There wasn’t much new in the February 19 provincial budget so far as the BC Agriculture Council is concerned, but nothing was lost, either.
The budget promises to boost the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s budget by $5 million, funds designed to support risk management efforts at the farm, community and regional level.
Business development funding, which includes market development programs such as Buy BC as well as regional emergency management programs, received a 7% boost to $51.7 million. This works out to an extra $3.3 million.
The funding complements plans to boost spending on wildfire prevention and recovery by $171 million. Base spending on wildfire management will increase to $101 million a year from $64 million.
The Agricultural Land Commission will see its budget increase 6% to $4.9 million, or an additional $289,000 this year. Part of the funding will cover enforcement of regulations governing cannabis production.
All told, the province plans to spend $98.2 million worth on agriculture in the 2019/2020 fiscal year. This amounts to the largest budget ever for the ministry.
Nevertheless, BC’s spending on agriculture as a proportion of GDP still lags every other province.