Farmland Advantage is not a program open to applications from any BC-based farm or ranch. Rather, the program targets high risk and high opportunity areas in BC based on a four-step process:

  • Sites are identified through pre-determined site selection criteria. Once these areas have been selected, Farmland Advantage contacts farmers whose lands fall within those boundaries and gauges their interest in participating in the program.

  • Farmland Advantage advisors complete an ecosystem health assessment and management plan for the farm or ranch. The BMPs and restoration tasks are outlined in the management plan.

  • If the producer agrees to have the restoration work completed and participate in the Farmland Advantage program, a landowner’s agreement is drafted and signed by both the producer/landowner and IAF. Farmland Advantage then coordinates all restoration work.

  • The farmer receives a modest annual payment once the advisor can confirm that the work is being maintained.

Types of Projects

All on-farm activities carried out under Farmland Advantage are agreed upon in advance by the landowner and the Farmland Advantage advisor. BMPs and restoration activities on Farmland Advantage sites include:

  • Removal of invasive species

  • Planting native trees, shrubs, and other plants

  • Riparian area enhancements (i.e., fencing, or other barriers)

  • Management of weeds and/or competitive vegetation management

  • Targeted and rotational grazing to thin trees or shrubs and reduce wildfire risk

  • Rotational grazing to protect native grasslands

  • Managing forest encroachment into open grasslands

Site Selection


To target sites that align with Farmland Advantage’s priorities, a site selection process was created. This process is now complete, but is updated as required. Farmland Advantage targets high risk and high opportunity areas in BC based on the following process:

  • Ecosystem service goals were set

  • Appropriate mapping layers were identified

  • A GIS Hot Spot Analysis was completed

  • Analysis results were vetted by Subject Matter Experts

  • High resolution mapping of the selected hot spots was conducted

  • Farmers, ranchers, and/or landowners are invited to voluntarily participate in FLA

  • Updates to mapping are completed as needed

Step 1: Ecosystem Service Goals Were Set

Numerous ecosystems overlap with agricultural lands. However, riparian and grassland ecosystems have been and continue to be the primary ecosystems targeted by FLA due to the important ecosystem services they provide. Ecosystem Service Goals were set based on Farmland Advantage’s program scope and funder priorities. Ecosystem Service Goals include things like:

  • Improve habitat for Species At Risk, fish populations and wildlife.

  • Improve water quality, quantity and water storage capacity

  • Reduce wildfire risk to infrastructure and communities.

Step 2: Appropriate Mapping Layers Were Identified

To target areas and to achieve the ecosystem service goals, mapping layers with appropriate criteria were used. FLA established working groups of subject matter experts (SMEs) such as academics, scientists, and government agency representatives. These SMEs considered the ecosystem service goals and advised what mapping layers to include in the hot-spot GIS analysis.

Each mapping layer is different and has a corresponding data set attached to it. Mapping layers can include things such as:

  • Species at Risk (SAR) critical habitat and occurrences data

  • Wildfire threat data

  • Areas within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)

Step 3: A GIS Hot Spot Analysis Has Been Completed

The FLA program uses the mapping layers recommended by the SMEs to conduct a GIS hot-spot analysis. A hot-spot analysis stacks mapping layers on top of one another to identify hot spots, which are where the greatest number of layers overlap. Hot-spots reveal locations which have high opportunities for positively influencing ecosystem health on agricultural land.

Want to learn more about GIS hot-spot mapping?

The full maps are available to view, scroll, and zoom in on, just like a google map! Check out Farmland Advantage’s StoryMap here:

Plain MapGIS Hot-Spot Map

The map above is an example of potential areas of interest for FLA sites targeted at grasslands restoration and conservation. Five mapping layers are used to identify the hot-spots on this map. The dark red “Very High” areas on the map have all five characteristics. The lighter red and orange colours have a combination of the layers, but not all five. Lastly, the yellow areas on the map are grassland habitats in the ALR but have no other characteristics. The green boxes indicate areas where FLA currently has project sites.

Step 4: Analysis Results Were Vetted by Subject Matter Experts

SMEs reviewed the GIS analysis results, ensuring the locations are the most appropriate to achieve the desired outcomes for that ecosystem using their local knowledge of the region. This stage also helped to prioritize hot-spots when the number of hot-spots exceeds the capacity of the FLA program during any given funding cycle.

Step 5: High Resolution Mapping of the Selected Hot Spots was Conducted

High resolution mapping allows specific properties to be highlighted and prioritized. Inclusion into the FLA program is based on specific location, size, current land use, and other factors.

Step 6: Farmers, Ranchers, and/or Landowners are Invited to Voluntarily Participate in FLA

Once a property in a targeted area is identified, FLA approaches the farmer, rancher, or landowner about willingness to participate. Participation is entirely voluntary.

To fully participate in Farmland Advantage, producers must:

  • Be legally authorized to make improvements on the land in question (or receive permission from landowners if they are renting/leasing).

  • Be willing to allow a FLA advisor onto their property to conduct an ecosystem health assessment.

  • If the producer agrees to have the restoration work implemented, they must be willing to sign a contract or land use agreement with IAF that outlines the restoration work/BMPs to take place on the property. Farmland Advantage covers the cost of the restoration work.

  • Be willing to verify that they have maintained the restoration work into the future for a set period as per the contract to receive an annual payment.

Step 7: Updates to mapping are completed as needed

The FLA program continuously updates the data and information used to target regions and sites. Continuous data improvement ensures that high opportunity sites in new regions and sub-regions are being approached for participation as funding increases and the program expands.

Suggest a Site

Complete this form to suggest a parcel of land that is suited to Farmland Advantage


What is Farmland Advantage, and why is it important?


How are sites selected, and what sites are best suited to a project?


Exploring Farmland Advantage’s Impacts Across BC.

Projects & News

From stream health to grasslands, learn about our projects and program news.