Agricultural land is land that is managed for farm use and land with agricultural potential. These uses include pasture, crop, and horticultural land, maple groves, Christmas trees, orchards and class 2, 3, and 4 soils as defined by the Canadian Land Inventory. Ensuring the availability of agricultural land allows for the future generations to farm.
There are many issue areas that impact 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. 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 ensuring 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. Multiple levels of governments are working to protect lands from excessive losses. Lands covered under these protections include wildlife habitat, wetlands and more, but do not include agricultural land.
In 2017, NSFA assembled an Agricultural Land Policy Committee to continue work on addressing the issues mentioned above, 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. The committee has representation from varying organizations who are impacted by work directly with agricultural land including: NSFA Executive and Members, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis Valley Farmland 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 lobby 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