The Agriculture Team reviews agri-industry issues “from seed to shelf.” The team endeavours to connect Surrey’s agriculture with Surrey’s business community to support growers and food producers. Where feasible, the Surrey Board of Trade will partner with industry specific associations on shared interests or advocacy actions.
- 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
Agriculture Leadership Award and Reception
The Agriculture team works to elevate the excellent and innovative achievements of those working in Surrey’s Agriculture. This year’s nomination forms are available now.
A list of needs were identified by the team as requiring support or advocacy:
- 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.
- 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.”
- New farmers are having difficulty finding affordable land with which to begin their own farms.
- 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.
- 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.
- Farming practices have and continue to evolve. Entrepreneurial opportunities exist by integrating agriculture with industry, eco-rehabilitation, circular economy, and more.
- 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.
Resources and Presentations
This is for information and does not necessarily reflect Surrey Board of Trade’s official positions.
- 2018 Protection is not enough_white paper brief
- 2017 Young Agrarians Presentation
- SWBC Project-Future of our Food System Report_web version
- 2015 BC Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan
- Food Security
- Opposition Standing Committee for Agriculture and Food – First Report
- City of Surrey Farm Fresh Guide
- Regional Food System Strategy
The issue: Provincial ALR Review, Spring 2018
What it’s about: The province is reviewing the ALR with a view of updating and responding to the pressures on the Agriculture Land Review.
SBOT Submission: The Surrey Board of Trade provided feedback to the BC Government’s consultation on revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve and the Agricultural Land Commission. The deadline for responses was on April 27th.
The issue: International Trade Agreements & Agriculture
What it’s about: Identify and highlight the importance of international trade on Surrey’s agriculture. Review CP-TPP as it is implemented, monitor NAFTA trade talks, and determine CETA opportunities, among other issues.
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, advocacy position developed
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