Agricultural area plans
An Agricultural Area Plan focuses on a community's farm area to discover practical solutions to issues and identify opportunities to strengthen farming and ultimately to contribute to agriculture and the community's long-term sustainability. These plans are often referred to as an Agricultural Area Plan or Agricultural Area Strategy.
B.C.’s Local Government Act makes provision for municipalities and regional districts to develop official plans for portions of their jurisdictions - often referred to as neighbourhood or local area plans. The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) and Ministry of Agriculture actively support local government initiatives to develop Agricultural Area Plans.
While every agricultural planning area is unique with a specific set of challenges and opportunities, there are a number of common features to the process of developing an Agricultural Area Plan. These include:
- The planning process is led by the municipality or regional district
- Care is taken in defining the agricultural planning area
- An agricultural planning steering committee normally guides the process
- The steering committee should be inclusive of members of the farm community - an Agricultural Advisory Committee may be called upon to assist or act as the Agricultural Area Plan steering committee
- Ministry and Agricultural Land Commission representatives are often asked to participate and provide resource assistance
- The information base is strengthened by such means as land use inventories, statistical material and the development of a background report
- Issues and opportunities are identified to guide the emerging plan policies
- The plan's policies are intentionally "action oriented" providing practical solutions to the local issues that are identified
- A clear plan for implementation is included
- Organizations that are best positioned to implement solutions are identified
For local governments that may be interesting in developing an agricultural area plan, ministry and Agricultural Land Commission staff provide advice based on their experience working on similar projects with other municipalities and regional districts.
Informational material has also been developed by the ministry related to agricultural area plans and land use inventories and GIS to assist with local planning efforts. The ministry may also be able to assist the process with the development of agricultural statistical products.
For more information contact your nearest Agri-team member.