COURTENAY, B.C. – Farmers looking to retire have the chance to pass on their legacy to aspiring farmers through B.C.’s land matching program.

The initiative has provided twenty matches in central and northern B.C. on approximately 4,309 acres.

The province says that in Dawson Creek, near Pouce Coupe, a farming couple with 160 acres was moving into retirement and wanted to provide an opportunity for the next generation of farmers to take over. They were matched to Kolby Peterson, a young woman from the Peace region seeking mentorship in farming with horses.

The program supported the development of a 10-year lease-to-own agreement with Peterson, which includes the farm’s existing cattle herd. Peterson is already in the early planning stages for new farm infrastructure projects and a market-garden business.

The province says the BCLMP aims to bring farmers and landowners together and is part of the ministry of agriculture’s Grow B.C. initiative that supports young farmers and food producers seeking a career in agriculture.

The program is delivered by Young Agrarians and offers personalized and regionally based support and services from the program’s five land matchers.

According to a release, the program seeks to address significant challenges for new farmers, like gaining access to land.

“Affordable access to land is the number one barrier that new and young farmers need to overcome today to start farms,” said Sara Dent, executive director of Young Agrarians.

“We are thrilled to see the positive impact the BCLMP is having to support farmers to get on land and grow food. With an aging farming population and the number of farms declining annually, it is important that we invest now to ensure the next generation of farmers have the best chance possible to grow resilient future food systems for our communities.”

The program is part of the province’s New Entrants Agricultural Strategy, which looks to bolster the number of new and young farmers working in B.C.’s agriculture sector.

BCLMP provides land matching and business support services to new farmers looking for land to farm as well as landowners interested in finding someone to farm their land.

According to the province, land matching provides hands-on, personalized support services to new farmers and landowners to better understand regulations, evaluate opportunities, access resources, and ultimately find a land match partner.

The province says that the program has provided a total of 203 matches on approximately 9,108 acres in regions throughout B.C.

To find out more about the program, click here.