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Looking to buy a farm in British Columbia?

21 January 2021

Looking to buy a farm in British Columbia? Key facts you need to know first!

This amazing province of British Columbia offers some of the most diverse land and climates in the country. From amazing mountain ranges to wet rainforest, dessert like valleys to floodplains, British Columbia has it all. That is the reason why many people choose to call this province home.
BC also has a wide range of options for farming. All through the province you can find the smaller hobby farms offering a variety of produce and livestock up to the large-scale operations with acres of greenhouses, barns, and pastures. It makes the purchase of agriculture land a goal of many whether they are looking to get started in a little home based operation on a small piece of property or if they looking to invest into a commercial farm utilizing acres and acres of land.
So, what do you need to know before you decide to get into farming. A lot!
When purchasing a piece of land, no matter how big or small there are many different items you need to investigate before closing the deal. This article will cover just a few of the biggest facts you should check into before signing your name.
1) Water : something that everyone and every farm requires, whether raising livestock or food crops.  First up is where does the properties water come from? Is it a drilled or shallow well, gravity fed, municipal water, do you need water rights? You may also need to investigate the location of underground water and the impact it will have on your plans. Then there is the water falling from the sky and the rivers and streams that may overflow. How is the property set up to handle these situations?
Water is a necessity but can also be out of our control so make sure to do your research.
2) Zoning : Each municipality has control over the zoning of the parcel you may be eyeing to purchase. That zoning will restrict what you use the property for. Just because a piece of property is in the ALR (Agriculture Land Reserve https://www.alc.gov.bc.ca/alc/content/alr-maps ) doesn't mean you can plunk your herd on it and become a rancher. Do your due diligence and visit the municipality or district office to discuss your plans with the development or planning department and get their stamp of approval before you begin.
3) Soil quality : if your goal is to grow in the dirt than getting a test to determine the quality of the soil is a wise investment. You can also use that opportunity to test for any impurities that may be hiding where you can not see them. Soils in BC have a rating from Class 1 to Class 5 and the classification will greatly affect the productivity and type of crop you can grow. 
4) Market : Whenever you begin any type of business; agricultural or otherwise, you need to know your market and your customers. There is a real movement in todays marketplace for local produce and commodities as well as knowing where your purchases were grown and created. Keep in mind the distance your market is from your property will help determine how much money is kept in your pocket instead of being used for transportation.
5) Climate. Since this great province offers so much diversity in its land, it also offers diversity in its climate. Certain areas are better for certain types of production. Consider the length of the growing season; the amount of rainfall; the drought conditions of the area you are looking to locate to. 
This list is just the tip of the iceberg of things that need to be factored into your decision to buy a farm. All these pieces of information will be mandatory criteria for consideration when it comes to buying a farm. The Government of British Columbia has a great list of resources and checklists for you to go through before you start looking for that piece of property. You can visit them here https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/business-market-development/agrifood-business-management/starting-a-new-farm
Another great resource for information on relocating in the province is here as well as great tips for the actually move. https://www.fergusonmoving.com/blog/movers-advise-know-moving-hobby-farm-rural-b-c-areas/
When you are ready to begin your search, make sure you use a real estate agent who specializes in agriculture properties. BC Farm and Ranch Realty has agents throughout the province who not only have firsthand experience owning and working on farms, but also have years of experience helping people buy and sell agriculture real estate. We are the experts in agriculture real estate and the first and only brokerage of its kind in the province. Our agents know the questions to ask and have the industry contacts to help you make an informed decision. You can contact us to discuss the process now or in the future.  Our specialization and experience will offer you a competitive advantage whether Buying or Selling. 

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