Looking for room to grow in N.S.

Agri­cul­tural Land Re­view Com­mit­tee head­ing dis­cus­sions on prime farm­land

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS/WEATHER - BY GREG MCNEIL gm­c­neil@cb­post.com

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.

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