA) Act was passed by the Legislature and came into force. Along with the FPPA, consequential amendments were made at the same time to the Municipal Act (now Local Government Act) and the Land Title Act. The Agricultural Land Commission Act, dating to 1973, also provides important context for Strengthening Farming.