Got Land? Want Land?
Young Agrarians is excited to announce that with the support of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, we have expanded the B.C. Land Matching Program to Central and Northern B.C.!
“Land matchers are making it much easier for young people and aspiring farmers to find affordable, suitable land and enter British Columbia’s vibrant farming sector,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Their work to connect farmers and landowners in more remote areas will help ensure farmland is being farmed and secure the industry and land for future generations.” – Via the recent B.C. Ministry of Agriculture press release.
Read on to learn more about how the B.C. Land Matching Program can help make your land dreams come to life.
Meet Jolene, Your New Land Matcher for Central & Northern B.C.!
We are very pleased to welcome Jolene Swain to the Young Agrarians Land Matching team! Equipped with a Masters in Biology, and a zeal and curiosity for the natural world, Jolene has roamed extensively throughout BC, Alberta and the Yukon. Her hands’ desire to spend more time in the dirt led her feet towards WoodGrain Farm, a wilderness farmstead in the Kispiox Valley, north of Hazelton in the unceded lands of the Gitxsan First Nation. Here she has spent the last four seasons growing organic vegetables for two local farmers’ markets, an increasing array of seed crops available through the B.C. Eco Seed Co-op, and helping get the hay in for the milk cow and small flock of sheep. Jolene loves visiting diverse farms and farmers throughout the province through her off-farm work as an organic verification officer, and looks forward to connecting aspiring and established farmers and landowners alike, across Northern and Central BC.
“I am so excited to be part of this initiative providing land access support to new farmers, and landowners, as they endeavour to grow food and community across north and central B.C. Having lived and farmed in the north for almost five years, I grow ever more appreciative of the resourcefulness, ingenuity, self-reliance, and generosity of our rural communities, and look forward to promoting the ready-opportunities that our region provides for aspiring new farmers.” – Jolene Swain
Check out the Ministry of Agriculture’s press release on the program expansion here.
Are you looking for farmland to start or grow your farm business? Do you have farmland that you’d like to see in production? Jolene is based in the Kispiox Valley, and will be offering land assistance services across Central & Northern B.C. – please reach out to Jolene to learn how she may be able to support you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHY LAND MATCHING?
B.C. has some of the most expensive land in Canada. We’re all feeling the pinch, especially new and young farmers, who say that accessing land is the #1 thing keeping them from starting a farm.
According to the 2018 Farmland Values report released by Farm Credit Canada, the Cariboo-Chilcotin region saw a 12.8% increase in farmland values, while the Peace Region-Northern B.C. had a 6.6% increase, with the highest quality land going for a premium. Increases in farmland values in Central and Northern B.C. reflect what we’re hearing on the ground from young farmers – while a few years ago new farmers could reliably relocate north to purchase land and escape from Southern B.C. real estate hotspots, they are now finding themselves priced out of the market all across the province.
It’s no wonder that it is challenging for a new generation to buy land to farm. As well, the plot thickens with the average age of farmers in B.C. at 56. Eventually those farmers are going to retire, and will want to pass their land on to the next generation of food growers. But how?
For new and young entrepreneurs starting their first farm business, leasing land is a great solution where acquiring land is not feasible. 50% of farmer operators across Canada under 35 lease land, according to the 2016 Census of Agriculture. For farmland owners who aren’t farming all or part of their land, leasing land is also a great solution! That’s where the B.C. Land Matching Program comes in.
B.C. Land Matching Program
The B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP) provides 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. The benefits of land matching are hands on, personalized support services to new farmers and landowners to better understand regulations, evaluate opportunities, access resources, and ultimately find a land match partner. The program is delivered by the Young Agrarians and addresses the significant barrier to land access for those seeking to enter the B.C. agriculture industry.
The B.C. Land Matching Program provides:
- An online and searchable inventory of B.C. land opportunities
- Personalized and regionally-based matchmaking services for new farmers and landowners, including referrals to business and technical support services
- Educational events and resources to increase knowledge and facilitate matches between new farmers and landowners
Who can participate in the B.C. Land Matching Program?
- New farmers seeking land to set up their agricultural business
- Landowners looking for someone to farm their land
- Farmers and farmland owners seeking support to develop agreements
Learn more about the B.C. Land Matching Program and find a Land Matcher in your area at youngagrarians.org/land.
The B.C. Land Matching Program is funded by the Province of British Columbia and supported regionally by Columbia Basin Trust, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Real Estate Foundation of BC, Metro Vancouver, Vancity, the Village of Lumby and North Okanagan Electoral Areas B, C, D, E, F.