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

Mills Memorial Hospital financing formula released

Regional taxpayers to pay $113.7 million for new facility.

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

How the provincial budget will play out in northwestern B.C.

Price of gasoline to rise and expect MSP premiums to disppear

NDP budget offers no way to pay for new programs: Ellis Ross

MLA highly critical of government’s abandonment of major projects

New hospital cost to taxpayers still unknown

Ellis to probe budget estimates: “I’m still not convinced it will actually go ahead”

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Team USA beats Canada 3-2 on the shootout to take home Olympic gold

Americans win their first gold medal since 1998

Two Haida men detained for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Edenshaw and Frisby travelled from Alaska to Prince Rupert for the All Native Basketball Tournament

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

B.C. teacher suspended over allegedly using N-word in worksheets

Trafalgar Elementary teacher under investigation by Vancouver School Board

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Most Read