Agricultural Area Plan Phase 3 Report

Phase 3 Report

Township of Spallumcheen

Agricultural Area Plan

Recommendations

Final Draft

Submitted to:

Mr. Charles Nash

Deputy Corporate Administrator

The Corporation of the Township of Spallumcheen

4144 Spallumcheen Way

Spallumcheen, BC, V0E 1B6

Submitted by:

Zbeetnoff Agro-Environmental Consulting

15787 Buena Vista Avenue

White Rock, BC, V4B 1Z9

Contact: Darrell M. Zbeetnoff

604-535-7721, FAX 604-535-4421

zbeetnoff@telus.net

http://www3.telus.net/zbeetnoff/

and

Quadra Planning Consultants Ltd.

2976 Robson Drive

Coquitlam, BC, V3E 2T1

Contact: Michael W. McPhee

604-944-9570, FAX 604-944-6701

mmquadra@telus.net

October 2006

Table of Contents

Executive Summary. iii

1.0Introduction. 1

2.0Key Highlights of Spallumcheen Agriculture. 2

2.1Size of the Agricultural Land Base. 2

2.2Use of the Agricultural Land Base. 2

2.3Agricultural Economic and Employment Contribution. 2

2.4Revenue Characteristics of Census farmers. 2

2.5Quality of the Resource Base. 3

2.5Lot Use and Farm Size Distribution. 3

2.6Farm Operators. 3

2.7Farm Investment3

2.8Markets for Agricultural Products. 3

3.0Planning Framework. 3

3.1Goal and Mission Statement of the Agricultural Area Plan. 4

3.2Issues and Opportunities. 4

3.2.1Protection of the Resource Base Issues. 4

3.2.2Agricultural Viability Issues. 5

3.2.3Agro-Environmental Interface Issues. 5

3.2.4Regulatory Issues. 5

3.2.5 “Profile of Agriculture” Issues. 5

3.3The Planning Process. 6

4.0Recommendations – Action Framework. 12

4.1Recommended Actions. 12

Glossary of Acronyms Used in This Report

AAC - Agricultural Advisory Committee

ALC - Agricultural Land Commission

ALR - Agricultural Land Reserve

BCAC - BC Agriculture Council

CLI - Canada Land Inventory

EFP - Environmental Farm Plan

GFRs - Gross Farm Receipts

IPE - Interior Provincial Exhibition

MAL - BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

NORD - North Okanagan Regional District

OCP - Official Community Plan

ROW - Right-of-Way

Executive Summary

The Township of Spallumcheen has commissioned this Agricultural Area report to assist with implementation of agricultural policies contained in the municipality’s Official Community Plan (OCP). This Phase 3 Report provides recommendations and implementation strategies for pursuing actions identified in Phases 1 and 2 of the study and further explored in workshops held with agricultural producers and the general public in June 2006 and at workshops held in November 2005. The Township’s Agricultural Advisory Committee has played a leading role in developing this Plan. The Township engaged Zbeetnoff Agro-Environmental Consulting and Quadra Planning Consultants Ltd. to assist with development of the Agricultural Area Plan. The Agricultural Area Plan was undertaken in three phases. In addition to this Phase 3 Report (Agricultural Area Plan Recommendations), the other reports included:

  • Phase 1 Report: Township of Spallumcheen Agricultural Situation Profile, May 29, 2006.
  • Phase 2 Report: Issues and Opportunities Analysis Working Draft, June 5, 2006
  • Workshop Findings Report, July 14, 2006

The Phase 1 report includes a detailed examination of agriculture in the Township of Spallumcheen. The Phase 2 report identifies a number of issues facing agriculture that were identified in undertaking the Phase 1 report and through previous workshops in November 2005 and by the Agricultural Advisory Committee. The Workshop Findings Report summarizes the key issues and opportunities identified by participants at a farm producers workshop and a general public workshop held in June 2006.

Key Issues Facing Agriculture in the Township of Spallumcheen

A number of key issues have been identified within the Township including:

  • Protection of the Resource Base (land and water) Issues
  • Agricultural Viability Issues
  • Agro-Environmental Interface Issues
  • Regulatory Issues
  • Profile of Agriculture Issues

Planning Framework

The Township of Spallumcheen has embraced its agricultural sector and put policies and bylaws into place to meet this objective. The Official Community Plan (OCP) provides the planning and regulatory basis for supporting agriculture.

The OCP states:

“The primary goal of the Township is to preserve the agricultural land base, the community’s rural character, and environmental attributes while allowing changes in land use that will not compromise the primary goal.”

Goal and Mission Statement of the Agricultural Area Plan

A high priority has been placed on the promotion of sustainable agriculture in the Township of Spallumcheen. Spallumcheen’s motto is: “Where farming comes first.”

The very first goal in the Mandate of the Agricultural Advisory Committee is to:

“…Ensure the continuing sustainability of agriculture.”

The Mission Statement of the Agricultural Area Plan process as agreed to by the Agricultural Advisory Committee is to:

“Allow profitable farming to flourish by:

  • Promoting best agricultural practices
  • Strengthening and supporting agriculture
  • Encouraging “good neighbour” communications
  • Protecting the rural character
  • Initiating public education.”

Recommendations

A number of high priority actions are recommended to address identified issues and to implement the goals of the Agricultural Area Plan Mission Statement. The full list of recommendations is contained in Table 2 of the report.

Goal 1: Support and Strengthen Local Agricultural Enterprise

Action 1:

Create a Farmers Council to provide a cross-commodity producers’ association in the Township to implement agricultural initiatives identified in this Plan

Who: Local farmers, with support from the Township

When: Short term

Action 2:

Work with producers to develop an agro-industrial strategy that could include:

    • investigating the potential for marketing coops
    • shared space in the industrial park, such as community kitchens, incubator for value-added processing of agricultural products
    • branding
    • signage
    • processing facilities

Who: Township, Committee of producer representatives (Farmers Council), BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL), Agricultural Land Commission

When: Immediate

Action 3:

Assemble a database of unfarmed agricultural land available for lease

Who: Farmers Council, lead, support from Township

When: Short term, ongoing

Goal 2: Avoid Extra Costs of Doing Business and Regulation

Action 1:

Retain the AAC as a committee to advise Council on agricultural issues

Who: Township

When: Immediate

Action 2:

Monitor proposed regulations to ensure they are not unnecessarily onerous on producers and agro-development

Who: Township, AAC

When: Ongoing

Action 3:

Develop results-based approach to new regulation. This approach would identify the targets and impacts of new regulation specifically on agriculture in relation to the objectives desired.

Who: Township, MAL

When: Medium

Goal 3: Work with the Farm Sector to Make Operations More Productive and Efficient

Action 1:

Create educational materials for property owners regarding stewardship of agricultural land

Who: Producers, MAL

When: Short term

Action 2:

Identify a community work force for agriculture.

Who: MAL with support from BC Social Services

When: Medium term

Goal 4: Protect the Resource Base for Working Agriculture

Action 1:

Require landscape buffering on the developed (non-farming) side on lots adjacent to agriculture

Who: Township

When: Medium term

Action 2:

Require notices on title on properties adjacent to agricultural lands (disclosure statements).

Who: Township, Real Estate Board

When: Short term

Action 3:

Investigate federal and provincial support for agriculture irrigation water supply expansion.

Who: Township with support from Water Districts, NORD, MAL

When: Short term

Action 4:

Implement provisions in OCP to protect the agricultural land

Who: Township

When: Ongoing

Goal 5: Promote Agricultural Best Management Practices

Action 1:

Enforce noxious weed bylaw on land in the Township, municipal rights-of-way (ROWs), utility ROWs, and enforce control of volunteer hosts for provincially controlled pests (e.g., apple trees)

Who: NORD, Township, Landowners

When: Immediate

Action 2:

Investigate and adopt new technologies to deal with organic and inorganic farm wastes, alternative energy sources and generation of greenhouse gases

Who: MAL should sponsor a workshop(s) on agriculture nutrient management, irrigation technology, reduced energy use systems

When: Short-term for nutrient management, long for other topics

Action 3:

Promote Environmental Farm Planning (EFP)

Who: MAL, BCAC, Township should encourage commodity groups to target the municipality

When: Immediate

Goal 6: Minimize the Impact of Agriculture on the Environment

Action 1:

Assess the carrying capacity of the available land base to utilize nutrients.

Who: MAL

When: Immediate

Goal 7: Protect Rural Character

Action 1:

Implement OCP (direct development away from ALR and arable areas; densify existing urban areas)

Who: Township

When: Ongoing

Action 2:

Define “rural character” in OCP

Who: Township

When: Immediate

Goal 8: Encourage “Good Neighbour” Relations

Action 1:

Develop a more formalized role for the AAC to advise on impacts of new agricultural developments

Who: Township

When: Immediate

Action 2:

Provide Open Houses to inform neighbours of new agricultural developments where Council involvement is required

Who: Township, Producers

When: Ongoing

Goal 9: Initiate Public Education

Action 1:

School District to communicate information about farming (use O’Keefe Ranch for hands-on displays, curriculum development)

Who: School District 83, Retired teachers, O’Keefe Ranch, Commodity Associations, AAC, Producers

When: Short term

Action 2:

Create more hands-on displays at IPE (e.g., modern poultry exhibit)

Who: IPE, Producers

When: Short term

Action 3:

Partner with schools to develop agriculture topics in curriculum

Who: Local schools, teachers, Farmer’s Council, Commodity Associations

When: Short term

Action 4:

Report on Agricultural Area Plan completion in the media

Who: Township

When: Immediate

Action 5:

Prepare regular reports in the media on progress and issues relating to implementing the Agricultural Area Plan

Who: AAC

When: Ongoing

1.0 Introduction

The Township of Spallumcheen has commissioned this Agricultural Area Plan to assist with implementation of agricultural policies contained in the municipality’s Official Community Plan (OCP). This Phase 3 Report provides recommendations and implementation strategies for pursuing actions identified in Phases 1 and 2 of the study and further explored in workshops held with agricultural producers and the general public in June 2006. These reports are listed below:

  • Phase 1 Report: Township of Spallumcheen Agricultural Situation Profile, May 29, 2006
  • Phase 2 Report: Issues and Opportunities Analysis Working Draft, June 5, 2006
  • Workshop Findings Report, July 14, 2006

The report also relied on earlier work undertaken by the Township of Spallumcheen including

·the agricultural goals identification by the Township’s Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC), and

·the findings of a Public Open House held in the Township of Spallumcheen in November 24, 2005.

·Smith, B. 2005. Township of Spallumcheen agricultural overview. Resource Management Branch, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.

Acknowledgements

All members of the AAC should be recognized for their valuable contributions to the preparation of this Plan. They include:

·Steve Mazur, Chair

·Rob Hettler, Vice Chair

·Councillor Dave Brew

·Councillor Carolyn Farris

·Councillor Ralph Leyenhorst

·Councillor Todd York

·Martin Collins, Agricultural Land Commission

·Kevin Murphy, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

·Stan Combs, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

·Bill Richards

·Annette Toop

·Kathy Velocci

Charles Nash, Deputy Administrator, provided valuable insights, assistance, and helpful guidance throughout the process.

2.0 Key Highlights of Spallumcheen Agriculture

A number of key characteristics provide the context for agriculture in the Township.[1]

2.1 Size of the Agricultural Land Base

·The total agricultural land base in Spallumcheen is 16,797 ha (41,489 acres), of which 15,951 ha (95%) is comprised of parcels wholly within or with portions in the ALR.

·Ninety-five percent of the land parcels (15,311 ha) wholly or partly within the ALR are available for farming.

2.2 Use of the Agricultural Land Base

·Spallumcheen agricultural activity is reported on 16,264 ha by 442 farms in the following categories:

oCrops and summer fallow – 53.8% (by area) or 8,751 ha

oManaged pasture – 6.3% or 1,030 ha

oUnmanaged pasture – 28.7% or 4,661 ha

oOther– 11.2% or 1,821 ha.

·57% of the agricultural cropping area is used for forage production, of which alfalfa represents 50% of the forage crops grown.

·The predominant operations by use of the land base are beef cattle (20%), forage production (17%), equine-related (15%), poultry and egg (7%) and dairy (6%).

·The predominant operations based on gross farm receipts (GFRs) are poultry and egg operations (47% of total Township GFRs), dairy (21%), beef cattle (5%), nursery (4%), and forage (3%) and equine (3%).

2.3 Agricultural Economic and Employment Contribution

·Agriculture generates over $37.9 million in GFRs annually.

·In 2001, direct sales and income multiplier effects are estimated to have contributed between $114 million and $133 million to the local and regional economy, of which wages and salaries were $4.67 million.

·Agriculture generates employment for 665 farm operators, a hired labour force of 298 person years, and 530 indirect community-based jobs.

2.4 Revenue Characteristics of Census farmers

·In 2001, approximately13% of all Census farms in Spallumcheen reported GFRs of less than $2,500, annually, and 55% of all census farms reported GFRs of less than $25,000, annually.

2.5 Quality of the Resource Base

·With irrigation, the climate capability of the entire value is rated Classes 1 or 1a, with limitations associated with a shorter frost free period.

·With management of soil moisture deficiency, topography and low soil perviousness, 80% of the area falls into Canada Land Inventory (CLI) Capability Classes 1 to 3, i.e., the top classes in the province.

2.5 Lot Use and Farm Size Distribution

·Farm size is characterized by a high proportion of relatively small holdings. As Table 2 shows, 67% of the farms were less than 70 acres in size in 2001.

·A relatively high proportion of small parcels in the ALR are used for non-farming purposes, either as residential or rural estates.[2]These parcels are located primarily in rural residential sub-divisions carved into the ALR.

2.6 Farm Operators

·Average farm operator age increased from 49.34 years in 1991 to 52.1 years in 2001.

·Number of farm operators totaled 665 in 2001, or an average of 1.5 per farm.

2.7 Farm Investment

·In the 1996-2001 period, value of farm assets increased almost 27%.

·The Okanagan Valley only follows the Fraser Valley in terms of recent increases in farmland value.

2.8 Markets for Agricultural Products

·Armstrong is home to several regional agricultural product processing businesses.

·The bulk of agricultural products produced are processed outside the region.

3.0 Planning Framework

The Township of Spallumcheenhas embraced its agricultural sector and put policies and bylaws into place to meet this objective. The Official Community Plan (OCP) provides the planning and regulatory basis for supporting agriculture.[3]

The OCP states:

“The primary goal of the Township is to preserve the agricultural land base, the community’s rural character, and environmental attributes while allowing changes in land use that will not compromise the primary goal.”

3.1 Goal and Mission Statement of the Agricultural Area Plan

A high priority has been placed on the promotion of sustainable agriculture in the Township of Spallumcheen. Spallumcheen’s motto is: “Where farming comes first.”

The very first goal in the Mandate of the Agricultural Advisory Committee is to:

“…Ensure the continuing sustainability of agriculture.”

The Mission Statement of the Agricultural Area Plan process as agreed to by the Agricultural Advisory Committee is to:

“Allow profitable farming to flourish by:

  • Promoting best agricultural practices
  • Strengthening and supporting agriculture
  • Encouraging “good neighbour” communications
  • Protecting the rural character
  • Initiating public education.”

The Mission Statement recognizes that profitability is a key component of sustainability. In addition, there is the need to protect agricultural resources and the environment. Finally, the agricultural sector operates within, and contributes to a way of life in, the community. These statements are underpinned by the knowledge that protecting and enhancing the “working landscape” is critical for creating farm operator confidence and promoting conditions for profitable farming.

The challenge for the Township of Spallumcheen is in operationalizing the goal and mission statement of the Agricultural Area Plan. Clearly, a vibrant and sustainable agricultural sector is desired to generate the quality of life, lifestyle and societal amenities that the municipality wants. Through public open houses and workshops in 2005 and 2006, the Agricultural Advisory Committee invited input by farming operators and the general public into how to address these goals and to identify opportunities and actions for implementing them.

3.2Issues and Opportunities

Phase 2 of the planning process identified issues emerging out of Phase 1 and examined the opportunities could be created to support agriculture.[4]The issues consisted of the following:

3.2.1 Protection of the Resource Base Issues

·Fragmentation of land in the ALR

·Many small parcels

·Lot size represents potential for rural residential incursion into the ALR

·Non-farmed areas of the ALR tend to be smaller parcels

·Limited availability of irrigation ground water

·Political and environmental obstacles to surface irrigation development

·Potential spillover impacts from the City of Armstrong’s growth

3.2.2 Agricultural Viability Issues

·Relatively high proportion of small farms

·Relatively high proportion of farms with low gross farm incomes

·Average age of farm operators increasing

·Average per farm gross farm receipts declining, but average per farm gross margin recovering

·Average per farm gross margin increasing in pace with the Consumer Price Index

·Average per farm expenses trending higher than Farm Products Price Index

·Rapidly increasing farmland prices

·Limited local agricultural marketing (including processing) for some commodities

·Increasing pressure for recreation in the countryside.

3.2.3 Agro-Environmental Interface Issues

·Agriculture is in competition with residential demand for water

·Aquifer resources may be nearing extraction capacity in some areas

·Aquifer resources in several areas may be vulnerable to contamination

·Livestock manures are contributing to total nutrient load in the valley

·There is an opportunity for the number of farmers completing the Environmental Farm Plan to increase.

3.2.4 Regulatory Issues

·OCP is supportive of agriculture

·Continuing pressure to rezone and subdivide lots that could fragment ALR

·Direct growth to existing subdivisions and adjacent lands outside ALR

·Landscape buffering between farm and non-farm areas needs to occur in new developments in non-farm areas

·Continued monitoring of home occupations within ALR to meet zoning bylaw regulations

·Enforcement of bylaws and municipal operations to control nuisance weeds

·The types of home-based businesses appropriate in the agricultural zone.

3.2.5 “Profile of Agriculture” Issues

·Knowledge of agriculture is not being passed on to the new generation.

·The general public knows little about where their food comes from or how it is produced.

·The challenges of agricultural sustainability are not understood by farmers, the general public or politicians.

3.3 The Planning Process

Table 1 identifies the goals of the Agricultural Area Plan, based on the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Reports, Agricultural Advisory Committee comments and stakeholder input in the several consultation processes.[5]The Table also articulates the strategy that would pull these goals together into a cohesive plan of actions to support agriculture.

Follow-up recommendations and actions required for implementation are outlined in Section 4.0 below.

Table 1: Agricultural Area Plan - Goals, Strategy, and Opportunities

Goal

Strategy

Opportunities Identified in Consultation Process

·Goal 1: Support and strengthen local agricultural enterprise

·Increase community demand for local agricultural products

·Increase the amount of agricultural revenue that gets re-spent within the community

·Reduce the cost of doing business in Spallumcheen

·Take unnecessary middlemen out of food supply and marketing chain

·Promote the quest for quality of local food products

·Promote diversification of local food products

·Promote efforts that attract and create diversification of agro-based suppliers

·Promote efforts that attract agro-based industry to create value-added benefits within the Township

·Provide opportunities to recruit new farmers into the sector

·Encourage local farmers to work together to improve the local agro-economy

·Create advertising programs for local products

·Attract local agri-business, especially meat processing

·Create business incubator opportunities

·Create a clearinghouse of small acreages (pool) available for agricultural use

·Investigate property tax incentives and leasing arrangements for making agricultural land available in a pool

·Create “North Okanagan Pride” labeling (branding) for products

·Promote local products in local retail outlets

·Promote concept of local buying (within 100 km)

·Create a marketing co-op among producers

·Create co-ops for land banking, machinery and manufacturing

·Consider an improved and more attractive location for farmers’ market

·Create better signage on farms and along highway to create greater public awareness (standard Spallumcheen agricultural sign)

·Promote a weekly newspaper column featuring farmers along with a local recipe featuring seasonal foods

·Consider an annual farmer’s open house

·Establish local milker’s training for young people

·Support creation of a Farmers Council

·Goal 2: Avoid extra costs and regulation

·Ensure that regulations do not needlessly or unintentionally compromise agriculture

·Consider credits to operations exhibiting desired behavior

·Tax non-farmers in ALR at a higher rate

·Require that land on non-farming parcels in the ALR be made available to farmers

·Prevent farmland being fragmented, isolated and being idled

·Retain the functional status of the AAC to advise Council on issues affecting agriculture

·Goal 3: Work with the farm sector to make operations more productive and efficient

·Enhance access to the agricultural land base

·Promote farm transportation plans that make rural routes more efficient

·Support improvements that increase productivity,

·Educate landowners about costs of maintaining rural estates (weeds, etc.)

·Farming community has a responsibility to communicate to new residents

·Develop a Township wide irrigation system with farmers and Township sharing costs

·Create cooperative for sharing farm equipment

·Create property tax incentives for people who make their land available for farming (leasing arrangements)

·Increase the incentive for small landowners to make land available for agriculture

·Connect adjacent small parcels to create fields of better size

·Create opportunities for renting farm land to young farmers wanting to start out

·Create awareness among farm landowners about the importance of using the land and not leaving it vacant

·Establish a small lot farmers support group to brainstorm ideas

·Hold a workshop for farmers on various topics (e.g., Environmental Farm Plans)

·Maintain a clearinghouse (list) of available land that could be leased from a landowner

·Goal 4: Protect the resource base for agriculture

·Discourage any encroachment on the agricultural land base

·Reserve water for agriculture in the future

·Encourage resource use efficiency throughout the Township

·Get idle agricultural land back into productive agriculture

·Require landscape buffering on the developed (non farming) site next to farming operators

·Require farming covenants or notices on title for new development (disclosure statements at time of transaction)

·Place a tax on realtor’s commissions for a farm education fund

·Enforce the OCP – densify urban areas first

·Enforce existing bylaws and ALC rules re: non-farm uses on ALR

·Protect available water supplies for agriculture

·Limit growth of infrastructure into rural areas (e.g., roads, sewer, water, utilities)

·Investigate federal government support for irrigation

·Goal 5: Promote best agricultural practices

·Promote a consistent and enforceable system for all lands in the Township to manage agricultural pests

·Support information seminars and workshops that promote best agricultural practices

·Support businesses that cater to agricultural issues present in the Township

·Enforce noxious weed bylaw especially on municipal and railway ROWs

·Control coddling moths in volunteer apple trees and other hosts

·Educate farmers through commodity groups and Ministry programs

·Investigate new technologies to deal with wastes and create alternative energy source

·Adopt more efficient irrigation technologies around irrigation districts

·Promote Environmental Farm Plans

·Educate landowners about weed control and spread onto farm land

·Goal 6: Minimize the impact of agriculture on the environment

·Encourage adoption of environmentally friendly practices by the agricultural sector

·Encourage conservation of resources throughout the Township

·Monitor livestock effluent and livestock densities

·Assess livestock carrying capacity and the ability of the available land base to accept nutrients

·Require implemented Environmental Farm Plans for farmers

·Adopt more efficient technologies and conservation practices

·Enforce manure spreading guidelines

·Encourage more composting

·Lobby governments to encourage more funding for Environmental Farm Plans and new technologies (e.g., equine businesses)

·Encourage farmers to grow crops that require less water; drip irrigation and cover crops to control weeds

·More local processing to reduce energy costs of transporting produce outside the region and create more job opportunities

·Goal 7: Protect rural character

·Develop a definition of “rural character” to guide land use decisions

·Ensure that promotion of rural character does not jeopardize the working landscape for agriculture

·Enforce (implement) the OCP (direct development away from ALR and arable areas; densify existing urban areas)

·Encourage property owners not to build in middle of lot parcel

·Utilize existing rights of ways to connect to forested areas for trails

·Create a code for good land stewardship (abandoned cars, trailers, machinery, etc) to prevent pollution issues from batteries, crankcase oil, etc.

·

·Goal 8: Encourage “Good Neighbour” communications

·Encourage communication and interaction between stakeholders in the community

·Promote forums, neighbourhood notice boards, etc. to facilitate communication

·Encourage landowners to communicate with neighbours when spraying manure, etc.

·Offer to mow vacant parcels to control weeds

·Use neighbourhood watch to control issues such as wandering dogs

·Direct fans from livestock buildings away from adjacent residences

·Utilize farm organizations to build up relationships between farm and non farm users

·Promote good news stories (farmer to farmer) through a Farmer’s Council

·Assess impacts of new agricultural developments through Agricultural Advisory Committee and open houses

·Build good relationships with adjacent municipalities

·Goal 9: Initiate public education

·Support initiatives that inform people about agriculture

·Promote venues that exhibit agriculture

·Partner with schools and School District to communicate information about farming (utilize O’Keefe Ranch for hands on displays; curriculum development, etc)

·Create more hands on displays at IPE (e.g., modern poultry exhibit)

·Utilize 4H clubs in assisting with public education

·Create better agricultural signage

·Encourage realtors to inform non farming clients about sights and smells and put notice on property title about these

·Target young purchasers about value of locally grown food

·Re-initiate food celebration fair

·Conduct a workshop on small lot agriculture

4.0 Recommendations – Action Framework

The sustainability and future viability of agriculture in the Township of Spallumcheen is a shared responsibility. The Township, through its Official Community Plan and various bylaws plays a strong role in some key areas related to the goals of the agricultural area plan. In particular, through its OCP, the Township can help protect the resource base upon which agriculture depends. It can also assist with facilitating a “sustainable agriculture” culture that benefits the entire community by protecting the resource base, furthering economic viability, creating employment, and enhancing the rural character. While the Township can play an integral part in the sustainability of agriculture, the community also faces external factors which it does not have control over. These include regional growth pressures from adjacent communities, agricultural commodity markets, senior level government policies, etc. Some issues that affect agriculture are a result of historical settlement patterns and land use – small lots, ALR boundaries, water district boundaries, etc.

Despite these challenges, agriculture continues to thrive in the Township. It is evident through its policies and bylaws that the Township values agriculture and the role it plays in the community. Given its size and resources available to it, the Township has a limited ability to initiate new programs or projects. However, in some areas it can play a catalyst role to initiate discussions, explore opportunities and to work with other partners and interests in implementing the Agricultural Area Plan.

4.1 Recommended Actions

The following recommended actions in Table 2 are meant to provide direction to the Township of Spallumcheen in implementing the Agricultural Area Plan. In some instances, the Township will play a lead role, in others a support role. The timeframe (immediate, short, medium and long term) for implementation is identified, along with the priority for action (high, medium, low). The table also identifies who should be involved in implementation and the resources required.

Table 2: Agricultural Area Plan – Recommended Action Plan

Goal

Recommended Actions

Who?

When? (1)

Priority for Action

Resources Required

Goal 1: Support and strengthen local agricultural enterprise

Create a Farmers Council to provide a cross-commodity producers’ association in the Township to implement agricultural initiatives identified in this Plan

·Area farmers

·Township support

Immediate

High

Contact person, organization, access co-op student program to undertake projects

Work with producers to develop an agro-industrial strategy that would include:

·investigating the potential for marketing coops

·shared industrial space

·branding

·signage

·processing facilities

·Township

·Committee of producer representatives (Farmers Council)

·BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL)

Immediate

High

Hire expertise to develop strategic plan

·Create a database of farmland available for leasing

·Farmers Council, lead

·Support from Township, NORD and MAL

Short Term

High

Negligible, hire a coop student or utilize student employment program

·Create newspaper slot highlighting farming, seasonal recipes, farmer direct markets

·Township

·AAC

·Farmers Council communication officer

Immediate

Medium

Minimal

·Partner with farmers to create apprenticeship opportunities and attract workers to agriculture in the area

·Investigate innovative ways aspiring new farmers without land may be encouraged to access arable land currently not in production

·Commodity associations

·KwantlenCollege

·Producers

·Township

Medium

Medium

??

Goal 2: Avoid extra costs of doing business and regulation

·Monitor proposed regulations to ensure they are not unnecessarily onerous on producers and agro-development

·Encourage farmers to undertake Environmental Farm Plans

·Develop results-based approach to new regulation, so that targets and effects are assessed before regulatory policy is implemented.

·Retain the AAC to advise Council on issues affecting agriculture

·Township

·AAC

·MAL, BCAC

·Industry associations

·Farmers Council

Ongoing

High

??

Goal 3: Work with the farm sector to make operations more productive and efficient

·Investigate a watershed-based surface and groundwater irrigation strategy

·MAL

·North Okanagan Regional District (NORD)

Medium

Medium

Government personnel – Hire a consultant

·Through a workshop, initiate discussion of the role of small farm agriculture in the Township (leasing arrangements, tax incentives/options, pooling of small lots)

·Township

·Producers

·Support from MAL, Agri-TourismBC

·InviteFraserValley Farm Fresh Direct Marketing Association, South Vancouver Island Direct Farm Marketers Association

Short

Medium

Seek sponsorship from MAL, Agri-TourismBC, etc.

·Create educational materials for property owners regarding stewardship of agricultural land

·Township

·Producers

·Support from MAL

Short

High

??

·Identify a community work force for agriculture

·Township

·Support from BC Social Services

Medium

High

??

Goal 4: Protect the resource base for working agriculture

·Require landscape buffering on the developed (non-farming) side on lots adjacent to agriculture

·Township

Medium

High

Incorporate into existing zoning and subdivision processes

Require notices on title on properties adjacent to agricultural lands (disclosure statements)

·Township

·Support from Real Estate Board

Short

High

Political will, open communication, community support

·Investigate federal and provincial support for agriculture irrigation water supply expansion

·Township

·Support from Water Districts, MAL, NORD

·Producer support

Short

High

Negligible

·Implement provisions in OCP to protect the agricultural land base

·Township

Ongoing

High

Political Will

Community support

Goal 5: Promote agricultural best management practices

·Enforce noxious weed bylaw on idle land in the ALR, municipal rights-of-way (ROWs), utility ROWs,

·Enforce control of volunteer hosts for provincially controlled pests (e.g., apple trees)

·NORD should be encouraged to step up its enforcement efforts and to review its own mowing programs on municipal ROWs

·Township

Immediate

High

May require extra RD landscape labour

·Adopt more efficient irrigation technologies in all Water Districts

·Water Districts

·Support from Township and MAL

Long

Medium

Negligible

·Investigate and adopt new technologies to deal with farm wastes, alternative energy sources and generation of greenhouse gases

·MAL should sponsor a workshop(s) on agriculture waste management, irrigation technology, reduce energy use systems

Short-waste management

Long – other topics

High

Attract sponsorship

·Promote Environmental Farm Planning (EFP)

·MAL

·BCAC

·Township should encourage commodity groups to target the municipality

Immediate

High

Costs being subsidized by the Federal Provincial Environmental Farm Plan program

Goal 6: Minimize the impact of agriculture on the environment

·Assess livestock carrying capacity and the capacity of the available land base to utilize nutrients

·MAL

Short

High

Use existing resources

·Lobby governments to expand its EFP funding to include equine operations and hobby farmers

·Township

Short

Medium

Use existing resources

·Adopt more efficient technologies and more effective conservation practices

·Producers

·MAL should host a workshop on efficient technologies and conservation practices

Short

Medium

Use existing resources

Goal 7: Protect rural character

·Implement OCP (direct development away from ALR and arable areas; densify existing urban areas)

·Township

Ongoing

High

Use existing resources

·Define “rural character” in OCP

·Township

Immediate

High

Use existing resources

·Utilize existing ROWs to connect to forested areas

·Township

Medium

Low

Use existing resources

·Create a Code of good land stewardship in the ALR (abandoned cars, trailers, machinery, trash, obsolete signage, dumped soil) to prevent contamination and visual pollution (e.g., batteries, crankcase oil, unproductive fill)

·Township

·Support from ALR in provincially designated agriculture areas

Short

Medium

Use existing resources

·Encourage property own to build in a fashion to conserve the land base

·Township

·Support from the ALR in provincially designated agriculture areas

Short

Medium

Use existing resources

Goal 8: Encourage “good neighbour” relations

·Use neighbourhood watch approach to control issues such as straying dogs, animals

·Property owners

·RCMP

Immediate

Medium

Use existing resources

·Develop a more formalized role for the AAC to advise on impacts of new agricultural developments

·Township

Immediate

High

Use existing resources

·Provide Open Houses to inform neighbours of new agricultural developments

·Township

·Producers

Ongoing

High

Use existing resources

·Build relationships with neighbouring municipalities

·Township

·NORD

Ongoing

Low

??

·Use the newly created Farmers Council to develop communication channels

·Producers

·AAC

Short

High

Minimal

Goal 9: Initiate public education

·Partner with schools and the School District to communicate information about farming (use O’Keefe Ranch for hands-on displays, curriculum development)

·School District 83

·Retired teachers

·O’Keefe Ranch

·Commodity associations

·AAC

·Producers

Short

High

Use existing resources

·Create more hands-on displays at IPE (e.g., modern poultry exhibit)

IPE

Producers

Short

High

Use existing resources

·Partner with schools to develop agricultural curriculum

·LocalSchools, teachers

·Commodity associations

·Farmers Council

Short

High

IAF grant funding - Hire a consultant

·Report on Agricultural Area Plan completion in the media

·Township

Immediate

High

Use existing resources

·Regular reports in the media on progress and issues relating to implementing the Agricultural Area Plan

·AAC

·Farmers Council

Ongoing

High

??

Notes: (1) The timeframe periods for implementation: Immediate = 0 – 6 months; Short = <2 years; Medium = 2-5 years; Long = >5year



[1]Details on the current state of Spallumcheen agriculture can be found in the Phase 1 report: Township of Spallumcheen Agricultural Situation Profile, May 29, 2006. Prepared by Zbeetnoff Agro-Environmental Consulting and Quadra Planning Consultants Ltd.

[2]Land qualifies for farm class property taxation status if minimum farming income requirements are met: (a) $10,000 on land less than 2 ac; (b) $2,500 on land between 2 ac and 10 ac; and (c) on land larger than 10 ac, $2,500 plus 65% of the actual value of any farm land in excess of 10 ac. http://www.bcassessment.bc.ca/process/agricultural_forestry/classify_farm.asp

[3]See Phase 1 Report: Township of Spallumcheen Agricultural Situation Profile, May 29, 2006

[4]Details are contained in Phase 2 Report: Issues and Opportunities Analysis Working Draft, June 5, 2006. Prepared by Zbeetnoff Agro-Environmental Consulting and Quadra Planning Consultants Ltd.

[5]Consultations consisted of: A Public Open House held in the Township in the Township in November 24, 2005 and two Workshops held in the Township in June of 2006.