Farming big business for province’s economy

Agriculture is a pillar of B.C. and an important part of the province’s future.

Those were the words of Ben Stewart, the minister of agriculture, who spoke at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday night at the Coast Hotel and Convention Centre.

“Agriculture has always been big business here,” he said. “This region has long been a hub for farming in B.C.

“I want to make sure the (Agricultural Land Reserve) serves the province in the future.”

Forty per cent of the total agricultural land in the Fraser Valley is in Langley, and 15,000 are employed in the region, generating $228 million in revenue and $47 million in wages.

And Stewart does not see a drop off in those numbers anytime soon, especially with consumers demanding more fresh and locally produced food.

“That is part of the optimism around agriculture and its contribution to the economy,” he said. “That kind of food renaissance is not going away.

“Today’s farmers are business leaders and they recognize there is a food renaissance taking place.”

“Keeping Langley open for business is an important part of economic viability,” he said.