Ensuring farmland sustainability
B.C. agriculture, including ocean based farmers, are vulnerable to changes in climatic conditions and even small shifts can have significant consequences for food production, the livelihoods of farmers, and the future of the agri-food sector in B.C.
Changes in the climate are already underway and climate projections indicate that warmer and drier summers, wetter winters, and increased variability and extreme conditions such as droughts, floods, and wildfires, will all become more common. There will also be the potential for longer growing seasons and different crops. For the agriculture and aquaculture industries to manage the risks and take advantage of the opportunities, they must be able to adapt.
CLIMATE ACTION ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The Climate Action Advisory Committee was formed jointly with the BCAC and Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC to establish the Climate Action Initiative which enables a pan-agriculture approach to identifying and analyzing the impacts of climate change and climate action public policy on the agriculture and food processing sectors. The Advisory Committee guides the efforts taken to raise awareness about potential impacts on agriculture, assists to meet the challenges, and develops renewable energy opportunities.
AGRICULTURAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT CODE OF PRACTICE
On February 28, 2019, the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management (AEMCoP) replaced the Agricultural Waste Control Regulation (AWCR). BC Agriculture Council (BCAC) assisted in facilitating discussions pertaining to the new AWCR at Government-Industry Working Group meetings and has partnered with the Province of BC to assist communicating the key changes related to AEMCoP. Meetings are taking place between industry, BCAC and the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture to further communicate these changes.
There are new tools already developed to support implementation with more to come. Please ensure to keep your eyes and ears open for any updates on tips and tools available to you through emails, websites, regional info sessions, industry events, and more.
We will be posting news, updates, tools and resources here on our website as communication is rolled out over the next year (and beyond). Please check back regularly for updates.
More details are available here.
WATER SUSTAINABILITY ACT MODERNIZATION
The BCAC Water Sustainability Committee continues engaging with the Province to ensure BC's new Water Sustainability Act (WSA) works for BC farmers and ranchers. During the year, there was some confusion within government on what details are required for licensing existing groundwater users. With considerable input from the BC Cattlemen’s Association, we had a number of meetings with Ministry of Environment staff, as well as both ministers involved (Environment and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations). While not all of the bugs have been removed, the application forms have been simplified and the fee-waived period extended. The new deadline to apply for a licence is March 1, 2022.
For information on the new groundwater licensing process—including the application itself—the new fee and rental schedule, and an online calculator to help you estimate your usage requirements, visit: FrontCounter BC or phone 1-877-855-3222 (toll free).
AGRICULTURE NUTRIENT & AIR WORKING GROUP (ANAWG)
This joint industry-government working group provides a forum for exchange of information on nutrient management and air quality. This group meets to discuss issues that may impact producers in the future, as well as review projects and research being done. The ANAWG committee looks at ways to share information more widely to researchers and producers in a time-efficient and effective way.