Farm Practices in B.C. Reference Guide
British Columbia produces over 200 agricultural and aquaculture commodities resulting in a very diverse farm sector. To better understand normal farm practices, one of the early efforts after the implementation of the Strengthening Farming Program was the development of the Farm Practices in B.C. Reference Guide.
The guide was updated in 2014 and and is an attempt by the Ministry of Agriculture to list and describe many of B.C.'s diverse farm practices in general terms. It also refers the reader to existing government legislation, industry guidelines and other sources of information related to farm practices in B.C.
These guidelines are not formal standards, but do describe current practices used by farmers throughout B.C. The guide has been designed to be used by people seeking information related to issues and concerns raised about farm practices. The guide may also be used by the BC Farm Industry Review Board (BCFIRB), the statutory body established under the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act (FPPA) to hear formal complaints about farm practices.
The Reference Guide
This Reference Guide is composed of a series of factsheets on normal farm practices and is divided into three categories and four appendices. The intent of the nuisance factsheets is to provide more detailed information on dust, noise and odour that is referred to in some of the farm practice documents.
The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act (FFPA) includes licensed aquaculture as a farming activity. The B.C. Fisheries Act defines "aquaculture" as the growing and cultivation of aquatic plants, or fish, for commercial purposes, in any water environment or in manufactured containers of water and includes the growing and cultivation of shellfish on, in or under the foreshore or in the water. Aquaculture activities can occur on the land (e.g. commercial finfish or shellfish hatcheries), above the bed of the ocean or lakes, (e.g. oyster longlines or cages for salmon culture), or on beaches (e.g. beach culture of oysters).
The FPPA applies to all commercial aquaculture operations in the province. For Crown land operations, land tenure is a prerequisite to Aquaculture Licence issuance. Consequently, an aquaculture operation must meet all Crown land siting requirements in addition to the requirements of the Aquaculture Licence, before the FPPA applies. For land-based operations on private land, such as hatcheries and trout farms, the aquaculturist requires only an Aquaculture Licence for the Act to apply.
‘Normal Farm Practice’ Definition
A ‘normal farm practice’ is defined in the act to include an activity "that is conducted by a farm business in a manner consistent with proper and accepted customs and standards as established and followed by similar farm businesses under similar circumstances".
Regulations may also be enacted to further define normal farm practices. Farm practices vary among different commodities and with local or regional conditions across the province.