Farming is an industry that has gone through as many changes as any other. These days, it’s thought to be the work of large farming corporations, or farming families, passed down through generations. However, the BC Land Matching Program has been working to change that in recent years.
The BC Land Matching Program is operated through Young Agrarians, with funding from the Province of BC and regional funders. It’s a free program designed to match prospective farmers looking for land with land holders looking to lease their land for farming purposes.
Starting in 2016 in the Metro-Vancouver and Vancouver Island areas, the Land Matching Program came to the Northern BC region in 2019, with three matches — in Pouce Coupe, Fort St. John, and Fort Nelson — to date.
“We have a lot of people looking for land up in the Dawson Creek and Fort St. John area. They are looking quite frequently to move here from Southern BC and Alberta, with some having farming experience and wanting to get back into it, and others who are brand new to farming,” said Morgan Kitchen, land matcher with Young Agrarians.
Kitchen said she and other land matchers provide “a hands on and personalized support to facilitate inquiries and people looking for that match, finding the person who has the land available, bringing them together and going through the lease agreement.”
According to Kitchen, new farmers face barriers in accessing knowledge, land, and capital. There is lots of land out there to be farmed and used, but many land holders are still unaware of the Land Matching Program, or of how effective it can be.
“Some land holders using the program may be retiring, or are just too busy, but they don’t want to see their land sit as it has great potential. They know it would be great to have someone else working on the land, and we are helping bring those two parties together,” said Kitchen.
So far, the program has made 165 matches, with 16 of those (totalling 1,687.5) acres) taking place in the North Central Region, which covers a vast area from Central B.C. up to the Yukon border.
For more information, visit youngagrarians.org/tools/land/bc-land-matching-program.
Email reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com