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Posted: December 10, 2011

New committee to play role in ag plan development

A newly formed regional steering committee will play a key role in the development of an agricultural plan for the region.

“We recognize the importance of agriculture in the East Kootenay. The development of an agricultural plan that will support and enhance agriculture has been, and continues to be, a priority for this board,” said Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board chair, Rob Gay.

To assist in the development of that plan, the RDEK board Dec. 9 appointed a steering committee.

“Having a steering committee in place is of critical importance in this process. These individuals are directly involved in agriculture in our area and will provide us with technical advice and input in addition to liaising with the agricultural community,” said RDEK planner Karen MacLeod.

The 10-member volunteer committee includes representation from five RDEK Electoral Areas and is made up of local ranchers, producers, farmers and business owners. The members are:  Area B – Noreen Thielen ; Area C – Tyler Beckley, Jody Murdoch; Area E – Karen Barraclough, Chris McCurry, Sharon Mielnichuk; Area F – Eric Rasmussen, Lin Steedman, Dave Zehnder; Area G – Paul Galbraith.

The steering committee’s first order of business will be to appoint a chair at its meeting later this month before working with RDEK staff and elected officials to develop a terms of reference for the plan.

“Once the terms of reference are in place, we are hoping to put out a request for proposals in the spring for a consultant to assist with the drafting of the plan,” MacLeod outlined.

Earlier this year, the RDEK received $20,000 in funding from the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. to undertake a land use inventory in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture. The inventory was completed in late August and Ministry of Agriculture staff is now compiling the data to present to the Steering Committee.

The first draft of the Agricultural Plan is expected to be complete by early 2013.


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