Agriculture being sacrificed for growth
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 12:13 pm
Agriculture is paying the price for Alberta’s unprecedented growth, but the sacrifice could prove costly if changes are not made.
At a summit in Cochrane on Feb. 15 Action for Agriculture unveiled a new video titled “Food for Thought” which outlined what growth and strong economy may actually be costing Albertans.
The video, based on a study on the ecosystem in the Upper Bow River Basin in southwest Alberta and the cumulative effects development has on its ecosystem.
According to the study, if population continues to grow at its current rate and cropland continues to be “paved over” Alberta could be a net importer of food by 2055.
This is stark contrast to what many people have been led to believe. In the future Canada will be the breadbasket for the world and Alberta is supposed to be leading the way.
According to Action for Agriculture, if Albertans do not enact best practice management a food crisis is a distinct possibility within four decades.
Even with best management practice Alberta’s agriculture industry is in jeopardy due to the loss of quality soil and water sources.
However, not everyone at the summit was buying what the lobby group was selling. Opponents were adamant advancements in technology and farming methods will make food production more efficient. Therefore, food production will keep pace with growth.
Although there was debate on the future of Alberta’s agriculture industry there was agreement on one thing — changes are needed in order to ensure farming and ranching in this province remain healthy and vibrant well into the future.
The first step will be finding a balance between growth and existing agricultural land uses meaning land use planning for the future is not only essential it is critical.