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Delta throwback: Concerns over future of Fraser Valley farming

The DFI event reportedly had an excellent turnout
Victor Reynolds of Ladner (right) comments on a stand of corn with Allard Waddell during the 1970 DFI tour.

Let’s head back to July 4, 1970, when the state of farming in Delta was in full display at a special event.

The Delta Farmers’ Institute (DFI) held a successful crop inspection tour to show various government officials and the public operations at many local farms.

The tour was organized by DFI president Murray Davie and among those in attendance were Eric Hughes, Fraser Valley field crops specialist with the provincial department of agriculture.

There were 268 working farms at the time, which was two years prior to the introduction of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

Hughes said he was pleased with what he saw during the tour.

“The Delta farmers are a good group of growers. Because of this, I hate to see the land go out to non-agricultural use,” he said.

Commenting on land being rezoned to residential and industrial uses, Hughes added, “When you look at the Fraser Valley as a whole, you become quite pessimistic about the outlook for agriculture, because a startling amount of land is being taken, but I’m, sure the agricultural future in Delta is assured.”

Fast forward to 2023 and the City of Delta is currently working on updating its Agricultural Plan.

The plan aims to identify current issues for Delta’s agriculture industry and recommend actions for the municipality to strengthen the long-term viability of farming in the community.

A recent draft report also notes that there are 177 farms in Delta, with 42 per cent registered as family corporations.

Delta has approximately 22,240 acres of land in the ALR, corresponding to 50 per cent of its total land base, while approximately 75 per cent of the ALR land is actively used for farming.

There are few subdivisions occurring or being approved by City of Delta or the Agricultural Land Commission, the report notes, adding that the presence of large parcels in the ALR allows for economies of scale and increased farm viability for a variety of agricultural activities.

The report adds that, in comparison to other municipalities, Delta has been very successful in retaining ALR land.


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