RDNO seeks input on agriculture

Two open houses regarding the draft regional agricultural area plan will be held May 1 and 2

North Okanagan residents are being asked to provide input about the future of agriculture.

Two open houses regarding the draft regional agricultural area plan will be held May 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Lumby’s White Valley Community Centre and May 2 from 9 a.m. until noon at the IPE horticulture building in Armstrong.

“This is a unique opportunity for North Okanagan residents and the agricultural community to contribute to a plan that will guide future decisions on local agriculture and food production,” said Mike Macnabb, with the Regional District of North Okanagan’s regional agricultural advisory committee.

The agricultural plan process was initiated in December 2013 with input provided by the member municipalities and the regional agricultural advisory committee.

“Throughout the planning process, valuable feedback from both the public and agricultural stakeholders was gathered through extensive community engagement which included public open houses, surveys, focus groups and face-to-face interviews,” said Macnabb.

Based upon the input received, the draft plan focuses on seven priorities:

1. Protecting farmland and farmers

2. Strengthening the local agricultural economy

3. Encouraging sustainable agricultural practices

4. Managing clean and accessible water

5. Ensuring farmland availability for emerging farmers

6. Creating supportive government policies and regulations

7. Raising awareness and education

“The regional district encourages all residents and agricultural stakeholders to provide comments if you are unable to attend any of the open houses either by e-mail to rgs@rdno.ca or by letter to the RDNO office,” said Macnabb.

For more information on the agricultural area plan, go to www.rdno.ca.