Empty farmer field

Agriculture is a small but growing component of the NRRM's economy. It has been identified by Regional Council as a priority focus. Located on the same latitude as areas to the east in Alberta and Saskatchewan where agriculture is a mainstay, with favourable climatic conditions and good availability of arable land, the sector shows great promise. The establishment of a Farmer's Market in 2010, which has since developed into a year-round operation is further evidence of this.

During the past decade marked progress has been experienced in livestock production, market gardening, and the growth of livestock feed. Fort Nelson is now also home to a facility for a major international Essential Oils producer which has cooperated with local farmers to clear additional land for agricultural use.

The NRRM has been active in engaging with the province and others to support the sector. Northern Rockies has ongoing and positive contact with the Ministry of Agriculture on a range of topics, most recently providing recommendations for amending the regulation of small slaughter facilities. Representatives of the Regional Municipality as members of the Steering Committee have also provided input on a study of the Agricultural Labour Market and training needs in Northeast BC, due to be completed this year.

Lessons learned during the recent pandemic related to the food supply chain have highlighted the need to provide greater food security through decentralization of food production. This is an effort to which the Northern Rockies can make a greater contribution to food security in BC and western and northern Canada. The opportunities presenting themselves for agriculture in the NRRM are being further explored as part of the “Look North” project. The project flows from recommendations of the Regional Economic Strategy and represents a “high level” investigation of market needs in Yukon, NWT and Nunavut, to which the Northern Rockies proximity relative to that of other producers provides a competitive advantage.