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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Competition and development pressure for farmland continues to increase. Ontario’s best farmland is virtually all located near larger population centres, which can result in enormous pressure for that land to be divided, fragmented, or developed for non-agricultural uses. Most non-agricultural uses are not compatible with agriculture, do not support or contribute to agricultural operations, and generally, do not need to be located outside of a settlement, but rather, it is often simply a desire for more space, cheaper land, lower taxes/fees, rural setting, less scrutiny, or regulation.
Ontario’s planning policies are focused on the preservation of farmland and agriculture; however, once agricultural lands are lost to non-agricultural use, they rarely return. Establishing strong land use policies for agricultural areas can help to avoid or mitigate many of the potential negative pressures on agricultural operations/areas that can result from such uses and help to ensure agricultural operations can maintain the flexibility to adapt and thrive.
Agricultural planning policy needs to do more to respond to pressures from non-agricultural uses by providing greater direction on development and locational criteria, encouraging consolidation of parcels, and integrating with rural economic opportunities while still preserving our ever-so-important agricultural lands. Come explore this fundamental role of planning policy in supporting the success of agriculture.