Land use - extensive agriculture

Extensive agriculture, sometimes called large agriculture, provides farmers with access to land in British Columbia for the cultivation and production of crops.

On this page:

Specifically, extensive agriculture is defined as the use of Crown land for soil bound cultivation, to produce cereal, seed, forage, vegetable or fruit crops for mechanical harvesting. 

Use of agricultural Crown land encourages the development and growth of farms in British Columbia. This sustains development and retains the agricultural use of the land. Permission to use agricultural Crown land is obtained from the Province of British Columbia (the Province).

Application documents

In addition to reading the information on this webpage, the following documents should be reviewed prior to submitting your application:

The following documents must be completed prior to submitting your application:

Who may apply?

Except in special circumstances, this program is open to those already farming in British Columbia who own farmland within 15 kilometers of the desired Crown land. 

An applicant must be one of the following: 

  • A Canadian citizen
  • Permanent resident of Canada
  • An agricultural corporation registered in British Columbia
  • The owner of private farm land of which 50% of the arable area is in active cultivated production, with a minimum of 40 hectares cultivated, including 25% of the most recent Crown land acquisition

No individual or agricultural corporation may hold more than one Crown land agricultural lease at any one time.

Types of tenures 

Permission to use agricultural Crown land is obtained through an application process. If there is more than one eligible interested party a limited public auction or a sealed tender bid is held.

The highest "bonus bid" determines the successful party. Application procedures vary according to the proposed use of the Crown land.

Crown land is available for agricultural development by direct sale or by lease, with or without the option to purchase the land at a later time. Please refer to the Extensive Agriculture Policy (PDF, 213KB) for more information on the options.

  • Fee Simple sales are available by application or limited public auction, as appropriate. Land sales are priced at full market value plus the value of the merchantable timber

  • Leases without option to purchase are available for land that may be required for a future public purpose such as a flooding reservoir. The normal term is 10 to 30 years. Replacement leases may be issued upon completion of development

  • Leases with option to purchase are available for parcels of land normally up to 65 hectares. The term of the lease is 5 years. The land may be purchased at any time within the term, provided that a minimum of 25% of the arable land is under active cultivation

Fees and costs

Applicants must pay the following fees, costs and rent (where applicable):

  • Application fee (PDF, 49KB)
  • Annual rent charges for leases are 3% of the appraised market value of the land with a minimum annual rent of $500
  • Applicants are responsible for the cost of any eligibility report deemed necessary and the cost of surveying the application area for lease to purchase tenures or direct sales
  • The cost of surveying, up to 50% of the market value of the land, will be deducted from the purchase price

Additional requirements

For leases without an option to purchase, a Development Plan must describe the planned agricultural development, specifying the rate, location, and type of development proposed during the lease term. This plan becomes part of the lease agreement.

  • For land sales and lease-purchase tenures the Province will require the binding or consolidation of land titles as a condition of the sale.
  • For all lease arrangements a performance or security bond will be required. The amount of the bond will be up to 10% of the estimated timber value or a minimum of 10% of the market value of the land
  • Where the land under application borders on cattle ranges or other sensitive areas, fencing may be made a requirement of the lease
  • No habitable dwelling may be placed on the leased land without permission
  • Assignments of leases to other parties require prior consent

The most common reason for delay is submission of an incomplete application, which is then returned to the applicant.

If your application is accepted, you will be notified if Advertising is required. Please wait for confirmation before advertising.