The program launched in 2016
By Diego Flammini
A B.C. program to help young farmers enter the industry has reached a milestone.
The B.C. Land Matching Program has resulted in more than 200 matches since it launched in 2016.
Delivered by Young Agrarians, the program matches farmers who are looking for land with landowners who have land available for production.
In total, the program is responsible for 203 matches covering 9,108 acres throughout B.C.
The Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands region has the highest number of matches with 59.
The Okanagan-Thompson area has the highest numbers of acres involved, with 4,403.
“Through this program, we are building resilient local food systems by putting more land back into production while also reducing barriers for new and young farmers so we can ensure a bright future for farming in B.C.,” Lana Popham, B.C.’s minister of agriculture, said in an April 13 statement.
The provincial government is supporting the program in 2022-23 with a $390,000 investment. This brings the government’s total support to $1.8 million since 2018.
Farmland in B.C. is expensive.
Land in the Okanagan region, for example, is about $29,700 per acre, Farm Credit Canada’s Farmland Values Report says.
The land matching program helps new farmers overcome capital challenges and inexperience, said Sarah Wilson, operator of Pendleton Farm, a 1.5-acre market garden in the Comox Valley.
“As a new farmer starting a business, I didn’t have access to capital for purchasing land and I was lucky to connect with the landholders I now lease the property Pendleton Farm is on,” Wilson said in a statement.
Young Agrarians also delivers a similar land matching program in Alberta.
The organization also has a free land access guide to help provide strategies for purchasing land and building equity.
If you’re in need of farmland, check out the Farms.com Real Estate page to see what land is available near you.