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Hobby Farms and British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve

Tracy Stobbe, Alison Eagle, Geerte Cotteleer and Gerrit van Kooten

No 2008-01A, Working Papers from University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group

Abstract: Agricultural land protection near the urban-rural fringe is a goal of many jurisdictions, including British Columbia, Canada, which uses a provincial-wide zoning scheme to prevent subdivisions and non-agricultural uses of the land. Preferential taxes are also used to encourage agricultural use of the land. Small scale hobby farmers are present at the urban fringe near Victoria (the capital), both inside and outside of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The goal of this paper is to investigate whether hobby farms create problems for agricultural land preservation. We make use of a GIS (geographic information system) model to construct detailed spatial variables and analyse our parcel-level data set using an hedonic pricing model and a limited dependent variable model. The results show that hobby farmers tend to select small parcels that are near open space and relatively close to the city and they tend to support horses and other livestock. In terms of price, farmland is worth more per ha the smaller the parcel is and the closer it is to the city. In general farmland is worth more when it is less fragmented but this appears to be reversed for hobby farms – indicating that hobby farmers may be better adapted to surviving in the urban fringe than conventional farmers. The conclusions drawn from the results in this paper would likely apply to other jurisdictions which seek to protect agricultural land in the urban fringe.

Keywords: Hobby farmers; Agricultural Land Reserve; Geographical Information System; urban-rural fringe; zoning systems; farmland fragmentation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C50 R11 R14 R15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2008-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-geo
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