NFU Asks Premier Clark to Reconsider Bill 24

NFU Asks Premier Clark to Reconsider Bill 24
 
(April 30, 2014, Victoria) Today the National Farmers Union (NFU) sent BC Premier Christy Clark a six-page letter detailing the organization’s concerns regarding Bill 24, the Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act. The Bill, currently before the BC Legislature, would re-structure the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) decision-making processes and create a 2-tiered system that would result in most of BC’s farmland becoming more vulnerable to development pressure.
 
 “BC farmland has been protected by legislation, and as a result, BC has been much more successful that Canada as a whole in keeping both farms and farmers,” said Alberta dairy farmer and NFU President, Jan Slomp. “Today we are urging Premier Clark to abandon Bill 24 and instead strengthen farmland protection in BC. We would like to see BC become a model of farmland protection that the NFU can encourage other provinces to emulate.”
 
“As advocates of food sovereignty we believe the individuals who produce, distribute and consume food should be at the center of decisions on food systems and policies,” said Alex Fletcher, NFU Youth President and Vancouver Island farmer. “BC farmers have the most at stake when it comes to any changes to the Agricultural Land Commission, yet the government did not consult us before they introduced this Bill.”
 
“The loss of full protection in Zone 2 appears to be a way to remove barriers to oil, gas and mining development at the expense of farmers and farmland,” Slomp added. “The fact that Bill 24 would enable the government to use its regulatory authority to bring in new criteria for Zone 2 – criteria that may favour the resource sector -- does not sit well with us either.”
 
 “Without proper farmland protection BC risks having its only area suitable for extensive grain-growing totally fragmented by access roads, pipelines and drilling equipment, reducing productivity, devaluing the farmland and adding huge costs, ” said Slomp. “If the intent of Bill 24 is to open up the Peace River area, the Interior and the Kootenays to resource extraction, we only have to look to our neighbours in Alberta who are already trying to farm around the oil industry’s infrastructure. This is not the direction we want BC to go.”
 
“Many young people such as myself, aspire to make farming our life’s work. We want to grow healthy, nutritious food -- and to do that we need access to affordable land,” said Fletcher. “Our future success depends on making sure that protecting BC’s farmland from development pressure is a top priority.”
 
 
For more information:
 
Jan Slomp, NFU President: (403) 843-2068
Alex Fletcher, NFU Youth President: (250) 661-8099 or alexchisholmfletcher@gmail.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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April 30 - NFU letter and brief to BC Premier re Bill 24.pdf810.92 KB