Fisheries and Land Resources
April 11, 2018
Newfoundland and Labrador a Leader in Ensuring Land is Available for Farming
A recent Senate report on how to keep farmland in the hands of Canada’s farmers is evidence that the Provincial Government’s agriculture land tenure and management system is among the best in the country.
The Provincial Government has taken proactive measures to ensure the future viability of the agriculture industry by making approximately 62,000 hectares of Crown land available for agricultural development. Land is now available to new and existing farmers, and programs are in place to cultivate agricultural land and purchase private land for agricultural purposes.
The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry evaluated the acquisition of farmland in Canada and its potential impact on the farming sector in its recent report - Growing Concern: How to Keep Farmland in the Hands of Canadian Farmers. The report stated private ownership of prime agriculture land is resulting in price increases and removal of land from agricultural use in favour of industrial and residential development. This threatens farm families, food production and food security.
The Way Forward on Agriculture identifies actions to double food self-sufficiency and double the number of people directly employed in the provincial agriculture sector.
“Newfoundland and Labrador is growing its agriculture sector. The Way Forward commits to doubling food self-sufficiency by 2022, and access to land and land development are key components to that plan. In Newfoundland and Labrador, while some agricultural land is privately held, most is Crown land offered under 50-year leases. This ensures that, for generations to come well beyond the first 50 years, agricultural land will stay agricultural.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
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The Way Forward on Agriculture - www.flr.gov.nl.ca/agriculturesummit/
Growing Concern: How to Keep Farmland in the Hands of Canadian Farmers - sencanada.ca/content/sen/committee/421/AGFO/Reports/Farmland-final_e.pdf
Fisheries and Land Resources
The Provincial Government has a number of programs and initiatives in place to both protect and increase agriculture production in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- The province-wide Land Consolidation Program (LCP) allows non-farm landowners and retiring farmers to sell granted (freehold) land to the province, enabling the Provincial Government to make it available to existing commercial farmers, part-time farmers or new entrants in need of additional land. This protects land from being sold for non-agricultural purposes.
- The Real Property Tax Exemption Program identifies productive farmland and farm buildings that may be eligible for exemption from Real Property Tax in accordance with the Municipalities Act. This program encourages agricultural landowners to keep farmland in production or to bring their idle land into production.
- Commercial agriculture land in Newfoundland and Labrador is issued as a 50-year Crown land agriculture lease, ensuring that farm land is used exclusively for agriculture purposes and protecting it from being utilized otherwise. Agriculture leases and home-gardening licenses are also available for small-scale operations and individual families.
- Twenty Agriculture Development Areas (ADA) were recognized approximately 40 years ago throughout the province. These are traditional areas of agriculture activity with concentrations of good agricultural land identified on the Provincial Land Use Atlas. All proposals for land use within these ADAs are referred to the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources for consideration.
- The Way Forward on Agriculture, a plan developed by industry and government, is focused on doubling agriculture employment and increasing food self-sufficiency by at least 20 per cent by 2022. Consulting with other Provincial Government departments, municipalities, Indigenous groups and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited, the department has identified 59 areas of interest totalling approximately 62,000 hectares to increase agriculture development.
- The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador advertises land for agriculture purposes through a Request for Proposals process, which includes agriculture lands within Agriculture Areas of Interest, agriculture land returned to the Crown, farmland development projects and land consolidation properties.
2018 04 11 4:00 p.m.