What is the agricultural system?
The agricultural system is the area where Halton Region promotes and supports agriculture. It is in place to preserve farmland and to make sure the agricultural industry can be successful.
The goal of the agricultural system is to maintain a permanently secure, economically viable agricultural industry and to preserve the open-space character and landscape of Halton’s non-urbanized areas.
Why is agriculture in the Regional Official Plan?
Halton Region and all municipalities in Ontario are responsible for protecting agricultural land. Preserving agriculture is a key part of Halton’s Planning Vision. Agriculture is an economic driver that contributes to the success of the Region and enhances our quality of life.
Halton Region implements its planning vision through policies in the Regional Official Plan.
What agricultural policies do we have now?
The Regional Official Plan (ROP) sets out policies that preserve farmland and the farm community. The policies of the ROP:
- recognize agriculture as the main activity and land use in rural areas
- protect agriculture from incompatible uses
- promote and support farming in Halton’s rural areas
Why are we reviewing the Regional Official Plan?
Halton Region, like all municipalities in Ontario, is required to review and update their Official Plan to be consistent with and conforming to provincial policies and plans.
A review of Agricultural System policies will make sure the Regional Official Plan:
The Regional Official Plan Review – Phase 1 Directions Report, 2016
identifies the policy themes under review.
View the Planning Act, Section 26(1) (external link)
What agricultural policies are we reviewing?
We are reviewing agricultural policies to preserve agricultural land and to allow farms to pursue new types of business opportunities.
The review will look at best practices for supporting:
- agriculture-related uses and on-farm diversified uses
- value-added and agri-tourism uses in agricultural areas
- protection of agricultural land and strengthening of urban agriculture
- land use policy to support the Rural Agricultural Strategy
What is an on-farm diversified use?
On-farm diversified uses let farms branch out and add to their income. For example, value-added products can usually be sold for a higher price.
Criteria to qualify as an on-farm diversified use or agricultural-related uses are in the Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Prime Agricultural Areas (external link).