- In 2015, the B.C. government introduced new regulation allowing breweries, distilleries and meaderies to operate on the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) without requiring a non-farm use application from the independent Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) provided 50% of the farm products used were grown on the farm where they are located.
- Prior to this change in 2015, any proposal for a brewery, distillery or meadery on ALR land required a decision on a non-farm use application by the ALC on a case by case basis.
- The 50% farm products threshold does not preclude a brewery, distillery or meadery from operating on the ALR, rather it provides clarity on when a non-farm use application is required for the ALC to decide on a case by case basis.
- The 50% farm products threshold reflects an extensive consultation, and provides the balance of offering farmers a value-added opportunity on their farm, while ensuring that farming remains an integral part of the overall operation.
- The ALR comprises just 5% of B.C.’s total land base and is the area with the greatest agricultural capacity.
- As a finite and valuable resource, the Province has decided to protect this land, to encourage farming and ranching and to focus non-farm use to the remaining 95% of the province.
- The agricultural land reserve, use, subdivision and procedure regulation (bclaws.ca) (regulation) identifies farm uses that are permitted outright, as well as other permitted uses and non-farm uses.
- Land use activities permitted in the ALR regulation do not require an application or approval of the ALC if the use complies with any conditions or parameters set out in the regulation.
- Non-farm uses are permitted if they are considered compatible with agriculture and have low impacts on the land base.
- In 2015, the B.C. government amended the regulation under the Agricutlural Land Commission Act to allow breweries, distilleries and meaderies on ALR land provided at least 50% of the total farm products used to make the beer, spirits, and mead were grown on the farm on which the brewery, distillery or meadery is located.
- The 50% threshold is measured by the quantity (volume or weight) of all the ingredients or total farm products used in the brewing and distilling process (e.g., grain, honey, hops, spices and botanicals) and is calculated on an annual basis.
- If at least 50% of all the total farm products used were grown on the farm on which the brewery, distillery or meadery is located, breweries, distilleries and meaderies are allowed to operate without making an application to the ALC.
- Any proposal that does not meet the 50% threshold established in the regulation for a brewery, distillery and meadery or associated uses, require a non-farm use application and approval of the ALC in order to be undertaken.
- A land owner requires formal approval from the ALC before initiating any development or land use that is not currently allowed by the act and the regulation.
- If approval is given for a change of land use, the land owner or operator is subject to compliance with all other legislation and rules that may apply to the land, including but not limited to local government zoning.
- Prior to this change in 2015, any proposal for a brewery, distillery or meadery on ALR land required a non-farm use application to the ALC on a case by case basis, as they were not considered a permitted farm use.
- The changes follow and were guided by extensive consultations with representatives of about 100 farming groups and local governments as well as the hundreds of individual farmers and citizens who contributed their thoughts and ideas.
Summary of the consultation process and results:
Permited farm uses in the ALR:
ALC Application process:
Agricultural Land Reserve, Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation:
Government Communications and Public EngagementMinistry of Agriculture