The meeting focused on a number of aspects including challenges farms are facing in the area, concerns going forward, as well as what can be done to strengthen the industry.
Don Cameron is an agriculture consultant working with the PRRD He says the main goal of these meetings is to create a plan that will enhance agriculture.
“What we’re working on is the development of a plan that will encourage and support agriculture throughout the Peace River Regional District,” he says. “Right now we’re in the process of talking to the farm community, we’re getting ideas on some of the issues, and we’re looking at some of the ways we can bring about a more dynamic agriculture industry.”
Bruce Simard is the General Manager of Development Services with the Regional District. He explains why it’s important to create an agriculture plan for the area.
“The regional board, in its strategic planning in 2012, had been hearing about a lot of issues in the agriculture community. This was brought on with more conflict with industrial and resource development that wasn’t there before,” he says. “Market difficulties, transport difficulties are also an issue, and our regional board wanted to help out. They wanted to engage with the agriculture community to see how they could help out, promote agriculture and make sure it’s prosperous as we move on.
This is the first time an agriculture plan has been developed for the Peace River Regional District. Cameron says once public meetings are over, it will be time to start building the plan.”
“The next step is to build an actual draft plan, which we plan to go out to the community again in the fall with some opportunity for feedback.”
The PRRD is hoping to have a completed plan in place for farmers in early 2014.
Meetings with the public will continue tonight in Hudson’s Hope and in Upper Halfway at 7 p.m.
Anyone looking for more information is encouraged to contact the Peace River Regional District office and ask about the agricultural plan.