Agricultural Advisory Committees
What is an Agricultural Advisory Committee?
Agricultural Advisory Committees are an effective way for local governments to link with their farm and ranch communities. An Agricultural Advisory Committee is appointed and functions similarly to other advisory committees of municipal councils or regional boards. A key asset is that members are predominantly drawn from the farm and ranching community and the committee focuses on agricultural issues. Over 40 local governments have appointed committees to work with councils and regional boards and their staff.
Local governments with Agricultural Advisory Committees have access to the advice of knowledgeable members of the farm community in a timely manner, on any issue that might affect agriculture. Although each committee functions slightly differently, most advise local governments in two areas: day-to-day issues and broader initiatives.
- Review proposed bylaws, official community plans and rezoning applications
- Advise on applications under the Agricultural Land Commission Act
- Share insight on water supply and drainage issues
- Give feedback on the effectiveness of insect and weed control programs
- Provide input on parks and recreation, transportation, growth management plans and other land use proposals that impact agriculture
- Steer agricultural studies, economic plans, and agricultural area plans to completion
- Assist with implementation of the plans for the agriculture and food sectors
- Assist with the development of agricultural edge policies to enhance land use compatibility
- Advise on the need for and appropriateness of farm bylaws
- Steer studies and reports on farm infrastructure needs
- Propose local government policies related to farming
- Advise on opportunities for joint funding of drainage or irrigation works
- Steer studies on the impacts of transportation corridors and park and recreation proposals
- Raise agricultural awareness
- Assist with farm tours and on-farm visits
- Contribute to Agriculture in the Classroom initiatives
Provincial support and resources
The Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Land Commission support Agricultural Advisory Committees by making knowledgeable personnel available and by sharing information. Staff can also be available to attend meetings as non-voting technical resource members. The Ministry of Agriculture also hosts biannual workshops and provides helpful tools including:
Workshops have been organized every two years since 2003. The overall objective of these workshops is to enable participants to gather ideas and information that can help them provide effective advice and support to local councils and boards.
The workshops have been highly successful, and participants have expressed interest in alternating between a province-wide workshop and a series of regional workshops. In 2009, three regional workshops were held. In 2011, the workshop was held on a province-wide basis. In 2013 there were three regional workshops. When the first workshop was held in 2003, there were only 10 Agricultural Advisory Committees. At the time of the 2013 workshop, there were 46 committees!