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Agriculture

Introduction and Background

The Agriculture Team, formed March 2015, discusses how to connect Agriculture with Business in Surrey in a way that supports growers and food producers but does not compete or duplicates the work done by other industry-specific agencies.

Team Mandate

  • To address the following issues and others as they impact Surrey’s and South Fraser Agri-Industries
  • To develop awareness and advocacy programs that support Surrey’s and South Fraser’s Agri-business sector
  • To support and enhance agricultural economic development activity through SBOT’s communication, network and advocacy efforts
  • To work with agricultural members, associations, and educational institutes to raise awareness of mutually determined priorities to appropriate levels of governments

Identified Needs

A list of needs were identified by the team as requiring support or advocacy:

  1. There is approximately one-third agricultural land (roughly 7,500 acres) within Surrey that is under-utilized or non-productive. Most of this land is comprised of small parcels. Approximately 3,300 could be readily rehabilitated and made productive.
  2. City of Surrey has developed a strong 2 for 1 agricultural land replacement policy, which helps to stem loss of agricultural land. However, policy and legislation is required to protect agricultural land from speculative development holding companies or those who would create “estates.”
  3. New farmers are having difficulty finding affordable land with which to begin their own farms.
  4. There is a disconnect between local food producers and major chains; in part due to concerns regarding consistency in delivering a certain level of product at a specified volume.
  5. The general public is not as aware of how much land is farmed in Surrey, the volume of produce produced, and the challenges local food producers encounter.
  6. Farming practices have and continue to evolve. Entrepreneurial opportunities exist by integrating agriculture with industry, eco-rehabilitation, circular economy, and more.
  7. A consistent supply of water for irrigation is needed in Surrey, particularly with climate change impacts and potential drought conditions during peak growing season.

The team recognizes that the Surrey Board of Trade is limited in its ability to achieve solutions to the above list; however, there are activities that the team and SBOT can do to lend support to Surrey’s agriculture and add its voice to those advocating for solutions.

For further information or to join, contact Anne Peterson.


Other Resources


Issues

The issue: International Trade & Agriculture

What it’s about: Identify and highlight the importance of international trade on Surrey’s agriculture.

The result: In progress


The issue: Free Trade Agreements & Agriculture

What it’s about: Review TPP and other relevant trade deals-Better understanding of international agricultural goods trade, including TPP, on local economy.

The result: In progress


The issue: BC Assessment and Agricultural Land Reserve

What it’s about: Review BC Assessment regarding agriculture land to determine whether language requires adjustment in conjunction with ALR land policies.

The result: In progress


The issue: Non-producing Land Owners

What it’s about: With City of Surrey, request that the provincial government develop incentives for non-producing land-owners to lease to new farmers or adjoining farmland. As a corollary, what dis-incentives could be used to discourage speculation ownership of viable farmland. Increased acreage of Surrey farmland put into production.

The result: In progress


The issue: Agriculture Land Bank

What it’s about: Research and develop an advocacy position regarding the development of a “land bank” by the Provincial government or some other form of using provincial resources to free up or finance land acquisition for new farmers.

The result: In progress