Overview

The Regional Agriculture Master Plan is the first activity undertaken by the EMRB following the approval of the Growth Plan in October 2017, indicating its commitment to the importance of this work for the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the Edmonton Metro Region.

Growth Plan Agriculture Policy

Context:
  • Recognition of viability and sustainability of Ag Sector for next 30 yrs
  • That food is essential to feed local population and meet growing global demand
  • Land is irreplaceable
  • Importance of Ag and value-added Ag to economic diversification and regional prosperity
  • Prime land is under constant threat e.g. conversion to non-Ag uses and fragmentation, and so must be preserved
Guiding principle:
  • Ensure the wise management of prime agricultural resources.
Objectives:
  • Conserve adequate supply for local food security
  • Minimize fragmentation
  • Promote diversification and value added production.

MAP above is Schedule 11, Agricultural Land Suitability Ratings, found on page 80 of Edmonton Metropolitan Region Growth Plan. Darker green indicates increased prime soil classification.

Presentations Meeting Schedule for 2018
  • Next Meeting: September 21 Parkland County
  • November 23 Sturgeon County 
Completed Meetings: In the News: Current Regional Plans Backgrounders

Task Force

At its February 2018 meeting, the Board struck a Task Force to prepare the Regional Agriculture Master Plan.

Task Force members include:
  • Mayor Rod Shaigec, Parkland County, Chair
  • Councillor Michael Walters, City of Edmonton, Vice Chair
  • Mayor Tanni Doblanko, Leduc County
  • Mayor Alanna Hnatiw, Sturgeon County
  • Mayor Barry Turner, Town of Morinville
  • Councillor Kathy Barnhart, Town of Beaumont
  • Councillor Paul Smith, Strathcona County.
The Task Force members are supported at the table by Regional Technical Advisors, two representatives of the Government of Alberta, and an expert Consultant team.
Regional Agriculture Master Plan Project FAQ
A: The Regional Ag Master Plan is about balancing competing interests to ensure responsible and sustainable growth and maintaining a viable ag sector.
  • Food Is essential and growing an abundance of it requires productive soil, ideal growing conditions, including water
  • The region is blessed with an abundance of some of the highest quality of soils in the country and is under constant pressure from competing land uses resulting in fragmentation & conversion of prime agricultural land
  • High quality, productive land is a non–renewable resource and in increasing demand given the growing global population and the trend towards urbanization
  • The Ag Sector is critical to the provincial economic diversification strategy, and requires support to be sustainable
  • Agriculture is deeply rooted in this region going back more than 100 years. It is part of our heritage, the social fabric of the rural areas and their cultural root; it  is an economic generator; it builds community and promotes environmental stewardship
  • The Ag sector  must remain viable for the next 50-100 years to meet the needs of  for future generations and global demand for food
A: The Ag sector is in jeopardy, threatening economic prosperity and a lifestyle. Leadership is needed at the regional level to ensure its survival and significant contribution to the sustainability, growth and diversification of Edmonton Metro.
  • In the development of the Growth Plan, issues facing rural growth emerged – urbanization; rural settlement; growth of other economic sectors, i.e. mining, oil and gas, recreation; and environmental considerations. All have contributed to a  loss of prime agricultural land, through fragmentation and conversion to non agricultural uses
  • At the same time the sector is undergoing tremendous change and having to adapt to new and evolving business models, technology, innovation, new crops, market volatility and effects of climate change
  • Agriculture is the largest landowner in the region and a major contributor to the region’s working and natural landscape. This effectively makes producers stewards of the land. and have an important role to play in determining the future viability and sustainability of the sector in this region, and need a stronger voice and advocate around the table of key decision makers
A1 As identified in the Growth Plan, there are three Objectives for the Regional Agriculture Master Plan Project:
  1. Identify and conserve an adequate supply of prime agricultural lands to provide a secure local food source for future generations
  2. Minimize the fragmentation and conversion of prime agricultural lands for non-agricultural uses
  3. Promote diversification and value-added agriculture production and plan infrastructure to support the agricultural sector and regional food system
A2 Project Outcomes expected to be to:
  • Provide clarity and flexibility for the agricultural sector
  • Establish a framework for consistent decision-making for municipalities (but not one-size-fits-all)
  • Enable economic diversification and economic prosperity
  • Create the conditions for a continued viable, thriving agricultural sector, responsive to urban and rural agriculture
  • Identify mechanism(s) to achieve integrated and collaborative planning in the rural area
  • Develop partnerships and alliances between different economic sectors
A3: The project has three Deliverables:
  1. The first is to develop a regional agricultural profile of the region based on a synthesis and comparative analysis of agricultural studies, strategies and master plans along with regional economic development plans, prepared in the region
  2. The second is to develop a Regional Ag Master Plan including Vison, Guiding Principles, Strategies, Policies and Implementation plan, tools, and KPI’s to measure the Agriculture Policy Objectives in the growth plan
  3. Third, is to develop a land evaluation and site assessment (LESA) tool for this region to support decision-making regarding land uses, by policy tier, and affecting the growth and diversification of the Ag Sector and to support the implementation of the Ag Policy Objectives of the growth plan
  • The RAMP and the LESA Tool will be used to ensure the support the implementation of the Growth Plan Principles and Policies to ensure responsible growth across the region
A: The Board has allocated two years to complete this project, with an expected completion date of May 2020.
 
A: The EMRB has appointed a seven-member Task Force to oversee the development of a Regional Agriculture Master Plan and land evaluation and site assessment tool (LESA).
  • The Task Force Members are:
    • Mayor Rod Shaigec, Parkland County, Chair
    • Mayor Tanni Doblanko, Leduc County
    • Mayor Alanna Hnatiw, Sturgeon County
    • Mayor Barry Turner, Morinville
    • Councillor Michael Walters, Edmonton (Vice Chair)
    • Councillor Kathy Barnhart, Beaumont
    • Councillor Paul Smith, Strathcona County
  • Non voting members of the Task Force include representatives from Agriculture and Forestry and the Provincial Land Use Secretariat.
  • A technical working group composed of experts from member municipalities, and a consulting team possessing broad industry experience and knowledge, together support the Task Force.
A: In its long term planning, the EMRB identified the viability of the Ag sector as a major challenge facing the region and prioritized the completion of a regional agriculture master plan as its first task following the 2017 municipal lecetions.
  • EMRB is a regional  Growth Management Board and exist under Provincial Regulation
  • It’s mandate is to prepare and oversee the implement of a Regional Growth Management Plan and a Metropolitan Servicing Plan, together giving direction on  how and where to grow in the next 30-50 year in order to accommodate the doubling of the Edmonton Metro population (to 2.2M) and the addition of 475,000 jobs (to 1.2 million)
  • Primary functions - regional planning, public policy and advocacy
  • 13 member municipalities – Beaumont, Devon, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, City of Leduc, Leduc County, Morinville, Parkland County, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Strathcona County, and Sturgeon County
A: The Province of Alberta is involved for the full length of the project as liaison between the project and those provincial departments with a vested interest.
  • Two provincial representatives participating:
  • One from the Land Use Secretariat
  • one from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
A: All the information about the project and Task Force contacts will continue to be posted on the EMRB website on this RAMP webpage. Project Manager is Sharon Shuya.

Do you have a question or a comment for the Task Force? Please let us know here.

All comments will be recorded, answered, and brought to the attention of the Task Force. We will respond as soon as possible. Thank you!