Agricultural Land Use Inventory in RDCK

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is located in south eastern BC and is comprised of 11 electoral areas and 9 member municipalities. RDCK completed an Agricultural Area Plan in 2011 with an overarching goal of increasing the quantity and quality of agricultural production in the region1.
In the summer of 2016, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and its partners conducted an Agricultural Land Use Inventory (ALUI) in RDCK. The ALUI was funded by RDCK, the Columbia Basin Trust, and Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial territorial initiative.
ALUIs can be used to understand the type and extent of agricultural activities within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The ALUI data quantifies how much land is currently used for agriculture, how much land is unavailable for agriculture, and how much land may have potential for agricultural expansion. The data provides baseline information that can be used to track trends in agricultural land use and to measure changes over time. The data also enables the estimation of agricultural water demand with the use of an irrigation water demand model.

Highlights Within RDCK:

• 30% of the effective ALR was in farmed land cover that includes cultivated crops and barns.
• There were 13,379 ha of cultivated crops in the ALR and 1,100 ha of crops outside the ALR.
• Forage & pasture accounts for 76% of all crops, while cereals & oilseeds account for 17%.
• Only 23% of the crops utilize irrigation. Most forage, pasture, cereals & oilseeds were not irrigated.
• Equine and beef were the most common types of livestock. Equine had the greatest number of estimated animal unit equivalents (6,340), followed by beef with 5,640 estimated animal unit equivalents.
• Most equine activities were small with < 25 animals, while beef activities were often much larger.
• There were 10 large scale beef, 6 large scale dairy, and 1 large scale ostrich activity in RDCK (> 100 animal unit equivalents).
• 23% of the ALR parcels were used for farming and 77% were not used for farming
• Of the ALR parcels, 34% (1,761 parcels) are unavailable due to an existing land use or low availability of suitable land, while 43% (2,258 parcels) may be available for farming.

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