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Red Deer County wants farmland feedback

Red Deer County wants farmland feedback

Producers are encouraged to take the Rural Subdivision Survey

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

An Alberta community wants farmers to weigh in on farmland management and development.

Red Deer County is asking local producers to take the online Rural Subdivision Survey. Farmers have until Nov. 30 to participate, and residents from outside the county can fill out the survey too.

The county has also mailed surveys to all ag-zoned landowners.

The survey is part of an update to the county’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP), which it last reviewed in 2012.

“Our MDP is very supportive of agriculture,” Ron Barr, long-range planning manager with Red Deer County, told Farms.com. “We get some farmers looking to subdivide additional parcels out of their quarter section beyond the one they already have. It’s a question that comes up quite often.”

Farmers subdivide quarter sections for multiple reasons like bringing family back onto the farm or strictly as an extra source of revenue, Barr said.

The five-question survey asks respondents if quarter sections should be allowed to subdivide out one parcel, or if the county should allow two parcels out of one quarter section.

All land subdivisions are also subject to county approval, Barr said.

Landowners are in favour of further subdivision in the right circumstances.

“I think there are pieces of farmland that should be left intact, but there are some pieces of land that may be cut off by a river or an access road or something, so that might change how an acreage is split,” John McKechnie, an acreage owner from Red Deer County, told Farms.com.

“If a farm family has some more family members coming on board, why shouldn’t they be able to have a chunk on the same quarter (section) that the parents are on?”

There’s no right answer, so the county just has to do the best job it can, McKechnie added.

Once the county has collected all of the survey data, it will schedule multiple town hall meetings in January and February 2020.

“We’ll go back out in the community and give them an idea of what we found with our survey analysis,” Barr said. “From there, it’ll give us some direction going forward with the MDP review.

“And no matter which way (the county) goes, it’ll have an impact on policies throughout that document. “It’s better for us to have that information going in (to the review) rather than coming forward with policies and basing those off of assumptions.”

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