On Saturday, October 27th, 30 landowners and current and prospective farmers converged on the Creston & District Community Complex to talk land access, lease agreements and farming in the Columbia Basin. We saw a great turnout of both farmers looking for land and landowners, and the event welcomed a good mix of new and experienced farmers, including some farmers who are currently leasing or had leased land previously. People came out from as far as Shore Acres, Cranbrook, Harrop and Nelson and there was great local participation from Creston.
Activities kicked off at 1pm with an introduction circle and networking session accompanied by locally-sourced fare from Kootenay Meadows and Real Food Cafe, followed by a land access presentation from the Young Agrarians B.C. Land Program Manager, Darcy Smith, who provided technical information about leases, land agreement considerations, and regulations, and highlighted as a case study Wloka Farms, a successful local business that leases various plots of land in Creston. Attendees also learned about the personalized, hands-on support offered to landowners and farmers looking for land to lease through the B.C. Land Matching Program.
Next on the agenda were short info sessions from several thematic experts. Rachael Roussin is a Program Coordinator for Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors. She discussed the kind of support that organizations like KBFA and Basin Business Advisors are able to provide to farmers across the Columbia Basin as well as some challenges and opportunities for farmers.
Leanne Goddard, a Chartered Professional Accountant based in Cranbrook, was next up. She spoke to such topics as tax considerations like GST and capital gains, and highlighted the value and importance of working with accountants, lawyers and other professionals when setting up leases and starting farm business.
The day culminated in an expert panel Q&A facilitated by Columbia Basin Land Matcher Hailey Troock featuring Rachael, Leanne and Mira Grbich, a first-generation farmer at Glade Organics who shared her experiences leasing land as a new entrant to agriculture. Lively and engaging discussions centred around land access, market access and demand, as well as support for new entrants in the region.
Missed this event but keen to attend the next? We have Land Links coming up in Langley on November 17 and Cobble Hill on November 24! Plus, some exciting community networking and learning opportunities happening soon in the Columbia Basin – check out our Events page for more details!
The B.C. Land Matching Program offers personalized, hands-on land matching and business support services to new farmers looking for land to farm, as well as landowners interested in finding someone to farm their land. Reach out to the Columbia Basin Land Matcher for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
The B.C. Land Matching Program and the Columbia Basin Land Linking Workshop are funded in the Columbia Basin by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Columbia Basin Trust. Young Agrarians would also like to thank Kootenay Meadows, Real Food Cafe, the Creston & District Community Complex, Wloka Farms and our panelists for helping us make this event possible.