Agriculture Minister Lana Popham appointed a nine-member panel to consult and make recommendations on “revitalization” of the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

B.C. agriculture minister names committee to ‘revitalize’ ALR

Popham appoints nine farmers and agriculture policy experts to consult and make recommendations

Nine individuals from across the province who are involved in farming and agricultural policy are named to a new committee tasked with making recommendations to the provincial government on how to “revitalize” the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced the formation of the committee Jan. 4 that will host regional meetings, an online consultation process, and eventually develop recommendations for government to consider.

“I am proud and grateful to have attracted British Columbians with the knowledge, expertise, passion and experience that the committee members possess for agriculture,” Popham said in a press release.

“The ALR and the [Agricultural Land commission] are incredibly important to the health and economic well-being of our province’s future, and making it easier and more efficient for the commission to fulfill its mandate of protecting farmland and encouraging farming is a commitment the B.C. government is delivering on.”

Long a critic of the former BC Liberal policy on farmland, Popham has, in the past, promised to expand the ALR and conduct a boundary review to ascertain if the current zones under protection should be changed.

• RELATED: Chilliwack farmers in Victoria for B.C. Ag Day proclamation

While Popham has been critical of past government policy such as breaking the ALR into two zones, one of which opened up the protected areas to other economic activity, in October the new minister said the province would consider relaxing regulations to allow craft breweries operate on the ALR.

What exactly “revitalization” means in Thursday’s announcement is unclear, but in the coming months the committee will develop recommendations for the government.

• RELATED: One-size-fits-all farm home plate bylaw for Chilliwack sent back for changes

The Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee is tasked with providing “strategic advice, policy guidance, and recommendations on how to help revitalize the ALR and ALC to ensure the provincial goals of preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming and ranching in British Columbia continue to be a priority.”

The committee’s is to be chaired by Jennifer Dyson who has long been involved in big picture agriculture policy in B.C., sat on the ALC from 2008 to 2017, and runs a water buffalo dairy in the Alberni Valley.

Other board members along with Dyson include: Rosedale poultry farmer and Chilliwack city councillor Chris Kloot; Canada Research chair in food security and environment at the University of the Fraser Valley Lenore Newman; former Independent MLA for Delta South Vicki Huntington; Chief of the Okanagan Indian Band Byron Louis; retired ALC policy analyst Shaundehl Runka; Peace Region grain and oilseed farmer Irmi Critcher; Comox Valley farmer and agronomist Arzeena Hamir; and retired deputy CEO of the ALC, Brian Underhill.

Beginning in early 2018, the committee will: Share a consultation paper to seek opinions and feedback on revitalizing the ALR and ALC; host regional meetings to hear opinions and feedback directly from the local farming and ranching communities in Abbotsford, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kelowna, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Prince George; and open an online consultation process to seek public opinion.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Regional Housing Strategy continues to move forward, but there won’t be a ‘magic bullet’

Statistics and survey responses paint dreary picture in terms of Campbell River housing needs

BC Aquatic Food Resources Society supports North Island College

Students can apply now for tuition credit for aquaculture tech diploma

‘I’m very, very lucky to be doing what I do’

Photographer Boomer Jerritt brings Antarctica to Timberline Theatre Jan. 29

Campbell River school board adopts new indemnification bylaw

The board for School District 72 has passed a bylaw offering legal… Continue reading

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Most Read