Looking for room to grow in N.S.
Agricultural Land Review Committee heading discussions on prime farmland
SYDNEY — Public discussions on the future of Nova Scotia’s agricultural lands will come to Sydney on Thursday.
The Agricultural Land Review Committee is heading the provincewide discussions on the preservation of prime farmland and how much of it is needed to sustain the province’s population.
“Quite simply our focus is to talk to the public and find out if the public feels there is a problem with our agriculture land base,” said committee chair Richard Williams.
“If so, what is the problem and what do they want to do about it?”
The committee will also gauge the public’s willingness to pay for solutions to any problems posed and for opinions on who should control the resource base.
“ We have a well-functioning system for delivering food to our people but that is not to say it is not without real problems.”
One of those problems is the cost of energy needed to run farms, he said.
And this could affect productivity per hectare and the amount of land needed for agriculture.
“I’d say the pressures we are starting to feel from the future may be pushing us in the direction for needing more rather than less land.”
According to the 2006 census there are approximately 181,915 hectares of active farmland in the province, mainly concentrated in the Annapolis Valley, Musquodoboit, Shubenacadie, Stewiacke, the North Shore, Antigonish, Lunenburg and portions of Cape Breton.
Williams said areas that can be used as quality agricultural land are not currently in active production.
Reclaiming these areas for agriculture would be expensive.
The committee was set up by the provincial departments of Agriculture and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.
The first in the series of meetings began Jan. 27 in Halifax.
The only Cape Breton stop will be Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.
People are also invited to make written submissions.
Visit www.nsaglandreview.com for more information.
Future uses of agriculture land across Nova Scotia is the focus mandate of the Agricultural Land Review Committee, which be at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre on Thursday from 7 p.m.-9 p.m.