Landmatching: B.C. group looks to pair retiring and aspiring farmers
Published Thursday, September 20, 2018 8:41AM EDT
High property values in B.C. aren’t only a problem for people looking to buy or rent a home – they’re also making things difficult for the province’s agricultural sector.
With land prices at a premium, many prospective farmers feel purchasing existing farms is simply beyond their reach.
One B.C. organization is hoping to help alleviate the problem by pairing aspiring farmers looking for land with veteran farmers ready to call it a career.
“We help to make matches where appropriate. Where a match is struck, we help with the legal terms of an agreement,” Sara Dent, a co-founder of Young Agrarians, told CTV News Channel.
That agreement comes in the form of a lease, which gives the young farmer land without the initial expense of having to purchase it. In much of the province, Dent said, sale prices for farmland are now so high that a new farmer would find it difficult to make back the purchase price.
“Leasing is a very important mechanism for new and young farmers,” she said.
Before making any match, the Young Agrarians landmatchers talk to the farms’ owners about what they want to see happen to their land. The new farmers are asked about their business plans and interest in farming, in order to weed out anyone whose commitment might not be full.
“It’s a small number of people that are getting into farming today,” Dent said.
The leasing program has already made successful matches in several regions of the province, Dent said.