Regional Agriculture Master Plan

The Regional Agriculture Master Plan (RAMP), a core component of our 30-year growth plan for the Region, is a pioneering effort involving collaboration among all orders of government and industry. Endorsed by the Government of Alberta in late 2022, our regional agriculture plan was embedded in the growth plan, which means it must be implemented. As part of the plan, urban municipalities are required to complete an urban agriculture plan to further enable growth in this sector.

Farmer and his son are examining their growing corn field. They are happy because of successful sowing.

Our regional agriculture plan was the first of its kind in Western Canada with a focus on safeguarding prime agricultural land.

Grain head of wheat plant against field background
Economy Industry 136 (1)

The plan also promotes diversification and the growth of value-added agriculture, ensuring municipalities have the information they need to balance both community expansion and crop cultivation. This regional approach also acknowledges the role of agriculture to safeguard our natural landscapes.

The agricultural sector has the potential to increase the Region’s economy by an estimated $10 billion, supporting vibrant rural communities and economies.

Our Region is home to

Hand of a farmer holding wheat grains In the field in sunset. Rich harvest.

1.7 million

acres of agricultural land, including 30% of the of Alberta’s prime agriculture lands

Female worker using tablet for checking boxes while standing in food factory.


of Alberta’s food and beverage processing industry

Pretty young woman with tablet standing in field

4,655 farm operators

and world-leading institutions and special-purpose facilities that support agriculture and the food industry

Built on the Region’s rich agricultural history, the implementation of this bold plan prioritizes the protection of prime agricultural land and enables production and processing.

This commitment ensures a healthy contribution to GDP growth, economic diversification, employment opportunities, and attraction of investment, talent, and businesses to our Region.

Balancing priorities

Our agriculture plan takes an approach that guarantees balance in priorities; working to keep our agriculture and agri-food industries thriving, and ensuring food security for the future, while securing enough land to allow our communities to grow and development to occur for generations to come. We can plan to do both. It does not need to be one or the other.

Farmers hands in wheat field. Successful harvest.

Policy areas

Four policy areas, each with specific policy statements, provide direction to EMRB member municipalities. 

Ag Sturgeon County

Rural agriculture

  • The largest of the four policy areas, and accounting for approximately 63% of the regional land base, it includes much of the best agricultural land in the Region that are essential for the future of agriculture in the Region.
  • Our goal is a wide range of agricultural enterprises and types of agricultural production are the central component in an agricultural system that includes a secure land based, and a network of infrastructure, services and communities that support agriculture and agri-food sector.

Agriculture co-exists with other land uses

  • Lands in this policy area comprise 22% of the regional land base, with a significant portion designated as agriculture use. However, while agriculture remains an important land use for this policy area, we also recognize that not all agricultural lands in the Region can be conserved for agriculture. 
  • Our goal is the cultivation of productive agricultural areas over the long-term on lands that coexist with lands with other designated uses.
Canola field, Leduc, near Edmonton International Airport, , Alberta, Canada

Agriculture in future transition lands

  • Most of the lands outside of the built-up areas within urban centers in this policy area are currently in agricultural use, but they have been identified for future growth throughout the Region. When these lands will be required depends on the rate of growth in the Region which, in turn, is dependent on the growth of the regional, provincial and national economies.
  • Our goal is to see agricultural lands in the vicinity of the built-up urban area kept in production and managed under principles of good land and environmental stewardship until required for future growth.
Greenhouse vegetables Plant row Grow with Led Light Indoor Farming technology

Urban agriculture

  • Urban areas have not historically been seen as conducive to agricultural production, however, when considering the regional food system, it’s clear, urban areas and their businesses and residents play a vital role.
  • Our goal is to see urban agriculture established and thriving, and reflects the individual characteristics of each municipality. Urban agriculture is fostered by engaged communities that support a wide range of agricultural activities, public and private, and involve residents, businesses, communities,  and organizations.

How we developed our plan 

Work on our agriculture plan began in February 2018 and was guided by a task force comprised of elected officials from the EMRB’s four rural municipalities and three urban municipalities, as well as a representative from Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, and Edmonton Global.

Community Housing Ag Planter

Supporting this work was a team of renowned and well-respected industry experts, a technical working group involving member municipalities, and a sub working group of the four counties (Leduc, Parkland, Strathcona, and Sturgeon).

The work was informed by two rounds of Region-wide stakeholder engagement with producers, landowners, academics, and developers.

Taking place over more than two years, the development of our agriculture plan covered important milestones:

  • A situational analysis provided a comprehensive overview of the agricultural landscape over 15 years (2001-2016) and what to expect in the future. The report was received by the Board for information in December 2018.
  • An analysis of the economic imperative quantified the benefits of a regional agriculture plan, outlining the economic potential and possible magnitude of the loss of agricultural lands in the absence of a regional agriculture plan.
  • The land evaluation and site assessment (LESA), an analytical tool to identify areas of prime land in the Region, provides decision-makers with evidence-based data. 

Our plan in action

Aligning municipal development plans

Member municipalities were required to complete a regional context statement, intended as an informal way to review the policy direction and identify where amendments may be required in order for their municipal development plans (MDP) to align. 

Regional context statements were to be submitted to the EMRB one year after provincial approval, and as of early 2024, all member municipalities had done so. Following this, municipalities are required to update and align their MDPs by December 20, 2024.

Agri food sector

Tools to guide sustainable growth

The development of the land evaluation site assessment (LESA) tool, a first for the Prairies, assesses and quantifies prime agricultural lands for conservation, and monitors changes to these lands over time. This data helps decision-makers act in the best interest of the agricultural sector and create conditions for continued success. 

This tool was co-developed and validated by the representatives of the Agriculture Services Boards in each of the four rural municipalities and led by technical subject matter experts.

Learn more about the LESA tool