As part of its ongoing plan to increase the amount of food we produce in our province, and, the number of jobs in agriculture, the provincial government announced another commitment late last week.

To ensure prime agricultural land in our province is available for farmers, the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources has named six more Agriculture Areas of Interest, totalling approximately 5,800 hectares. They’re in the Gander area, Roberts Arm, South Brook, Cormack, and Crabbes River.

It’s encouraging news, given that in the 1950s we had thousands of farms in Newfoundland & Labrador, and today we have hundreds. Fifty-nine Crown Land Areas of Interest, totalling approximately 62,000 hectares, have now been identified for long-term exclusive agricultural use.

Notices will be posted on the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources website as additional land is identified and made available. The Areas of Interest process was established in February 2017 to identify and secure productive land base available in the province, and to simplify the approval process for farmers.

Interested farmers can follow a streamlined Request for Proposals process for a 50-year Crown Land Agriculture Lease.

Merv Wiseman, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture, says he’s pleased to see the Provincial Government’s ongoing initiative to make agricultural land available to farmers and new entrants, and to be doing so through a simplified Request for Proposals process for Crown land access.

“This improved process is removing barriers for farmers wishing to access land and will help stimulate the economy and continue to strengthen our agriculture sector,” Wiseman says.

Information packages can be downloaded from the Provincial Government website, or requested through the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources. Packages will contain background information and necessary application forms to outline the farm development proposal.