Agricultural land is land that is managed for farm use and land with agricultural potential. These uses include pasture land, crop land, horticultural land, maple groves, Christmas tree, orchards and class 2, 3, and 4 soils as defined by the Canadian Land Inventory. Ensuring availability of agricultural land allows for future generations to farm.
There are many issue areas that are impacting agricultural land use. According to the “Preservation of Agricultural Land” report by the Agriculture Land Review Committee, Nova Scotia has a little over 29% (1.57 million hectares) if its land classed as Agriculture. Of these 1.57 million hectares, 1.82 thousand hectares was being farmed in 2006. The report indicated that agriculture land abandonment, urban sprawl/development, soil fertility and impact of rising water on dykeland are all issues of concern that must be addressed. Beyond insuring availability of agricultural land for present and future generations, increasing land values, property migration when sold and trespassing are all significant concerns among land owners.
In 2017, NSFA convened an Agricultural Land Policy Committee to continue work on addressing the aforementioned issues as well as other recommendations. The committee’s goal is to examine and work toward implementation of the recommendations in the Preservation of Agriculture Land Report, NSFA also believes there should be a provincial land strategy for agriculture land use in Nova Scotia. The committee has representation from varying organizations who are impacted by work directly with agricultural land, including NSFA Executive and Council, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis Valley Land Trust Society, Department of Municipal Affairs, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, and Perennia.
It shall be the policy of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to address land issues through a joint committee and collaborative effort. The Federation will advocate for a comprehensive land use strategy that will include an agricultural land bank, 0% taxation on land owned by a registered farm or land actively maintained as farmland by a registered farmer, access to Crown Land for agriculture use, and support for those who bring land into agriculture production. The Federation will also use the appropriate avenues to request at minimum that 5,000 acres of agriculture land be placed under easement within the five-year review of EGSPA.