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Vol. 102 No. 4
Organics Bill 11 brings mandatory certification for farmers 9
Poultry Feather trade launches combined AGM conference 34
4-H Island leader garners award from Governor General 42
Life
in BC
The agricultural news source in
British Columbia since 1915
Vol. 102 No. 4 • April 2016
BC chicken
farmers labour
under Ontario
pricing formula
by PETER MITHAM
VICTORIA – The province is increasing
application fees for the Agricultural Land
Commission, eective April 1. Fees will increase
from a base of $600 across all zones to $1,500 in
Zone 1 and $900 in Zone 2, which includes
areas outside the Lower Mainland, Vancouver
Island and Okanagan. This is the rst increase in
application fees since 2002 and is designed
expressly to oset the expense of boosting the
commission’s budget.
The land commission received a 33% boost
in its operating budget in the Liberal
government announced its provincial budget
earlier this year.
“The revised fees will recover about 40% of
the expenses incurred in the application
process and include several new fees directly
related to compliance and enforcement,” a
government statement said.
“The provincial government looked at the
fees to help oset some of that budget
increase,” Kim Grout, the land commission’s
CEO, told Country Life in BC. “Those fees that are
collected go into provincial coers as general
revenue. So it’s helping oset the provincial
expense of increasing our budget.”
“Fantastic” says Letnick
Agriculture minister Norm Letnick called the
budget “fantastic” for agriculture in February,
allocating an extra $1.6 million to ministry
operations.
Please see “ENFORCEMENT” page 2
Y
COUNTRY
Land commission beefs up fees
by DAVID SCHMIDT
VANCOUVER The current live price is
unsustainable for BC chicken farmers,
says BC Chicken Growers Association
president Ravi Bathe.
“We have the lowest returns in nine
years,” he told the BCCGA annual
meeting in Vancouver, March 10,
claiming the cost of production is now
higher than the price.
He blames the Ontario pricing
formula which forms the basis of BC’s
Spring has sprung
and these Border
Cheviot lambs at
Homestead Hill
Farm in Armstrong
are taking every
advantage of a
milder-than-usual
start to the season
to stretch their
legs. Homestead
lambed out 24
Border Cheviot and
Romney ewes this
season.
(Patti Thomas
photo)
Run like
they left
the gate
open!
Please see “ALLOCATIONS” page 2
Cost of production is
now higher than the
price: Ravi Bathe
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ALLOCATIONS BUMPED TO MEET CONSUMER DEMAND From page 1
Country Life in BC • April 20162
pricing as mandated by the
Farm Industry Review Board,
noting BC’s live price has
dropped 4.95 cents per kg
since Ontario introduced its
new formula.
The Ontario formula
reduces the live price when
allocations increase, claiming
this increases eciency. Bathe
says the same is not true here
because BC requires lower
barn densities. As a result, BC
producers often have to build
additional housing for new
quota allocations.
Those allocations continue
to increase. Noting Canadian
per capita chicken
consumption is now at a
record 31.7 kg, Chicken
Farmers of Canada chair Dave
Janzen says all provinces have
grown “at least 5%” since CFC
started using its new
allocation formula last
September.
The new formula was
created to address chronic
underallocations in Alberta
and Ontario. Although all 10
provinces approved it in a
November 2014
memorandum of
understanding, the formal
agreement still has just 14 of
the 19 required signatures. BC
is still withholding its three
signatures as BC processors
have appealed it to FIRB. They
are the only processors
appealing the formula even
though BC’s national director
Derek Janzen claims it
includes factors “good for BC.
“Our processors agree with
more chicken for Alberta but
not for Ontario. I don’t
understand that,” he said. “It’s
time to get our national
chicken industry back in order.
If we want supply
management, we need a
national system.”
BC Chicken Marketing
Board chair Robin Smith says
the board will use its new
mainstream chicken cost of
production study to compare
BC producer returns with
those of Ontario producers. It
is reviewing the pricing
mechanism in hopes of
developing a formula which
gives growers an adequate
return yet still ensures
processor competitiveness.
Bathe insists they are
competitive, saying a BCCGA-
commissioned study shows
BC processors pay the same
for chicken as their Ontario
counterparts and less than
these same processors pay in
Alberta.
“Western processors are
calling the price creep over
the Ontario price
unsustainable at a time when
they are receiving record
margins,” Bathe charged.
While the BCCGA “will
achieve our goal” of changing
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• 18’, 19’6”, 21’6”, & 24’ widths
The majority of the funds
were earmarked for the land
commission, which will have
$4.5 million in 2016 to keep
decision-making on track, help
it improve its relationship with
local governments and allow it
to hire additional compliance
and enforcement sta.
The commission established
a compliance and enforcement
division in 2007, hiring its rst
two sta dedicated to
responding to compliance and
enforcement issues across the
province.
Grout said the new funding
will help speed up processing
times for applications.
While former commission
chair Richard Bullock did much
to champion the cause of the
commission in the public eye,
many applications languished
for years prior to the
commission making a decision.
The province has now
oered applicants a money-
back guarantee on processing
times, promising that
complete applications will
receive a decision within 90
days.
Grout said the commission
plans to hire new sta with its
additional funding to help it
meet the service standards the
government has promised. The
funds will also help panel
members undertake the
research and meetings
required to reach decisions on
applications.
The commission is also
adding new fees, $150 for
reviewing documents, $350
per site inspection and
monitoring fees of $500 to
$2,000 annually for sites that
require ongoing monitoring
such as soil ll and removal or
gravel extraction.
By increasing application
fees, government is hoping to
deliver what applicants pay for.
“It’s a great way to assist
there,” Grout said. “The hiring
of more planning resources
will certainly help us with
improving processing times.”
ENFORCEMENT ISSUES From page 1
the pricing formula, he admits
it won’t be easy. “The last time
this happened, we had to
spend 10 days in front of FIRB
in a supervisory review to try
and solve the problem.”
Bathe will step down
Even though he was
re-elected as a BCCGA
director, Bathe will no longer
be leading that eort,
announcing he will step down
as president after seven years
in the top job.
Growers also re-elected
Raymond Bredenhof and Dale
Krahn to new two-year terms.
A fourth position opened up
when Ray Nickel resigned
after a successful bid for a
producer seat on the BCCMB.
His rival in that election, Dave
Martens, was then elected as
the one-year BCCGA director
in the six-way race that also
included Gord Esau and
Jordan Spitters.
Please see pages 19, 34-35,
for coverage of the
poultry conference held
last month in Vancouver.
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Woike and chair Brad Bond. (David Schmidt photo)
Most egg-cellent!
April 2016 • Country Life in BC 3
Deal to manage dairy
surpluses in the works
by DAVID SCHMIDT
ABBOTSFORD After 14
days of meetings between
producers and processors
spread over the past six
months, the Canadian dairy
industry is close to an
agreement which aims to
reduce the amount of
structural surplus caused by
processors’ increasing use of
imported dialtered milk (MPI)
in its products.
Last year, processors
brought in almost 16 million
kgs of MPI in liquid form, BC
Milk Marketing Board
(BCMMB) chair Jim Byrne told
producers at the board’s
spring producer meetings in
March.
When MPI is used in cheese,
the amount of butterfat being
used increases but so does the
amount of surplus skim milk
powder (SNF).
Byrne says industry
desperately needs new drying
plants in both the east and
west to deal with the SNF but
processors will only make new
infrastructure investments if
they get that milk at world
prices and are able to access
world markets. The
negotiations are therefore
intended to achieve that while
still preserving producer
incomes. Byrne is one of 10
people representing
producers in the negotiations
while BCMMB director Tom
Hoogendoorn is a member of
the steering committee
advising the producer reps.
At their most recent
meeting, March 4, producers
and processors reached a draft
agreement in principle.
Processors were to conduct a
technical review of the draft
agreement the following
week, then forward it to
producers for their technical
review.
“We should learn by the
end of March whether we
have an agreement,” says
BCMMB chief executive ocer
Bob Ingratta.
Before it can be adopted,
each province must ratify the
agreement. In BC’s case, that
means rst consulting with
producers, the Farm Industry
Review Board and the BC
Ministry of Agriculture.
“We need prior approval
from FIRB,” Ingratta notes,
saying he hopes the process
will be complete “in two to
three months” so
implementation can begin at
the start of the next dairy year,
August 1.
“At least two working groups
will be established to guide the
implementation,” he said.
Recently, the Ontario Milk
Marketing Board (OMMB) and
two of its major processors,
Gaylea and Parmalat, reached
an agreement to establish a
new milk class with world-
pricing. This would give those
two processors the security to
proceed with new
infrastructure investments but
could shut out other
processors both in Ontario
and through the rest of the
country. If a national
agreement is reached, the
OMMB has promised to set
aside its own agreement.
The increased use of
butterfat in cheese has led to a
shortage of butter, leading to
increased butter imports.
Byrne notes December’s
butterfat demand was 0.4%
higher than the month
previous and nearly 4% higher
than a year earlier and
demand is continuing to
increase.
Even though BC has been
allocated 12.5% more quota
since September 2013
(reecting the Canadian Dairy
Commission’s quota increases
over that time frame), quota
continues to lag behind
demand.
That should not be, Byrne
says, insisting “quota should
always be higher than
demand to ensure adequate
stock levels and opportunity
for promotion and
innovation.”
Buy local supports dairy venture
Surrey-Panorama MLA Marvin Hunt (centre) presented Buy Local funding to Stan van Keulen, left,
and his sons Dave, John and Nico of Donia Farms in Surrey, February 19. The third-generation
family farm recently ventured into value-added processing with ker, and grass-fed milk. The
family used the funding to “draw awareness” to Donia Farms premium products through radio
ads, in-store demonstrations and other events. The Buy Local program “recognizes the value local
brings to families, including the van Keulen family,” Hunt said. (David Schmidt photo)
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I milked my rst cow on my uncle’s farm when I
was 11 years old. Her name was Christy and she
provided milk for her calf and a household of 10
people.
My uncle purchased her as a second calver from
his neighbour, Mr. Shaw. Christy’s mother was a
Jersey and thanks to the arrival of on-farm articial
insemination (AI) in the mid 1950’s, her sire was a
Brown Swiss. We all considered her quite exotic and
weren’t shy about bragging up her Swiss ancestry.
AI was a boon to everyone in the farming
community who had cattle. The small holders didn’t
need to keep a bull or hike their cows all over
kingdom-come to nd one, and the larger farms
suddenly had access to genetics they could only
dream of up until then.
Dairy farmers were early and enthusiastic
adopters who often saw dramatic production
increases in the early generations of AI daughters.
Nearly 60 years have passed and you would be hard
pressed to nd a dairy farm that isn’t using AI.
Unfortunately, in many communities you would
be equally challenged to nd a small scale cattle
owner who is. AI on dairy farms is largely handled
“in-house” and the service that brought a Brown
Swiss bull to Mr. Shaw’s barn is no longer widely
available.
Cause or effect?
The loss of AI service is just one detail on the ever
changing and increasingly barren agricultural
landscape and it is hard to pin down whether its
disappearance is a cause or eect: there is no AI
service because there aren’t enough cows to justify
it; there aren’t enough cows because the slaughter
facility couldn’t aord to comply with new
regulations. Somewhere along the line, the local
auction barn called it quits. One by one, the wheels
fall o the infrastructure that sustains small and
medium-sized producers and the whole thing grinds
slowly to a halt.
Assuredly, there are usually options: forget AI and
buy a bull; buy a trailer and start hauling to the
slaughter house 200 km away; make the trip again
to pick up the meat a few weeks later. Eventually,
the added costs outweigh the benets and the
whole enterprise stops adding up.
Without adequate infrastructure, farming of all
kinds and scale is at risk. Consider the recent
decision by Lucerne Foods to reduce vegetable
volumes in its Abbotsford plant (Another FV
processor packs it in, Country Life in BC, March 2016).
Industry comments within the article are telling:
BCVMB manager Andre Solymosi says, “Grower
options are slim,” and BC Fresh president Murray
Driediger laments, “Within my lifetime, I have
watched seven pretty strong national processors
disappear from the province. It’s sad when you
reect on the opportunities that were there.”
Every loss of processing infrastructure or capacity
leads to fewer and less diverse opportunities for
producers and, inevitably, to a smaller and less
diverse industry. This in turn leads to less
opportunity for the infrastructure that provides
supplies and services to agriculture.
Decisions aecting processing are most often
made in boardrooms far from the farmers and
ranchers who will suer the consequences. That is
certainly the case with Lucerne in Abbotsford, which
has been sold twice in the past three years. The
uproar over uid milk products ooding into BC
from Alberta in the late 1990’s was precipitated by a
decision made in a Wall Street oce in New York to
increase the sale potential of the Beatrice Dairy Plant
in Calgary by maximizing production. You can bet
no one worried how BC milk producers might be
aected.
Our business reality, big or small, is increasingly
confronted by uncaring consolidation and
rationalization focussed solely on the corporate
bottom line. Any push back on behalf of agriculture
will have to come from the industry itself. Direction
and leadership is only as eective as the weight
each of us put behind it. As Red Green used to say,
“We’re all in this together.”
Editor & Publisher Peter Wilding
Phone: 604/871-0001 • Fax: 604/871-0003
E-mail: countrylifeinbc@shaw.ca • Web: countrylifeinbc.com
Associate Editor David Schmidt
Phone: 604-793-9193
E-mail: davidschmidt@shaw.ca
Advertising Sales & Marketing Cathy Glover
Phone: 604/328-3814
E-mail: cathyglover@telus.net
Production Ass’t: Ann Morris • Senior Researcher: Phil “Tuco” Gordon
COUNTRY
Life
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Country Life in British Columbia.
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The agricultural news source
in British Columbia since 1915
Published monthly by
Country Life 2000 Ltd.
Vol. 102 No. 4
April 2016
in B.C.
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Lack of adequate infrastructure puts farming at risk
The Back 40
BOB COLLINS
Country Life in BC • April 20164
A visiting urban planner once
observed that Vancouver’s civic
religion might well be
environmentalism. Indeed, the wife of
the newly appointed Vancouver city
manager, Sadhu Johnston, has called
“the family’s eco-life ‘our religion.’ ”
Small wonder, then, that
community gardens and now urban
agriculture, have taken centre stage as
the city seeks to become the world’s
greenest by 2020. They may not feed
the world, as speakers at the Pacic
Agriculture Show said earlier this year,
but they do engage citizens with the
natural world and make them more
aware of the realities farmers face.
Many of Vancouver’s eco-conscious
citizens will be diving back into their
garden plots and raised beds this
month, some of them in pious
observance of Earth Day on April 22.
Country Life in BC was founded in
Vancouver more than a century ago to
encourage people across the province
to engage in food production. It
hardly argues with the importance of
these activities.
Yet, whatever the rewards of
growing your own food, none of us
are self-sucient. Someone’s still got
to feed the world – and it ain’t
necessarily pretty. Just ask those
spreading manure to prep their elds
for another crop.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
and while food production is having a
moment of glory right now thanks to
the popularity of farmer’s markets and
sourcing local products, how food is
produced is as important for most
people today as the fact that it is
being produced. The cost of food
typically weighs less on a family’s
mind now than whether or not it’s
produced ethically. Carnivores want to
know that their steak came from a
happy animal; vegans want to set the
animals free and stick to greens.
There’s much to be said for
dierent points of view. This is BC,
after all. But it’s just as easy for the self-
righteous to criticize legitimate farm
practices. Some say the BC SPCA
doesn’t do enough, for example,
condemning the fact that it protects
the cute while serving cutlets for
dinner. Yet livestock producers are
raising their animals with the same
care for their animals as the urbanites
hosting backyard hens.
Farmers and ranchers put food on
The new religion
the table 365 days a year. We would
hope Earth Day serves as a reminder
to society to appreciate the essential
role our industry has in their daily
lives. Respect for what you’re doing –
whether at the local or global level --
should be a fundamental part of the
human family’s eco-life.
It gets used to defend
GMOs, livestock production
and food additives.
But when speaking to
consumers, experts say it is
time to retire the phrase
“science based” and focus on
shared values instead.
“You cannot abandon
science; you absolutely have
to prove the claims you’re
making but, at the end of the
day, science alone is not
persuasive in building support
from consumers,” says Charlie
Arnot. “We can’t substitute
scientic verication for
ethical justication.”
Speaking to producers at
Crop Connect in Winnipeg,
the chief executive director of
the Missouri-based Center for
Food Integrity said that,
historically, farmers have
talked about who they are
and what they do for a living
as they work to maintain a
social licence to operate. That
no longer works in today’s
diverse media landscape
where new technologies can
give anyone a voice and a
platform, he said.
“You’ve been operating
under the belief that the
public will be logical, they’ll be
rational and if you simply give
them the right facts and data,
they’ll come to our side of the
argument, and if they have
not yet come to our side of
the argument, we probably
haven’t yet given them the
right information, so we’ll go
do some more research,”
Arnot said. “And if they still
haven’t come to our side of
the argument, we’ll go do
some more research. And we
repeat that cycle over and
over, and over again.”
Instead,
communication
strategies need to
focus on authentic
and transparent
communication, the
kind of dialogue that
builds on shared ethics, he
said, adding that the centre
spent ve years researching
the key drivers in building
trust between the agricultural
industry and consumers. The
results of the ve-year study
showed that shared values
were three to ve times more
important in building trust
than demonstrating
competence was.
“So we have had the
historical communication
equation exactly backwards,
because we’ve always started
with the facts,” Arnot said. “It
would be great if just the facts
would be persuasive, if that
was all we had to provide to
protect our social licence –
that’s not how it works today.
Facts alone are not sucient.”
That means that instead of
approaching a concern about
food production for example,
as a farmer rst (one who can
prove where every pound of
potassium, phosphorus and
nitrogen goes), producers
might want to start
discussions based on their
own food safety concerns as a
father, mother or friend,
emphasizing that food safety
is important to them as well.
Pointing to one US poultry
operation that has a 24-hour
live internet broadcast from
inside its barn, Arnot said that
consumer is willing to pay in
order to get one thing or
another in terms of
production practices.
“The answer is nothing,”
said the
CEO.
“There is
no
premium
for doing
what’s
right; there
is a penalty
for
violating public trust but
there is no premium for
operating in a way consistent
with basic social expectations.
Now you can help shape
those expectations by being
more involved in those
conversations, but you’re not
going to get paid more for
doing what’s right.”
That said, consumers are
also forgiving when trust has
been built, he added. If
producers are transparent
and forthcoming when
something has gone wrong,
the public is likely to be
exible and accommodating
if they know the producer
was honest and has a plan to
x the problem.
“No one expects you to be
perfect,” he said.
Shannon VanRaes is a journalist
and photojournalist at the
Manitoba Co-operator.
Consumers care more about honesty than the facts
Science offers farmers a great many things, but ethical justification isn’t one of them
In Perspective
SHANNON VANRAES
April 2016 • Country Life in BC 5
open, honest and transparent
forthcomingness is also key to
gaining and maintaining
public trust.
But he also acknowledged
that might mean taking a hard
look at the work you do as
well, making sure it is being
done in a way that supports
transparency.
“How does the old saying
go? If you’re going to be
naked in a glass house, you
better start working out right
now,” he said.
Producers also need to
warm up to skepticism when
engaging in dialogue and
resist the urge to get their
backs up when opinions do
clash.
“Embrace skepticism; it’s
not personal, it’s a social
condition,” Arnot said. “Don’t
take it personally if people are
skeptical and raise questions.”
Don’t think that doing the
right thing comes with a
premium either, he said,
adding that he is often asked
by producers what the
“If youʼre going to be naked in a glass house,
you better start working out right now.”
Charlie Annott, Center for Food Integrity
Congratulations
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at BMO
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Country Life in BC • April 20166
by PETER MITHAM
VANCOUVER – Participants
in the Canadian Young
Farmers’ Forum (CYFF) annual
conference in Vancouver in
February heard dramatic calls
for the consolidation of the
country’s many provincial
farm organizations, which
speakers suggested have
been reduced to marketing
organizations.
While the heady debates
over the Crowsnest rate are
over, veteran agricultural
journalist John Morriss –
associate publisher and
editorial director of Farm
Business Communications in
Winnipeg – said myriad farm
organizations have tended to
dilute agriculture’s
interactions with government.
“These provincial
organizations may not be
arguing with each another …
Speakers call for consolidation of farm organizations
The more groups there are, the more fragmented the industry: forum panelist
but do we really need all
these provincial
organizations?” Morriss asked.
Supply managed groups
have sometimes found
themselves at odds with one
another, while competition
among dozens of farm
organizations for government
funding isn’t necessarily
helpful.
Morriss’ fellow panellist,
Lane Stockbrugger, a farmer
and director of the
Saskatchewan Canola
Development Commission,
agreed with the thrust of the
comments.
Too often, farmers ignore
what’s going on outside their
own commodity group,
Stockbrugger said; the more
groups there are, the more
fragmented the industry.
“Does it make sense for
each province to have its own
provincial organization?” he
asked. “When we are
together, we are much
stronger.”
While an argument can be
made for groups to represent
specic segments of the
industry, Morriss said even
these organizations are
largely engaged in public
relations and marketing.
“A lot of what we’re doing
in this market economy is
producing goods that people
don’t really need but are
willing to pay for,” he said,
pointing to the organic sector
as a case in point. “You can
argue the pros and cons, but
really it’s just a function of the
market economy.”
Scott Ross, director of
business risk management
and farm policy with the
Canadian Federation of
Agriculture, acknowledged
that public relations is an
important part of what
individual farm groups
engage in these days, a
phenomenon of shifting
public engagement with food
and farming.
Outreach to consumers is
key to establishing social
license and cultivating a
market for farm products,
Ross said, and sometimes this
is something groups can and
should collaborate on.
“Consumers have become
used to a much broader
narrative. It speaks to a
challenge an individual
commodity group can’t
tackle. We are encountering
some opportunities for
greater unication.”
Collaborative leadership
Reg Ens, executive director
of the BC Agriculture Council,
agreed when contacted by
Country Life in BC regarding
the calls for fewer
associations.
However, he said the
demise of the BC Federation
of Agriculture at the end of
May 1997 reected the
inability of one organization
to be all things to all farmers.
“People had ceased to look
at us as their organization,”
Judy Thompson, the nal
president of the BCFA, said at
the time, describing the
transition as an “evolution of
leadership” and “the industry
down-sizing in its own way.”
The new style of leadership,
Ens said, is collaborative.
He points to the Farm
Animal Care Council, for
example, which has the
backing of the BCAC, but
most of the work is
undertaken by the livestock
commodity groups. Similarly,
the resurgence of hop
growing has led to enough
growers being in operation
that they’re working to
establish their own
organization to address
industry-specic concerns.
“We encourage diversity
but there’s enough things
that are common to all of us
that we have to work
together on and if we don’t
work together, we’re going to
get lost in the political
mineeld,” Ens said.
“We need to collaborate as
much as possible.”
Speaking to CYFF
participants, Ross
championed the role of
diversity in strengthening
agriculture’s ability to present
a united front on key issues.
“There is room for more
unity, to be sure, but it
shouldn’t have to come at the
sacrice of the individual
commodity groups,” he said.
“It’s not a zero-sum game.”
John Morriss Reg Ens
www.AgSafeBC.ca
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 7
by RONDA PAYNE
ABBOTSFORD – A tulip
festival more than 40 years in
the making is coming to the
Fraser Valley. The Abbotsford
Tulip Festival, dubbed Colour
in the Country, will run from
March 25 to May 1, presented
by Alexis Warmerdam, a
fourth-generation Dutch-
Canadian bulb grower.
This inaugural tulip festival
will be held on land
Warmerdam has leased to
start her own business, not far
from her family’s 200 acres. It
was 1974 when her
grandfather rst planted the
property with gladiolas and
daodils.
“It’s all grown for cut
owers,” Warmerdam said of
the family property that now
also includes rows of peonies
and tulips.
Her father took on the
operation in the mid-1980s
and Alexis has been around
owers her whole life, though
only became a full-time farmer
two years ago. For more than
10 years, grandfather, father
and Alexis talked about
holding a tulip festival. They
watched tulip festivals like the
one in Mount Vernon and
Tulips of the Valley in Agassiz
grow each year but noticed
that the bigger the event in
Agassiz got, the more
problems there were with
parking. The family knew if
they were to ever hold their
own festival, they’d have to
resolve the primary issue of
parking.
“Parking is the biggest issue.
Year one is the hardest; you
have to gure out the parking,
but this is a long term plan.”
Warmerdam found a total of
31 acres east of Whatcom
Road. Because of the
development of the Whatcom
Road area, about six acres
degraded and haven’t been
farmed for more than 15 years
Tiptoeing through the logistics of a tulip festival
– ideal for an all-weather
parking lot. There is even room
for additional good-weather
parking in one of the elds.
Tulips were planted over 10
acres in the fall, including a
half-acre designated for u-pick.
It’s the ideal arrangement as
the family farm didn’t have the
ability to host parking plus,
because owers are cut during
the time of the festival, it’s
impossible to host guests
while harvesting.
“I love agriculture. It’s not
what I did in university but
coming back to it, I see how
important it is to me,”
Warmerdam said. “I want to
share that.”
While this rst year is about
getting the tulip festival up
and running, Warmerdam has
big plans for the future.
“There’s huge potential for
education in agriculture as a
whole,” she said. “School-aged
children can come out in
October and plant a tray [of
bulbs]… then come back in
the spring and see their name
on what they planted.”
But, she intends to take
things one year at a time. After
all, with the Agassiz show on
hold this year, Warmerdam’s
Colour in the Country is the
only tulip festival in BC and
the only one in Canada held
on a farm.
The Abbotsford Tulip
Festival’s 10-acres, more than 50
varieties and 2.5 million bulbs
will be available seven-days-a-
week from March 25 to May 1, 9
am to 6 pm at 36737 North
Parallel Rd. The full details are at
[www.abbotsfordtulipfestival.ca].
Alexis Warmerdam stands among a eld of tulips as she readies to launch the rst annual Abbotsford
Tulip Festival on her farm just o Hwy 1. (Photo courtesy of Abbotsford Tulip Festival)
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China propels surge
in cherry exports
by JUDIE STEEVES
KELOWNA – After years of
eort by BC cherry growers
and the federal and provincial
governments, BC cherry
exports increased by 70% last
year over the year before,
which was 56% higher than
the previous year.
The dramatic increases are
the result of a successful eort
to gain access to the huge
China market for local cherries.
In 2015, cherry exports
increased to 13,600 metric
tonnes, a value of $91.7
million.
“Focusing on high-value BC
products like late-season
cherries is key to growing the
BC government’s agrifood
sector to a $15 billion-a-year
industry by 2020,” notes
provincial agriculture minister
Norm Letnick.
“In 2014, I was honoured to
lead the BC delegation with BC
cherry industry representatives
on a federal trade mission to
China that led to full,
unimpeded access for fresh
cherries into China. As a direct
result of our eorts, the export
value of fresh cherries to China
has more than doubled from
2014 to 2015, rising from $9.9
million to $24 million.”
The gures include a
signicant rise in sour cherry
exports, from $2.7 million in
2014 to $11.2 million in 2015.
Letnick says plans are to
build on the momentum.
“Thanks to the close
working relationship with our
provincial cherry industry, we
look forward to exploring new
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countries that recently signed
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That may sound good to
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 9
Organic groups begin tough task of implementing regs
Only BC, Quebec require organic producers to be certified
by DAVID SCHMIDT
VERNON The
government’s introduction of
Bill 11, which will make
certication mandatory for all
BC organic producers, put
farmers attending the Certied
Organic Associations of BC
(COABC) annual conference in
Vernon, February 26-28, in a
celebratory mood.
BC Minister of Agriculture
Norm Letnick naturally praised
it but even opposition
agriculture critic Lana Popham,
a former organic farmer, gave
Bill 11 the thumbs up.
“This gives me hope for
organics. It’s good to critique it
but it’s also good to celebrate
what we’ve done,” she said,
telling producers to “hit
(Letnick) up for a full-time
organic extension ocer” as it
would go hand-in-hand with
the new act.
While Bill 11 is a “most
important move forward,”
COABC co-president Carmen
Wakeling admitted it will
require a lot of work to
implement and could have
some “kinks” along the way.
The COABC has established
two working groups to guide
implementation. A branding
working group is developing a
common brand linked to the
national organic campaign.
Begun last September, the
group has already created
posters and other handouts,
about 20 farmer proles and is
creating several videos
featuring long-time producers
talking about the value and
benets of organic agriculture.
They premiered their rst
video, starring Mary
Forstbauer in conversation
shortly before her passing, and
set up a video shoot during
the conference so attendees
could contribute comments.
Urged to offer input
A transition working group
is just getting underway. It has
asked for government funding
to develop an online
certication application, a
complete database of certied
organic producers, awareness
campaigns for both non-
certied growers and
consumers and a province-
wide mentorship program for
new organic producers.
COABC executive director Jen
Gamble urged producers to
oer their input as the plan is
still in its infancy.
Some producers suggested
the biggest implementation
kink could be the cost for small
farmers who grow organically
but make very little money at
it.
“Can we create a system for
farmers who only grow a little
and just sell direct or at
farmers markets?” one asked.
Others pointed out the
COABC already oers three
certication levels – ISO
certication for producers who
ship out of province, a second
tier for producers who sell
within BC and a third low-risk
tier for local producers. One
noted that producers can get
professional help to develop a
transition plan for as little as
$100 through the province’s
Farm Business Advisory
Service.
COABC has been busy
In 2015, 686 producers and
processors were certied
through the COABC. Almost
three-quarters are certied
through its three ISO-
compliant certifying bodies:
Pacic Agriculture Certication
Society (PACS), BC Association
of Regenerative Agriculture
(BCARA) and Fraser Valley
Organic Producers Association
(FVOPA).
Bill 11 will make BC only the
second Canadian province,
after Quebec, to require all
organic producers to be
Annie Moss of
Discovery
Organics proudly
displays the Brad
Reid Memorial
Award she
received during
the Certied
Organic
Associations of
BC conference in
Vernon. The
award was
presented by
COABC co-chair
Carmen
Wakeling,
director Andrea
Turner and co-
chair Corey
Brown.
(David Schmidt
photo)
Proudly certifying
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CASE IH DC102 2010, 10’4” CUT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25,900
CASE IH DCX101 10’4”, 2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,900
CASE IH 8312 1997, 12’ CUT, SWIVEL HITCH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,500
CASE IH DC 92 9’2” CUT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19,500
CASE IH 8309 1995, 9’2” CUT ROLLER CONDITIONER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,900
CASE IH 8330 1998, 9’2” CUT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,950
NH 1411 2003, 10’4” CUT, RUBBER ROLLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14,800
JD 920 1995, 9’9”, CUT, ROLLER CONDITIONER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,500
HESSTON 1160 12’ HYDROSWING, 1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,950
HESSTON 1320 2000, 9’2” CUT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,900
KUHN GA7932 ROTARY TWIN RAKE, NEW IN 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26,000
RECON 300 2012, PULL TYPE HAY CONDITIONER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,800
NH BR7090 2012, 5’X6”, TWINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29,500
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anathema to Bruns. “In BC,
we’re well organized and well-
funded. The situation is
opposite at the national level.
We have four organizations all
trying to talk to government,”
he says, lamenting the fact the
10-year-old OFC, which aims
to represent all organic
producers, has almost no
money and no representation
from Quebec.
Even though
September 2018
(when mandatory
certication is set
to begin) seems a
long way away, it’s
not. In her
“introduction to
certication”
workshop, Eisen
noted producers
need to apply for
certication at least
15 months before
they intend to start
shipping organic products
outside BC and at least 12
months before selling certied
organic products within the
province.
Producers need three
months to set up their organic
plan and can then expect two
inspections in the rst 12
months before receiving their
rst certication. The timeline
could be even longer in some
cases. Land, including land
used for crop production, in-
ground greenhouses or
pasture, needs to be free of
non-organic inputs for at least
36 months prior to
certication while bees and
ruminant animals need to be
free of non-organic inputs for
at least 12 months.
The rules for organic
certication come
in two documents.
The rst lists
general principles
while the second is
a list of permitted
substances. Canada
is the only country
which has
embedded
principles in its
standards and Eisen
advises producers
to start with those.
“If you look at
the principles, you will
understand what the
standards are trying to get you
to do,” she says, noting her aim
as a member of the CFIA’s SIC
is to “make the standards
continue to adhere to the
organic principles of health,
ecology, fairness and care.”
She admits developing an
initial plan will be the “rst test
Country Life in BC • April 201610
WELL FUNDED From page 9
Members of the COABC board of directors pose for a picture during the COABC annual meeting in
Vernon, February 28. (David Schmidt photo)
of endurance” for new
producers as the plan will
have to satisfy both the
certifying body and the
inspector.
During the rst visit, an
inspector will check the farm
for any areas of potential loss
of organic integrity, such as an
insucient buer or the
wrong inputs, says inspector
Dwight Brown.
“We will ask what you are
growing, producing or
processing and who you sell
to. We will want to see
purchase records, spray and
input records, planting and
transplanting records and
sales records,” he told
producers.
Producers spent
considerable time discussing
enforcement but reached no
conclusion. Gamble said it “has
been made clear to us” that
COABC will not manage
complaints. BC ministry of
agriculture organic specialist
Susan Smith agreed
enforcement will be “ministry-
led,” but said the how is still
uncertain.
“That’s to be worked out
with the organic working
group,” she said.
Jen Gamble
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 11
Panelists Mary Alice Johnson, John Buchanan and Arzeena Hamir
urged Vancouver Island growers to consider partnerships to grow
their farm businesses. (Tamara Leigh photo)
by TAMARA LEIGH
SAANICH – There is a
growing demand for locally
produced food on Vancouver
Island, and a growing number
of young farmers looking to
feed the market. The challenge
is getting an industry primarily
focused on small-scale
production to scale up to
meet the demand.
In early March, the
Farmer2Farmer conference in
Saanich brought together a
keynote panel of farmers to
speak to their theme: “Beyond
competition: towards cultures
of co-operation.”
“We are starting to see a
shift away from Island farmers
selling farm-direct and seeing
a lot more farms selling to
restaurants and specialty
stores. We also have a couple
of large-scale retailers that are
looking for more local food,
and we know that in order to
serve those markets, small
farmers need to work
together,” says Linda Geggie,
executive director of the
Capital Region Food and
Agriculture Initiative
Roundtable (CR-FAIR), the lead
organization behind the
conference.
90% imported food
In her introduction to the
day and the panel, moderator
Heather Stretch noted
Vancouver Island imports over
90% of its food.
“As long as we are
importing food onto this
island, we are not competitors,
we are colleagues, and we are
stronger if we work together
to grow the market for local
food than ghting for market
share,” says Stretch,
recounting a lesson from one
of her mentors when she
started farming on Vancouver
Island.
Arzeena Hamir moved with
her family to the Comox Valley
in 2011 to start Amara Farm,
producing transitional (now
certied) organic vegetables
for the local market. As she
brought her rst products to
market, she realized some of
the limitations of going it
alone and connected with
Moss Dance, another farmer
from the area that was starting
a Community Supported
Agriculture (CSA) program.
90% imported food
Hamir provided new
oerings to Dance’s CSA
customers and the pair started
selling at the local farmers’
market together and jointly
branding their products. Five
years later, Merville Organics
Growers Co-operative is a
formal co-operative of ve
growers that serves a 90-
customer CSA program, three
farmers’ markets a week and
supplies product to the Tono
Chef’s Guild.
“On my own, this level of
work would atten me, but
our season last year was best
so far in terms of stress,” says
Hamir. “We share
responsibilities for pick-ups
and markets. We’re all in it and
have something to gain from
working co-operatively.”
For John Buchanan of Parry
Bay Sheep Farm, collaboration
began by sharing equipment
with a neighbouring farm.
“The rst thing we co-
operated on was with another
farmer who was doing some
hay. He got a better mower
and we started renting it from
him, then we did the same
with the manure spreader and
cultivation equipment. It was a
pretty simple, free-owing
arrangement,” he explains.
From there, Buchanan
began marketing his lamb and
chicken in co-operation with
his neighbours, Tom Henry
and Violaine Mitchell at
Stillmeadow Farm, who raise
pork. Sharing labour at the
farmers’ markets turned into
sharing labourers between the
farms. The collaboration
between the two farms has
recently expanded into
wholesale marketing and
processing at Buchanan’s on-
farm abattoir.
“There are signicant
advantages to being small
farmers,” Buchanan says. “If
you co-operate with others,
you can get advantage of
scale as well so you can be
better o than one big farm.”
Mary Alice Johnson of ALM
Farm has been farming and
working collaboratively with
farmers on southern
Vancouver Island since 1990.
She is one of the founding
members of Victoria’s Moss
Street Market, a year-round
organic market with over 90
vendors.
“Four farmers sat down over
a cup of coee and that’s how
the Moss Street Market got
started,” Johnson recounts.
“What made it work was the
people who had a stake. There
wasn’t anyone who had
ownership at that point, and
people worked really hard.”
Different skills, strengths
She advises anyone looking
at a collaborative project to
look for people who bring
dierent skills and strengths,
and who have a focus on
getting things done.
“You need starters and idea
people who are willing to try
things, and it’s good to have
someone who slows things
down to look at them. It’s also
really helpful if you have a
peacemaker,” oers Johnson.
When it comes to critical
success factors for
collaboration, she is absolutely
Co-operation integral in meeting local Island food demand
clear: “The project you are
working on has to be worth it
to everyone involved.”
CR-FAIR is a network of over
100 organizations on southern
Vancouver Island with an
interest in food issues. The
Farmer2Farmer conference,
now in its fth year, is part of
their mandate to develop
Vancouver Island’s local food
economy.
“Farmer2Farmer is unique
as a conference because we
are focused on local
knowledge and local
solutions,” says Geggie. “We
have really sound experienced
farmers in our community
with a lot of expertise to share,
but we’re going to be losing
over 50% of older farmers over
the next ten years and need to
support new entrants. This
event helps provide
connections and mentorship
to new entrants to the
community.”
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Country Life in BC • April 201612
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 13
Market opportunities buoy BC cherry growers
by JUDIE STEEVES
KELOWNA – It was
educational, informative,
decisive and even protable
for those who attended this
year’s BC Cherry Association
(BCCA) annual meeting in
Kelowna in February.
Members elected a 2016
board of directors including
three new members: Niel
Dendy, Bryan Key and Neal
van der Helm.
Re-elected president was
Sukhpaul Bal, while David
Geen was re-elected vice-
president. Secretary is
Graeme Nelson and treasurer
is Keith Carlson. Re-elected as
directors were: Andre Bailey,
Chris Danninger, Ravi
Dhaliwal, Dr. David Geen,
Gord Sandhu, Don Westcott,
Bikaramjit Sandhu and Don
Low.
Cheques totalling around
$30,000 were presented from
royalties on Gibberellic Acid
(GA), a growth enhancer used
to allow the fruit to size up
before harvest. The
association spearheaded
research into use of GA for
this purpose. Royalties from
companies such as TerraLink
Horticulture and Gro-Spurt
Products are invested into
research in cherry pests and
diseases and quality issues for
members.
Ship cherries by air?
The topics at this year’s
meeting were wide-ranging,
from a sales pitch from
Edmonton International
Airport encouraging growers
to ship their cherries through
the Rockies to their
refrigerated containers for
ights to Asia, to a
presentation on the issues
with composting cherries
centrally to safely deal with
un-marketable fruit without
causing an outbreak of
Spotted Wing Drosophila.
In-between, growers
learned about the work done
on their behalf by the
Canadian Food Inspection
Agency (CFIA) in helping
them secure new market
access for fresh BC cherries
and what steps must be taken
by growers interested in
expanding into global
markets.
$80 million
CFIA hort specialist Barb
Peterson noted that $80
million in BC sweet cherries
were exported last year. The
US is the largest market,
followed by China. US exports
were way up last year, likely
due to the value of the
Canadian dollar south of the
border, she explained.
However, growers
interested in exporting
should work through their
industry association, which
works with the CFIA to open
up new markets. There are
restrictions placed on
imports by some countries so
it’s vital that growers are
familiar with them, and
compliant.
Eorts are underway now
to export cherries to Korea
and Japan, she said.
Growers also met the new
tree fruit and grape specialist
for the provincial agriculture
ministry, Carl Withler, who
replaces Jim Campbell who
retired last year.
Carl has worked for the
ministry in its Kelowna oce
for many years, most recently
as resource stewardship
agrologist.
A research update was
provided by Duane Holder on
weed and insect pests and
eorts to have appropriate
pesticides approved for use
against them, as well as plans
for the coming year.
BC trade booth in Berlin
Erin Wallich reported on
her trip to Fruit Logistica in
Berlin this winter promoting
BC cherries as part of a
Province of BC trade booth.
It’s the biggest fruit and
vegetable trade show in the
world, she noted.
Danielle Hirkala reported to
members on research and
development work currently
underway on cherries,
including into root zone
management, cherry slip skin
and replant disease, controls
for SWD, and research into
improving fruit quality in
container shipping.
Research continues into
starling control, cherry quality
and post-harvest rot.
In the afternoon, members
headed out into the eld, for
a pruning demonstration by
Canada’s largest grower of
sweet cherries, association
vice-president David Geen.
Membership in the BCCA
gives growers access to new
research and technology,
industry events and updates,
educational seminars, online
employment and sales
listings, improved market
access opportunities, trade
show travel benets and
much more.
Levies for the 2016 year are
currently due and can be paid
on the website at
[www.bccherry.com].
BC Cherry Association treasurer Keith Carlson (left) received cheques totalling nearly $30,000 from
Domenic Rampone of Gro-Spurt Products and Lisa Birston of TerraLink for royalties on Gibberellic
Acid sales. BCCA vice-president David Geen and association administrator Erin Carlson joined Carlson
in thanking both companies. (Judie Steeves photo)
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Country Life in BC • April 201614
by JUDIE STEEVES
KELOWNA – Technical
workshops, in-service training
and updates for tree fruit
growers from around the
Okanagan and Similkameen
were the drawing card at the
annual BC Tree Fruit
Horticultural Symposium put
on by packinghouse eld sta
in Kelowna in February.
From techniques and tips
on sprayer calibration for the
modern, high-density orchard
(a session featuring Dr.
Andrew Landers from Cornell
University in New York) to
discussion of the use of club
varieties of tree fruit to control
distribution of a variety, and
irrigation xes and follies –
this year’s day-long session
was varied.
Smaller workshops in the
afternoon allowed growers an
opportunity to acquire one-
on-one attention to discuss
new pesticides, new pests and
diseases, sprayer safety and
calibration.
The new general manager
for the Summerland Varieties
Corporation (SVC), retired
cherry breeder and researcher
Frank Kappel, told growers
that today’s cherries are a
year-round crop globally,
where historically they were
available for only a month or
two in early summer.
“Retailers don’t want a
seasonal fruit,” he explained.
Supply and demand
conditions favour expansion
of the cherry season.
BC is the seventh largest
exporter of cherries in the
world, with 13,600 tonnes of
them exported in 2015, worth
$91.7 million dollars. China is
the third largest market.
“To compete in world
markets, it’s all about quality.
We’re seen as a high quality
producer of cherries and we
maintain tight quality controls
at every stage of production,”
he commented. It’s
particularly important that
Proprietary made-in-BC cherry
varieties keeping prices strong
harvesting, packing and
marketing be undertaken
using the latest in technical
knowledge and equipment.
“Export quality cherries
must be large and rm, with
good stem retention, and they
must arrive at the market in
good shape,” he noted.
The big ve varieties are
Lapins, Sweethearts, Staccato,
Sentennial and Sovereign.
Earlier season varieties now
are Santina, Cristalina and
Suite Note.
“We’re very fortunate to
have a great breeding
program at the Summerland
Research and Development
Centre,” he noted. The next
new variety in the pipeline
there is SPC342.
He advised growers to
attend the cherry days at the
research centre to see what’s
new, and to try planting a new
variety tree as an experiment.
Around the world, cherry
plantings are increasing with
Turkey, the US and Chile as
the major producers.
Research co-ordinator for
SVC, plant physiologist Erin
Wallich, told growers the
research centre is a treasure
trove of new cherry varieties.
Initially, those varieties were
made available to everyone
but today the SVC is using the
club variety model and
restricting release of new
varieties internationally, with
limited acreage in the country,
to keep prices up.
At the same time, royalties
from those protected varieties
support strong grower
returns, new variety
development, horticultural
research and the long-term
viability of the industry.
Late harvest varieties such
as Staccato and Sentennial
were licensed and patented,
giving BC growers the right to
prevent propagation
elsewhere without payment of
royalties.
Cherry growers are being urged to buy new stock through
authorized sources and to sign the grower agreement and pay
royalties for all protected trees. (Judie Steeves le photo)
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 15
by PETER MITHAM
VANCOUVER One of the
messages producers have
heard for years is that
consistency pays and that
consumers won’t shell out
their hard-earned cash for
produce that looks odd.
While some people delight
in discovering misshapen
apples, carrots, and tomatoes
at greengrocers and farmers’
markets, they’re a seldom-seen
commodity at the major
grocers.
But with government
seeking to reduce food waste
and consumers watching their
grocery budget even more
closely after this winter’s spike
in produce prices, Loblaw’s is
following in the steps of some
smaller producers and nding
a home for culled crops.
Since its debut in Ontario
and Quebec in March 2015,
the company’s Naturally
Imperfect line of misshapen
apples and potatoes has
exceeded sales expectations
as consumers scooped up the
packages of produce for up to
30% less than their conformist
counterparts.
This year, peppers, onions
and mushrooms have been
added to the mix, giving
shoppers at Loblaw’s outlets
such as Superstore and Your
Independent Grocery a grab-
bag of misshapes.
The move comes at an
opportune time.
Food prices on the rise
The Food institute at the
University of Guelph reported
at the end of 2015 that the
price of fruit, nuts and
vegetables had increased by
between 9.1% and 10.1% over
the previous year, and this
past January a combination a
factors led to Canada’s worst
produce shortage in 30 years –
and sky-high prices to match.
Loblaw’s internal food
ination was in excess of 4.1%
during the last three months
of 2015, and while it managed
to pass most of the cost on to
the consumer, company
president and executive
chairman Galen Weston told
investors that shoppers
started choosing cheaper
products.
This was especially true in
Alberta, where consumers dug
into Loblaw’s discount
oerings.
Yet the concept isn’t new.
Mike Reed, president of BC
Hot House Foods Inc. in
Langley, told Country Life in BC
in 2014 that new packaging
options have helped boost
sales of local greenhouse
vegetables, especially peppers.
To move product, Reed said
many producers have shifted
from bulk sales to pre-
packaged assortments of
peppers from three-pack
oerings to those oering an
assortment of smaller fruit that
didn’t measure up.
1980s carrrots
Similarly, baby carrots –
now a staple on store shelves
– got their start in the 1980s as
a pared-down version of the
kind of vegetable Loblaw’s is
selling today at a discount.
Attractively presented,
packages of baby carrots sold
for twice the wholesale price
of the natural root.
Delphi Group, which
advises Loblaw’s on
environmental and
sustainability issues, thinks the
grocer’s initiative in taking
misshaped produce
mainstream could not only
help it reduce food waste but
change the value attached to
fresh food.
“It’s a no-brainer for us: the
program provides a market for
farmers to sell their smaller,
misshapen products; it’s a way
for us to bring nutritious food
options to consumers at a
lower price point; and it
reduces the amount of food
waste ending up in landll,”
Ian Gordon, a senior vice
president with Loblaw’s, told
Delphi Group senior associate
and North Vancouver resident
Alex Carr in a post for the
consulting rm’s blog last year.
Carr went on to observe,
“Loblaw Companies sees
imperfect food as opportunity,
not waste ... given Loblaws’
size it has the potential to
positively inuence supply
chains and consumers.”
While consumers often
accept unusual shapes in
organic and heritage varieties
of produce, Carr said shifting
trends that favour locally
grown and organic foods have
made even misshapen
conventional produce more
appealing.
“Loblaw’s eorts to
‘normalize’ imperfect looking,
yet otherwise tasty and
healthy food will also help
change perceptions of
nutrition and value,” she
concluded.
Creative marketing
gives ugly vegetables
new lease on life
Initiatives to market less-than-perfect veggies is likely to be a win-win for farmers and consumers,
adding value to product that would otherwise be culled, and oering aordable options to
consumers sensitive to dramatic increases in price over the past year. (Photo courtesy of Loblaws.)
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Country Life in BC • April 201616
Vancouver council
adopts urban
farming bylaw
Stories by PETER MITHAM
VANCOUVER – Vancouver
has acted swiftly to pass a
bylaw regulating farming
within city limits, dening
zones for farming in residential
and non-residential areas and
introducing a licensing
process.
The regulations follow the
endorsement of a sta report
in February recommending
the measures for a trial period
of two years, upon which the
regulations will be
reconsidered for permanent
adoption.
The bylaw amendment
comes four years after the city
rst announced plans to
regulate urban farming, which
has hitherto operated in a grey
area – it wasn’t illegal because
there was no law to apply, but
it didn’t have legal standing,
either, for the same reason.
This meant that operations
were liable to being shut
down if they ran afoul of the
neighbours or the authorities.
“There really isn’t a policy
that enables urban farming to
exist,” said Marcela Crowe,
executive director of the
Vancouver Urban Farming
Society, at a session devoted
to urban agriculture at the
Pacic Agriculture Show this
past January.
She welcomed the changes,
because she believes urban
agriculture has the ability for a
broad impact “by engaging a
lot of people in the practice of
farming.”
She pointed to the social
benets owing from Sole
Food, which operates as a
“social purpose enterprise” at
several sites on Vancouver’s
East Side; the operation
returns $2.40 in social benets
to the community for every
dollar invested in operations.
Vancouver currently has
approximately 18 urban farms
operating on 50 sites with a
combined area of 7.2 acres.
The majority are less than
1,075 square feet. These sites
are distinct from community
gardens insofar as they’re
intended to produce food for
sale rather than personal use.
The new policy aims to
create an environment where
upwards of 35 farms could be
operating within city limits by
2020.
The bylaw establishes
categories for farming
operations in residential areas,
which would pay $10 for an
annual business license to
operate farms of no larger
than 3,500 square feet. A
single owner could not
operate a combined
production area of more than
1.7 acres.
Urban farms in non-
residential areas are subject to
a greater level of scrutiny, in
some cases requiring a
development permit, and
must pay a $136 annual
licensing fee. Production area
is capped at 1.7 acres.
The city expects to issue 55
licenses and collect $1,810 in
fees during the rst year of the
two-year pilot program.
While the change means an
extra cost for urban farmers,
it’s small in comparison to the
$418,000 in annual revenues
the city estimates farmers to
be reaping.
It also prepares the city for
what could be an inux of
urban agriculturists, if trend-
watchers are right.
Speaking to the BC
chapter of the Urban Land
Institute last November,
PricewaterhouseCoopers real
estate analyst Andrew Warren
identied urban farming as a
growing use for industrial
properties.
“Food is getting bigger and
closer,” he said. “Urban
farming in old industrial
buildings … [there’s] a lot of
technology behind that; we
think that will really take o in
the next ve years.”
The trend might not be
limited to industrial properties
in Vancouver, but the new
policy prepares the ground for
a wide range of developments
in the future.
“I see a lot of potential in
urban agriculture even though
we’re very much in the
pioneer phase,” said Lenore
Newman, director of the
Agriburban Research Centre at
the University of the Fraser
Valley, speaking at the Pacic
A new policy undertaken by the City of Vancouver could see as many as 35 farms operating within
city limits by 2020. (Photo courtesy of Vancouver Urban Farming Society)
SPECIAL REPORT: FARMING IN THE CITY 2016
Please see “FOOD” page 17
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 17
Agriculture Show. “Industrial ag is almost grown out to full capacity.”
Newman doesn’t consider urban agriculture the way to feed the planet, but
she said it contributes to food security by diversifying food sources for people. It
makes them less reliant on large-scale agriculture and puts food production in
the midst of population centres.
Newman sees opportunities for urban agriculture on rooftops, particularly in
the form of greenhouses. Vancouver backed Alterrus Systems Inc.’s bid to produce
greens atop a city-owned parkade in downtown in late 2012 failed in early 2014,
but Lufa Farms Inc. in Montreal has pointed up the opportunities for producers.
Director of the Agriburban Research Centre at the University of the Fraser Valley,
Lenore Newman. (File photo)
SPECIAL REPORT: FARMING IN THE CITY 2016
ABBOTSFORD – Addressing the
pressing social and environmental
issues of the day is a key opportunity
for urban farms, says Lenore Newman,
director of the Agriburban Research
Centre at the University of the Fraser
Valley.
Speaking at the Pacic Agriculture
Show this past January, Newman
described the world as existing in a
state of “peak farmland,” with 40% of
the earth’s surface devoted to
agriculture and 30% of the cultivated
land subject to degradation through
poor management practices.
Urban farmers, by diversifying the
production eld, can oer alternatives.
Greenhouses, for example, can be
used for fruit production that uses
water more economically; they can
also make use of underutilized urban
spaces such as roof tops.
Building surfaces also provide
opportunities for edible greenscaping,
while landscaping can also be a venue
for edible plant species.
With just four plants supplying half
of all human calories, Newman said
there’s room to tap into the more
50,000 edible plant species known to
exist. Right now, the human diet has
dug into just 3,000 species.
Urban farming can also help ght
social isolation, a key issue in
Vancouver.
An initiative by the Bosa Properties
Charitable Foundation in Vancouver’s
False Creek neighbourhood, for
FOOD SECURITY From page 16
example, combats social isolation by
bringing apartment residents together
to grow food. While the setting is a
community garden, the produce is
delivered to Quest Food Exchange,
which operates depots in East
Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey.
The initiative has been so successful
that a similar program is planned for a
Bosa Properties development in
Coquitlam.
Controversially, Newman told her
audience in Abbotsford that urban
farmers just might be the ones to
make acceptable use of genetically
modied organisms (GMOs), the bête
noir of socially progressive foodies.
She urged urban farmers not to
ignore the potential of GMOs to help
them do their job better and even to
thrive in the urban environment while
ghting global warming.
One example are strains of yeast
developed in California that produce
milk.
“It could greatly decrease the need
to expand the dairy industry,” she said
of the development, terming the
expansion of dairy production as
“simply a climate disaster.”
By her reckoning, milk-producing
yeast could stave o the need to
address cattle-driven climate change
by 10 to 20 years.
GMOs have urban potential
The measure of success.
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Country Life in BC • April 201618
Urban agriculture calls for street-smart growers
VANCOUVER – Rising food
costs promise to make urban
agriculture more protable,
but given the small scale of
most city centre farms – which
often take over under-used
strips of land, vacant lots, or
rooftops – yields will also have
to increase to make revenues
sustainable.
The challenge was one
Chris Thoreau, co-owner of
Vancouver Food Pedalers
Co-operative, embraced when
he set up his microgreens
operation in Vancouver’s
Strathcona neighbourhood
eight years ago.
Thoreau studied
agroecology at UBC, but he
wanted to grow something so
that his life wasn’t divorced
from his studies.
He had several criteria for
his planned farm, many of
which might sound
unorthodox to large-scale
operators. In particular, he
wanted a compact operation
without multiple sites. He also
wanted one without long
hours or physical hardship.
“Having a comfortable
working environment was
really important,” he told an
attentive audience at the
Pacic Agriculture Show in
January.
What resulted from this
vision was a production
system that began with
microgreens grown and
harvested on waist-high
benches sheltered from the
elements. The sprouts
command a high value in the
marketplace and also require
very little room to grow. By
delivering them on bike,
Thoreau limits his carbon
footprint as well as vehicle and
fuel costs.
However, with the growth
of the operation, he wanted to
share the risk of the operation
so he transformed it from a
sole proprietorship into a co-
operative. The farm expanded
into a shipping container
purchased for the purpose
with the assistance of a
$37,000 enviroFund grant
from Vancity.
The container was
recongured to maximize
natural light while providing a
comfortable, mobile working
environment with 320 square
feet of production space. It
also allows year-round
production which has been
important in establishing
continuity and loyalty in
business relationships.
Sales are primarily to
restaurants as well as at
markets, where the greens are
in demand among vegans.
The farm has an eight-day
production cycle and Thoreau
says it couldn’t be more
ecient.
“We micromanage our
microgreens,” Thoreau said,
explaining that this allows the
farm to be both ecient and
adaptable to environmental
and market conditions.
Thoreau estimates that the
ve-person operation could
max out its revenues at
$250,000 a year. Current
revenues total $200,000 a year,
with greens selling for $12 to
$20 a tray.
The revenues are sucient
to support payroll, including
Canada Pension Plan
premiums and health benets
for workers, who typically
work seven hours a day.
The container is located on
property on Malkin Avenue
adjacent to a food processor
who supports the venture.
This has exempted it from
some of the more onerous
obstacles facing other
operations.
Ben Newman, for example,
has faced signicant obstacles
launching a permaculture
venture in downtown
Vancouver.
Newman, a former personal
trainer, was attracted to urban
farming because he felt a need
to align his purpose with the
environment. Rather than
contribute to the world’s
problems and pain, he wanted
to resolve them and make the
world a place of healing.
A kindred spirit came along
in the form of Diane Lefroy, a
Vancouver artists and
daughter of pioneering
Calgary oilman Daryl “Doc”
Seaman. Lefroy had a million-
dollar lot in downtown
Vancouver, and she wanted
something done with it.
Newman, in realigning his life,
leapt at the opportunity.
The two set about
developing a proposal for a
farm with ve shipping
containers on the site, but the
initial $350,000 development
cost blossomed to its current
tally of $1.2 million in the face
of code requirements.
The situation has
confronted him with the
dierence between policies
and regulations.
“Sometimes it’s not smart
what the city is doing, but it’s
real,” Newman said.
With the city bringing urban
farms within its regulatory and
planning framework, the
experience shows that urban
farmers are liable to be as
much plagued by bureaucracy
and paperwork as their
country cousins.
SPECIAL REPORT: FARMING IN THE CITY 2016
Vancouver Food Pedalers founder Chris Thoreau, left, chats with
Kelowna’s “Urban Farmer” Curtis Stone about the business model
for the co-operative, and its potential. (Photo courtesy of
PermacultureVoices.com)
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 19
by DAVID SCHMIDT
ABBOTSFORD The Trans Pacic Partnership will
impact Canada’s poultry and egg producers but the
eect will not be as bad as it could have been.
“We knew we’d be under pressure,” Turkey
Farmers of Canada chair Mark Davies told BC
growers during the BC Poultry Conference in
Vancouver, March 10-11.
Although former International
Trade Minister Ed Fast “promised
to protect supply management,”
producers had no idea whether
he was living up to the promise
as negotiations were conducted
in complete secrecy.
“I think our negotiators did the
best job they could,” Davies says,
claiming “it could have been
much worse.”
Conclusion of the TPP “removes much of the
uncertainty,” noted Egg Farmers of Canada chair
Peter Clarke.
Because “the integrity of the system has been
maintained,” Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) chair
Dave Janzen says producers can now “invest in
(their) future.”
While existing over-quota taris were retained,
TPP will dramatically increase the amount of duty-
free eggs and poultry products Canada must allow
into the country.
“We’re giving away our growth,” Davies said, with
TFC executive director Phil Boyd noting turkey
imports will jump from 3.7% to 6.4% of current
consumption by the end of the 20-year agreement.
“This is not a fatal condition but it’s a signicant
challenge,” he said.
The situation is similar in chicken and table eggs.
“We will need to bring in 26 million kg per year
under TPP,” notes CFC general manager Mike
Dungate, saying that is the equivalent of 61 farms.
Added to the 7.5% already allowed in, that
represents 9.6% of Canadian
chicken production.
Clarke notes Canada will have
to allow another 19 million dozen
eggs per year by year 18 of the
agreement.
All that depends on the TPP
being ratied. The agreement will
come into force as soon as all
countries ratify it. (Canada ratied
it in February.) If approval is not
unanimous, it must be ratied by
at least six countries with at least 85% of the 12
participating countries’ combined gross domestic
product. That gives both the US and Japan the
power to veto the agreement since each accounts
for more than 15% of the total GDP.
Canadian Hatching Egg Producers chair Jack
Greydanus expects the pending election and a
growing protectionism sentiment will make
ratication dicult in the US.
“Ratication is supposed to take place within two
years but I think it will take longer,” he says.
When the TPP agreement was announced during
last fall’s election, the Conservatives promised supply
managed producers a multimillion dollar
compensation package and promised to tighten up
border controls. The national agencies are
expending considerable eort to ensure the new
Liberal government lives up to those promises.
Dungate notes over 200 of the 365 MP’s are new and
“they need to get up to speed” on the issues
aecting supply management.
The import-export relief program is the biggest
loophole. Some poultry
processors are using the program
to bring in product one year,
knowing they have up to four
years to “re-export” it.
“Imports under that program
have gone from two million kgs
to 96 million kgs in the last two
years,” Dungate says.
CFC is also demanding the
mandatory certication of spent
fowl and forbidding the import
of chicken as part of a “mixed” product not subject to
import controls. Last year, processors brought in 103
million kgs of spent fowl meat from the US, more
than all the spent fowl breast meat produced in the
US. They also brought in such “mixes” as chicken
wings and pizza.
“Those aren’t mixes, they are just products
packaged together,” Dungate stated emphatically.
He says all the circumventions represent 20% of
the chicken market. If they were eliminated, it would
more than oset any losses under TPP.
“It’s all being done by fraudulent marketers,”
Dungate insists. “It won’t hurt any legitimate
processor.”
TPP could have been much worse for poultry, egg producers
“Integrity of system has been maintained” and producers can now “invest in their future”: Dave Janzen
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by JUDIE STEEVES
SUMMERLAND – Fruit growers in the
Okanagan have expressed interest in seeing
the region-wide Okanagan Sterile Insect
Release (SIR) program monitor other pests as
well and provide data to help them save
money with local, detailed, current information
on weather conditions.
That would allow orchardists to use up-to-
the-minute weather data to ensure sprays are
applied at exactly the best time in an insect’s
life cycle or that blossom thinning is done at
the ideal moment, and that diseases like re
blight are dealt with in the most timely way.
That type of data is already available to
growers in Washington state through a tree
fruit Decision Aid System (DAS) created by
Vincent Jones of Washington State University
and it would just need to be adapted to local
weather stations and BC pest information for
use here since the climate of the adjoining
state and province are similar.
Melissa Tesche is acting manager of OKSIR
and explains growers who currently follow
dates on a calendar to make decisions to spray
for a particular pest or disease could be wasting
time and money by spraying at the wrong time
for the best eect.
Last year’s very early spring, which is being
repeated this year, caught many growers o-
guard in terms of timing applications.
Jones made a presentation to the OKSIR
board in February about DAS, which is an
online resource that uses real-time weather
data to predict crop and pest development in
tree fruit production.
Millions can be saved
He estimates growers there save $16 million
a year with the system, which took $1 million to
develop. It features a simple user interface with
lots of exibility. Models are driven by
environmental data, temperature, solar
radiation and wind speed using a network of
weather stations and other data, including
historic information.
Tesche says the system would be most
helpful in determining the ideal window for
releases of sterile moths in orchards to combat
the invasive alien codling moth, a serious pest
of apples and pears.
The board is hopeful funds to adapt the
system to BC could be available from BC’s
Climate Action Initiative for agriculture this
spring, which would mean a pilot could be
available to orchardists as early as next spring.
Currently, OKSIR is collaborating with the BC
Fruit Growers Association to canvas industry on
its changing pest management needs with the
potential for expanding the mandate of the
program if growers indicate that’s what they’d
like.
Growers are asked to participate in an online
survey at [www.oksir.org]. Click on Stakeholder
Engagement Survey. As well, consultation with
industry is underway.
Tesche explains the program could evolve to
include area-wide monitoring of other pests,
including apple clearwing moth and apple
maggot, but the request to expand the
program’s mandate would have to come from
growers.
Then, all regional districts in the program
would have to approve changes in the
program’s mandate.
Following up on last year’s strategic
planning process, which concluded with four
goals for the program that included expansion
of its scope, the board voted in favour of
embarking on a process of grower
engagement.
That would result in a wish list for OKSIR
which would then be costed out by
technicians. That would then come to the
board, growers and regional districts as a series
of options for
the future.
In order for
OKSIR to
expand its
mandate, its
provincial
legislation
would have to
be amended.
At the same
time, the
program has
moved ahead
with another of
the goals from
its strategic
plan and
general
manager Cara
Nelson is working on business development:
pursuing potential partnerships with countries
around the world to buy the program’s
experience with Sterile Insect Technology (SIT)
to control pests.
She is currently working with France,
Germany and Italy on proposals to use the
OKSIR experience to help them set up SIT
programs.
Her temporary role performing this
development work will be reviewed by the
board at its May meeting.
As well, the program is already selling excess
production of sterile moths to countries such as
New Zealand.
These activities help to bring revenue into
the program and allow it to continue without
any increase in fees to growers or other
taxpayers, explains Tesche.
Six years of no cost increases
Board chairman Duane Ophus, in calling for
a vote on the 2016 nancial plan for the
program, emphasized this is the sixth year
there has been no increase in the cost of the
program for growers, in part because it is
generating revenue from outside to cover
increased costs.
Reduced acreage has meant a 15%
reduction in revenue for the program from
levies, he said.
Another goal of the strategic plan approved
by the board last year is capital replacement.
That has allowed for replacement of the
gamma cell used to irradiate moths so they
mate ineectually with wild moths, using
reserve funds set aside for that purpose. It
actually cost $400,000 less than was budgeted.
The other goals identied in the strategic
plan were technical support and succession
Country Life in BC • April 201620
OKSIR looks at expanding its
role in pest, weather monitoring
Survey results will determine new directions for Sterile Insect Release program
Please see “TRAPPING” page 21
Melissa Tesche
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 21
TRAPPING PROGRAM From page 20
Owners, workers face animal cruelty charges
Chilliwack Cattle Sales faced international scrutiny when video surfaced alleging animal abuse
by DAVID SCHMIDT
CHILLIWACK – The BC dairy
industry is in damage control
mode after charges of animal
cruelty were nally laid against
seven workers and ve owners
of Chilliwack Cattle Sales.
The allegations of cruelty
surfaced in June 2014 when
the animal rights group,
Mercy for Animals (which has
since closed its Canadian
oce), released an
undercover video showing
cows being whipped, beaten
and kicked at Canada’s largest
dairy farm.
Although BC SPCA chief
prevention and enforcement
ocer Marcie Moriarty said
they “immediately launched
an investigation into the case
and recommended charges,”
it took almost two years
before any charges were laid.
On March 1, 20 counts of
animal cruelty were laid.
Sixteen charges were laid
under the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA)
while the remaining four
counts were laid under the
Wildlife Act and concern the
treatment of a pigeon.
Fines and jail time
Maximum sentences for
each count under the PCAA
are a ne of up to $75,000, a
jail term of up to two years
and/or up to a lifetime ban on
owning animals. A rst
conviction under the Wildlife
Act could result is a ne of up
to $100,000 and/or up to a
year in jail.
Moriarty notes this is the
rst time a BC company and
its owners “have been held
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planning and stang.
The board is also working
with the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency, the
agriculture ministry and the
BCFGA to expand the apple
maggot detection program
through cost recovery by
putting out traps and
monitoring them while sta
monitor for codling moth.
Sta are also co-operating
with the BCFGA and
Summerland Research and
Development Centre to trap
for apple clearwing moth and
put out mating disruption
lures on a cost recovery basis.
Program sta helped with
that monitoring work in 2012
and 2014 as well.
Growers at January’s
convention had asked that the
BCFGA and OKSIR develop an
area-wide pest control plan for
apple clearwing moth and
SWD, as well as other tree fruit
pests.
Tesche spoke to growers at
the convention, encouraging
them to voice their desires for
the future of the program.
In response, one grower
commented, “It’s much easier
for us to sell our fruit at a
premium price without pests.”
Tesche agreed, saying,
“Many consumers want local
fruit that’s grown in the most
sustainable way possible. I
can’t market your fruit but I
can help you keep the pests
down and you can use that to
market your fruit.
“It’s not if, but when other
pests will arrive,” she added.
“Apple maggot is coming and
we need to be ready.
“Clearwing is here and next
it could be Brown Marmorated
accountable for acts of animal
cruelty on a farm.”
Almost immediately after
the video surfaced, the BC
Milk Marketing Board
(BCMMB) made it mandatory
for producers to follow the
2009 Canadian Code of
Practice for the Care and
Handling of Dairy Animals and
started inspecting dairy farms
in September 2015.
“Dairy farmers across BC
were outraged, humiliated and
embarrassed,” by the actions
shown in the video,” says BC
Dairy Association (BCDA) chief
executive ocer Dave Eto,
noting the industry has taken
concrete steps to avoid similar
incidents in the future.
It has reached a
memorandum of
understanding with the
BCSPCA re enforcement of
animal welfare issues and
supported inclusion of the
Dairy Code of Practice in the
PCAA.
50 on-farm inspections
BCMBB chair Jim Byrne
notes the BCMMB had already
conducted over 50 on-farm
animal welfare inspections by
the beginning of March. That
includes inspections of the
farms of all BCMMB and BCDA
directors.
Although initial inspections
were scheduled, Eto says
random inspections by
trained third-party inspectors
will begin later this year “to
give the public assurance that
this is without any bias.”
“Ensuring proper animal
care on dairy farms is simply
the right thing to do,” Byrne
says.
The BCSPCA has lauded
those initiatives.
“It is important producers
have clear expectations
around standards of care for
farm animals and that there is
a system in place to monitor
and enforce these standards,”
Moriarty said.
Although the BCMMB has
been directing the inspections
to date, the inspections are
being transitioned to BCDA
and Dairy Farmers of Canada
as part of the ProAction
Initiative.
However, Byrne stresses the
board “will continue to
maintain its authority to
ensure compliance with the
code under its orders.”
David EtoMarcie Moriarty
Stink Bug. We need to gure
out how to protect ourselves.
Partnerships are key. But we
need to leverage funding,” she
told growers at the
convention.
Country Life in BC • April 201622
by PETER MITHAM
VANCOUVER – One of the key challenges for any
family farm is managing the transition from
generation to generation. While the family farm is an
iconic slice of rural Canada, what happens behind
the scenes that keeps it going from generation to
generation isn’t necessarily the stu of national
legend (except, perhaps, in a Revenge of the Land
kind of way).
Smoothing the transition between generations
was the focus of several sessions at the annual
conference held in Vancouver of the Canadian
Young Farmers’ Forum, a national organization for
the next generation of farm leaders that serves as an
umbrella group for local organizations across the
country, including the 250-member BC Young
Farmers.
Keeping families united
The conference was appropriately titled
“agriculture united” and speakers encouraged young
farmers to play a leadership role in making sure farm
succession planning keeps families unied.
However, it isn’t an easy job, with most speakers
warning listeners of the challenges.
“One of the biggest problems you’re going to
have is your parents,” Don Ton of the
Saskatchewan-based Canadian Farm Learning
Centre, candidly told his audience, most of them in
their 20s and 30s.
But Casey Langbroek, principal of Catapult
Business Coaching and lead partner of the Chilliwack
accounting rm Langbroek Louwerse & Thiessen LLP,
Intergenerational planning on young farmers’ radar
Annual conference of the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum hears how to smooth transitions
Senior family
members are
urged be
“multipliers” in
order to optimize a
farm succession
plan. That’s clearly
the case for the
Warmerdam family
of Abbotsford as
this year’s
inaugural
Abbotsford Tulip
Festival kicks o
under the direction
of third generation
Alexis Warmerdam,
second from right.
(Photo courtesy of
Alexis
Warmerdam)
told youth that part of being leaders means
encouraging others – something he urged them to
encourage their parents to do through delegating
responsibilities and being what he termed
“multipliers” rather than micro-managing
“diminishers.”
Responsibilites delegated
This, in turn, establishes better relations for the
ultimate multiplier role – delegating responsibilities
through a succession plan.
Langbroek said most families don’t talk about the
expectations each member has for themselves and
the farm, but there has to be a conversation about
these matters and some negotiation around what
everyone expects – and what will work for the good
of the family and t he farm.
“Capitalize on the relations you have, and get
Please see “KEEP PLAN” page 23
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 23
KEEP PLAN UPDATED From page 22
everyone to put their
expectations on the table,” he
said.
Once expectations for the
farm and for individual family
members have been
established, Langbroek
recommended bringing in a
trusted advisor to facilitate the
execution of a strategy that
helps the expectations
become realities.
The very nature of
succession planning makes it a
long-term process, one that
requires updating at each
major life event as people
enter and depart the family,
continue on the farm or move
o.
“This isn’t only about
money. This is also about
making sure people aren’t hurt
in the process,” Langbroek
said. “Get everyone on the
same page so it works.”
Orderly transition
Written documents and
formal agreements that can be
referred back to from time to
time, particularly at moments
of crisis, are important. These
include not just records of
family discussions but pre-
nuptial, shareholders’ and buy-
sell agreements that allow for
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an orderly transition of the
family business.
This is important not just for
family members active in the
daily management of the farm,
but also family members who
may live o the farm who have
an equity interest in the family
business.
“Build the strategy so the
non-farm children know
what’s happening,” Langbroek
said.
Having an agreed-upon
distribution plan for the estate
in the event of the farm
owners’ death can reduce the
risk of haggling among their
heirs; the role each family
member plays should also be
dened so that everyone
knows where everyone else
stands.
Langbroek also pointed out
that the family’s share in the
business should be separate
from their work managing the
business – in short, ownership
and management aren’t the
same thing, a fact business
families often forget.
Ownership and hands-on
This is particularly true of
family farms, where family
members often have both an
ownership stake as well as a
hands-on role in the daily
operation of the business.
Dening (and writing down)
what family members are
entitled to as owners and what
they receive as operators can
help avoid disputes in the
future.
Langbroek noted that
funding under Growing
Forward 2 is available for
mediators to help farm
families establish a succession
plan and engage in a relatively
smooth business planning
process.
“Consider it an investment
in the greatest legacy your
family will ever have,” he said.
by PETER MITHAM
The death of a farm child
is a tragedy that often makes
headlines but Robin
Anderson of the Canadian
Agricultural Safety
Association told the annual
meeting of the Canadian
Young Farmers’ Forum that
farm fatalities most often
involve seniors, who are
dying at a faster rate than
the rest of the farm
population as a result.
“Seniors are being killed
at a faster rate than any
other age group,” she said in
a talk that discussed the
unique challenges of young
farmers sandwiched
between aging parents and
young children.
“You can’t get hurt,” she
said. “A sandwich needs the
filling to hold it all together.”
This is particularly true in a
farm setting where the
family life and work life exist
alongside each other with all
the tension and drama those
two spheres offer.
With older farmers facing
physical and cognitive
limitations and children
lacking the experience to
make the decisions a
Young farmers can be
sandwiched between
parents and young children
Casey Langbroek, FCPA, FCGA,
Certied Business Coach, offers many years of experience
to assist farm businesses and farm families with:
• Strategic planning and strategic emphasis
• Business consulting, coaching, facilitation
• Corporate reorganizations
• Succession and intergenerational transition
For more information, email
casey@catapultcoaching.ca
BUSINESS COACHING
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responsible adult would,
Anderson said roles have to
be assigned that makes the
best use of their skills and
energies.
“Deciding what is a better
use of their skills is key to a
safer farming environment,
and a more efficient farming
environment,” Anderson said
of the jobs given to seniors,
going on to offer an ideal
rule of thumb for any age
group: “Don’t set them up
for failure.”
Anderson said the various
generations at work on a
farm need to be on the same
page when it comes to farm
safety. This may entail having
a safety contract between
generations so that each is
accountable to the other.
The aim is to build family
ties, celebrate what’s going
right, and ensuring the safe
operation of the farm from
one generation to the next.
It’s your
business.
And you need to keep up to
date on the news and events
that affect you and your farm
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COUNTRY
Life
in BC
Items may not be exactly as shown, accessories & attachments cost extra. Taxes, set-up, delivery, freight, and preparation charges not included. Prices are based on the US exchange are subject to change. A documentation fee of up to $250 will be applied on all finance offerings. Additional fees may apply. Programs and prices subject to change without notice, at any time, see dealer for full details on Green Fever offers, Some restrictions apply. *Offer valid from February 1, 201 6 until March 30, 2016 . Financing on approved John Deere Financial credit only. 0% APR purchase financing for 60 months on
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past due is 24% per annum. Maximum Cash Discount Offer cannot be combined with advertised financing. * Attachments and implements sold separately. Some conditions may apply. See your participating dealer for details. Offer subject to availability and may be discontinued or modified. Taxes, set-up, delivery, freight and preparation charges not included. 0% APR purchase financing for 4 years on new John Deere Select Hay Tools. Down payment may be required. Representative Amount Financed: $50,000, at 0% APR, semi-annual payment is $6,250 for 4 years, total obligation is $50,000, cost of
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 25
Country Life in BC • April 201626
by EMILY BULMER
SMITHERS – Smithers
Farmers’ Institute hosted an
On-Farm Water Management
workshop March 5, at the
Glenwood Hall near Smithers.
The workshop included four
presentations covering
irrigation theory, systems and
technology, the new Water
Sustainability Act, as well how
to access funding through the
Environmental Farm Plan
program. More than 50
farmers, ranchers and
gardeners attended the event,
clearly indicating water is top
of mind.
Andrew Petersen, irrigation
specialist from the BC Ministry
of Agriculture presented on
Drought and Ecient
Irrigation.
Crops impacted
In the Bulkley Valley, the
last two summers have been
drier than usual and growers
who rely on rainfall have
noticed the impacts on their
crops. Petersen talked about
understanding drought in
terms of both stream ow and
precipitation, and the
importance of moisture
storage capacity in soil. By
using examples, he got right
down to the ne details of
how to calculate application
rates for dierent crops as
well as the eciency for
individual systems.
To follow the theory, Dick
Ford from Highlands Irrigation
answered questions about
common irrigation systems.
“We discussed everything
from ooding to drip
irrigation and all the methods
in between,” says participant
Bryan Swansburg. “We also
talked about how often you
need to irrigate which, up
here, might be two or three
times a year, so the machinery
doesn’t actually get used that
much ... On the other hand, if
you have it, just like last year,
you can dust o the
equipment and probably save
your crop. It is a good
insurance policy, though it
can be an expensive one.”
Swansburg also reects
that cost-benet analysis has
to take into consideration the
labour it takes to move the
equipment versus more
automated systems which
need less human eort but
cost more upfront to install.
Participants also had a
chance to learn about the
new Water Sustainability Act
from Jennifer Vigano, water
policy advisor from the BC
Ministry of Environment.
“We’ve (agriculture) been
dealing with a lot of
uncertainty with respect to
the new Water Sustainability
Act,” says workshop organizer
and co-presenter Megan
D’Arcy. “(Vigano) was able to
clarify how the new
legislation will work, but there
are still some unanswered
questions, especially related
to dugouts, their connection
to groundwater and how to
tell whether or not they are
licensable.”
D’Arcy presented
information on the
Environmental Farm Plan
program and options to
transition from diesel-based
pumps to electricity, as well
funding options and
requirements for irrigation
upgrades and the installation
of weather stations. D’Arcy
encourages anyone who
hasn’t completed an
Environmental Farm Plan to
take advantage of the
program.
More water storage
Laurie Gallant travelled
from the Hazelton area to
attend.
“I have a broader
understanding now of
irrigation needs and solutions
and I was impressed to see
how far the industry has
come in terms of delivering
on eciency and less waste of
water. We need more water
storage and will be looking
into doing some dugouts. We
learned about the
calculations for how to size
dugouts based on the
capacity of the soil to retain
water and the size and
frequency of irrigation. It put
a lot more science and math
into our design which we
hadn’t done yet. We are more
condent about what we
need to be doing. We will be
getting started on our
Environmental Farm Plan as
well, which is exciting.”
As climate change and
drier summers put additional
pressures on producers,
understanding the site and
the costs and benets of
irrigating are essential. The
On-Farm Water workshop
provided ideas and
information that producers
can use to make decisions
that are right for their own
farms. Presentations and
support material may be
obtained by contacting the
Smithers Farmers Institute
[www.smithersfarmersinstitut
e.com].
Water workshops taking on new urgency
Drier summers prompting ranchers to seek new information on water, irrigation issues
Paul Davidson, left, chair of the Smithers Farmers Institute and Yannick Heer, chair of the Bulkley
Valley Cattlemen’s Association get advice from Highlands Irrigation’s Dick Ford during a water
stewardship workshop in Smithers in early March. (Chris Yates photo)
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 27
Windbreaks are feats of engineering with on-farm benefits
by PETER MITHAM
SUMMERLAND – Windbreaks are more than just a
convenient way to separate your farm house from
the rest of your operation. Agriculture ministries
across the country are encouraging the features as a
way to make farming more ecient and friendly to
neighbours.
Many, such as BC, are encouraging farmers to
consider them with grants intended to enhance the
farm’s environmental stewardship. Research in
Ontario also touts the benets of windbreaks to
conserve soil moisture, prevent erosion and
ultimately improve crop yields in adjacent elds by
as much as 10 to 15%.
“This is not landscaping,” said Dave Trotter, the BC
Ministry of Agriculture’s agroforestry specialist, in a
presentation to growers at the Pacic Agriculture
Show in Abbotsford at the end of January.
Rather, windbreaks are feats of engineering that
involve a high level of design in order to serve their
purpose – which is more than being just another
pretty hedge against complaints from neighbours.
Trotter explained that vegetative buers can
intercept and capture pesticides and interrupt and
disperse dust, mitigating the impact of these
substances on the environment.
Diverting airflows upwards
According to Trotter’s models, a vegetative buer
can absorb 60 to 90% of pesticides. However, they
can be less eective at stopping dust – hence the
emphasis on dispersing it through so-called
chimney buers that divert airows upwards.
Trotter encouraged growers to put some thought
into buers and be aware of how they’re working
within the environment as well as the potential for
unintended consequences. For example, maple
trees may serve the purpose but they’re also toxic to
horses; similarly, some species may serve as a host
for pests.
“One size doesn’t t all,” Trotter said; local
conditions and topography are key. “It’s not just,
‘plant a row;’ you really have to design it for your
property.”
Trotter’s estimates peg the cost of a standard,
100-metre windbreak at between $5,500 a row for a
simple design to as much as $8,800 for a more
complex installation. In addition to the initial costs
A well-placed and well-designed windbreak could improve crop yields by as much as 10 to 15% according to BC’s
agroforestry specialist. (Photo courtesy of University of Michigan)
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Country Life in BC • April 201628
BC cranberry growers buffered from low prices
by DAVID SCHMIDT
RICHMOND Cranberry
production is increasing in BC
but dropping in Quebec, BC
growers were told at the
combined BC Cranberry
Marketing Board (BCCMB) and
BC Cranberry Growers
Association (BCCGA) annual
meeting in Richmond,
February 23.
BC production climbed
18% to just under a million
barrels last year while Quebec
production dropped over
13% but is still over two
million barrels. The dierence
is accounted for by the fact
that most of BC’s 72
registered growers belong to
the Ocean Spray Co-operative
while most Quebec growers
are independent. Ocean Spray
has managed to maintain
grower prices while
independent growers
continue to get hammered in
an over-supplied market.
That
oversupply is
not destined to
end, says BCCMB
director Je
Hamilton. He
noted 88% of
last year’s near
record North
American crop
went into
inventory and
does not expect
substantial
improvement in
2016.
Hamilton and BCCMB
marketing consultant
Geraldine Auston say one
reason cranberry product
sales are stalling are because
of their added sugars.
“Sugar is the new demon,”
Hamilton says, noting the US
Department of Agriculture is
proposing to label products
with added sugar. He notes
that would put cranberries at
a big disadvantage to other
products. As an example, he
notes raisins contain more
sugar than Craisins “but it’s
not added.”
He would prefer to see the
US adopt the same labeling as
Canada, which lists total sugar
content without specifying
whether it is added.
Auston urges the industry
to use caution when
developing new reduced-
sugar products, saying
dieticians may not consider
the new ingredients industry
is using as healthy.
“Dieticians read the label
and don’t like chemical
sweeteners,” she warns. “We
still have so much work to do
with dieticians.”
Hamilton says the North
American Cranberry
Marketing Committee is
spending $120,000 on a sugar
strategy while
the BCCMB has
committed
$40,000 to a
similar program.
Although BC
yields increased
from 128 barrels
per acre in 2014
to over 150
barrels per acre
in 2015, BCCGA
president Grant
Keefer says
growers still
have a long way to go, noting
Quebec yields are about
double those in BC.
Both Keefer
and BCCMB
chair Jack Brown
say progress is
being made at
the BC Research
Farm, which is
trialing new
varieties and
looking at other
ways to improve
yields in BC.
“The next
step is to get
those varieties
which do well at the research
farm into growers’ fields,”
says BCCGA manager Mike
Wallis.
“If we want to
stay in farming
cranberries and
being
successful, we
have to look at
renovating,”
Keefer adds. He
notes BCCGA
has made “some
preliminary
moves” to get
government to
give them
something similar to the
successful Okanagan tree
fruit replant program.
FUNDING AVAILABLE From page 27
Jack Brown
Je Hamilton
of establishment, growers will
need to factor in maintenance
and the need to renovate the
feature 20 to 30 years after
planting to ensure it’s
performing as intended.
Osetting the cost is
funding from the BC
Environmental Farm Plan
program.
Growers can receive $2,000
to develop a plan, then 60% of
implementation costs up to a
maximum of $7,500. (That is,
60% of $15,000.)
Trotter emphasized that
vegetative buers are,
however, “just one tool in the
toolkit.”
“Buers are a secondary
tool,” he said, urging growers
to take steps that mitigate the
drift of sprays and dust before
they become a problem.
Some sprayers can be
calibrated to minimize drift,
for example.
Speaking to growers at the
Pacic Agriculture Show in
2008, Kim Blagborne of
Slimline Manufacturing Ltd. in
Penticton, explained that the
right particle size can not only
reduce drift but ensure better
crop coverage.
Research has shown that a
15μ water particle (a micron is
1/25,000 inches) will take
about two minutes to hit the
ground when released from a
height of 10 feet, Blagborne
said. Put that in a eld setting,
and those particles would be
volatile, hanging in the air or
contributing to drift. Indeed,
Blagborne said any particles
smaller than 50μ are
undesireable.
That makes the ability to
adjust particle size key to the
better management of spray
drift.
“The whole secret is picking
a size that doesn’t oat,”
Blagborne told growers.
The ideal particle size that
will help reduce the chance of
sprays drifting is about 150μ
to 200μ, at least when wind
conditions are no more than
nine miles an hour. Research
at Ohio State University
suggests that a light breeze of
about three miles an hour will
cause a 150μ particle to drift
up to 22 feet when released
from a height of 10 feet. A
particle that’s just 50μ stands
to drift 178 feet under the
same conditions; smaller
particles travel even further.
Breaking down barriers
While a windbreak can help
stop drift, a good system will
ensure that drift doesn’t occur
in the rst place.
However, not everyone is a
fan of windbreaks.
Speaking to an audience of
developers, planners and
policymakers at a meeting of
the Urban Land Institute’s BC
chapter last year, Sean
Hodgins, president of
Tsawwassen’s Century Group
– which is set to start
construction of the 950-home
Southlands community in
South Delta this year – said it’s
time to break down some of
the barriers.
Showing an image of a
windbreak to the audience,
Hodgins said the feature may
have been a good idea at one
time but was hardly a
resolution to the rural-urban
interface.
“What if instead of isolating
or buering agriculture, we
could design a community
around food and agriculture?”
he asked. “That was a political
line between where housing
could happen and where
agriculture would happen,
and the thing about political
lines is that they always fail –
they always get changed over
time.”
Hodgins suggested that a
community amenity such as a
recreational trail or a
community garden could oer
a softer, yet less exible line
between competing land uses
because communities feel
pride in amenities.
“It is used by the
community [and] it becomes a
thick edge that will never fail
because the community will
ght for it,” he said.
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LYNDEN, WA
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 29
by TOM WALKER
ABBOTSFORD – “Primary
agriculture is a risky business,”
Jonathan Small told a packed
room at the Pacic
Agriculture Show in January.
“And If you are not measuring
risk, then you are not
managing it.”
A farm management
consultant with MNP in Red
Deer, Small urged his
audience to identify on farm
risk for their operation,
measure it and manage it.
Sometimes when you look at
data in a dierent light, he
says, it tells a dierent story.
“Risk is simply uncertainty,”
says Small. And farmers are
certainly used to uncertainty.
Typically, notes Small, farmers
are good at measuring the
impact of risk but not so used
to looking at probability.
“If you are not truly
measuring both parts, you are
not truly managing risk and in
danger of misguiding yourself
at best and seriously
damaging your business at
worst,” Small says. To be able
to look at risk objectively you
need good records.
Impact is quite easy to
measure.
When a late frost damages
your crop, you are likely able
to measure the impact that
frost had on your bottom line
if you have a good
understanding of your
business. But you must also
look at probability. How likely
is this frost to happen?
To assess probability, you
need good records, preferably
for your own business. You
could acquire frost records
from Environment Canada
but how does frost aect your
own unique farm site?
Small suggests farmers
consider impact and
probability together in a four
part matrix.
“Does this risk have low
impact and low probability?”
he asked. “Then you may do
nothing and accept it.”
However, if a risk has high
impact and high probability,
you would want to attend to
it. Typical June rains can
cause serious damage to
Okanagan cherries so growers
deploy various strategies to
manage the wet weather. Yet
that same high probability of
rain will have a low impact on
the apple grower next door.
High impact and low
probability (like the severe
wind events in the south
Okanagan last summer) make
up the other quartile of the
matrix. Your level of response
(how you manage it) depends
on the probability of it
happening and the impact it
will have on your farm, as well
as your personal appetite for
risk and the ability of your
business to withstand the
eects, Small explained.
Multiple risks
What are the risks?
Common risks for farmers
include weather, production,
market, nancial, human
resources, policies and
regulations, health and asset
risks.
Weather records need to
be kept and the correlation
with production established.
Production needs long term
records. An understanding of
cost of production and the
impact of yield on production
are important to understand.
To understand market risk,
you need long term market
records and your own
marketing results.
“Combine your historic
market returns with historic
market prices – nd out if you
average in the top half or the
bottom half of the market,”
says Small.
When considering nancial
risk, combine an
understanding of near and
long term interest rates with
knowing the percentage of
your net income that is your
interest costs, debt service
ratio and debt to equity ratio.
Human resource risks
Your own personnel
records, industry trends and
the availability of seasonal
harvest crews help you know
the probability of human
resource risks. The impact will
be considered in salary costs
to hire or replace workers or
the cost of a private
contractor performing the
work.
“Can you hire a custom
seeding company to plant
your crop if a family member
is unable to assist?” Small
asked. “What will be the loss
of your crop if harvest
support is not available?”
When farmers look at how
to manage risk, they have
four options, Small outlined:
you can work to mitigate
risk, transfer it, accept and
cope with the risk, or simply
avoid it.
Managing risk and uncertainty on your farm
Impact and probability should be considered in a four part matrix
To mitigate risk, you would
actively do something. To
mitigate frost, you would
provide some protection. To
mitigate lower production,
you would improve your
agronomy/husbandry skills. If
your commodity has trouble
hiring harvest help, you
would look at mechanization.
If you chose to transfer risk,
buy crop insurance or look at
contract production, advises
Small.
Small emphasizes to accept
or cope with risk, one of the
best strategies is a healthy
balance sheet.
If you have trouble
accepting market risk, you
might consider a supply
managed industry or
commodity.
Avoiding weather risk may
mean you shift out of primary
production or move into a
greenhouse. To avoid
nancial risk, you might need
to accept slower growth and
aim for zero debt.
MNP’s Jonathan Small urges farmers to be diligent about
maintaining weather records to determine product impacts. (Tom
Walker photo)
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NH FP230 W/ 27P . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $21,500
TAARUP 338 MOWER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $4,500
NH 1037 BALE WAGON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $12,500
NH 565 SM SQ BALER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $17,500
KUBOTA F3680 60” MWR, GRASS CATCHER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,600
FELLA TS1600 HAY RAKE, LARGE W/O COMP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,800
DEGELMAN RR1500 ROCK RAKE, PTO DRIVEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,500
USED TRACTORS
KUBTOA B1750 2532 HRS, LDR, 3 PT SCOOP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,500
KUBOTA B1700 TRACTOR/LOADER, 1350 HRS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $9,500
KUBOTA B1700 700 HRS, LDR, FORKS, SPRAYER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,300
JD 2305 600 HRS, 2010, LDR/54” MOWER DECK . . . . . . . . . . . . . $14,200
NH TS100 7800 HRS, TIGER BOOM MWR, FLAIL HEAD . . . . . . $24,500
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Country Life in BC • April 201630
Water Act, marketing opportunities pitched to ranchers
by TOM WALKER
VERNON – The North
Okanagan Livestock
Association (NOLA) hosted
their annual education
seminar in Vernon at the
beginning of March. President
Werner Stump welcomed 80
members and recognized that
it was a tough time for
ranchers to come out while
calving was underway.
New secretary Janna
Quesnel was introduced. She
is replacing long time
secretary Cheryl Altwasser.
Linda Allison, representing
BC Cattlemens’ Association’s
water sub-committee,
provided an update on the
newly passed Water
Sustainability Act and
regulations. She had a few
particular points for ranchers.
Allison reminded producers
that during the rst year, fees
for licensing non-domestic
use wells are waived.
“Make sure you do it sooner
than later,” Allison warned.
“You will be able to apply for
FITFIR (rst in time, rst in
rights) but if you don’t bother
applying for a license, after
three years, the date you
apply will be the date for your
FITFIR.”
Most wells drilled over the
last 20 years have been
registered with the
government and while those
will be in the data base, they
still must be licensed.
Odd place for a well!
“When you go online, make
sure that the location as
described is accurate,” says
Allison. “I was talking with a
dairy farmer who found that
his registered well location
put it in the middle of his
house.” You will also need a
BCeID account in order to
save and track your
application.
Allison also recommended
producers register their wells
for the full volume rather than
what they are currently using.
“Whatever you do, do not
underestimate the volume of
water,” she says. “Estimate the
maximum amount of water
you will use.”
Allison also spoke in
support of the National Beef
Strategy’s proposal to increase
the check o levy. In BC, the
Cattle Industry Development
Council is proposing to
increase the checko from
$3.00 to $5.00 per head as of
January 1, 2017. The levy is
collected by auction markets
on all dairy and beef cattle
sold; brand inspectors collect
the fee on private sales.
“Cattle feeders and
breeders and feeders have
conrmed it at their
meetings,” says Allison. “The
BC Cattlemen’s board has
come to a consensus that it is
a valuable tool,” she says, “and
there will be a discussion at
the cattlemen’s meeting in
May.”
Sandy Vanderbyl from BC
Meats introduced Nova
Woodbury, the new executive
director of the BC Association
of Abattoirs.
“Its great to have her on
board,” says Vanderbyl. “Nova
has so many connections in
the industry.”
Vanderbyl reviewed the BC
Beef program, mentioned the
recently rolled out BC Lamb
program, and conrmed
funding has been secured for
a BC Chicken program.
“Born, raised and processed
in BC,” says Vanderbyl.
“Our challenge now is to
build capacity,” she added.
“We want to increase the
access and sales of BC meat.”
Couldn’t supply product
In an interview, she recalled
having to turn down a large
order from a retailer because
she could not supply enough
product.
“I hope I can get some of
you producers interested in
our programs,” she told the
meeting.
Veterinarian Dr. Ron Flater,
from Lumby, reminded
producers about the BC Cattle
Code of Practice completed in
2013.
“It summarizes how we
ought to be treating our beef
cattle at this point in time,” he
said. “Think of this as an
acceptable standard of care,
where we should be now. If
the SPCA came to look at your
operation, I am sure they
would be carrying this book
along.”
The Code of Practice
outlines requirements as well
as recommended practices –
things you should be doing.
Pain control
Flater pointed out the new
requirements for pain
control. As of January 1,
2016, pain control is required
when castrating bulls over
nine months of age. By
January 1, 2018, pain control
will be required when
castrating bulls over six
months of age. One of the
most important things to
remember is to brand,
castrate and dehorn as young
as possible.
Ranchers were encouraged
to watch the short video on
pain management at
[www.Beef Research.ca/pain].
Flater spoke highly of the
recent product, Metecam, an
injectable anti-inammatory
that Douglas Lake Ranch has
been using since 2014. He said
they nd it “incredible.”
Metacam is approved for the
treatment of pain and
inammation associated with
diarrhea and dehorning in
calves. Treated calves were
ready to roll in an hour and
sucked right away, while in
the past, untreated calves
were lethargic for two to three
days.
Meloxicam oral just came
out this spring. Flater says the
oral dose is just about as fast
as injectable – half an hour to
an hour – and given at the
time is very eective.
“I wouldn’t run them in
twice,” he says.
He later reminded ranchers
to consult with their
veterinarian about these latest
analgesics.
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are a better buy in BC
Animal health also part of workshop for OK producers
April 2016 • Country Life in BC 31
by DAVID SCHMIDT
CHILLIWACK – BC dairy
producers are doing better
than their counterparts in the
rest of the country, says Ewen
Ferguson, an Ontario
consulting veterinarian and
independent advisor for
Canwest DHI.
“BC has the highest
production, lowest somatic
cell counts (SCC) and lowest
incidence of ketosis in
Canada,” he told farmers
attending the Canwest DHI
dairy management seminar
in Chilliwack, February 18.
However, they can always
do better, and one way to do
that is by enrolling in
Canwest DHI. After all, he
pointed out, the “I” in DHI
stands for “Improvement.”
“I don’t know why people
aren’t on DHI,” Ferguson said,
noting DHI costs just 10
cents per cow per day. “It’s a
tiny investment if it leads to
better production and better
cow health.”
Most dairies use the service
Not that there are a lot of
herds without DHI. Over 75%
of Canadian dairy farms,
including 308 of BC’s 494
herds, use the service.
Ferguson believes that
includes most good herds,
quoting US statistics that
show 81.5% of its high-
producing herds are on DHI
while just 21.5% of low-
producing herds use it.
While most parlours and
robotic milkers now offer a
lot of information, it only
goes so far. Ferguson says
parlour data is good for
making decisions about
individual cows but DHI data
is better for herd-scale
decisions.
He told farmers to use the
DHI herd summary report to
see whether the herd is
improving over time and the
test day summary to spot
swings in cow inventory and
the percentage of first,
second and 3+ lactation cows
in the herd. About 30% of
cows should be in their first
lactation, 20% in their second
lactation and the rest in their
3rd or higher lactation.
Telling stats
The current herd average
should be higher than the
rolling herd average and
breed class averages (BCA’s)
should be similar across the
board. At least 10% of cows
should produce 45 kgs of
milk or more per day and no
more than 20% of cows
should have SCC’s of over
200,000.
Post-dipping is one way to
limit SCC’s, says dairy
performance consultant
Gordie Jones, claiming it
stops 50% of SCC infections
“right away.”
Jones previously managed
Fair Oaks Dairy, one of the
largest US dairy herds with
over 20,000 cows, and is now
a partner in Central Sands
Dairy in Wisconsin. The farm
uses sand bedding and a 72-
cow rotary parlour and its
3,500-milking Jersey herd has
a production average of 34
litres per cow per day with
5.2% BF.
He believes a 40 kg per
day average should be the
base for Holstein herds,
saying the keys to high
production are cow comfort,
good forage and good
reproduction. Cow comfort is
most critical as non-dietary
factors contribute to 56% of
milk yield. “Milk is the
absence of stress.”
Having the right people is
also critical, he says, stressing
“people get everything done.
Always room for
herd improvement:
dairy seminar
Please see “COW” page 32
Gordie Jones
A good cause
BC Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick, left, was joined by Brian Faulkner, Vice President of
Sales & Marketing, BCfresh, Food Banks BC executive director Laura Lansink and Greater
Vancouver Food Bank CEO Aart Schuurman Hess as the minister provided specics about the
Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit announced in the provincial budget in February. Farmers
and processors will be eligible for a tax credit worth 25% of the fair market value of qualifying
farm products they donate to registered charities such as the Greater Vancouver Food Bank
That’s good news for growers, says BCfresh CEO Murray Driediger who also attended. (Photo
courtesy of the Ministry of Agriculture)
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Country Life in BC • April 201632
Cows don’t get sick unless
someone does something
wrong.”
He urges farmers to
compare their DHI results to
industry benchmarks to
identify “bottlenecks” and fix
those first. If the bottleneck is
in dry cow management,
farmers can expect a payback
in six months. If the problem
is reproduction, milk quality,
young stock or sick cows, it
can take a year to see a
payback. However, if the
issues are nutrition and cow
comfort, the payback on
improvements in those areas
is almost immediate.
To Jones, cow comfort
means cows spend most of
their time lying down.
“Cows should only stand
to milk, eat and drink,” he
says.
Milking facilities should be
designed so cows spend no
more than four hours away
from feed, water and bed.
Because cows are dawn and
dusk animals, they should
have access to the most feed
in the morning.
“You need to have 50% of
a cow’s average dry matter
intake available to her at her
exit from the parlour in the
morning,” Jones said.
MUN test encouraged
Ferguson encourages
farmers to add the MUN (milk
urea nitrogen) test from time
to time. If the test is below 8
mg per hl or above 12 mg
per hl, farmers need to take
action and repeat the tests
until the results fall within
normal limits.
He also promoted the
ketoscreen test Canwest
introduced in December
2014, saying ketosis leads to
many other health problems.
“Cows with ketosis have
twice the culling rate, five
times the reproduction
problems and more metritis
and displaced abomasums,”
he said.
Although its ketoscreen
tests all milk samples,
Canwest only reports results
from early lactation (up to 90
days in milk). It has now
tested 2.79 million samples,
finding huge variations
between herds and between
seasons.
“The incidence of ketosis is
highest in the spring and
lowest in the fall,” Ferguson
reported.
Once ketosis shows up in
the ketoscreen, farmers
should do cowside tests to
confirm it, then treat with
300-500 ml per day of
propylene glycol for three to
five days. The propylene
glycol must be licenced for
lactating dairy cattle and
meet Canadian Quality Milk
requirements.
While ketosis is a big
problem in the rest of
Canada, it does not appear to
be in BC. Half of Canadian
herds have a problem with
ketosis, but only a quarter of
BC herds do. Even those
herds have lower than
average incidence rates with
no months exceeding
Ferguson’s benchmark rate
of 20%.
“You guys are doing
something wonderful here,”
he said.
Both Ferguson and Jones
blame ketosis and other dry
cow problems on too much
feed. Ferguson recommends
limiting a dry cow’s dry
matter intake to 11-12 kgs
per day. Although Jones will
feed dry cows up to 15 kgs of
dry matter, he insists farmers
immediately cease using a
“steam-up” diet if they are
still using it.
“The steam-up diet has
killed more cows than
anything else,” he claims,
saying he feeds his far-off
and close-up cows the same
diet. That diet includes at
least 50% forage, no more
than four kgs dry matter of
corn silage, at least four kgs
of short chopped straw or
mature rye hay and no grain.
He also believes farmers
do not allow their cows to be
dry long enough.
“Cows need to be in the
dry pen for at least 45 days to
rebuild their udders,” he says.
COW COMFORT IMPORTANT From page 32
Ewen Ferguson
Nothing like this Deere dealer
Chilliwack mayor Sharon Gaetz is joined by, from left to right,
PrairieCoast Equipment chief executive ocer Dennis Landis,
John Deere Canada regional dealer development manager
Darryl Vancise and PCE regional manager Aubrey Friesen as
she cuts the ribbon to ocially open the new PCE dealership
in Chilliwack. (David Schmidt photo)
by DAVID SCHMIDT
CHILLIWACK
Last August, local farmers joined
PrairieCoast Equipment sta to drive 27 tractors on a
spectacular 28 km parade to mark the dealership’s move
to a new location in Chilliwack after nearly ve decades in
Abbotsford.
On March 3-5, crowds thronged to the spectacular new
facility for its ocial grand opening.
When John Deere began oering tractors in the Lower
Mainland in the mid 1960’s, equipment and dealerships
were a lot smaller. In the decades since, some dealerships
consolidated while others simply faded away, unable to
keep up with the pace of change.
Instead of fading away, Abbotsford’s John Deere
dealership was part of the consolidation. In 2009, the
dealership, then known as Friesen Equipment, merged
with two other BC and one Alberta John Deere dealership
to create PrairieCoast Equipment.
“The merger was borne out of a need to modernize our
dealerships and this is the latest achievement in that goal,”
says Dave Jelinski, the former owner of Friesen Equipment
and now a partner in PCE.
PCE has done just that, expanding to eight locations
with a ninth opening in Prince George later this spring.
While the old Abbotsford location was hampered by its
position near the busy Huntingdon-Sumas border
crossing, the new location on Progress Way has easy
access from the freeway. At seven acres, PCE Chilliwack is
the largest agricultural equipment dealership in the
province, over 50% larger than its previous location,
providing ample room for the dealership’s $20 million
parts and equipment inventory. The spectacular new
building includes an 11,438 square foot service shop with
large bay doors and two ve ton cranes to accommodate
the largest units John Deere makes, as well as a vast
showroom, large parts department and plenty of oce
space for both sales and administrative sta.
“This facility is second to none,” John Deere Canada
dealer development manager Darryl Vancise said.
Chilliwack mayor Sharon Gaetz was delighted to
welcome PCE to the city, saying “farming is very important
to us” since one in ve jobs in Chilliwack is related to
agriculture.
PCE chief executive ocer Dennis Landis says PCE is
built on long-term relationships. “Our customers are long-
term, our suppliers are long-term and we are long-term.
We’ve been in business 35 years and I hope we’ll still be in
business another 35 years.”
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Country Life in BC • April 201634
by DAVID SCHMIDT
VANCOUVER The rst-ever BC
Poultry Conference, held in Vancouver,
March 9-11, was an overwhelming
success.
Conference chair Dale Krahn called
it “fantastic,” saying organizers had “no
idea it was going to be such a big
turnout in the rst year.”
The conference was intended to
combine the annual meetings of all
four feather groups (broiler hatching
eggs, chicken, eggs and turkey) into a
single event. The conference also
included a series of seminars covering
such topics as poultry diseases, animal
welfare, the media and antibiotic-free
production, two keynote speakers,
three networking receptions and a
gala dinner.
Having the BC Egg Marketing Board,
BC Chicken Growers Association, BC
Broiler Hatching Egg Commission and
Producers Association and BC Turkey
Marketing Board and Association
AGMs in one place meant diversied
farmers, industry partners and
government ocials who previously
had to juggle dierent AGMs could
now attend all meetings at one place.
The 541 total annual meeting
registrants
included over 200
growers and
producers, 70
sponsors and
exhibitors and 30
out of province
industry guests.
“When we have
many stakeholders
in one place we
experience
opportunities to network with each
other and join forces to make our
industry better,” Krahn said.
Krahn notes the gala was
completely sold out and room blocks
were expanded to neighbouring hotels
in early January after the host Bayshore
Hotel was fully booked, adding
planning has already begun for “an
even bigger, better conference in
2017.”
The conference was well-supported
by industry sponsors.
“We went 50% past our sponsorship
target,” Krahn said.
BC Farm Industry Review Board
chair John Les heartily endorsed the
conference, noting “there’s a lot of
commonality of interest among the
four sectors.”
Les complimented producers for
“looking for new opportunities and
new markets.” He stressed the need to
“maintain your social licence,”
suggesting they focus on public
concern for food security as that “plays
right into your hand.”
Although directed to egg
producers, his comments could have
been made at any of the annual
meetings.
Just over 20 farmers took a rst step
in reaching out to the public, Friday
morning, handing out 300 Triple O’s
Sunny Start breakfast sandwiches and
telling their story to passers-by.
SPECIAL REPORT: BC POULTRY CONFERENCE
Inaugural conference combines AGMs of the four feather groups
by DAVID SCHMIDT
VANCOUVER Half of the BC Broiler Hatching Egg Producers Association
board is new following elections at the combined BCBHEPA and BC Broiler
Hatching Egg Commission in Vancouver, March 11.
Producers elected newcomers Art de Ruiter and Angela Groothof in a
three-way race which also involved John van Hoepen, who had stepped in
to ll a vacancy on the board earlier in the year.
Incumbent Hester Mulder decided to retire after serving
on the producer association since 2008. The commission
will also have a new member later this year as Calvin
Breukelman has stated he will not seek re-election.
For the second year in a row, Jack and Tracy Bosma
were named the Hatching Egg Producers of the Year.
The award came as little surprise to BCBHEC president
Bryan Brandsma, who noted Bosma is “absolutely picky
about everything,” the key to being a top producer.
The most important thing to be picky about is
biosecurity, says Canadian Hatching Egg Producers chair
Jack Greydanus, calling it “job 1” since avian inuenza can devastate long-life
hatching and table egg ocks.
Greydanus praised producers’ adoption of the CHEQ (Canadian Hatching
Egg Quality) program, saying it has led to a 40% drop in the number of
cracked and/or dirty eggs arriving at the hatcheries. He also complimented
producers on how they were able to adapt after a ban was placed on the use
of antibiotics at the hatchery level. He expects the ban on antibiotics to
expand in future, saying RWA (raised without antibiotics) will become the
new norm.
BCBHEC executive director Stephanie Nelson detailed the commission’s
new strategic plan. It is beginning with a complete review of the entire
quota system. Nelson said the work action plan is being posted on the
commission’s public website “so everyone can comment on it.”
She said BCBHEC hired Serecon to identify input costs and sta is now
developing indexes producers can use to compare their costs to industry
averages. Sta is also continuing to work on plans to eliminate Se, reduce
reliance on anti-microbial drugs and increase hatchery accountability.
“It’s rewarding to see new strategies come to fruition,” Brandsma said,
noting association directors spent the past year working to “sustain a level of
excellence within the producer body and develop a sense of pride in what
we do as producers.”
Biosecurity a priority for hatchers
by DAVID SCHMIDT
VANCOUVER
When the BC Turkey
Marketing Board (BCTMB) began using
its most recent pricing model, BC’s
prices were 6, 6 and 4 cents per kg
above Ontario.
Since then, the
price of corn, which
forms the basis of
turkey rations in
Ontario, has
dropped while the
price of wheat used
in BC turkey feed,
has remained
stable, meaning BC
producers’ margins
have dropped.
Currently, the BC live price is just a half
cent per kg higher than Ontario for
broiler turkeys and hens while toms
are only ve cents per kg higher.
However, the broiler turkey price is
moving up to one cent per kg over
Ontario and could be going higher.
“We could get back to our previous
margins,” BCTMB general manager
Michel Benoit told growers at the
BCTMB and BC Turkey Association
annual meeting in Vancouver, March
10.
Although Turkey Farmers of Canada
is increasing its levy, there will be no
increase to BC producers as the BCTMB
has enough cash reserves to absorb
the increase, Benoit said.
For many producers, the meeting
was their rst chance to meet Phil
Hochstein, who replaced Ralph Payne
as BCTMB chair in January. His initial
visits to BC turkey farms, processors
and feed suppliers convinced him “you
have a good story to tell.
“I have been extremely impressed
by the commitment to biosecurity.
BC turkey margins take a hit
See “OVERPRODUCTION” page 35
Dale Krahn
Michel Benoit
Bryan Brandsma
April 2016 • Country Life in BC 35
OVERPRODUCTION From page 34
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the care and attention paid to ensuring food
safety,” Hochstein said.
Although he will continue as BCTMB vice-
chair, Shawn Heppell announced he is
stepping down as BC’s TFC rep after filling
that role for the past 16 years.
TFC executive director Phil Boyd paid
tribute to Heppell’s contributions, crediting
him for the changes in TFC’s quota allocation
policy.
Heppell noted TFC was “tested” the past 18
months as it coped with Ontario
overproduction from 2010 to 2014. An
arbitration panel has now issued a binding
ruling which upheld TFC’s $1.7 million
overproduction penalty against Ontario and
approved a 2.3 million kg cutback in Ontario’s
production.
During the past year, the BCTMB made the
TFC Flock Care program mandatory but that
caused little disruption. Although the code of
practice the program is based on is being
revised, Benoit believes the changes “will not
cause hardship.”
Davies believes the program is essential,
noting a “shift in our culture” means more
people now consider themselves “actively
involved” in the industry.
“It’s the new reality we’re living in,” he said.
“We have to prove we take good care of our
birds.”
The meeting also unveiled the BCTMB’s
new strategic plan. It identifies a series of
goals in five priority areas: governance and
regulation, risk mitigation, consumer demand,
stakeholder relationships and operations. One
goal is to increase demand among BC’s fast-
growing Asian and South Asian community
which “doesn’t know turkey.”
The board will continue to conduct annual
surveys of producers and processors.
Although response has been limited, the
surveys indicate “increased overall member
satisfaction year-over-year.”
The board is also reviewing its allocation
policies to ensure they are “fair and
equitable” and trying to increase the
understanding of government, the public
and the food chain.
“We want to make sure they know how
great a job we’re doing,” Benoit said.
Specialty production spurs increases; BC still short of eggs
by DAVID SCHMIDT
VANCOUVER BC egg
producers produced almost
71.5 million dozen eggs last
year, over a million dozen
more than in 2014, the BC Egg
Marketing Board reported at
its annual meeting in
Vancouver, March 11.
All of the increase and more
came in specialty eggs (free
run, free range and organic),
which were up over two
million dozen and now
represent over 19% of eggs
produced in BC, far and away
the highest percentage in the
country.
The demand for specialty
eggs continues to increase not
only in BC but across the
country, says Egg Farmers of
Canada chair Peter Clarke.
“We will produce more
specialty eggs in 2016,” he
said.
Since demand for all eggs is
increasing, EFC issued new
quota in April, September and
December. (The BCEMB is still
waiting for Farm Industry
Review Board approval to
issue its December quota
increase.) EFC has also
removed its 97% quota
utilization cap, meaning
producers will be allowed to
ll 100% of their quota, adding
another 661,000 birds to the
national ock, Clarke said.
Despite the increases, BC
remains notoriously short of
eggs.
“14.4% of our eggs come
from across the border,”
BCEMB chair Brad Bond
reported, saying the board is
working on a regionalization
program to address the
shortage.
Even though Bond says
avian inuenza has become
“the new normal” for the
industry, Clarke noted Canada
was able to escape most of
last year’s AI outbreak, which
saw US farmers lose 36 million
birds.
Both he
and Bond
credit the
smaller size
of
Canadian
poultry
and egg
farms.
Clarke
notes US
egg farms average a million
birds while the Canadian
average is 22,000 birds. The BC
average is just under 21,000
birds with BC’s largest egg
farm having about 119,000
birds. By comparison, Cal-Main
Foods, the largest US egg
producer, has 32 million birds.
“We have a greater sense of
social licence,” Bond said.
The size of US farms
discourages new entrants but
the opposite is true in
Canada’s supply management
system. BC has started 26 new
entrants since 2010, each
receiving a 3,000 bird quota to
produce specialty eggs.
“New entrants represent
19% of our producers,” Bond
stated.
He said supply
management also provides
the stability for producers to
convert to new housing
systems. He points out that
while US egg farmers believe
only about 51% of their birds
will be housed in cage-free or
enriched systems, 22% of BC’s
layers are already out of cages.
He also praised BC’s
biosecurity and Start Clean
Stay Clean programs, saying
they result in a healthier egg
supply.
“In Canada, only one in a
million eggs tests positive for
SE. In the US, one in 20,000
eggs is SE-positive,” Bond said.
While the BCEMB has been
giving producer of the year
certicates to all producers
who score well in the Start
Clean Stay Clean program in
the past, it cancelled that
approach and, beginning this
year, will issue only one
Producer of the Year award.
To qualify, a producer must
score at least 98% on both
the Start Clean Stay Clean and
Flock Care programs, do
some volunteer work and/or
be an innovative farmer.
BCEMB director and
production management
committee chair gave the rst
such award to Je Bischop of
Elkview Enterprises in
Chilliwack. The award
includes a $500 travel
voucher and a farm plaque.
Bond countered concerns
supply management drives up
the price of eggs, saying that
at the end of February, the
Canadian wholesale egg price
was lower than in the US,
Australia and New Zealand,
supply management’s
staunchest opponents. The
retail price of a dozen eggs
was about a dime less in
Vancouver than the price in
Seattle (converted to Cdn$)
and almost $2 per dozen less
than the price in San
Francisco.
“We can do a better job but
we already do a good job,”
Bond said. “We have to tell this
story. We do a disservice to
ourselves when we don’t.”
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Country Life in BC • April 201636
Farm direct marketing: give the people what they want
Stories by TAMARA LEIGH
DUNCAN – Farm direct marketing has
experienced sustained growth over the last 20
years, expanding opportunities for small and
medium sized farm businesses across North
America. Keeping the momentum going and
remaining protable in the coming decades will
require a new emphasis on consumer preferences
and marketing trends.
“We have to recognize for our businesses that
what drives trends is not the farmers. That was the
‘80s and ‘90s, but that’s not the case anymore,” says
Charlie Touchette, executive director of the North
American Farm Direct Marketing Association. “We’re
being driven by consumer demand. We have to pay
attention to what they want; it’s no longer a matter
of just selling what you want to grow.”
In a crowded room at the Islands Agriculture
Show in February, Touchette oered a no-holds-
barred talk on proting from market trends, and it’s
all about creating customer experience. Over the
next ve to ten years, he projects the emphasis will
shift from farm direct marketing to agritourism and
with it, the focus will move from farming to
entertainment.
“Twenty years ago we were saying don’t get
involved with farm direct marketing if you don’t like
people. It’s no longer just about liking people; it’s
about the ability to help people have fun,” he
explains. “There is no loyalty left among consumers
so you don’t need to be loyal to them; you just
need to know how to make them happy.”
Knowing how to make customers happy
requires listening and understanding what they
value and watching how they behave. Touchette
challenges some of the assumptions that
farmers make about consumers.
“Your customers don’t care if you’re feeding the
world, so don’t position yourselves as that because
you’re not being authentic,” he says. “They don’t
care about organic certications and bureaucracy.”
He adds that small farms in North America
support other values that are closer to the
customers, like sustaining agricultural
infrastructure, nourishing local communities,
maintaining open space, advancing a new
agricultural process and traditions, and
positioning public awareness and consciousness
around food.
“Your best asset in farm direct marketing is the
kid who didn’t grow up on the farm because they
see things that you don’t see,” says Touchette,
adding that less than two percent of the population
actually farms. “They see things that the other 98%
of people see.”
Retail theatre on the rise
The most important trend in on-farm marketing,
he oers, is retail theatre – creating engaging,
informative and interactive experiences that will
capture consumer attention. Touchette points to
wineries as leading the way in retail theatre through
their tasting rooms or farm markets that oer
samples of in-season fruit.
“Make tasting an experience. Let customers
compare the avour of Golden Delicious and Red
Delicious apples. You don’t want customers who
come to buy apples; you want them to buy
varieties,” he oers.
The push to increase retail space is now shifting,
putting more focus on adding space to share the
story with the customers.
“It’s not branding, it’s communication. Adding
story space is worth it if you want to make sure your
customers are hearing, seeing, feeling what you
want them to,” advises Touchette. “Create the rst
impression that you want between the parking lot
and the market. The connection needs to happen
well before the customer gets to the till.”
“Remember, you’re making money on the
experience and the atmosphere. You’re not trying
to feed the world.”
Hot: Freshness, authenticity, creative in-store
design, attractive or novel packaging, inter-
relating stories and products, cross-marketing,
outdoor cooking.
“Story sells local and local sells product,”
says Touchette. “Authenticity is one thing and
trust is another. If you’re saying it’s local and
it’s not, then shame on you. Don’t go down
that road – be true and honest with your
customer base.”
Not: GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones,
colors, stabilizers, articial avours, preservatives,
unknown or unfamiliar ingredients, unfamiliar
processes.
“You need to make people familiar when
you add a new avour or product.
“Within 10 years, our kids are going to be
more familiar with the 3D food manufacturing
process than the process it takes you to get the
strawberries on the shelf.”
What’s hot and what’s
not in consumer trends
Let us help you get started, call 1-866-522-3447 or visit www.bcefp.ca
Debbie Bulk of Eurosa Farms is one of only three rose growers in
Canada. The farm grows almost 2 million roses every year in their
greenhouses situated in Brentwood Bay, B.C.
Through the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) Program, and with the
help of their local Planning Advisor, David Tattam, Eurosa has
identified and addressed areas of environmental risk on their farm.
They recently received funding to implement an underground
nutrient recovery system for recycling waste water. This has resulted
in zero water waste, and has so far reduced fertilizer usage by at least
45% which equates to significant financial savings for the farm.
Debbie Bulk
Eurosa Farms
Brentwood Bay, B.C.
April 2016 • Country Life in BC 37
Dairy calves are proving to be easier to potty train than some household pets (and even children)
according to research undertaken at the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz. (Cathy
Glover le photo)
As anyone who handles
cattle knows, they urinate a
lot. A dairy cow can produce
up to 30 kilograms of feces
and 15 kilograms of urine per
day. In a barn’s confined
space, it builds up quickly
making clean-up an ongoing,
labour intensive job. But it’s
essential as wet manure adds
to the risk of slips, falls and
resultant lameness as well as
infections such as mastitis.
“Accumulation of manure
is costly in terms of both
bedding and labour costs,”
says Alison Vaughan, post-
doctoral fellow conducting
research at the UBC Dairy
Education & Research Centre
in Agassiz. “Consequently,
dairy barns are typically
designed to limit cows’
contact with their manure.
However, current attempts to
handle manure often rely on
barn designs which restrict or
inhibit expression of cows’
natural behaviour and may
compromise cow welfare.
Training cattle to urinate
and defecate in specific areas
of the barn has the potential
to revolutionize the way we
house cattle, allowing barns
to be designed around cow
comfort rather than around
removal of manure whilst
improving cleanliness and
cutting bedding costs. As
with most species, training
young animals is easiest so it
seemed logical to begin with
calves.”
Little or no control
In her research report,
Vaughan says that cattle are
generally assumed to have
little or no control over
urination and defecation. So,
the first stage was to test if
cattle could learn to associate
a cue (a command or a
location) with the act of
elimination in a specific place.
She says it was easier to
start with urination since they
could be rapidly and reliably
induced with the help of a
diuretic IV injection and
young cows would quickly
associate urination in the
correct place with a reward.
“Our initial study was a
‘proof of concept
experiment,’” explains
Vaughan. “Before we could
look into how to toilet train
within the calves’ home pen,
we first had to check if calves
were capable of making an
association between a
location and an elimination
behaviour in a more
controlled setting. To do this
we brought the calves once a
day to a specific location
where we wanted them to
urinate and rewarded them
for doing so. The majority of
calves quickly learned to
urinate when brought to this
location in order to obtain a
milk reward.”
Experimental pen
Six one-month-old female
Holstein calves were
individually brought to an
experimental pen, placed in
the test stall for
urination and given a
diuretic. Once the
calf had urinated
(typically within
seven minutes), a
buzzer sounded and
the calf was released from the
stall to receive a milk reward
via a teat.
“Each calf had its own
“yoked” control calf. Five out
of the six calves receiving
training urinated significantly
more in the stall than their
matched control calf.”
Learning time varied but
for some individuals, it took
as little as one 15-minute
training session. After that,
the calf would reliably urinate
within one or two minutes of
being placed in the stall.
“We only trained and
tested (the calves) for 17 days
and all but one calf was able
to learn within this short time.
When you think of how long
it takes to train a puppy or
even a child, this is very
impressive!”
They were only trained
once a day. She says an
automated training system
which tracks and rewards all
urinations and defecations in
the home pen across 24
hours will allow many more
training opportunities and
they might be able to
anticipate faster learning
times.
“We are developing a
system using a combination
of visual and thermal cameras
to track the location of calves
and detect their urinations
and defecations,” explains
Vaughan. “This unit can send
data directly from the barn to
a laptop computer where it is
analyzed. Currently, we are
validating the tracking system
BC-based potty training research shows promise
Research
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and once this is done, will
work on incorporating the
thermal camera to detect
urination and defecation and
improve tracking. Once we
have a program that is able
to tell us where each calf is
and when she urinates or
defecates, the next step is to
work on the reward system.
We plan to use existing RFID
technology to allow access to
a reward for individual calves
when they urinate or
defecate in the correct place.”
Vaughan says this is the
first study to show that cattle
can be trained to urinate in a
specific place and shows that
calves have both the
cognitive ability and
physiological control
required for toilet training.
Farmers are already seeing
the benefits of the concept
through reduced bedding
costs and increased
cleanliness. Vaughan hopes
the development will lead to
barn designs or adaptations
based on cows having
greater behavioural freedom
and autonomy. It must be
both affordable and practical.
She says most dairy farms
already make use of a lot of
technology such as RFID tags
and automated feeders so
the plan is to tap into pre-
existing technology for potty-
training calves.
Vaughan has a BSc in
Applied Animal Behaviour
(University of Lincoln), an
MSc in Applied Animal
Behaviour and Welfare
(University of Edinburgh) and
a PhD (University of
Saskatchewan). She is
currently looking at how
cattle learn.
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Country Life in BC • April 201638
April 2016 • Country Life in BC 39
by TOM WALKER
KELOWNA – Attendees at
the BC Farmer’s Market
Conference in Kelowna,
March 4-6, got a record
breaking warm welcome.
Temperatures of nearly 17C
set a record for March 5.
“The buds are starting and
the farmers are getting
excited,” chuckled Bev Weins,
president of the host Kelowna
Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market.
The theme for the 17th
annual event was “Nourish
and Flourish.” Workshops
across the three days catered
to 150 farmers, vendors,
market managers and
directors representing 125
markets across the province.
“Between 2014 and 2015,
direct sales at farmers'
markets increased by 11%,”
says executive director
Elizabeth Quinn. “We
estimate that this is
equivalent to an increase of
$1.25 million in sales for total
direct sales of about $114
million.
“Between 2009 and 2014,
the number of farmers selling
at farmers' markets increased
from 1,000 to 1,400 according
to member surveys,” Quinn
points out.
Community involvement
An overall tone to the
weekend fostered capacity
for markets to be more
involved in their
communities. Food systems
and food security led
discussions.
Peter Donkers with
Investment Agriculture
Foundation led a Buy Local
forum. While many of the
projects are processor,
association or market
focused, Donkers explained
that individual farmers
seeking support for value-
added and marketing
projects are eligible to apply
for the matching funds.
“Grant writing is an art
form,” stresses Helen Fathers
from the White Rock Farmer’s
Market. “But they do actually
want to give you money.”
Tons of ideas
“We are not missing in
ideas; there are tons,”
Michelle Wolfe of Farmers’
Market Nova Scotia told a
session on Innovations and
Initiatives.
“I think maybe what we are
missing is a stick-to-it-ness.
One of the lessons we are
learning is to do less and do it
well,” Wolfe says. “Give
programs three to four years
before we evaluate them.”
“Many of the larger
markets across North America
are moving into permanent
buildings rightly or wrongly,”
says Wolfe. “Managers who
work with these buildings will
tell you they need to be
multi-use as they look for
ways to afford fire doors and
sprinkler systems.”
Not very convenient
Farmers markets are not
convenient in the least, she
says, which raises questions
about hours of operation and
how markets extend their
hours.
“Perhaps virtually,” says
Wolfe. “Online market stores
is an idea I have heard being
thrown around.”
When considering how to
keep markets successful,
Wolfe wondered if all
markets need a board of
directors.
“How about a regional
operation?” she asks. “Not
every market needs a ten-
hour-a-week manager’s job.”
University of Northern BC’s
David Connell presented a
“Strengthening Farmland
Protection Assessment
Toolkit” as a means to
understand and assess
agriculture land use plans,
policies and the processes
involved.
“Local governments now
have more influence in ag
plans in BC,” says Connell.
The creation of a second zone
Farmers’ markets continue to grow in popularity
Vendors, managers consider potential
Retiring BC Farmer’s Markets Board members Cat Major and Jon Bell ank BC Farmers’ Markets
“Vendor of the year” Joan Jong from Jong’s Vegetable Gardens in Armstrong. With a family history
that dates back to the building of the railway in BC, Jongs Vegetable Gardens is one of the only
working farms left within the city limits of Armstrong and has been selling at farmers’ markets for 50
years. (Tom Walker photo)
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flexibility and that’s not a
good thing, he says.
The tool will give a method
for land use decision makers
and provide a direction for
industry groups, farmers and
the general public to provide
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more people to engage in
the planning and brings the
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I admit I have this fetish about
communication. If you have any
doubts, just ask Hubby. “Please let
me know…” has got to be one of my
more common phrases.
Defined as the imparting of news
or information between people and
places, communication has
prevented or solved many a dispute.
It’s also comforting but, sadly, it can
sometimes be devastating. At the
very least, it makes life interesting.
One of the privileges I enjoy is
receiving weekly copies of several
prairie newspapers in which my
weekly articles have appeared since
1997. I love poring over them,
thoroughly enjoy reading the local
news and in particular, catching up
on events in and around the
communities where we once resided.
I’m glad they still carry reports from
tiny towns and villages as well as
larger centres.
At any point, you might read
about someone’s brother-in-law
heading to the next city for a medical
appointment or about another
person’s cousin visiting their family in
Florida. Or even the neighbouring
town. Invitations to Sunday
breakfasts and fall fowl suppers in
support of community fundraisers
enjoy seasonal coverage while local
drama and musical presentations are
well advertised.
A couple of items in a recent issue
gave us cause for both
sadness and celebration. In
the first case, a much
beloved member of a local
congregation we served had
passed away; in the second,
a local employee, waiting for
his family to arrive from the
Philippines, welcomed their arrival for
Family Day. While one shared
exciting news, the other provided
information we valued.
In a far broader context, news of
the upcoming Saskatchewan
provincial election provides
information regarding issues of
importance. We’ve recently gone
through a national election and the
aftermath of a change of
government. There’s always good
and bad in every outcome but I’m
just happy it’s over and we can move
on.
I’m also glad that I can focus all my
attention on the Trump-Clinton-Cruz-
Sanders battle going on to the south
of us. It’s fascinating to watch and
nail-biting to ponder who will end up
being president. After all, we’re close
neighbours and according to our
own national media, the possibility of
seeing Donald move to the White
House ignites a whole other range of
emotions. On a more positive note,
the possibility has kindled a welcome
fire under tourism in several
provinces and I’ve even had friends
tell me they’d chose to move to
Canada if Mr. Trump was elected.
One more note regarding those
many years we spent in towns of 1,000
people or less: I recall saying, with a
modicum of both truth and humour:
“It’s where everybody knows your
business and what they don’t know,
they make up.” Intended as a tongue-
in-cheek commentary on small town
chatter, I also always followed it up by
acknowledging the power of
community and communication. For
example, it would be just a short time
after a farmer experienced an
equipment
breakdown
before
neighbours shut
down theirs and
moved it to that
neighbour’s eld.
After all,
dierences of
opinion don’t
matter much
when there are
crops to be
brought in. I’ve
also seen the
response to a
neighbour’s medical or family
emergency: hot meals, help on the
farm and even cash in hand quickly
oered. News travels fast in the
country.
So what am I trying to say in all of
this? I guess the best answer involves
valuing the treasures we have in
friendships, realizing the power of
shared joys and challenges and
esteeming the love of family as a
priceless treasure.
Oh yes, always make sure you let
that special someone know (you fill in
the blanks).
Country Life in BC • April 201640
From small town chatter to the big leagues
No excuse not to!
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Now, take your empty fertilizer containers along for the ride!
A Wannabe Farmer
LINDA WEGNER
It would be just a short time after a farmer
experienced an equipment breakdown
before neighbours shut down theirs
and moved it to that neighbour's field.
After all, differences of opinion don't matter
much when there are crops to be
brought in ... news travels fast in the country.
Then there are the
unexpected losses forced
upon farmers – devastating
circumstances for which there
is no vaccine or treatment.
Whether it’s a few
symptomatic animals or a
whole herd, farmers have only
a few days to prepare once a
notice of mandatory
eradication is delivered.
This is a mind numbing,
annihilating situation
and represents far more
than nancial loss. It’s
an assault on a way of
life and a series of
relationships and
memories with their
animals; a terrible moment of
killing often apparently
healthy, trusting animals with
which they had lived.
This has happened in
Canada, where producers and
health authorities know that
eradication is the only solution
to prevent some diseases from
spreading. Knowing it is the
only solution does not lessen
the impact, however.
A friend from Ontario told
me of his experience.
Knock on the door
“There was a knock on the
door quite early in the
morning,” he told me. “There
were two ocials there, and
we were told that an animal
we had sold some time ago
had been traced back to us
and had been found to have
scrapie; that the only solution
was eradication of all our
animals. We were numb,
devastated. Not only did our
whole ock have to go but our
whole way of life. Our sobbing
daughter’s pet 4-H goats and
all our sheep were euthanized
April 2016 • Country Life in BC 41
Farmers and their families
feel sadness and often a sense
of loss, even when they have
planned for the departure of
their livestock.
Jean Davidson, who was
raised on an Ontario dairy
farm, summed up her
experiences.
“I used to say that animals
on our farm were much loved
and short-lived. They had
names, they had personalities,
they got treats, but when they
went to market or otherwise
demised, there was a steely
resolve not to be sentimental
about it.
“I was away in Australia
when our dairy herd was sold
so was safely isolated from
that,” she recalls. “My dad had
been in hospital with the
aftermath of a bad shoulder
injury and my mother decided
the moment had come ... I
don't think I'd ever thought of
what they felt like when the
livestock truck pulled out. My
dad did go and visit a few
cows on their new farms but
stopped after he discovered
one of his favourites had died.”
Livestock health issues can
have more impact than
expected. All species seem to
have serious ones that can
potentially lead to total
eradication: sheep and goats,
cattle, pigs, birds, horses.
Some problems are mild,
others worse and some
untreatable. Potentially fatal
ones for sheep, such as the
clostridial ones of pulpy kidney
and tetanus, can be prevented
or considerably reduced by
annual vaccination of the
mother and lamb. Others, such
as foot rot and foot scald, can
(with some back-breaking
determination and other
persistent measures such as
chemical treatment, isolation
and quarantine) be treated.
Coping with the loss of livestock
Cannes film explores the heartache of eradication
The anguish and tragedy of an eradication situation is captured in
the Icelandic movie Rams, winner of the Un Certain Regard section
at the Cannes Film Festival.
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within a few days.”
The anguish and tragedy of
just such a situation is
captured in the Icelandic
movie Rams, winner of the Un
Certain Regard section at the
Cannes Film Festival. With
English sub titles, it depicts
just such a tragedy. At times, it
adds humour but also shows
the attachment farmers have
to their sheep. As well, it
depicts the friction that can
develop between individuals
with the same basic interests.
It also demonstrates how
uniquely individuals respond
to circumstances beyond their
control (sometimes in extreme
ways) and how they deal with
other sheep farmers and
authorities.
It shows, too, the beauty
and isolation of the country
and its farmers, their Icelandic
sheep and the not too
uncommon European practice
of housing their small livestock
in the basement of their home,
often built into the side of a
hill.
The lm has already
appeared at some specialty
lm venues. Upcoming dates
include April 1, Vernon Film
Society, Vernon; April 4, Water
Phillips Gallery, Ban; April 6,
Chilliwack Arts Council Film
Fest; April 24, Film Fest, Port
Alberni; and April 24/25,
Theatre One, Nanaimo.
Country Life in BC • April 201642
VI 4-H leader receives Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award
by GINA HAAMBUCKERS
VERNON – A prominent 4-H
leader on Vancouver Island
has been awarded the
Governor General’s Caring
Canadian Award.
His Excellency, the Right
Honourable David Johnston,
Governor General of Canada,
made the presentation to
Susy Chung-Smith during a
ceremony at the Chan Centre
for the Performing Arts in
Vancouver, March 4.
Chung-Smith, leader of the
Saanich Peninsula Beef and
Swine 4-H Club, was
recognized for her
involvement with 4-H for
more than 40 years. She
served on the board of
directors for the 4-H British
Columbia Provincial Council
for seven years and as the
president, from 2010 to 2011.
As a 4-H member, Chung-
Smith learned the value of
community, leadership and
the agriculture story. After she
graduated from the 4-H
program as a member, she
continued to be involved as a
volunteer club leader for 28
years. She not only instructs
members of her beef and
swine club about agriculture,
but also fosters the
understanding of community
and responsibility in those
youth she oversees. As a role
model, her own brand of
leadership and organization
provides a good example for
young people to strive for.
Chung-Smith has been
instrumental within the 4-H
program not only in her
community of Saanich but
also to the Vancouver Island
region at large, organizing 4-H
camps, leadership training
and agriculture learning
programs. Her dedication
extended to council executive
positions of the organization
at the local, regional and
provincial levels.
She continues to mentor
new volunteers and assist the
association at the provincial
governance level in addition
to her involvement as a 4-H
leader in her beef and swine
club, where she enjoys the
interaction the most.
In addition to 4-H, she has
also volunteered in
community organizations and
events including Operation
Trackshoes, the Terry Fox run,
Cops for Cancer and Tour De
Rock as well as fundraising for
Legion Manor Retirement
Living Place. She has been a
member of the board for
Saanich Fair, co-ordinating
volunteers for the community
Harvest Feast, as well as
serving several years as team
manager and executive
member for local hockey and
lacrosse associations.
4-H BC leader Susy Chung-Smith receives a Caring Canadian from
the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada,
March 4. (Photo courtesy of Sgt Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall)
Through her eorts, Chung-
Smith continues to promote
the 4-H program’s guiding
principles of community,
leadership and charity.
Co-written by Laura Code,
Pat Tonn and Gina
Haambuckers.
4-H BC welcomes new board
by GINA HAAMBUCKERS
VERNON – 4-H British
Columbia welcomed its new
Provincial Council directors
February 27 in Vernon.
Newcomers to the board
include Matt Langelaan from
the Fraser Valley and Jean
Stevens from the Vancouver
Island region.
Lorna Kotz, Kamloops-
Okanagan regional
representative, was elected as
president. Fraser Valley
regional representative Matt
Langelaan was elected as vice
president.
Kotz has been a 4-H leader
in the Kamloops-Okanagan
region for 23 years and has
served six years on the 4-H
British Columbia Provincial
Council Board of Directors.
She is also the 4-H BC
Provincial Council liaison to
BC Fairs.
Matt Langelaan hails from
Richmond and has been a 4-H
leader for 13 years. He has
served both as the
Surrey/Richmond/Delta
District Council president and
the Fraser Valley Regional
Council president.
“It is a privilege and an
honour to work with such a
dedicated group of 4-H
volunteers. I’m excited to be
working with our Provincial
Council and look forward to
what 2016 will bring,” says 4-H
BC manager Claudette Martin.
2016 Board of Directors
Lorna Kotz, Kamloops/Okanagan Region,
President
Matt Langelaan, Fraser Valley Region,
Vice-President
Jean Stevens, Vancouver Island Region
Heather Serani, Kootenays Region
Rick Kantz, Peace River Region
Deanna Lambert, Yellowhead West
Region
Al DeJong, Past President
Mackenzie Kerr, Youth Advisory Committee,
BC Rep to Canadian 4-H Council
Morgan Meir, 4-H BC Ambassador
Laura Code, BC Ministry of Agriculture
Claudette Martin, 4-H British Columbia,
Manager
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 43
April Fool's? It's no joke in my neck of the woods;
spring came so early I was picking pussy willows in
February!
The premature arrival of spring has not been
good. Early break-up (in spite of a decent snowpack)
has not
served to
replenish
water sources
the earth just
greedily
sucked up all
the run-o. The soil was in dire need of moisture. Last
year’s long, dry, hot summer and fall left behind a
parched and thirsty landscape in need of
rejuvenation. Water is a valuable commodity; the
days when we could aord to waste it are long gone.
Subhead here
Bull sales have dominated cattle sales, with some
lighter yearling cattle starting to show up at the odd
sale.
The high sellers at Pine Butte Ranch’s 21st annual
bull sale, February 20 in Kamloops, was Lot 22 who
sold to Mike Bayli of Alexis Creek for a whopping
$10,500.00. Douglas Lake paid $9,500.00 for Lot 11.
Volume buyers included Douglas Lake Cattle Co.,
Gang Ranch, Frolek Cattle Co., D-M Ranch, Mike
Bayli, Springeld Ranch, Spear Ranch (U.S.) and
Hilltop Ranch (SK).
The Prime Time Cattle Co. and Cutting Edge Cattle
Co. Bull Sale, March 5 in Williams Lake, was one of the
quickest sales in the country. Fifty-seven head went
under the hammer in just under 90 minutes.
Jason and Bev Kelly’s high seller, Prime Time Tater
420, went to Cli Hinsche of 141 Mile Ranch for
$6,500.00. Ken and Debbie Ilnicki paid $6,200 for
Prime Time HD Liner 417.
Wayne and Tiany Pincott sold Cutting Edge
Eldorado 498B to the Chezacut Ranch for $5,900.00.
Cutting Edge 117X Master 496B also went
Chezacut’s way for $5,700.00.
A great lunch preceeded the Harvest Angus (and
guests) Bull Sale, March 12, in Williams Lake. Heart of
the Valley Farms sold Red Pacic North to Clyde 48C
to Larry Spence for $8,800.00. Red Pacic Goldspike
28C went to Monte and Darlene Furber for $7,700.00.
Wetering Black Angus of Quesnel paid $7,300.00
for Tom and Carolyn Dewaal’s Harvest Tourman 21C.
Dewaal’s consigned the high selling female that
went to Royce and Joanne Cook for $3,900.00.
Rob and Tina Stoward’s RRTS Charolais Bull Sale in
Kamloops, March 8, saw RRTS Gone Country 39C go
Keith Cunningham’s way for $6,600.00. Peter
Threscher paid $6,400.00 for RRTS Canteen 38C.
Volume buyers included Coldstream Ranch, Spear
Ranch, Ellis Cattle Co., Gardner Ranch and Peter
Threscher.
Fred and Barb Watkinson paid $10,500.00 for top
seller Taka 3A Backdraft 68C at Wayne and Jill
Hughes’ Angus Advantage Bull Sale in Kamloops,
March 19. Wild Rose Ranch was the volume buyer
with 12 bulls. Prices were strong overall.
Ranchers paying top dollar at spring bull sales
Scientists Open Letter on the Dangers of Biosolids (2016)
The land disposal of sewage sludge (aka Biosolids) has
resulted in signicant controversy, and a resistance
movement is rightfully building to this misguided policy.
Quite simply, the science doesn't support the disposal of
sewage sludge across the landscape. The supposed
benets are more than offset by the risks toward human and
environmental health. As scientists, we have been watching
the issue with increasing concern.
An unimaginably large number of chemical and biological
contaminants exist in these materials, and they persist in the
product up to, and after, land disposal. Scientic
investigations have identied only a tiny fraction of the total
contaminant load. We cannot even say with any degree of
condence what the true range of contaminant risk is from
the sludge. Call it an “unknown unknown.” Because of
potential synergistic interactions between the contaminants
in the sludge, the risks are largely unknowable.
Most public discussions of the chemical contaminants in
sewage sludge involve well known groups such as heavy
metals, ame retardants, and pharmaceuticals, among many
others. But these are just the contaminants we have
identied. To refer to our current knowledge base as the tip
of the iceberg would be grossly overestimating how much
we actually do know.
Regulators and others
including elected ofcials up
and down the policy chain appear to lack a real appreciation
for the scope of the problem, and the costs of beginning to
understand it. If a city were to test the sludge just once for
all possible contaminants in the material, the bill would be
well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. You are not
going to nd a problem if you don't look for it. Of course,
over time, that problem may also come looking for you.
To illustrate the difculties, take just one group of
persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic compounds known to
be in sewage sludge at high concentrations: brominated
ame retardants. Perhaps the most well known sub-class of
the brominated ame retardants are called polybrominated
diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). There are 209 different PBDEs, each
of which has a unique toxicology and environmental fate.
PBDEs have been studied around the world for several
decades, yet we still have a very poor understanding of the
true risks from their release into the environment.
This is just one contaminant class among many. There
are also 209 different members of the PCBs. Similarly, add in
another 210 chlorinated dioxin “congeners.” The total
number of contaminants in sewage sludge climbs as we
begin to consider that effectively all current and legacy
industrial chemicals end up in our sewage, and during the
treatment process they move into the sludge. If we apply the
sludge to the land, we have transferred our toxic efuent
onto the landscape. Then add on all pharmaceuticals and
personal care products, as well as any other compound we
use in the home or at work, and all their potential
degradation products. The complexity discussed so far just
touches on the chemical contaminants. Add to that the
massive numbers of biological contaminants -- bacteria,
viruses, prions, etc. The current and future problem is
inconceivably large, particularly since the human population
is producing sewage sludge at a rapidly growing rate.
Those from the large public and private sector industry
that has developed around marketing and selling sewage
sludge for land disposal
which we collectively term Big
Sludge -- claim the materials are “non-toxic” and a resource
to be cherished, not shunned. The state of the science does
not agree with this oversimplication.
While there have been some attempts to review the
science surrounding sewage sludge, these are generally
wanting. Either the reviews are out-of-date and incomplete,
failing to account for all that we do know about emerging
contaminants and what we don't know about all
contaminants, or they are written more as promotional
materials for Big Sludge in an attempt to sell the product to
an ever more sceptical public.
What should we do in response to all these concerns?
Immediately halt the land disposal of sewage sludge as a
starting point, and begin either stockpiling or landlling the
material in secure locations with full leachate collection
systems until a more responsible means of dealing with the
problem is implemented. In the meantime, the science must
continue in an effort to better understand the risks and to
develop more effective treatment technologies.
We also see municipalities and regional districts talking
about the revenue stream from selling their sludge for land dis-
posal, but are they telling the taxpayers they are supposed to
represent about the very large potential risks from the knowing
and wilful contamination of lands, waters, and the atmosphere
that arises from these choices? Increased health care costs,
decreased property values, and toxic tort lawsuits have collective
liabilities to Big Sludge over time that far outweigh the relatively
small cash ows currently coming in to the public purse.
Governments are playing Russian roulette with sewage
sludge, and over time there is a high probability this game
will be lost at the public's expense.
Sierra Rayne, PhD, John Werring, MSc, RPBio
Richard Honour, PhD , Steven R. Vincent, PhD
Sierra Rayne is an independent scientist; John Werring is
a senior science and policy advisor for the David Suzuki
Foundation; Richard Honour is the executive director for The
Precautionary Group; Steven R. Vincent is the Louise Brown
Professor of Neuroscience with the Department of Psychiatry
at the University of British Columbia.
For more on this important issue, please see www.biosolidsbc.com and www.sludgefacts.org
Market Musings
LIZ TWAN
A full house
kept bid
spotters and
ringmen on
their toes at
the Harvest
Angus Bull
Sale in
Williams
Lake.
(Liz Twan
photo)
Country Life in BC • April 201644
by PETER MITHAM
DAWSON CREEK – BC Hydro won’t be
appealing a January court decision that
awarded $60,691 to a rancher in the
Peace River district for the expropriation
of land for the Dawson Creek-Chetwynd
Area Transmission (DCAT) line.
Murray Caven took BC Hydro to court
last year over the minimal compensation
he received for the power company’s
expropriation of 400-square-foot patch
of the 20-acre parcel where his home,
garage and a small guest cabin sit. The
property has been in the Caven family
since 1956 and is the base for the
family’s ranch, which runs 100 cow-calf
pairs across 1,000 acres of local
rangeland.
Caven received $37,696 for the land
but this didn’t cover the long-term
impact to his operation. Caven’s lawyer
told BC Supreme Court that the
alignment of the transmission line
eectively divided the property in two,
reducing its value from $280,000 to
$140,000 and cutting o access to where
Caven runs his cattle.
BC Hydro appraisers carried out 65
appraisals along the line but local
appraiser Anne Clayton said the Crown
corporation “failed to recognize and
respect the nature of the rural market.”
This resulted in them undervaluing the
land and the compensation Caven
deserved.
Caven should have received
compensation totalling $98,387.50, BC
Supreme Court Justice Neena Sharma
decided at the end of January. While the
amount falls short of the loss in property
value caused by the line, Sharma said it
was a more credible value than what BC
Hydro had paid out given Clayton’s
familiarity with the local market –
something BC Hydro didn’t exhibit.
BC Hydro spokeswoman Simi Heer
told Country Life in BC that BC Hydro
wouldn’t appeal the judgment.
Caven was the only one of 82
property owners aected by the DCAT
line to take BC Hydro to court. The
majority of owners settled prior to
expropriation and two afterwards.
Protesters removed
But if BC Hydro lost the battle against
Caven, it won another against protestors
occupying land where the Site C dam is
being readied for construction.
BC Supreme Court granted BC Hydro
an injunction at the end of February to
remove protesters from property near
Fort St. John.
A stful of opponents to the project,
including Arthur Hadland, an agrologist,
farmer and former director of the Peace
River Regional District, were arrested on
mischief charges during a peaceful
protest at the beginning of January.
The injunction granted at the end of
February was targeted at an
encampment of about a dozen
protestors at the old Rocky Mountain
Fort site, several miles into the bush
south of Fort St John.
BC Hydro wins, loses in Peace River
Servicing farm equipment, safety
plans essential before work begins
The ground is thawing, daodils have bloomed. It must be Spring!
This means BC farmers are coming out of hibernation and instead of
working 12 hour days, they will now be working 16 to 18. Seasonal
workers will soon be arriving and another cycle begins.
Agriculture work is unique and every commodity faces its share of
challenges and hazards. Many of the hazards, however, are common
and can be managed before everything gets too crazily busy.
So, while each farmer has their own independent situation and
environment to consider, it is worth the time to share information with
neighbours and friends and combine
eorts to address the hazards before
they become a problem.
The easiest place to start is with
equipment – a robust maintenance
program means that everything that
was stored for the winter is ready to
go when it is time for it to be put back into service. But, if time didn’t
permit this, make sure your equipment is in good shape and safe to
use before ring it up for the rst time this spring. Guards need to be
in place, blades sharp and everything in good condition to ensure
there are no surprises when the motor turns for the rst time.
Once equipment is safely operable, it may be time to turn attention
to what is in store for workers. Every worker arriving at your site needs
to have an orientation, be made aware of the hazards and know what
to do in an emergency.
Take the time to make sure that checklists have been updated,
training records prepared, personal protective equipment considered
and all the mounds of paperwork are ready for new labour to arrive.
If you need help to get all your safety obligations in order, contact
AgSafe before your workers arrive. The AgSafe team can ensure you
have everything in place for a smooth start with no surprises when the
motor turns for the rst time.
Wendy Bennett is the executive director of AgSafe BC.
Viewpoint
WENDY BENNETT
FARM COUNTRY
AUGUST 20–SEPTEMBER 5
Come out and experience
BC’s remarkably diverse agriculture
industry. Featuring the crowd-favourite
Discovery Farm exhibit plus a whole
barn full of exciting animal displays.
PACIFIC SPIRIT HORSE SHOW
AUGUST 24–SEPTEMBER 5
Competitions in: Junior Amateur
Jumping, Draft Team, Indoor Eventing
and HCBC Heritage Qualifi er classes
in English, Western and Dressage.
Also featuring HCBC Horse Day on
August 27.
ENTRY DEADLINE: JULY 22, 2016
604-252-3581 • agriculture@pne.ca •
COME CELEBRATE AT BC’S
LARGEST AGRICULTURE SHOWCASE
PNE 4-H FESTIVAL
AUGUST 20–23
Offering over 30 types of project competitions
as well as provincial programs for judging,
speak and show and educational displays.
Travel assistance offered to clubs outside
of the Fraser Valley through the
BC Youth in Agriculture Foundation.
ENTRY DEADLINE: JUNE 24, 2016
It’s the
of summer
BEST PART
When we left o last time,
Harriet Murray was giving
Henderson a hard time over his
manure-smeared overalls. When
Deborah arrived at Lon’s Coee
Corner, she was puzzled by all
the people at the place. She then
was told that Cec Montgomery
had passed on the night before.
Rural Redemption (part 71)
continues ...
Deborah was standing in
the back corner of the store
beside the sacks of dog food.
She was brushing tears from
her cheek with her nger tips.
“Hell of a pass this is, eh,
Mrs. Henderson?”
Deborah turned to see
Junkyard Frank standing next
to her. He was staring sadly
over the store shelves.
Deborah nodded.
“I suppose it’ll be my turn at
bat before long.”
“Oh, I’m not so sure about
that Mr. ….” Her voice trailed
away. It dawned on her that
she had no idea what Frank’s
last name was. She couldn’t
very well call him Mr. Junkyard
and she didn’t feel as though
she knew him well enough to
use his rst name.
“I’m sorry. I don’t think
we’ve ever been properly
introduced. I don’t know your
last name.”
“No need to be sorry. All
anybody calls me is Frank. You
can do the same.”
“Alright, if you’ll call me
Deborah.”
His eyes were red
Frank turned and looked at
her. His eyes were red and his
lips were tightly pursed.
“Thank you. I will,” he said.
“Lois told me that Cec and
Eunice met at a dance.”
A smile broke over
Frank’s face.
“Oh gawd, I
remember that night
like it was yesterday. It
was back when the
hippies set up shop on
the old Foster place.
They started a band and
oered to play at the dance
where we raised the money
for a new roof on the hall.
They were awful except they
had Eddy Eberhardt playing
his accordion and his wife
Thel, before they were married
then and her hippy name was
Moonbeams, was singing and
that sort of saved the day.
Eunice was one of the hippies,
did you know? Kind of like the
hippie den mother. She
hauled old Cec on to the
dance oor and swept him
right o his feet. He never had
a clue what hit him.”
Frank was shaking his head
and chuckling out loud.
Deborah was smiling, too. A
small knot of people had
surrounded them and other
Deborah mourns someone she’d never even met
April 2016 • Country Life in BC 45
memories of the hippie dance
were being added to the mix.
Doug McLeod arrived and was
talking to Lois and Newt near
the till. Deborah stood near
them unwilling to impose
herself on their conversation.
Doug McLeod looked up.
“Hello, Deborah. Thanks for
dropping by.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry about.
You’re here and it’s the
thought that counts. You’ll
have to excuse me. I have
some calls to make.”
“Morning, Deborah. Got
time to buy a neighbour a cup
of coee?”
“Good morning, Newt. I
can’t believe how many
people are here,” said
Deborah.
Newt nodded.
“Store’s always been kind of
a gathering place right after
something like this. It’s good
to see you here.”
“Why me? I didn’t really
know Mr. Montgomery.”
“Maybe so, but unless I’m
badly mistaken you’ve
become kind of fond of this
place just the way you’ve
found it.”
“I have.”
“Well, that doesn’t always
happen with new folks who
come here. I’m thinking you
and the kids like it a lot more
than your husband does.
That’s what everyone in here
has in common; they love this
place and they love living
here. If you love the place, it’s
hard not to love the other
people who love it, too,
because they are all a part of
it. There’s not a soul in here
that didn’t know Cec but
there’s a few who never got
along with him all that well.
You might think that would
make them hypocrites for
being here but like him or not,
Cec’s a part of this community
and everyone’s the poorer for
his passing. It’s a comfort to
see there’s still this many folks
who care about the place. And
I expect most of them are
happy to see you care about it
the same way.”
Deborah wiped another
tear from her cheek.
“Sorry, I can’t imagine why I
keep crying like this.”
“You’re crying because this
is your home and you don’t
ever need to apologize for
that. How about that coee?”
Crowd was thinning out
Newt poured coee. The
crowd was starting to thin out
and they found a place to sit
at one of the tables by the
window.
“Is there anything I can do
for Eunice?” asked Deborah.
“Bake her a pie.”
“A pie?”
“Bake her a pie and give
Gladdie a call. Glad will know
when’s a good time to take it
around.”
“What kind of pie?”
“One you made yourself.
And get Glad to take you there
with it. That’s all that’s
important.”
***
Deborah was gone for an
hour and a half. Kenneth was
waiting impatiently when she
came through the back door.
“What took you so long?
Where’s the paper? What did
that old witch have to say?”
“Cec Montgomery died,”
said Deborah.
“That’s too bad. Who’s Cec
Montgomery on a good day?”
“Eunice’s husband.”
“Eunice? Do we know
Eunice? Did you bring the
paper?”
“I know her. I’m going to
make her a pie.”
“A pie! What’s she going to
do with pie? Why don’t you
just send owers?”
“I’m baking a pie and taking
it to her because I’m home
and that’s what neighbours do
here.”
There was a sarcastic
comment on the tip of
Kenneth Henderson’s tongue.
Something told him to leave it
there.
To be continued ...
The Woodshed
Chronicles
BOB COLLINS
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The agricultural news source
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Country Life in BC • April 201646
Now that spring is here, yummy young sprouts can’t be far
behind, and it also means if you don’t barbecue all year round,
it’s probably time to dust o the barbecue, too.
Open ame and a bit of smoke from the barbecue add
delicious avour to vegetables such as freshly-sprouted
asparagus and peppers, as well as spuds. A light spray of oil and
a combination of herbs
and spices are all that’s
needed to nish o your
sides, while the main
attraction sizzles and
browns alongside.
It’s so much easier to
barbecue side dishes while you cook a steak, chicken parts or
sh over open ame. I hate having to divide my time between
something cooking on the stove inside the kitchen, and my
main course outside on the barbecue. Something always suers
from inattention.
And, I love to cook outside.
Spring is also time for the annual Okanagan Spring Wine
Festival, which is April 28 to May 8 this year, with a wide variety
of events pairing local VQA wines with some fabulous food
avours. Go to [www.thewinefestivals.com] for details.
A glass of local VQA wine is also an excellent pairing with
barbecue – for the cook as well as what’s being cooked!
Remember that the wine you cook with should be a wine
that would taste good in the glass with the dish you’re
marinating. Poor quality wine won’t improve in a marinade.
Along with that asparagus sprouting in the eld, you’ll have
fresh herbs such as chives and oregano sprouting in the garden
as well by now, so you can forget the dried herbs you had to
put up with over the winter.
There’s nothing quite like fresh herbs to liven up the avours
of just about everything and they allow you to reduce the
amount of salt you season with at the same time.
Jude’s Kitchen
JUDIE STEEVES
Sprouts and BBQ
Grilled steaks with fresh spring Asparagus (Judie Steeves photo).
Please see “DRESSING” page 47
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Winey Steak Marinade
This tasty marinade, with its wine, vinegar and lemon juice has a tenderizing eect, so could
be used for all sorts of steaks, less-tender as well as tender. The less-tender ones should be
marinated for longer than their tender cousins.
2 beef steaks 2 tsp. (10 ml) fresh oregano pinch of brown sugar
1/4 c. (60 ml) dry red wine 1 tsp. (5 ml) lemon juice pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp. (15 ml) oil 1 tsp. (5 ml) cumin powder fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. (10 ml) balsamic vinegar 1 garlic clove
Combine wine, oil, vinegar, minced fresh oregano, lemon juice, cumin, minced garlic and
brown sugar. Dust each steak with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and place in a bowl
or bag that will hold them snugly. Drench with the marinade, leaving for a few hours or
overnight, refrigerated.
Baste with remaining marinade during cooking, nishing with a nice sear.
Recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Asparagus & Sesame Salad
If you cook too much asparagus one day, put it in the fridge and prepare this delicious cold
asparagus salad the next day for a completely dierent avour.
Steam a half-pound to a pound (220 g to 454 g) of trimmed asparagus for ve or six minutes
or so, or until just tender. Drain well and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
You could even poach a few BC Spot Prawns to serve alongside, since they’ll be harvested
fresh in the coming weeks.
Asparagus & Sesame Salad
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April 2016 • Country Life in BC 47
DRESSING FOR ASPARAGUS AND SALAD From page 46
FARMERS MARKETS CO‑OPERATION From page 39
Dressing:
1/2 c. (125 ml) nuts 1/4 c. (60 ml) soy sauce roasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp. (15 ml) sesame oil 1/3 c. (75 ml) sugar
1/4 c. (60 ml) cider vinegar freshly-ground black pepper
Chop walnuts, pecans, or other nuts nely. Mix together with remaining ingredients and pour
over chopped asparagus.
Add a sprinkle of freshly-ground black pepper.
Serve immediately or marinate for two or three hours before serving slightly chilled, garnished
with toasted sesame seeds.
Do not marinate overnight.
This can be served with toothpicks or little spoons as an appetizer, or at the table.
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Lola!
a healthy and sustainable food system,
dieticians Laura Kulina and Jill Warboys told
those attending “Striving for a Healthy
Sustainable Food System.” Farmers and
farmers markets are a part of that co-
operation. Community gardens, public
produce sites (get the city to pull up the
zinnias and plant zucchini) harvest share,
community kitchens, gleaning, farm to school
programs and farmers market coupons all
contribute to increased access to healthy
local foods.
“In BC, we grow less than half of the food
that we eat,” Warboys pointed out. “Food
security is simply access to food.”
Gleaning and harvest share programs
should increase with the new provincial 25%
tax credit for farmers donating to charities.
Crushing peoples dreams
“Chickens are the gateway drug to a
farming lifestyle,” jokes Jillian Merrick, a
community development planner from Prince
George. “People come in all the time saying
I’m going to quit my day job and start a small
chicken farm. We crush peoples’ dreams.”
Merrick challenged chicken growers to
consider the real cost of a dozen eggs.
“Are you a charity or are you trying to build
a FTE (full time equivalent of work),” she
asked. Chickens can be a part of that FTE, she
says, but If you don’t look at your costs and
you don’t consider a fair return for your eggs,
“you might just as well give $20 to the food
bank and save yourself the bother.” Merrick’s
spread sheet is available free at Jillenium
Consulting.
No friends or family discount
Be realistic about your costs, keep good
records and don’t do a “friends and family
discount,” she told her audience.
“Your friends should pay more because
they are supporting your choice to farm, or
get new friends.”
At the association’s annual meeting, Wylie
Bystedt from Quesnel Farmers’ Market and
Shankar Raina of Whistler’s Farmers’ Market
were elected president and vice, respectively.
Bruce Fatkin from Abbotsford will continue
his role as treasurer while Erna Jensen-Shill
from Cranbrook remains secretary. Joining
the board are Vickey Brown from the Comox
Valley and Laura Smit of Vancouver.
CLASSIFIED
DEADLINE FOR MAY 2016 ISSUE: APRIL 23
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new blades 16,500
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