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

Langley Township’s first 20-storey tower passes hurdle at council

The Oasis building for seniors will feature licensed care rooms, senior’s housing and apartments

League’s all-stars hit the ice in Langley

PJHL hosts top junior B players for all-star game

Trial date scheduled for man charged with killing Abbotsford officer

Oscar Arfmann slated to go to trial in New Westminster in January 2019

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

UPDATE: Tree takes out power in Langley, Mission and Abbotsford

BC Hydro reports service has been restored

UPDATED: SUV fire at Langley mall (with video)

Firefighters respond to Fraser Highway incident

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Sentencing hearing begins for ex-BC Liberals employee in ‘quick wins’ scandal

Former communications director Brian Bonney pleaded guilty last October

Council tells TransLink commission to make sure road pricing is fair

Maple Ridge tells road pricing commission to make sure system is fair

Sunwing vacation passengers left at Abbotsford airport

YXX staffers receive praise for help to passengers; airline criticized

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

5 to start your day

‘Young, innocent’ teen dies in Vancouver shootout, 152 Street overpass repairs start and more

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Most Read