The provincial government is now making a total of 64,000 hectares of Crown land available for agricultural development. 

"We are helping farmers expand their operations and encouraging new entrants to see agricultural production as a viable and profitable opportunity," says Premier Dwight Ball in a media release distributed Thursday.

The extra land will help "increase food self-sufficiency by at least 20 per cent by 2022."

Nineteen new agriculture areas are currently available, and the provincial government is now working on making an additional 43 available soon. 

Thursday's announcement is the result of a 2015 review of the provincial Lands Act. One of the recommendations stemming from that was to "improve the application process based on input from the public ... including the agriculture sector," according to the media release.

"By streamlining the application process it readily makes land available to all agricultural producers but most importantly to young farmers," said David Simmons, co-founder of Pure Holsteins Limited, which operates Hammond Farm Ltd. in Little Rapids, N.L.