Pictured is a Young Agrarians Land Matching group in Harrop, BC. Note: this photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, when large gatherings in public were permitted. (Submitted file)

Pictured is a Young Agrarians Land Matching group in Harrop, BC. Note: this photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, when large gatherings in public were permitted. (Submitted file)

Land in short supply for new farmers in southeast B.C.

Young Agrarians hopes to match new farmers with land owners in the area

Access to farmland is one of the biggest barriers for new farmers and the Young Agrarians organization (YA) is hoping to change that through the BC Land Matching Program.

Hailey Troock is the land matcher for the Columbia Basin region, and she says that a lack of available land is holding back some organizations and businesses from achieving their farming goals.

She explains that YA supports new farmers looking for land to connect with landowners, creating more access to locally grown and raised food.

According to a new entrants needs assessment survey conducted by the province, access to land remains the number one barrier for new farmers. 76 per cent of survey respondents reported that they leased land, and half of those leases were with acquaintances or family.

Other barriers identified in the survey are access to knowledge and access to capital. YA also helps to relieve these barriers through educational events, business mentorships and land access programming.

Troock says Cranbrook and the surrounding area is lacking in inventory which is creating a challenge for people who have plans to expand their farming business, or create new opportunities. She said the need for land is there, but the land isn’t currently available.

READ MORE: Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

READ MORE: Regional food processing facility coming to Creston

She says this issue has been exasperated because of the pandemic with many people wanting to get back to the land.

“There’s a lot of locational specificity when it comes to land in the Kootenays,” said Troock. “There are climatic differences and land need differences across the different regions. For example, land needs and the climate in the East Kootenay region are much different from that in West Kootenay.”

As outlined on the YA website, Canada’s farming population is shrinking and reached an historic low in 2011.

“According to Statistics Canada figured while one in three (33 per cent) Canadians used to live on a farm in 1931, that number has plummeted to one in 46, or less than 2 per cent of the total population…” reads the YA article. “The real estate value of farmland is at an all-time high – since 2007, farmland prices in Canada have increased by 132 per cent.”

Troock says that land is needed for several local initiatives from a community garden to land for cattle grazing.

One example is the Cranbrook Rocky Mountain Metis Association. Troock explains that the association has applied for funding and hopes to create a community garden that will improve access to healthy food for community members. They are looking for around two acres of flat land that is in an accessible location, close to town.

“The community garden share project will provide our community with the opportunity to access fresh, organic vegetables and also be able to plant and harvest in a culturally safe environment,” reads a statement from the association. “With food security being compromised due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are noticing a lack of access to food and traditional medicine, as well as access to land for Indigenous peoples in our city. The project will be achieved by creating a space and having it ready for our first planting season in May 2021.”

This project also aims to create relationships with other non-profits such as Street Angels, the Food Bank and Salvation Army.

There is currently no land that fits their needs within the YA inventory and Troock hopes that spreading the word will raise awareness of these kinds of initiatives and the need for available land.

A local cattle farmer also hopes to expand their current operations and is looking for land to graze cattle on. BW Beef Sales, located out of Wycliffe, hopes to secure more land for grazing approximately 100 pair of Longhorn cattle. The company is looking for land on a long-term basis.

BW uses natural methods and is an established farm. They have free-range, grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free Longhorn.

Troock says that in both instances there is a unique opportunity and YA wants to support local growth in the agricultural sector.

“These are really great initiatives. They have really interesting ideas and right now it’s all about finding the right match and getting the word out,” Troock said.

To date, YA has made over 109 matches on a total of 5,912 acres in B.C. Land owners can reach out to their local YA representative if they have land available. Those hoping to lease land through the program can search the online database to get a feel for what’s out there.

YA will work with the aspiring farmers and land owners to meet their goals and needs. For farmers looking to lease land to start a new farm, a business plan must be in place. There is also some other paperwork involved, including a legal agreement between land owner and farmer.

For more information check out the Young Agrarians website at youngagrarians.org. Anyone with land who is interested in becoming part of the land-matching program can contact Troock via email at hailey@youngagrarians.org.



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Pictured is a Young Agrarians event held at Linden Lane farm in Krestova, BC. Note: This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic when large gatherings in public were permitted. (Submitted file)

Pictured is a Young Agrarians event held at Linden Lane farm in Krestova, BC. Note: This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic when large gatherings in public were permitted. (Submitted file)

Pictured is a Young Agrarians farm tour at Wloka Farmstand in Creston. Note: this photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted File)

Pictured is a Young Agrarians farm tour at Wloka Farmstand in Creston. Note: this photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted File)

Just Posted

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Carter Spring
Dynamiter’s Spring ready for next challenge with Ice Wolves

Submitted by EMANUEL SEQUIERA Kimberley Dynamiter Carter Spring is ready to make… Continue reading

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2017. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt win historic decision at Supreme Court of Canada

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

Mark Skage and his son Mica during the filming of a West Kootenay episode of Start ‘em Young. Photo: Submitted
TV show films West Kootenay hunting trip

Start ‘Em Young aims to encourage kids to get out in the wilderness

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

The Sandhill Cranes had been feeding in a slough near the railway tracks and took flight when were disturbed by atrain. Bob Whetham photo
Urban wildlife Part X: The Kootenay birds of 2021

The work of local photographers in the Kootenay Advertiser in 2021. Part X. With links to Parts I-IX

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Most Read