Postmaster, Please return Undeliverable labels to: Country Life in BC 36 Dale Road Enderby, BC V0E 1V4CANADA POSTES POST CANADA Postage paid Port payé Publications Mail Post-Publications 40012122Vol. 109 No. 4The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 APRIL 2023 | Vol. 109 No. 4ALR Crossroads ahead for BC farmland 7 WATER Watershed strategy could hang ag out to dry 12 DISASTER Flood victims struggle with recovery deadline 13PETER MITHAM ABBOTSFORD – The year ahead could see the end of rising farmland values in BC as interest rates hit home and demand drops o. Farm Credit Canada’s annual survey of farmland values released March 13 reported an 8% increase in average farmland values in BC last year, down from a record 18.1% increase in 2021. A further slowing could be in the works this year as high nancing costs rein in what buyers are willing to pay. “We’ve not yet seen the full impact of high interest rates on the demand for farmland, because a lot of businesses are still locked in for the long-term,” says JP Gervais, vice-president and chief economist with Farm Credit Canada. Upwards of 15% of FCC clients are set to renew their loans within the next two years, the period in which many expect interest rates will remain high before falling back a point or two. The impact of rising interest rates was seen last year as a 6.5% increase in values during the rst half of 2022 in BC culminated in an increase of just 8% by the end of the year as the fastest, ercest rise in interest rates in a generation limited purchase activity. But prices were already nearing their peak, Gervais told a media brieng on the report. “We’re getting very near to the top of the market,” he says, noting that values risk outstripping what farm incomes can legitimately support. BC Cherry members resumed in-person gatherings with their annual general meeting in Kelowna in late February. Keynote speaker Greg Lang from Michigan State University addressed a captive audience about how technology will change the way orchards are planted in the future. BC’s cherry industry is prospering thanks to a strong export market and solid marketing. More on page 27. MYRNA STARK LEADERFarmland values easePETER MITHAM VANCOUVER – A massive $200 million funding package for food security has drawn praise from farmers but few details from government on how the money will be spent. “It’s a historical investment in agriculture and food sector in British Columbia,” BC agriculture minister Pam Alexis said in measured tones at a March 7 press conference in Vancouver, following an overview by Premier David $200 million draws fireNumbers don’t add upBack to businessForage Seed1-800-661-4559Produced by & available atShort on details uPrice increases u
2 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCStrong farmgate receipts for crops, which increased 13% in BC last year, have driven demand for land. Yet a shortage of available properties risks a situation where price gains outstrip revenue growth. In BC, demand for rural acreages has also put the squeeze on the supply of farmland. “There’s been a decline reported in the census of 12.5%,” Gervais says of actively farmed land in BC, referencing Census of Agriculture data for the period between 2011 and 2021. “Until we see a change in the amount of land being available for sale, I think we’re going to be in this environment where land prices are going to trend higher.” Preliminary signs from those in the market point to lower prices. Bill Lange, CEO of Future of Real Estate, a US-based online auction house, conducted the sale of seven properties last fall listed with John Glazema of BC Farm and Ranch Realty Ltd. While the properties – totalling more than 1,900 acres – each attracted multiple bids, Lange indicated that bids came in low. (Purchase prices were not disclosed.) “The bottom has dropped out land values throughout Canada. Sellers still think that their land is worth 2021 valuations and buyers know it’s not,” he says. “Some pricing is o as much as 40%. It’s a buyer’s market right now and I think that will continue for some time.” A combination of factors, from interest rates to input costs, weather and disease as well as pricing for what’s grown, have combined to dampen the market. “This will inuence the pricing in the next year,” Gord Houweling of BC Farm and Ranch Realty Ltd. said of the variables. “I see the values down by up to 20% in some areas.” The most active area for farm sales in BC last year was the Peace, according to the BC Ministry of Finance. The region saw 450 transactions, primarily in the rst half of the year, a 92% increase over 2021. Values increased by an average of 6.6%. Overall, transactions in BC dipped 18% versus a year earlier to 1,757 deals. According to FCC, sale prices maxed out last year at $250,000 an acre in the Fraser Valley and $115,100 an acre on Vancouver Island. FCC farmland values reect the appreciation of a selection of benchmark properties combined with actual sales data for the subject year that excludes the top and bottom 5% of sales to eliminate outlier values. Eby as social development minister Sheila Malcolmson and industry representatives looked on. “It’s an investment in our farmers, producers, food processors and the entire food supply chain.” The funding includes $160 million pledged in the February 28 provincial budget towards food security initiatives. It will see $111 million channelled through the agriculture ministry, of which $80 million is allocated to Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC for disbursement through four programs targeting ood mitigation in the Fraser Valley as part of rebuilding eorts following the November 2021 oods; food security and emergency planning; development of value-added food processing; and food aordability initiatives focused on supporting small-scale, independent grocers. A further $30 million will support food security in Indigenous communities through the province’s New Relationship Trust, while the City of Richmond will receive $1 million for a new food hub. In addition, $49 million will support food banks and other initiatives through the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. But details are short on the specics of each program, or where the remaining $40 million will be spent. A few days before the announcement, Alexis told the BC Poultry Conference that $5 million was being allocated to a new farmed animal disease response program to address avian inuenza, swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and other threats. Details had yet to be worked out when the program was announced March 16 in Chilliwack and included with the $200 million food security package. Alexis says the funding will support business planning and training, equipment purchases needed to respond to an outbreak, and the development of business models to address animal disease risks. But she declined to say when or even how the money will ow to industry, only that “the details are still being worked out.” This isn’t to say the funding is unwelcome. BC Egg Producers Association president Mark Siemens says avian inuenza has changed and outbreaks are far more common than they used to be. “We used to deal with this every four years or so but now it’s become a year-round challenge and a mental strain on our producers,” he said. “Funding that will help us plan for and mitigate the impacts of these diseases is very welcomed.” Delta greenhouse grower Ray Van Marrewyk, who spoke on behalf of the BC Agriculture Council at the March 7 announcement, also praised the funding given the challenges farms – including his own – face as weather patterns become less predictable and more extreme. When the heat dome hit in 2021, quality of produce from his greenhouse was impacted for weeks beyond the initial event. “It aects farmers every day when we have to deal with those challenges,” he says. “We hope that some of the funding will be there to help us deal with changing our business and preparing our business for those events so that we can continue to provide local, healthy food for British Columbians.” But details of the new funding remained unknown. “We haven’t seen the details of what’s in the dollars, but we hope there will be more connection of BC products being brought into the schools and helping support and feed the kids,” Van Marrewyk says. Opposition MLAs were little further ahead after grilling the government in the legislature. Delta South MLA and Opposition agriculture critic Ian Paton said the sudden disbursement of funding doesn’t appear to have been thought through. “They just seem to be throwing it against the wall hoping some of it will stick and not knowing where it’s going to go or how it’s going to be spent,” he says. “I guess they’re trying to impress the farming community.” He pointed out that IAFBC wasn’t represented at the March 7 press conference. “It was almost a surprise to IAF,” he says. IAFBC sta says administration agreements with the province are still being hammered out. “We are unable to provide specics at this time on the programs or amounts; announcements will be made by the ministry,” IAFBC told Country Life in BC. “We hope to have more details in the coming weeks.” With les from Kate Ayers and David Schmidt u Short on detailsu Price increases outstrip revenue growth Family Farm Friendly Financial Planning Services.Holistic ﬁnancial planning for your family farm now and into the future. Patrick’s proven ﬁnancial and estate planning program provides income, security, and tax minimization to help ensure the most effective decisions are made now, and on an ongoing basis.Please contact me to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation discussion at 604.467.5321 | email@example.com References are available.1.877.272.2002 | www.patrick-obrien.ca#200-11980 227th St. Maple Ridge, B.C. 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 3Partnerships help make the most of challenging sitePETER MITHAM TSAWWASSEN – A decade after a contentious rezoning process saw the largest unprotected tract of farmland in the Lower Mainland designated for development, the unique agreement that secured civic approval is supporting local food production. Once known as the Spetifore lands, the 535 acres abutting the US border near Boundary Bay was the focus of the longest public hearing in Canada following a development proposal in the 1980s. Tsawwassen-based Century Group took up the challenge in 2006, ultimately advancing a vision that could see up to 950 homes built on 105 acres in tandem with agriculture. The vision is becoming a reality, with local grower Brent Kelly farming approximately 275 acres of the site under a long-term lease from Delta, planting potatoes, barley and corn for silage. “Delta has been very good, very cooperative,” says development manager Brad Semke, who joined Century Group in 2013 during the rezoning process and worked to oversee negotiations with Delta, including designation of approximately 105 acres of the least productive portion of the property for development and the donation to Delta of nearly 430 acres. To address community concerns, Delta arranged or the inclusion of 276 acres within the Agricultural Land Reserve and set aside a further 150 acres for greenspace. Century Group, for its part, pledged $9 million for upgrades through a community amenity contribution and has spent a further $3 million on additional infrastructure, including a pump station completed in 2020. Semke says one of the long-standing issues with the property was a low elevation that eectively made it a catch-basin for the surrounding 1,200 acres. To address this, storm water retention ponds were developed to store about 60,000 cubic metres of water while drainage infrastructure and pump stations keep excess water moving through the site. A year after the pump station was completed, the 50 acres designated for the site’s community farm was no longer submerged through the winter. “That’s just not an issue now,” Semke says of the ooding that compromised the property’s agricultural capability in the past. “If we get a winter storm event, it usually takes eight to 10 days to drain.” Portions of the land were also raised by about a metre with topsoil removed from residential development parcels, ensuring topsoil wasn’t lost and the best portions of the site were enhanced. “We’re pulling two to three times the agricultural capacity o now compared to the pre-improved state,” Semke says. The improvements, combined with the site’s microclimate, allow planting to begin in mid March, adding a month to growers’ marketing window. This saw Kelly able to plant silage corn on his parcels last year and pull o a full crop with the help of irrigation while other local growers struggled. To prepare the 50 acres of farmland it leases from the city, Century Group worked with long-time organic vegetable grower Harvie Snow. His family-run farm became involved in the project back in 2011, before the rezoning had completed, a transitional period that primed the property for organic certication. An initial lease of 15 acres allowed them to expand their production as well as support the development of a small orchard and hopyard on the site. In 2019, Seann Dory and Suzy Keown of Salt & Harrow relocated their organic vegetable business from Vancouver Island to Southlands, farming the 35 acres designated for the community farm and working with Century Group through the development of water management systems and other site prep. “Production-value crops have been coming o that land for the past three years,” Semke says, noting kale, beets, kohlrabi and asparagus among the produce grown. Propagation of starts is done in hoop houses, which are also used to extend the season. The houses are mounted on blocks and moveable, making them a exible addition to the farm infrastructure. But the agreement with Salt & Harrow ended last season, and Snow Farms has taken over the lease for an Drainage infrastructure provided by the Century Group let Harvie Snow work a parcel in the Southlands in mid March while many other local elds still had standing water. GRANT HARDERDelta farmland gets new lease on lifeinitial period of two years with the potential to continue for another ve. The vision is for them to train growers who will be able to take over the 35 acres that Salt & Harrow relinquished. “We’re looking to Snow Farms to be a mentor farm,” Semke says. “The big thing for us is to give tenure to small-scale farmers growing for the localized market.” Semke says the project is about a year ahead of schedule, meaning smaller community farmers could be on the ground as early as next year. The activity excites Snow, who said the transformation of the Southlands into high-value farmland took a change in thinking. The investment in infrastructure is also something that would have been beyond the means of the average vegetable grower, speaking to the importance of partnerships in making parcels viable. “There’s irrigated cropping going on there when that was never considered in the past because of the huge amount of money it took to improve that infrastructure,” Snow says. “The developer paid close to $10 million to improve the water management, and that was the biggest challenge there. There’s no individual farmer that would have ever done that.” Snow, who farms close to 150 acres across Delta, says the property is now living up to its potential, delivering a return to growers and the community. =`\c[Gi\gXiXk`fegcfn#gfn\i_Xiifn#Z_`j\cgcfnDXeli\jgi\X[`e^sc`hl`[jfc`[J`cX^\gXZb`e^glj_`e^:XkZ_Yl^^pCXe[c\m\cc`e^<oZXmXk`e^;`kZ_Zc\Xe`e^;iX`ek`c\`ejkXccXk`fe-'+/'*0./(mXc_XccXZljkfdX^7^dX`c%ZfdServicingMetro Vancouver and all of the Lower MainlandFamily owned and operated since 2021
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Publication Mail Agreement: 0399159 . GST Reg. No. 86878 7375 . Subscriptions: $2/issue . $18.90/year . $33.60/2 years . $37.80/3 years incl GSTThe agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 Vol.109 No. 4 . APRIL 2023Published monthly by Country Life 2000 Ltd. www.countrylifeinbc.comPublisher Cathy Glover 604-328-3814 . email@example.com Editor Emeritus David Schmidt Associate Editor Peter Mitham firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Sales & Marketing Cathy Glover email@example.com Production Designer Tina Rezansoff Still truckin’, PWThrough the window in front of my desk is a sweeping view of sky, clouds, mountains, elds, forest, buildings and fences; various pieces of farm equipment; horses, cattle, Muscovy ducks, a barn cat stalking the dormant rows in the vegetable garden and a few bees venturing briey out of the hives. This is my Umwelt. Umwelt comes from the German word for environment. In 1909, the zoologist Jakob von Uexküll employed it as a reference to the environment perceived by the sensory input of a specic animal. Every living creature exists in its own Umwelt and though the cat, cows, ducks, bees and I are all here in physical proximity, each of our Umwelten would be surreal or outright incomprehensible to each other’s species. We might assume that a sighted person sitting here with me would have a visual Umwelt similar to mine. Certainly so in respect to specic details, like how many rungs are there in the ladder leaning against the barn. Less so when it comes to colours. Some 8% of men and 0.5% of women are to some degree colour-blind. Their Umwelt won’t share the same colours as mine, assuming I am not colour-blind. Either way, we would likely both be seeing colours the other could not. I can just make out two black spots on the branch on a cottonwood tree half a mile away. Viewed through binoculars, those spots turn into a pair of bald eagles. To someone else, the spots might not be visible at all, or they might see the eagles clearly (without the binoculars). Seated here, my other senses are largely divorced from what I can see. I can smell the coee brewing in the kitchen but not odours of hay, horses and cattle down in the barn, or the forest and elds beyond. I can hear the rock tumbler grumbling away in the basement and an occasional clank from one of the headgates. Thanks to tinnitus, ringing is the continual background soundtrack of my Umwelt. A rooster lives 200 feet from my house. I won’t hear him crow unless I step outside. My granddaughters can hear him in their house 200 yards away. Subtle sensory dierences will yield subtly dierent Umwelts. Perhaps, like ngerprints, no two are precisely alike. The greater the dierence in how sensory input is perceived, the more acutely the resulting realities might diverge, perhaps into something unique. This is assuredly the case with American animal behaviourist Temple Grandin. Grandin is autistic and is a ground-breaking advocate for autistic rights, understanding and neurodiversity. She once likened being around neurotypical people to feeling like an anthropologist on Mars. At 15, Grandin spent a summer on her aunt’s Arizona ranch where she realized the calming eect the pressure of a squeeze had on frightened cattle was similar to the eect of pressure in relieving the anxiety created by her own surroundings. In 1996, Grandin authored a book called Thinking in Pictures, describing her life with autism. Her thought-pictures are highly detailed and can be instantly recalled and replayed and to some degree manipulated. So sighted, and with a personal understanding of the anxiety of threatening surroundings, Grandin gained an insight into the Umwelt of cattle, an insight she has used to rewrite the standards for livestock handling facilities and protocols around the world. She has been widely lauded for improving animal welfare, from PETA to the World Organization for Animal Health. Grandin is currently an animal sciences faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. What is obvious in the Umwelt of Temple Grandin is, at least to some extent, also true for cattle. It may be invisible to most people, but the results suggest it is so. The insight is fascinating, but it is like trying to see the world through a keyhole. While science has revealed many of the sensory workings of the animal world and speculated about many more, it is unlikely we will ever understand what it is like to feel the migratory tug of earth’s magnetic eld, or y in total darkness navigating by the echoes of our own voice, or communicate across oceans in subsonic song. The behaviours of the species we are closest to can provide some insight if we are patient and perceptive enough to see it. The simplest course to a practical outcome might be to imagine how your actions look in their world. [For a deeper look at biology of sensory perception and the resulting Umwalten, I recommend Ed Yong, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us (Knopf, 2022).] Bob Collins raises beef cattle and grows produce on his farm in the Alberni Valley.We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada.4 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCGenuine connectionThere’s none of us who remembers the world we were born into. Just as spring remembers nothing of winter, we grow up in a new world with a past that occasionally surfaces to astound or confound us. Some of us grew up in subdivisions near elds and old barns, farmhouses whose foundations were as fascinating as any ancient ruin. Our parents might have bought produce from one of the last roadside stands in the area, keen for a last taste before it slipped away for good. Today, a delivery service or box program are more likely to deliver a taste of the countryside, a curated experience that mediates our experience of farm life. There’s a sense in which even the most ethical of choices is divorced from the people who actually make it possible. Rapid development has not only steamrolled our urban heritage, but distanced us from our rural one, too. What was once over a back fence or at the end of the street is now a bus ride away (if we’re lucky), and more often a 30-minute drive. In BC, this has happened despite the Agricultural Land Reserve, which marks its 50th anniversary this month. It’s been around long enough that many of us don’t give it a second thought. We take the protections it oers for granted, even as ongoing development corrals farmers in smaller, more intensively farmed zones subject to regulations greater than anything that existed 50 years ago. It’s a cheap grace of sorts: the ALR creates heaven, and all’s right with the world. Yet the erce debates whenever farmland comes up for development illustrates the conicted nature of our desires. Given a choice, many of us choose what provides shelter, employment or a faster commute over what feeds us. This is where a development such as Southlands in Tsawwassen breaks ground. Combining protected farmland with residential development, it shows that an integrated community is possible. While most people in BC today lack rst-hand knowledge of the development pressures that prompted the ALR’s creation in 1973, few wouldn’t want to live in a community where food grows next door. This in turn informs the reality of a new generation, normalizing access to local food over box programs and supermarket promotions that oer a eeting taste of genuine connection. To some degree, this is what the ALR hoped to do by preserving local farmland. While the province pours millions into food security, a secure future for our farms begins with ensuring the farmer and farmland remain viable and valued elements of complete communities. Different worldviews, common groundBack 40 BOB COLLINS
Unlocking an unsustainable trajectoryDiversified agroecology offers grassroots food production and ecosystem renewal COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 5Some of BC’s strengths in this regard include: Indigenous agriculture – Its place in the strategic framework for regenerative agriculture and agritech opens the discussion to the role of agriculture in colonization and, vitally, to Indigenous wisdom about how humans relate to land and each other, and the agricultural models that arise from those values, which can reinvigorate our practices. The Agricultural Land Reserve – Based on soil classication, it recognizes the scarcity of productive soils in BC and the need to protect them for food production. It explicitly holds out for an ecological principle against strong (and ongoing) economic pressure: according to the Agricultural Land Commission, “The intention was to set boundaries on objective technical characteristics, rather than on the variables of the market and other socioeconomic conditions.” Farmland Advantage – Initially developed by Invermere rancher Dave Zehnder and now administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, the program identies high-risk and high-opportunity areas in BC based on ecosystem services criteria, and recruits farmers to help protect and conserve critical natural lands, streams and habitats. BC’s strategic food future discussion, although specic to our terrain and ecosystems, features challenges and terminologies common to similar discussions around the world. The terminologies are hotly contested at every level of government because of what the words are understood to mean and what that implies for political and economic power and control: who decides the future shape of food systems? Who benets and who pays? Thoughtful analysis comes from the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES), which has just published a paper entitled Smoke and Mirrors about the competing framings of food system sustainability, whether in terms of agroecology, regenerative agriculture or nature-based solutions. It highlights agroecology as the strongest, best-researched and most practised concept, involving not just a tweak of the status quo but “a profound rethinking of food systems centred on a merging of distributive justice with environmental soundness.” IPES calls for a global shift towards diversied agroecological farming, which it explains in detail in its 2016 paper From Uniformity to Diversity. The paper points out that diversied agroecology does not reach back to your grandparents’ farm, but calls all farmers forward, regardless of their starting point – whether subsistence, industrial or something in between – to new practices. On the question of whether agroecology can feed the world, its authors say it can, and does: IPES’ research showed that small-holders feed about 70% of the world’s population. Particularly relevant is the paper’s description of how the food systems in which Canada and BC farmers operate are locked into an unsustainable trajectory by eight factors: path dependency (e.g. self-reinforcing growth), export orientation, the expectation of cheap food, compartmentalized thinking, short-term thinking, “feed the world” narratives, growth-focused measures of success (like higher productivity) and concentration of power. Farmers recognize these pressures. IPES’ analysis oers ideas for where and how to push back. It invites us to pick the locks. Lillooet-based rancher Tristan Banwell describes how he is doing this through a regenerative organic approach. Despite the nancial incentives toward consolidation and increased eciencies of scale, he says farmers need to get o the train at some point. “There's an argument for right-sizing your enterprise and [choosing] a sustainable economic model that you can carry on doing. We're not working ourselves to death, we can maintain our mental health, we can pay our employees a fair wage,” he explains. “This is the right size. My goal isn’t to grow forever: we work within nite natural systems.” Banwell sees plenty of potential in the soils he works, even though they’re not top-class. “The coyote is howling on the hill right behind me, the water is owing into the creeks and it's clean, my neighbours are walking down the road to work in the meat shop,” he says. “It’s about developing a [farming] system that's rooted in the conditions and the soils of this place, the community here.” For BC, the 2021 wake-up call points to the certain uncertainty that the future holds. We are in some uncharted territory. Our farmers, Indigenous advisors and thoughtful critics like IPES can help us identify optimal routes to resilience. Kathleen Gibson lives and grows food in Lekwungen territory/Victoria, BC. She is a policy analyst and founding member of several non-prot food system organizations. A wake-up call can yank you into a new reality. The pandemic, re and ood disasters of 2021 were a wake-up call for British Columbia, especially for farmers. The regenerative agriculture and agritech strategic discussion the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food is pursuing hopes to discern BC agriculture’s best responses and way forward. There is more agreement on the symptoms of the problem than the diagnosis or the remedies, however. It’s easy to agree that we want agriculture to be sustainable, which we typically understand to include environmental, social and economic dimensions. But it’s also easy to overlook the power dynamic between them: one of the three is beating up the other two. The dominant culture in which we live and work has arranged itself (and governance, nance, policies and progress measures) around economic priorities at the uncounted expense of social equality and the air, soil, water and biodiversity essential to life. There are tolerance limits, and we are starting to see them breached. 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6 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCThe Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-operative (GVOFC) is in Abbotsford BC and encompasses 50 acres of land. The farm hosts two organic vegetable businesses across 12 acres, 22 acres of peat bog pasture, and eight acres of forest. GVOFC is deeply committed to environmental sustainability, so it is no wonder that they chose to pursue an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP)!When the farm received a notice that their EFP needed to be renewed Chris Bodnar, who, along with his wife Paige Dampier owns and operates Close to Home Organics, one of the two organic vegetable businesses on the farm, got Darrell visited Chris on the farm and worked through the EFP workbook with him and suggested projects that they could take on to improve the farm’s environmental impact. Water management is an ongoing concern for the property, and with the assistance of BMP Funding, GVOFC’s long term goal is to re-establish a wetland in low-lying, peat bog areas. provide habitat for amphibians, reptiles, and other wildlife on the property.With the assistance of the BMP program GVOFC has completed a biodiversity plan and a riparian management plan. These two plans highlighted the work that needed to be done, as well as the regulations the farm would need to follow while completing the work to protect the biodiversity that they steward on the property. In late 2022 the farm also completed a Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP) in anticipation of completing work on their ditches to Although the larger wetland restoration project is a big task, and will take several years to complete, Glen Valley Organic are taking the right steps to improve their farming practices.Practices programs are funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Program, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Additional funding has been provided by Clean BC.The federal-provincial-territorial Canadian Agricultural Partnership framework ends on March 31, 2023. The EFP & BMP programs are funded under that framework. Check the Ministry webpage for updates about upcoming EFP & BMP opportunities after March 31: shorturl.at/eikF8Chris BodnarGlen Valley Organic Farm Co-OperativeRead the full story and watch the video at www.iafbc.ca/efp-glen-valleyENVIRONMENTAL FARM PLAN + GLEN VALLEY ORGANIC FARM CO-OPERATIVE
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 7Crossroads ahead for BC farmlandThe Agricultural Land Reserve remains vulnerable as it turns 50Delta South MLA Ian Paton wants to see the province make good on a pledge to protect farmland at Brunswick Point in Delta in perpetuity as the ALR marks its 50th anniversary. RONDA PAYNE PETER MITHAM DELTA – Jutting out into the Strait of Georgia, the rich soils of Brunswick Point are a gift of the Fraser River’s run south from its headwaters in the Fraser Pass of the Rockies. The longest river in BC, the deposits here encapsulate the wealth of the province – a wealth fundamental to the most valuable farmland in Canada. But others see a dierent kind of wealth. In 1968, the province expropriated thousands of acres as backup lands for port development at Roberts Bank. When the lands weren’t needed, most were leased back to the previous owners for farming and 43 were eventually sold with the original families having right of rst refusal. But the four families at Brunswick Point – the Swensons, Montgomerys, McKims and Gilmours – didn’t enjoy this privilege. The province’s treaty settlement with Tsawwassen First Nation allowed the families to continue farming and gave them the right to buy the properties, totalling about 600 acres. But if the families declined to purchase the properties, TFN would be rst in line. The families reached an agreement with the province in 2011 that would see the lands remain in the Agricultural Land Reserve and covenants put in place preserving them for soil-based agriculture and migratory bird habitat, but that never happened. This prompted Delta South MLA Ian Paton to introduce a private member’s bill in March to ensure this takes place, his third bid to ensure lasting protection for the properties. “People are just crazily adamant about preserving our good-quality pieces of farmland,” he says, noting the headline-grabbing ght over the potential loss of 305 acres of federally owned land in Surrey where the Heppell family grows vegetables. But the long-standing and lingering issue of Brunswick Point, double the size and equally important given the thousands of tonnes of potatoes harvested there each year and its national importance as a site of variety trials, has simmered under the radar. The concern underscores the importance of the Agricultural Land Reserve as it turns 50 years old this month. Brunswick Point was included from the beginning, but the ongoing threat to its future means vigilance remains essential for the long-term protection of it and other key properties. Land freeze The invocation of the land reserve is a shift from 1972, when the newly elected NDP government of Dave Barrett moved to head o a rush of subdivision applications with a land freeze, followed by the imposition of a reserve for farming with a suite of measures that were supposed to ensure farmers – whose right to develop their properties as they saw t was immediately curtailed – could remain protable independent of capital gains on their real estate. Described by this paper as “one of the greatest uproars in BC history,” even farmers who had initially supported the idea were outraged when the government began sharing details for the land reserve in January 1973. Many growers remain bitter, even as they’ve continued to farm in spite or as a result of the restrictions. Ken Ellison, a former dairy farmer who now raises beef in the Cowichan Valley, describes the ALR as “the biggest hit the government’s ever dumped on the farmers.” The government told us uwww.hlaattachments.com 1-866-567-4162 • Independent grapples for clamping of awkward loads• Tine and grapple tips are AR400 material• Compact models available• 1-1/4” shaft diameter• 2-1/2” spacing between tines• Points are 5/8” thick, 400 Brinell high strength steel• Compact models available• Grapple clamps on to any Class II fork frame with walk through guard Grapple shown mounted on HD55 pallet fork.BRUSH GRAPPLESINGLE ARM LOG GRAPPLESTONE FORKYOURHelping YouWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATEScountrylifeinbc.comSign up for FREE today.YliYlbc.com
8 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCProtecting farmland was a bold move in 1973, but it also sparked heated debate – just as it does today. FILEu ‘The government told us we had to farm it’“Over the years, we've dealt with that reduction in assets. We've moved forward,” he says. “And we made a decision to continue farming, but guess why we made that decision? Because the government told us we had to farm it.” But the legislation, known as Bill 42, passed, and on April 18, 1973, the ALR was born. Setting boundaries Joan Sawicki joined the new Agricultural Land Commission as a technician that summer, spending 18 months working to nalize the reserve’s boundaries. Proposals submitted by the regional districts provided a starting point, and ALC sta ultimately designated 11.6 million acres for inclusion, or about 5% of the province. “It was an exhaustive project,” says Sawicki, now in her late 70s. “Historically, agriculture was always seen as the poor cousin of resource ministries, and there was always a so-called higher and best use. The ALR said no, in this zone, growing food is the highest and best use.” Unlike recent moves to manage groundwater, land use wasn’t bound to a particular crop. A grower’s options were kept open to allow farms to adapt to changing circumstances. “The title of our rst public brochure was Keeping the Options Open, and to me that’s what this is all about, for the whole 50 years,” she says. “It was never intended … that every hectare of the ALR needs to be farmed. But it’s the options. … As long as we have the land, farmers have the option to adjust.” But those options shouldn’t be taken for granted, something she feels government is prone to doing. “Most decision-makers have never known British Columbia without the ALR. They take it for granted,” she says. “We can’t take it for granted because it is vulnerable. Not only from landowners.” Recent reports show that other government priorities continue to trump agriculture. Just last year, an order in council authorized the “temporary exclusion” of 251 acres for gravel extraction to supply the Site C dam project, following on the exclusion of nearly 6,860 acres in 2015 for the dam’s headpond. In 2016, 2,065 acres were excluded under the terms of the province’s treaty with the Tla’amin First Nation. Last month, the province ordered 150 acres in Richmond excluded for a private composting facility, reducing the area protected by the ALR to less than 11.4 million acres Sawicki says attention also needs to be given to safeguarding the province’s foodlands as the province moves to address reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. “We saw what happened in Tsawwassen,” she says, referring to the development of malls and warehouses on hundreds of acres of farmland removed from the ALR as part of the treaty struck with TFN. “Class 1 farmland is now one of the biggest shopping malls in North America.” She sees a way forward in broadening the public understanding of how the land provides food. “In our culture we tend to think of agriculture as crops that we plant,” she says. “But if part of our concept of meeting the challenge of reconciliation is ourselves expanding the concept of food … to embrace the other ways that the land produces food for humans, I think that’s a good thing.” This is where Paton wants to see denitive protections for Brunswick Point, not to mention the 305 acres in Surrey currently subject to federal discussions with local First Nations. “It would be tting this year … that we make absolutely sure that these two prime pieces of agricultural land in Surrey and in Delta have a covenant put on them, that they remain agricultural land in perpetuity,” he says. —With les from Kate Ayers ABBOTSFORD1-888-283-3276VERNON1-800-551-6411Precision machinery demands precision parts. AGCO Genuine parts are precisely that.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 9Ag industry hub sparks regional interest in OKProject designed to meet the needs of area farmers, processorsJACKIE PEARASE SPALLUMCHEEN – Plans by the Township of Spallumcheen to establish an agricultural industry hub on agricultural land may very soon be in regional hands. Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser says the results of the South Spallumcheen Industrial Area Agri-Hub feasibility study demonstrated a wide regional appeal among producers, agricultural organizations and businesses. A request for membership applications to the Agri-Hub Select Committee garnered 14 responses from all commodity sectors representing areas beyond the township’s borders. “It started as the Spallumcheen agri-hub feasibility study but as we quickly found, it is regional,” Fraser says. Beyond Spallumcheen, interest has come from Cherryville, Okanagan Indian Band, Grindrod, Salmon Arm and Vernon. Fraser made a presentation on the study March 9 to the Regional District of North Okanagan’s agricultural advisory committee, seeking its support for the project. She says concerns expressed by local producers anecdotally – from a lack of local processing and refrigeration facilities to diculties getting shelf space in stores – was the impetus for the agri-hub. The feasibility study echoed these concerns, but on a regional level. “We found that all of those things, they just kept coming to the top,” notes Fraser. “The goal of this is to really have something that regionally supports the farming community.” She says the township wants to create something that meets the needs of farmers that is determined and planned by farmers. The site’s location near the highway in close proximity to major centres and a railway siding make it appealing to all aspects of agriculture. The vision could include processing, distribution and retail – a place where producers can get work done and also where people can get local agricultural products directly from farmers. In addition to producers, Fraser says there is interest from people willing to buy land, construct buildings and distribute product. The agri-hub could provide the infrastructure that will allow more producers to take advantage of opportunities they might not otherwise pursue. “If everybody has a little piece, where the farmer doesn’t have to do everything themselves, it actually becomes feasible,” Fraser says. Having the agri-hub on municipally owned land will also ensure the use remains as agricultural-industrial regardless if tenants move out. “If we build processing, or whatever it is the farming community needs, that will always be there,” she says. “The interior of the building could change down the road but it would be there.” She says the Agricultural Land Commission has already given approval for Okanagan Valley Feeds to set up a feed mill on the site. She expects the ALC to look favourably on future land use applications for the site that support agriculture, with each considered on a case-by-case basis. “Regarding meat processing, they’re supportive of us getting things going sooner rather than later,” she adds. RDNO Area B Director Bob Fleming questions if the ALC will streamline the process for the project as a whole. “Would that eliminate the need for a separate application for every business, or not, in this process? Or would they still be working through roughly the same process?” Fraser says there have been a few delays to the process for OVF, which hosted a ceremonial Serving the Okanagan and Fraser Valley We’ve been proudly family owned and operated since opening in 1976. And with two blending plants, we’re one of BC’s largest distributors of granular, liquid and foliar fertilizers. Our buying power and proximity to the Fraser Valley makes us the logical choice for truckload shipments. OKANAGAN FERTILIZER LTD 1-800-361-4600 or 250-838-6414Einbock Tillage Equipment For Organic FarmingEconomical Reliable Low Maintenance Safe and Proven Order now for guaranteed next season delivery.Tine Weeders Row Crop CultivatorsRotary Hoes Camera GuidanceSystemsOrder now forguaranteed next season delivery.DELTA Drain Tile CleanersImproves Drainage & Conditions SoilEmail us today at: email@example.comConstruction starts soon uShow offsThree great Jerseys from Oregon made up the grand championship row at the BC Spring Jersey Show in Chilliwack, March 16. From left to right, grand champion Pacic Edge Premier Diva, shown by Pacic Edge, reserve grand champion Arethusa Victorious Vedia and honourable mention Dixie’s Premier Darling, both shown by Misty Meadow Dairy. The grand champion earned $10,000 while the reserve champion took home a cheque for $5,000. DAVID SCHMIDT
10 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCView over 100 listings of farm properties at www.bcfarmandranch.comBC FARM & RANCH REALTY CORP.Buying or Selling a Farm or Acreage?GORD HOUWELING Cell: 604/793-8660GREG WALTON Cell: 604/864-1610Toll free 1-888-852-AGRI Call BC’s First and Only Real Estate Office committed 100% to Agriculture!PROFESSIONAL SERVICESNew "underused" homes tax has a wide impactoperating as incorporated entities, hundreds of farmers face an additional nine pages of paperwork as part of the residential declaration process even if no tax is owing. This concerns St. John McCloskey, an associate with the law rm Clark Wilson in Vancouver, which has been raising the alarm about the potential risks facing property owners who hold real estate through corporate entities, including partnerships and trusts. Declarations must be made by April 30 (since that day is a Sunday this year, the deadline is May 1), with the penalty for those who don’t le starting at $5,000 a year for individuals, and $10,000 a year for corporations, in addition to any tax owing. Special issues face farmers, who may have two or three residences on a single parcel – homes not just for themselves, but extended family as well as workers. Declarations need to break out the value of each residence, something McCloskey says may require the assistance of an appraiser as property assessments typically value improvements collectively rather than individually. “How do you value a piece property that has more than one residential property on it for the purposes of the Underused Home Tax?” McCloskey asks. “There’s not a good answer.” But it’s vital for owners who are not sole proprietors to declare, because the government reserves the right to assess taxes or penalties at any time in the future. “This means that if a taxpayer incorrectly believes that they do not have to le, their potential liability lasts forever!” a Clark Wilson bulletin notes. —Peter Mitham Richardson Ranch hosts bull sale Don and Leslie Richardson hosted their second online and 37th annual sale of Tlell bulls on March 3-4. The online auction saw 20 buyers sign in to bid on 14 Richardson Ranch bulls. The highest selling two-year-old bull was Tlell 504C Gene Seeker 3J bought by Telkwa’s Kerr Cattle Co. Ltd. for $7,500. The highest selling yearling bulls included Tlell 4013 Kinetic 12J bought by Fenton Hereford Ranch in Irma, Alta. for $6,500, Tlell 4013 Kona 11K bought by Pemberton’s Kuurne Farms for $5750 and Tlell 4013 Kenworth 26K bought by Russell McLarry of Burns Lake. A total of 13 bulls were bought during the online sale, which grossed $61,800. The remaining bull was sold shortly after the completion of the online sale. The online and private sales approach allows Richardson to publish and distribute a customized sale catalogue that is chock-full of data, including maternal productivity index, feedlot Concerns are growing that a new federal tax designed to curb foreign speculation on residential real estate could take farmers by surprise. The so-called Underused Housing Tax could see foreign nationals who are not permanent residents as well as absentee owners charged 1% of the value of an “underused” residential property, with exemptions for recreational properties (recreational properties may be exempt if occupied 28 days a year or more). While the average Canadian citizen is excluded from paying the new tax and will be exempt from ling requirements, the same is not true for private companies, partnerships and trusts owned 90% or more by Canadians. With 56% of farms in BC Expert farm taxation adviceApproved consultants for Government funding throughBC Farm Business Advisory Services ProgramEnderby 250-838-7337Armstrong 250-546-8665 |t1VSDIBTFBOETBMFPGGBSNTt5SBOTGFSPGGBSNTUPDIJMESFOt(PWFSONFOUTVCTJEZQSPHSBNTt1SFQBSBUJPOPGGBSNUBYSFUVSOTt6TFPG$BQJUBM(BJOT&YFNQUJPOT$ISJT)FOEFSTPO$1"$"-PSFO)VUUPO$1"$"5PMM 'SFF1-888-818-FARM |www.farmtax.comRossworn HendersonLLPChartered Professional Accountants - Tax Consultantsartered Professional Accountants - Tax ConsultanCALL FOR AN ESTIMATE LARRY 604.209.5523 TROY 604.209.5524 TRI-WAY FARMS LASER LEVELLING LTD.IMPROVED DRAINAGE UNIFORM GERMINATION UNIFORM IRRIGATION FAST, ACCURATE SURVEYING INCREASE CROP YIELDS We service all of Southern BCu Construction starts soonAg Briefs PETER MITHAMgroundbreaking last June and expected to be up and running this year. She says it would be nice if the ALC could be a little less restrictive with approvals considering the magnitude of the $45 million project. OVF director of operations Jon Couch says it has been a learning process for his company and the township but he is condent construction will commence soon. “We are planning to start construction in May, June or July depending on when we receive permits and some other follow-up work we’re doing with design and development,” Couch says. RDNO’s agricultural advisory committee voted in favour of adding the agri-hub project as a priority for its Regional Growth Management Advisory Committee. The resolution went before the RDNO board on March 22 for approval and will come before the RGMAC on April 6. Fraser says Spallumcheen had planned to appoint its Agri-Hub Select Committee quickly, likely by the end of March. With a move to the regional level, she now expects the process to be delayed by about a month. Fraser is adamant that the committee must include wide representation to be eective, and having a regional approach is the best way to accomplish that goal. merit index and calving ease. The top traits Richardson breeds for are calving ease and maternal productivity. Richardson’s next step is to breed bulls that have big ribeyes and marbling. “Those two things actually go against each other. It's hard to nd animals that have both. They are there, you just have to identify them,” Richardson says. “It's not just about making baby calves; at the end of the day, we're responsible for the meat that’s in the meat department, and it's important to make it as best as possible.” —Kate Ayers Canadian Foodgrains Bank supported Strong support saw $340,000 raised in support of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank through the annual Make a Dierence Sale held online March 4-7, and during a live event March 8. This year’s event raised funds for projects in the Horn of Africa, where ve years of drought compounded by food insecurity in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year has left upwards of 23 million people severely food insecure as of the end of 2022. “These funds will make an impact on many lives,” organizer Rob Brandsma announced following the event. This year’s auction came close to matching the record sum of $348,000 raised in 2021. Participants raised more than $300,000 last year, giving generously despite reeling from the after-eects of November 2021’s devastating ooding. —Peter Mitham Poultry leaders recognized Poultry health and emergency preparedness were in the spotlight as the BC Poultry Association honoured several individuals for the service to the industry during the gala that closed the BC Poultry Conference on March 3. Three awards were presented to individuals who have displayed exemplary leadership within the industry throughout their careers, and in particular the past year. Producer of the Year went to Cathy Van-Martin of B Jack Farms in Abbotsford, incident commander of the emergency operations centre during the November 2021 floods. Van-Martin also stepped up to get the EOC for the ongoing avian influenza outbreak up and running, and worked closely with her fellow egg producers to address the outbreak. Christine Koch received the Outstanding Industry Support award for her “unprecedented” efforts with the BC Poultry Association as well as the association’s EOC. Koch, who typically keeps a low profile, has spent countless hours assisting with emergency preparedness and response efforts during both the flooding in 2021 and avian influenza. Dr. Stewart Ritchie, founder of Canadian Poultry Consultants Ltd., received the sector’s Lifetime Achievement award for his service to the industry as a vet, supplier, and researcher who established his own research farm to study and improve flock management. —Peter Mitham
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 11The province has assigned additional compliance and enforcement ofcers to a Fraser Valley abattoir following alledged mistreatment of animals. FILE PETER MITHAM PITT MEADOWS – A sting operation by animal activists on a Pitt Meadows abattoir has prompted the province to step up inspection activities at the facility. Thousands of hours of video footage handed over to the province on February 22 show what the group Animal Justice Canada alleges is criminal mistreatment of animals and improper slaughter practices at Meadow Valley Meats, one of the largest provincially inspected abattoirs in the province. “It is troubling anytime we hear allegations of animal abuse,” BC agriculture minister Pam Alexis said in a media statement when Animal Justice Canada went public with the footage. “We are looking into this situation.” The BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food has since assigned additional sta from the Meat Inspection Branch to monitor the plant. “We have sent additional compliance and enforcement ocers from the ministry to ensure there is proper handling of animals in accordance with the regulations,” ministry sta told Country Life in BC last month. “Ensuring animals are treated ethically is a priority for our government, and we are committed to ensuring our animal welfare framework is strong.” The footage was captured by unauthorized surveillance cameras last summer, and mailed to Animal Justice in early February by what the group describes as an anonymous source. However, the group has claimed the sting operation for itself, part of a campaign targeting the “humane” production claims of the livestock sector. Ridge Meadows RCMP says it is not investigating the placement of cameras at Meadow Valley. Meadow Valley processes animals for brands such as 63 Acres, which highlights the “vegetarian diet” of the animals providing the meat for its products. A video summary Animal Justice posted online of its action against Meadow Valley features well-known US animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin declaring KuhnNorthAmerica.comVisit your local British Columbia KUHN dealer today!INVEST IN QUALITY®www.kuhn.comMasterdrive ® GIII gearbox provides increased toughness and reliabilityRight-hand delivery maximizesHydraulic headland lift allows for quick Double-curved tine arms are designed Patented StandardUNIFORM, FLUFFY WINDROWSGA 4230 T & GA 4231 T Single-Rotor Rotary Rakes13’10” Working WidthMatsqui Ag-RepairAbbotsfordNorthline EquipmentPouce CoupeHuber Farm EquipmentPrince Georgethat workers in the video seem to lack proper training. The video summary appears to show workers mishandling animals and several examples of improper stunning and botched kills. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the margin of error with respect to stunning is 1% to 4%. Animal Justice Canada did not respond to a request for comment on whether or not kills captured by its footage fell within this range. CFIA guidelines also draw a distinction between so-called “zero-tolerance events … where a single occurrence is unacceptable because of the severe animal welfare impact” and deliberate acts of cruelty. “Do not confuse zero tolerance issues (e.g. return to sensibility) with deliberate acts of cruelty,” the guidelines caution. “Deliberate acts of cruelty are those where a single occurrence is unacceptable because of their willful nature.” The province says the BC SPCA has launched an investigation of Meadow Valley with assistance from Province steps up surveillance after sting operationActivists targeting operations that make ‘humane’ claimsagriculture ministry sta. The plant’s licence has not been suspended. The province is currently conducting a review of its animal welfare policy framework and says it is “nalizing a thorough background document that will be provided to an advisory committee for review.” Committee members have yet to be announced. The province expects members to deliver their recommendations this summer. Meadow Valley did not respond to a request for comment on the video and allegations. BC Meats, which represents abattoirs in the province, also declined comment. Provincially licensed abattoirs have the condence of Merritt rancher Julia Smith, executive director of the Small-Scale Meat Producers Association. “Most small-scale producers are using the services of small, regional, provincially inspected abattoirs and, in our experience, these facilities do provide a very high standard of animal care,” she says. “Abattoir owners and sta take the time to answer our questions, demonstrate their handling systems and are proud of their work. The quality of our products depends on high animal welfare standards at the abattoir so it is in everyone’s best interests to ensure that the animals are treated with care and compassion.” Producers who want to engage in on-farm slaughter are required to take the province’s SlaughterRight course, which parallels the code of practice for provincially licensed abattoirs. “By ensuring that these producers are highly skilled, trained and have the right equipment, we can further improve animal welfare and outcomes,” Smith notes.
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Achieve unmatched uniformity with eld-proven Rotator® technology.SR150 BIG GUN®ARC TIMERACV200800 SERIESCONTROL VALVESR2000WF ROTATOR® & MINI REGULATOR DRAIN CHECKTOM WALKER VICTORIA – The province’s proposed watershed security strategy is big on local governance but short on protections for agriculture, say critics of an intentions paper released March 6. “This is a very complex, high-level document,” says Elaine Stovin assistant general manager of the BC Cattlemen’s Association. “But it contains very little actual policy on how the intentions will be carried out and as such it will be dicult for individual farmers to respond to without further explanation from the government.” Prepared by the BC Ministry of Water Land and Resource Stewardship as it assumes responsibility for water use planning, the intentions paper (available at [engage.gov.bc.ca/watershedsecurity/]) outlines ve goals, including the enabling of new approaches to watershed governance; aligning water laws and policy with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP); building a strong and accessible foundation of water science and knowledge; applying holistic approaches to watershed management and ecosystem protection; and ensuring the right balance of water supply and demand at the watershed level to ensure the quality and quantity needed for people, the environment and the economy. These intentions are supported by 16 strategies, led by eorts to “enhance local watershed governance by establishing collaborative processes and accelerating a watershed level program that supports the use of governance tools for watershed security such as water sustainability plans.” Stovin says the water sustainability plans as outlined in the Water Sustainability Act will be useful tools for planning if they’re similar to Forest Landscape Plans. “Forest Landscape Plans should be extremely valuable to our province as this is the rst time in a very long time they are actually doing landscape- level planning,” she says. “We support bringing all stakeholders together to plan around watersheds, but as yet there is a lack of direction on how those plans will be developed.” There is a risk that agriculture will take a back seat to other priorities within a watershed, however. The province has dropped plans for a livestock watering regulation, leaving the matter for individual water sustainability plans to address. While this leaves room for local considerations, Stovin fears that agricultural water use could rank lower than others. “The reference to addressing existing and emerging regional pressures and risks could make us vulnerable,” she says. The BC Agriculture Council has been involved in the watershed security strategy discussions since the release of an initial discussion paper in January 2022, says BCAC policy director Paul Pryce. “We are hopeful that when the actual strategy paper comes out there will be a chapter that really spells out how to create an agriculture water reserve and make that an important rst step in the creation of a water sustainability plan,” he says. The intentions paper has a strong emphasis on reconciliation while agriculture has a lower prole, says Summerland apple grower and BC Fruit Growers Association water issues representative Katie Sardinha. “The reconciliation piece is extremely important, and I have a lot of hope that there will be a long-term approach to this planning,” she says. “But I see very little in the document that addresses food security.” A bright point is the potential for a more exible approach to water licensing, a contentious issue for many growers following the province’s move to regulate groundwater use in 2016. “The reference to a more exible licensing system may support growers to consider alternate crops if they are not bound to the current license by crop for their water licences,” she says. BC Cattlemen’s supports the reference to capture and storage options for water infrastructure. “We have long promoted more water storage through ponds and dugouts,” notes Stovin. “We knew that water metering was coming … but we are concerned about the complexity of an on-line reporting tool and how an individual farmer’s information will be shared.” This proposed strategy is an extremely ambitious initiative, says Oliver grape grower Hans Buchler, a member of the BCAC water security and management committee. “It places enormous pressure on First Nations to be involved in water sustainability plans while not providing a script for that process. I hope that it can be set up for success.” The province welcomes feedback on the paper until April 17, and Stovin says the participation of farmers and ranchers is crucial. “This is an intentions paper and from this they will develop strategies,” she says. Watershed strategy could hang ag out to dryGreater flexibility is good, but agriculture could take a back seat“There is a lack of direction on how those plans will be developed.” ELAINE STOVIN BC CATTLEMENT’S ASSOCIATION
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 13Flood victims struggle with recovery deadline‘Insurmountable’ clean-up won’t be complete by December COMMITTED TO AGRICULTURE in BRITISH COLUMBIA rollinsmachinery.comCHILLIWACK • 1.800.242.9737 . 44725 Yale Road West • 604.792.1301 LANGLEY • 1.800.665.9060 |. 21869 - 56th Avenue • 604.533.0048 CHEMANIUS • 220.127.116.113 . 3306 Smiley Road KELOWNA • 250.765.8266 . #201 - 150 Campion Street TRACTORS JD 5090GN 900 HRS, CAB, 4WD, BERRY TRACTOR [U32597] 64,900 KUBOTA M7060 2019, CAB, NO LOADER, 200 HRS [U32830] .. 67,000 NH T4 120 ROPS, LOADER, LOW HOURS [N31691] ................ 79,600 NH TS6.140 [N 31304] ......................................................... 96,500 NH WORKMASTER 105 CAB, LOADER, LOW HOURS (U32946)…. 87,000 QUALITY USED EQUIPMENT BUHLER TRIPLEX MOWER 18’, LIKE NEW [CNS794] .......................... 19,900 CASE 161 DISC MOWER, ROLLER CONDITIONER [U32495] ............ 16,900 CUB CADET LAWN TRACTORS NEW 2022 UNITS, RIDE-ON, O’TURNS . 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Projects must complete by the end of this year to be eligible, but Rhonda MacDonald of Bar FX Ranch in Merritt says that’s impossible. “I just wish we had boots on the ground and … they could come and see [our property] because the deadline for the program is what is causing people in our area a lot of grief right now,” she says. MacDonald says Nicola Valley ranchers and farmers could miss out on their share of the $228 million AgriRecovery package announced in February 2022 as a result. In her case, clean-up is complicated by a mudslide that hit last August spreading silt, rocks and logs across her hay eld and those of her neighbours. “We have that big 80-acre hay eld downstream from us,” MacDonald says. “It's under anywhere from a foot to four feet of silt from the mudslide.” As a result, they had to dig themselves out from under the debris before they could continue to address the ood damage. The eld has now been out of production for over a year, but the cattle still need feed. So, the MacDonalds bought 330 tons of hay this winter from Dawson Creek. “It's unfortunate the Ministry of Agriculture doesn't know much about agriculture and growing crops. We have four feet of debris on that eld to remove rst, MacDonald says. “So, we're not going to get our usual three cuts. We may get two, you know, if things are done in a timely manner and the weather cooperates.” Before the ood hit, the MacDonalds had plans to grow their herd, but they are in a holding pattern until they can get their ranch back to full operation. “It's so frustrating because we had a plan in place, and we were going hard for it to increase our numbers because we had this new range right across the river from our house. And now we've been really pushed hard backwards and we're just stagnant now,” she says. All told, the catastrophes destroyed $360,000 worth of irrigation equipment and $500,000 in fencing. “We're all up against what I feel is like an insurmountable task at this point,” MacDonald says. “And it may very well be if they don't give us an extension or something, but hopefully the powers that be will listen to that.” The province did not comment on the prospects of an extension in a statement to Country Life in BC. “All projects need to be completed by Dec. 31, 2023, for the expenses to be eligible,” the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food says. While AgriRecovery has been a boon to Bar FX Ranch, time is of the essence. “I do think that the AgriRecovery program that they came up with for the ooding is a really good one. You know, it's helped us a lot,” says MacDonald. “I can't say enough good things about our advisor for the programs.” Indeed, AgriRecovery paid for hay they lost during the ood. It was critical in getting the herd through the 2021-2022 winter and it helped replace cattle they lost to the Lytton Creek re a few months earlier. But they have not received urgently needed government A welcome hug – but it will take much more than that for Nicola Valley ranchers to recover from oods and landslides. They are asking the province to extend an AgriRecovery deadline they can’t possibly meet. FACEBOOK / JULIA SMITHOut of pocket uTurnin soi sinc 1899. Cultivatin Craf Bee sinc 2019.Grown and brewed on-farm in Ladner, B.C.www.barnsidebrewing.caAsk for us at your local beer storeAsk for us at your local beer storeAsk for us at your local beer storeDon’t forget to RENEW yourrget WSubscription toCountry Life in BC
14 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCu Out of pocketsupport, which is what they need. Since the November 2021 floods, no one from the agriculture ministry has visited the Nicola Valley, MacDonald says. “Our problems here due to the flooding were a lot different than the problems in the Fraser Valley. That's why we wanted somebody from that particular ministry to come so they could see for themselves and understand what we're up against,” she says. “It’s pretty discouraging.” Aside from the flooding, MacDonald and her neighbours recently learned that the mudslide event last year does not qualify for DFA support under the AgriRecovery program’s parameters. “It's not a big enough disaster,” MacDonald was told through a brief letter of explanation from an evaluator. So, all those costs are out of pocket. She says the decision is even more discouraging given that she says the mudslide was the direct result of the BC Wildfire Service’s lack of action on the Lytton Creek fire that scorched Bar FX in August 2021. Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart and South Delta MLA Ian Paton, who serves as agriculture critic for the BC Liberals, have both visited the ranch and raised the issues in face-to-face meetings with both public safety minister Mike Farnsworth and Emergency Management and Climate Readiness minister Bowinn Ma. Farnsworth was open to the idea of financial assistance for ranchers and farmers along Hwy 8, but came back from Christmas recess empty-handed. “You would think it be a no-brainer with a $5.7 billion surplus right now,” Paton says. “These people have been through a living hell between fires and floods and now mudslides, and if anybody should be given a break it should be these people.” Paton says the government talks a good line on food security, but it doesn’t seem to have the fortitude to help the people making it possible. “They’re the people who are feeding people in this province,” he says of MacDonald and her neighbours. “They should certainly be given an extension if that’s what it’s going to take.” KATE AYERS MERRITT – More federal financial assistance for flood recovery was announced in February, but farmers won’t benefit from this second interim payment from Ottawa. “From what I’ve found, funding for disaster funding assistance is for DFA [Disaster Financial Assistance], so anybody who is in the agricultural sector, it won't apply to them,” says Rhonda MacDonald, owner of Bar FX Ranch in Merritt, explaining that her own DFA claim was rolled over into the AgriRecovery program announced in February 2022. The new funding of nearly $557 million, announced in Abbotsford by federal emergency preparedness minster Bill Blair, brings total DFA payments to BC to more than $1 billion. The first payment of $469 million was made in July 2022 and covered supports to farmers provided under the Canada-BC Flood Recovery Program for Food Security, according to the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food. “Under Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, the federal government partially reimburses provincial costs associated with response and recovery,” a statement from the ministry says. It says funds have been provided to more than 400 applicants to help with expenses for things like animal feed; shelter, fencing, the loss of perennial plants not raised for resale; and returning land to agricultural production. The ministry also mentioned that enrolled farms continue to receive payments for loss submissions on flood clean up, uninsurable structure repairs and replanting of perennial crops. But to date, just $62 million has been disbursed from the $228 million originally promised. And this latest round won’t bolster the original funding, which itself fell short of the $275 million in losses an industry-government roundtable determined farmers and ranchers had suffered. The province says the timeline for final reimbursements will depend on when applicants provide their documentation and receipts for clean up, repairs and replanting. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, insured flood damages total more than $450 million, making it as BC’s most costly natural disaster. Disaster Financial Assistance funds inconsequential for producersJust $62 million has been disbursed to date PRE-OWNED EQUIPMENT CASE IH MAGNUM 190 CVT MFD TRACTOR ROW CROP TIRES CALL FOR DETAILS CASE IH MAXXUM 145CVT CALL FOR DETAILS CLAAS ORBIS 750 CORNHEAD CALL FOR DETAILS CASE IH FARMALL 95A MFD ROPS TRACTOR WITH LOADER CALL FOR DETAILS CLAAS 860 SP FORAGE HARVESTER 12.5’ PICKUP & 6-ROW CORNHEAD $93,700 CLAAS JAG 870 SP FORAGE HARVESTER 10’ PICKUP & 6-ROW CORNHEAD CALL FOR MORE DETAILS/PRICING CLAAS 970 SP FORAGE HARVESTER 10’ PICKUP & 10-ROW CORNHEAD CALL FOR MORE DETAILS/PRICING KUHN GF7802THA TEDDER CALL FOR DETAILS NH T4.75 TRACTOR ROPS MFD WITH LOADER www.caliberequipment.ca STORE HOURS MONDAY-FRIDAY, 8-5 OPEN SATURDAY 8-12 STARTING APRIL 15604-864-2273 860 RIVERSIDE ROAD ABBOTSFORD More Crops. Less Ash.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 15Rising ferry fares sink producer profitsFerries commission to decide fares this fallKira M’Lot and George Dudek of Sirius Micro Farm in Parksville grow vegetables and raise livestock but the high cost of transporting inputs by ferry is taking the prot out of farming. CHRIS MONTGOMERYKATE AYERS PARKSVILLE – The province plans to spend $500 million over the next four years to keep ferry fares in check, welcome news for Vancouver Island and Gulf Island producers who face rising input costs due to freight. Rather than a series of annual increases in the range of 10.4%, the new funding aims to limit the annual increases to just 3%. “Any cost is passed on, so transport increases will aect the price of feed and the cost of almost everything involved in farming,” says Metchosin’s Parry Bay Sheep Farm owner John Buchanan. “We are denitely struggling with rising costs and slow delivery of parts.” The increasing cost of crop inputs and feed, which are amplied by increasing ferry fares, are also felt by Kira M’Lot and George Dudek of Sirius Micro Farm in Parksville. “We do feed certied organic, but you cannot buy bulk certied organic feed on the island,” M’Lot says. “The only option for bulk feeds on the island is Top Shelf Feeds in Duncan; however, they do not have organic feed.” Buckerelds in Parksville sells 17% organic layer feed for $46 per bag. In Season Farms in Aldergrove, where the couple buys their animal feed, has an organic feed mill Ferry woes uwith the same option for $29.18 a bag. “We buy it in half-ton bulk totes, which brings it down to an equivalent of $26.28 per bag,” M’Lot says. “The feed mills bring the price down dramatically and allows you to earn a prot from your animals.” The caveat is that the couple need to make trips to the mainland every four months, bringing back three tons of feed each trip. In addition to increasing fuel costs, ferry price increases further push up the cost of doing business. “There is a huge, huge, huge price increase on the island from the mainland and every time that ferry price changes, [shipping and freight] prices increase as well,” M’Lot says. “It denitely does make it challenging and you have to get creative on ways to save money.” Two Roads Farm owner Sam Croome on Denman Island says creativity is required to cut costs. “We try not to bring over very many inputs. 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16 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCu FERRY woesCohortWholesale.comTechnical and sales support provided byCrack the cherry cracking code!Lalstim Osmo • Minimizes yield losses caused by rain-induced splitting• Works quickly and provides protection for several weeks• Excellent tank-mix partnerAlways read and follow label directions. Lalstim Osmo is a registered trademark of Lallemand Plant Care. Copyright ©2023 Lallemand Plant Care. CRACK THE C DElallemandplantcare.com While ferry cost is a factor for island producers, ferry trac for the Gulf Islands can be a logistical nightmare. Depending on the time of year, Two Roads Farm owner Sam Croome on Denman Island may have to wait more than ve sailings to make the crossing from the ferry terminal in Buckley Bay to Denman Island. The route from Vancouver Island to Denman is non-reservable, so customers are loaded in the order they arrive at the ferry terminal. “The popularity of our neighbouring island Hornby and sheer volume of tourist trac is a real pain in the ass,” Croome says. “You can often be lined up down the Old Island Highway at Buckley Bay for an indeterminate number of sailings in the summer because … there is such a volume of cars going over to Hornby.” The Buckley Bay terminal loaded 122,031 vehicles last year, according to December 2022 trac statistics system data from BC Ferries. During the peak August travel period, Buckley Bay saw 18,139 vehicles. Some of the farm’s input suppliers will only travel certain days of the week during certain seasons to avoid the tourist trac. The Baynes Sound Connector, the rst cable ferry to be introduced to the BC Ferries eet, also serves Denman Island but is always broken, Croome says. “It was an elaborate and expensive experiment, and we don’t really know why because it is not replicable elsewhere and it just doesn't seem to be working,” he says. “I would like to see that revisited and preferably gotten rid of and replaced with an ecient Island-class ferry like they are doing with the rest of the routes. Quadra, Gabriola and Cortes just got two new ferries and we still have this barge that constantly breaks down.” Croome would also like to see local trac prioritized so that island residents can get home in a timely manner during the busy seasons. “We deal with the externalities of Hornby’s tourism industry and get none of the benet,” Croome says. “Hornby is asking for 50% of each sailing o Denman to be reserved for Hornby trac, so we’re ne with that as long as it goes the other way as well. If we sail from Buckley Bay, we need to be able to get on a ferry outside of a ve-sailing wait.” –Kate AyersFerry traffic another hurdle for island producersSo, cover crops are a new part of a savings solution for his mixed-vegetable farm. “We are getting creative with what we utilize for compost for our soil nutrition by growing more cover crops and getting some alfalfa in,” Croome says. “Eectively, we are going to grow hay just to make compost with. The old rural resilience thing is coming into play but it’s being somewhat driven by the cost of bringing things over.” M'Lot has also found that the price point consumers are willing to pay makes it tricky to raise, process and market livestock on a small scale within protable margins on the island. She has raised heritage pigs the last three years and the cost of the meat from each litter has gone up by $0.50 per pound. “If costs don’t go up, we will have our next group at $7.50/lb for a half pig or $8/lb for a quarter pig. If there are increases again, they will go up by $0.50/lb,” M’Lot says. Moving forward, M’Lot would like to see BC Ferries recognize the agricultural industry as an essential part of the community and contributors to local food security. When using the ferry, M’Lot pays the same ticket fare to get farm supplies with her truck and 12-foot trailer as someone on holiday with a travel trailer, she says. The BC Ministry of Transportation says aordable ferry rates will benet the many small businesses that rely on BC Ferries for the movement of inputs and products, including farm businesses. “With the vast majority of the food consumed on Vancouver Island being produced elsewhere, signicant fare increases would have also meant increased prices for Vancouver Island consumers and agriculture producers,” a ministry statement provided to Country Life in BC said. The BC Ferries Commission was set to determine the preliminary annual price cap on March 31. The nal fare increases will be announced September 30 and will apply to a four-year period starting April 1, 2024. Don’t forget to RENEW yourrget WSubscription toCountry Life in BCSAM CROOME
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 17Fruit growers keep calm, carry on at conventionHopes high for revamped replant program this springBill Everitt 250.295.7911 ext #102 firstname.lastname@example.org r Toll free 1.877.797.7678 ext #102Princeton Wood Preservers Ltd. 1821 Hwy 3 Princeton, B.C. V0X 1W0KILN DRIED PRESSURE TREATED ROUND WOOD POSTS AND RAILS&ARMs/RCHARDs6INEYARDs"ERRY4RELLISINGPreferred supplier for British Columbia Ministries & Parks Canada.TOM WALKER PENTICTON – A calm and placid convention awaited growers who met for the BC Fruit Growers Association annual meeting in Penticton, February 28. There were no speeches, fewer reports, and a moment of silence for former vice-president Jeet Dukhia, who died last fall. “Jeet wanted the best for the tree fruit sector,” president Peter Simonsen told growers. “He would want us to continue our BCFGA eorts and do so with his energy and conviction. So let us carry on and honour his legacy.” The tree fruit industry is far dierent than when Dukhia was elected president in 2013. A renewed replant program launched in 2014 to help growers invest in orchard renewal, apple growers saw much better returns and there were fewer climate impacts back then. The past ve years have brought signicant change. “We rst alerted our ministry to an apple market failure in early 2018 and since then we have lost 17% of our apple acreage,” says Simonsen. “The growers who remain are in a precarious position.” In response to this situation, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food led a tree fruit industry stabilization initiative in 2021 that resulted in 19 recommendations. Simonsen supports the initiative’s work but he also says the industry is in need of immediate help to get back on track. “While the tree fruit stabilization plan is a good roadmap for an industry moving forward, after so many years of poor market returns what we now have is a car in the ditch with four at tires,” he told growers. There are three areas of support that would help get that car back on the road, Simonsen says. “The 19 recommendations notwithstanding, the BCFGA has pushed forward on three main planks which we see as essential game-changers. Those being, orderly marketing, replant and grower support,” he explains. A packers group formed in 2022 is making progress on marketing issues, Simonsen says, describing it as “an apple marketer’s association.” Grower representatives have recently been invited to join and the next month will see discussion of the hurdles facing the sector as well as the principles and practical tools needed to make progress on marketing issues. “We are looking forward to ironing out our dierences and getting to a practical solution to ensure that growers get fair pricing for our quality BC apples,” Simonsen says. On March 6, the province launched a replant subcommittee of its tree fruit stabilization task force to consider options for a new replant program. Simonsen say growers aren’t yet sure of its vision. BCFGA would like to see any new program begin this spring. One of the recommendations in the stabilization plan speaks to investigating requests for one-time support to producers experiencing dicult nancial circumstances. Simonsen says BCFGA acknowledges the various initiatives that have received provincial funding but adds, “We have not seen any movement on our specic request for nancial support similar to that received by our foreign competitors.” BC Tree Fruits Co-op has been an important topic of grower discussion over the last six months but BCFGA declined to discuss the co-op at the convention. “A question was posed twice to the board of directors: ‘Can the BC Tree Fruits Cooperative be added to the agenda of the BCFGA annual convention,’” says BCFGA general manager Glen Lucas. The board decided not to address concerns regarding the co-op for a variety of reasons. “The meeting is about BCFGA and its advocacy and programs, not about the BCTFC,” Lucas explained in a circular to BCFGA members. “The appropriate forum for discussing BCTFC is the BCTFC meetings, with BCTFC governance rules. The BCFGA values our relationship with all packers, and the relationship with each packer is the same. The BCFGA respects the right of packers to their self-determination (non-interference in their internal aairs), as we would want the packers to respect the BCFGA.” By mid-March, it was nally warm enough for Gabriel Luna from Chiapas, Mexico and his team to prune grapevines between Oliver and Osoyoos for Hester Creek Estate Winery of Oliver. This is the second year he's come to Canada, one of nearly 6,000 temporary foreign workers helping Okanagan farmers each season. MYRNA STARK LEADERSigns of spring
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 19A herd of protected Roosevelt elk have moved onto Ken Ellison’s Dellison Farm in Duncan, and show no sign of leaving. SUBMITTEDemail: email@example.com Kinchant Street, Quesnel, B.C. V2J 5A3Producers can apply for an advance on calves, yearlings, lambs, bison, forage and grain up to $1,000,000.00 with the rst $250,000.00 being interest free. Plus, interest relief through the Advance Payments Program is available to association members on their feeder cattle purchases.Approximately25 Cow/Calf Pairsto be SOLDdirectly followingour bull sale.Producer Check-o Supports Beef Industry Projects.www.cattlefund.net 1.877.688.2333www.cattlefund.net 1.877.688.2333KATE AYERS LADYSMITH – Elk continue to damage farm infrastructure and government compensation is not enough, producers say. They want long-term solutions that balance land and species protection. “The grass that should be starting to grow, getting ready for crops come June, is chewed right down to half an inch on the ground. So, they've devoured all that,” says Misty Valley Farm owner Howie Davis of Ladysmith. Davis runs 150 cattle on 180 acres and four years ago had about a dozen elk on his land. Last month, he counted 42 animals that have remained on his property since December. The herd have put holes in his pastureland and run through sections of fencing. When he calls the province to report the damage to his property, sta oer compensation through the Agriculture Wildlife Program. “I'd like to see people that are responsible for them to keep their elk o my property the same as I have to keep my cattle o other people's property. But they don't do anything,” Davis says. “They’ll throw more money at it but that isn't what solves it. It’s terrible. They just don't seem to care at all.” While the compensation is a start, he says the amount is not enough to cover all the losses caused by the elk. “It's not nearly what it costs for me to go ahead and repair my fences and try to do something with my ground after they've chewed it all up,” Davis says. “[Annual repairs] are not what I want to do with my land. I want to grow hay and feed my cattle.” In 1998, the Roosevelt elk was added to the list of species of special concern in BC. But since then, the elk population has nearly doubled, rising from 3,800 in 2001 to an estimated 7,000 last year. Of these, the BC Wildlife Federation estimates about 4,500 live on Vancouver Producers at a loss with elk damagesGovernment needs to step up, farmers sayCompensation isn’t enough u
20 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCu Compensation isn’t enough to pay for elk damageIsland. The remainder are concentrated in the mainland’s southwest. The elk’s protected status means farmers cannot legally take matters into their own hands. “The Wildlife Act doesn't authorize the owner of agricultural property to destroy wildlife that is damaging or eating crops,” online guidance from the province states. “If there is a lawful hunting season open at the time and in the location that the crop damage is taking place, there is the option of contacting the local rod and gun club to arrange for hunters to come and harvest the conict animals.” While there is not an open season for elk during the year, outtters can obtain permits to shoot bulls, Davis says. Each year, resident hunters submit over 15,000 applications for approximately 300 permits in a lottery system. “If you shoot a bull you got rid of one elk, but the cows are the ones that are producing. The herd that's out here, there are ve bulls, so you can gure that out,” he says. Davis would like to see a designated hunting season to thin the herds. Misty Valley Farm sits about as far north as the elk will go on Vancouver Island, Davis says, but the problem persists in the Duncan and Mill Bay areas, too. Davis fears the herd will continue to grow, expanding its range and the number of aected farms. The Vancouver Island Cattlemen’s Association hosted the BC Forage Council on March 9 for an advanced grazing workshop, where the issue arose in discussion. Producers noted that they cannot use rotational grazing and best management practices or enroll in provincial grazing programs if they have lost all their grass to elk. It was apparent to Davis and Dellison Farm owner and VICA vice-president Ken Ellison of Duncan that producers are at a loss for viable long-term solutions. “I talked to a couple of dierent people just today. They've put up fencing and dierent fence types,” Davis says. “There's just nothing they've been able to do to keep them out permanently. A couple of them have just thrown up their hands. They don't know what to do.” Ellison has dealt with a herd of about 90 resident elk on his property that have damaged fences and property. He manages about 240 acres of owned and leased land for his 150 head of cattle. Last year, the elk caused enough damage to his pastures that Ellison had to buy 400 round bales and 80 large squares to feed his cattle. “I've never had to buy feed before. … And then the government says, ‘Well, we're giving you compensation for it.’ But it doesn't come close to what we're losing. Not close,” Ellison says. BC Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon acknowledges that elk are “a huge issue for our ranchers and farmers throughout the province that we have been dealing with for decades. It comes to management of numbers of elk out there and then how to compensate for it.” While the issue is perennial, Ellison has never seen the situation so dire. Thirty years ago, he had one bull and two cows on his property. Now, two herds have come together and live in the area year-round. “I’ve never seen what we’re dealing with right now, ever. This time of year, even in February, we used to have six or eight inches of new green growth in our elds. We have lawns right now,” Ellison says. “Forget about what’s going to grow in our peak April and May growing season. With the damage that these animals are doing to the roots of our grass because they're chewing it down, … that grass is never going to recover.” Ranchers have raised this issue with the province, including BC Ministry of Forests wildlife biologist William Wilton, who leads development and implementation of the Roosevelt elk management plan. Wilton says the ministry is doing everything it can to increase herd numbers. As the herd grows, human-wildlife conicts are expanding beyond local farms. Since December, four elk have been hit by vehicles while crossing over Highway 1 to Davis’s property, all of which had to be euthanized due to injuries. “I believe what they're waiting for is someone to get killed so that they can do something more about it. The one police I talked to; those were the words that she said,” Davis says. In addition to elk on the road, Ellison worries about cattle getting out and causing accidents. “It's dicult to nd an insurance company that will actually sell us insurance. What happens when the insurance companies have to start paying out [for] cattle being out on the roads and getting hit by cars because elk have broken down fences, and that's starting to happen right now,” Ellison says. “That's something that nobody's even thought about, like the lovely biologists at the Ministry of Environment who caused this problem.” The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, which oversees the Conservation Ocer Service, declined to comment. The Ministry of Forests did not respond before deadline. “I believe what they're waiting for is someone to get killed so that they can do something more about it.” HOWIE DAVIS MISTY VALLEY FARM
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 21New AI insights shared at poultry conference Biosecurity remains producers’ best defence, experts say“Serving and Supporting the Community Together”PROVINCIALLY INSPECTED ABATTOIR B.C. #34ALL SIZES MARKET GOATS & LAMBS604.465.4752 (Ext 105)FAX 604.465.4744 firstname.lastname@example.org BCHA President: John Lewis 250-218-2537 BCHA Secretary: Janice Tapp 250-699-6466 April 8, 2023 - 48th Annual Vanderhoof All Breeds Bull Sale BC Livestock, Vanderhoof April 13 & 14, 2023 - 86th Annual Williams Lake Bull Show & Sale BC Livestock, Williams Lake Have you herd? VBP+ TrainingWorkshops or Webinarsare Free!Looking to learn moreabout how to raisehealthy beef cattle?Open to producers of allsizes!free to all beef producersin bc!PETER MITHAM VANCOUVER – The existential challenge highly pathogenic avian inuenza presents the poultry industry in BC and around the world was in the spotlight as experts and producers met in Vancouver for the BC Poultry Conference, March 2-3. “The take-home message: it’s here to stay,” Steve Leech, food safety and animal health director with Chicken Farmers of Canada, told a packed room during one of the education sessions at the conference. “We have been dealing with this for over a year and it’s not even close to being done,” he says. “CFIA [Canadian Food Inspection Agency] has compensated out over $87 million right now for birds that they’ve ordered destroyed, and from an operations perspective we’re sitting at around $60 million. And those are not nal numbers. This is ongoing.” And even despite the $60 million spent on CFIA operations to date, the agency (like industry) was taken unawares by the sheer scale of the disease which broke out in several provinces simultaneously. “We had to deal with it in multiple provinces at the same time; we’ve never had to do that in previous AI outbreaks. That stretched resources signicantly at the industry level, at the government level, and we ran into big troubles,” Leech says. “If we had to deal with African Swine Fever or foot-and-mouth disease at the same time, we would be in a real row of hurt. CFIA would have no resources.” But the good news is that things are much better than they were a year ago, thanks to collaboration between government and industry on the massive challenge AI has posed. Leech told growers that CFIA has made progress on developing a strategy to respond to future crises on the scale AI has shown is possible. The scale of the current outbreak has also given scientists greater insights into how the H5N1 virus behaves, improving management and mitigation protocols. Most important, there’s been no evidence of spread between commercial and non-commercial farms, nor among non-commercial operators themselves. Service providers also don’t seem to facilitate spread of the disease. But Leech noted, “farms with access to the outdoors are over-represented” and those closest to waterways are at the highest risk of infection thanks to their proximity to waterfowl habitat. This helps explain the high Fraser Valley poultry uWEEKLY FARM NEWSUPDATEScountrylifeinbc.comSign up for FREELYESr FREEBirds of a featherShawn Heppell (left) received a photo of his younger self at the family’s turkey farm in Abbotsford from BC Turkey Marketing Board executive director Natalie Veles (right) on March 3 in recognition of his 25 years of service. Heppell joined the board in 1998 and has served in many capacities at both the provincial and national levels. During the past year, he assisted growers impacted by avian inuenza. “These kind of roles really stretch you and grow you,” he said, thanking the board for its support and the opportunity to serve. PETER MITHAM
22 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCu Fraser Valley poultry at higher riskMarketing British Columbia to the World®www.landquest.comToll Free 1-866-558-LAND (5263)“The Source” for Oceanfront, Lakefront, Islands, Ranches, Resorts & Land in BC®Visit our WebsiteMARVELOUS COUNTRY ESTATE ON 27 ACRES JUST SOUTH OF KAMLOOPS, BCPRIME AGRICULTURAL LANDMISSION, BC PRIVATE PENINSULA - CONRAD LAKEBURNS LAKE RURALAFFORDABLE STARTER RANCH CLOSE TO TOWN - PRINCE GEORGE, BCNAKISKA RANCHWELLS GRAY PARK - CLEARWATER, BCAGRICULTURAL ACREAGE - POTENTIAL HOBBY FARM / GREENHOUSE BUSINESSBASE CAMP DESOLATION SOUNDSTRATA LOT 1 WILDERNESS5.4 ACRES IN 3 TITLESLEVEL FORT ST. JAMES RIVERFRONTWelcome to country living! Stunning modern 3,000 ft2 residence perched atop 27+ acres. Perfect location to raise a family, or comfortably retire. A short 15 minute commute needed to ensure full enjoyment of your new forever home. $1,299,00073.75 acres consists of 43 acres agricultural land and 30 acres of west facing hillside outside the ALR with subdivision potential. Natural gas, telephone, cable and 3-phase power. Zoning allows residential uses and a wide variety of agricultural uses. Water licences for domestic and stock watering. NOW $3,990,0003,400 ft of lakeshore on Conrad Lake. Private peninsula surrounded by miles of Crown land that extend north to Babine Lake area. Existing RV pad with useable services. Enjoy this 31 acre private paradise as your estate, hobby farm or investment property. Zoning permits subdivision into 2 hectare lots. $239,000317 acres 20 minutes from Prince George. 65 acres hay land. 2 km river frontage on scenic Chilako River. Main house: 4 bedoorm, 1 bath house. Second home: 3 bedroom, 1 bath. power. Storage sheds, workshop, hay shed and $1,179,000472 acre guest ranch that generates great income. 4,770 ft2 main house / lodge, 7-stall stable and many outbuildings. Cabins and lodge accommodation are booked solid from May to October. 300 acres of timber, 170 acres of pasture. Can support 50± cow-calf pairs. Ideal for a large family! $2,999,000Bring your ideas to develop this quality agricultural acreage. Property is 5.55 acres of Highway. Located approx. half-way between Calgary and Vancouver in the rural community of Malakwa. Zoning and new ALR rules allow two homes. $375,0005 acre wilderness lot located at the gateway to Desolation Sound, minutes to Lund on the Sunshine Coast. Road accessible with power available. No building permit process required. Limited availability with only 9 lots being released with introductory pricing from $349,000. NOW $369,000Located just minutes from town center the nicely treed lots are located just as Stuart Lake becomes Stuart River. Build three residences or just keep a couple lots for an investment. Hydro, gas and Internet are available all along paved Sweder Road. $295,000COLE WESTERSUND 604-360-0793 Personal Real Estate CorporationWESTERN LAND GROUPRICH OSBORNE 604-328-0848Personal Real Estate Corporationrich@landquest.comJOHN ARMSTRONG 250-307-2100Personal Real Estate Corporationjohn@landquest.comSAM HODSON 604-809-2616 Personal Real Estate Corporationsam@landquest.comROB GREENE email@example.comMATT CAMERON firstname.lastname@example.orgJASON ZROBACK 1-604-414-5577 JAMIE ZROBACK 1-604-483-1605BC LANDPRO GROUPKURT NIELSEN email@example.comNORTH END FARMSALT SPRING ISLAND, BCTHUYA CREEK CAMPGROUNDLITTLE FORT, BC on waterfront, 3 homes, multiple barns, & farming infrastructure with a mix of 32 acres hay / pasture and mature coastal timber. A fully operation farm, long known as a popular market for island residents. $11,500,000surrounded by excellent outdoor recreation opportunities. Offering 36 serviced sites on 11.27 acres with room for expansion. Shop, caretaker / owner residence, laundry, shower house, playground, Sani-Dump and more! $1,299,000KEVIN KITTMER firstname.lastname@example.orgFAWN GUNDERSON 250-982-2314Personal Real Estate Corporationfawn@landquest.compercentage of cases in the Fraser Valley last fall, home to the largest concentration of poultry farms in the province on the floodplain of the province’s longest river. “We are sort of special in the Fraser Valley because our waterfowl tend to overwinter here using our cornfields and other crop fields as forage sources, and many of those are close to our poultry barns,” BC chief veterinarian Dr. Theresa Burns told egg producers during their annual meeting. “Our risk is more evenly distributed across the year compared to other provinces where it’s really cold and everyone leaves.” The good news is that the virus needs help getting into barns. “If you have a field with some ducks in it, it’s not going to blow into your barn from that field,” she says. “Most of the time the conditions do not support transmission over air over a long distance.” Burns and Leech pointed to strong biosecurity, including pest control, to prevent the virus from being introduced to premises by insects, sparrows, rodents and humans. While the industry has maintained that strong biosecurity protocols have prevented farm-to-farm transmission, research over the past two months indicates otherwise. Analyses of strains found on 72 farms indicate that 59 farms were infected with strains of the virus found on two or more premises. These farms fall into 27 distinct clusters, including one of six farms on the Langley-Abbotsford border infected between December 13 and 23. “We need to pay attention to those farms because there’s a high probability that the virus spread from farm to farm in this cluster,” Burns says. “The farms are so closely related, and not so closely related to anything we’ve seen in the wildlife.” Yet with migratory birds on the wing, Burns expects new strains may arrive in BC this year. “The virus was introduced to BC via wild birds during the northwards spring migration and we’re still seeing ongoing virus exchange between BC and the US along the Pacific flyway,” she says. “Looking forward, we’re expecting that we could see mutations coming from north or south from migrating wild birds.” The concentration of local poultry farms on a major estuary and key stopover point on the Pacific flyway means they’re ideally located to pick up new strains. “You’re never going to get zero risk in this type of heavily contaminated environment,” Burns warns. BC has recorded 103 infected premises since the first domestic case was detected last April, with nearly 3.7 million domestic birds affected. Turkey and egg producers have been the hardest hit, each sector losing about 30% of their annual production last year. Nevertheless, the industry has shown pluck, working together to keep grocers supplied despite the hit to production and also the hatcheries that supply growers. Some broiler producers have seen shortfalls in chick deliveries, and those that are delivered are often more vulnerable to respiratory diseases such as infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) because of the strain hatcheries have been under to maintain their own operations and ensure a reliable supply of high-quality chicks. The global impact of the 2021-2022 avian inuenza outbreak has created unprecedented demand for a vaccine to address the threat of the H5N1 virus responsible for the disease. “The national associations have been very clear with [the Canadian Food Inspection Agency] that we want this to be part of our toolbox, and we want to start working on this right now,” Steve Leech, food safety & animal health director with Chicken Farmers of Canada, said during the BC Poultry Conference in Vancouver, March 3. But the chance of an H5N1 vaccine for poultry becoming available in Canada remains a distant hope for a host of reasons including the diculty of tailoring one to the specic strain of the virus aecting ocks at any given time as well as international trade agreements. “We’re seeing movement towards vaccination in France. They’re starting to do some vaccine trials and we’re paying close attention to that,” BC chief veterinarian Dr. Theresa Burns says. “Of course, because a lot of this has trade implications, it will be interesting to see what our partners such as the US and Europe do and that may drive some of the progress.” A key concern is that a vaccine might give a false sense of security, reducing the risk but not eliminating it. This would leave all ocks, particularly unvaccinated ones, vulnerable. “A vaccine’s not going to be a panacea,” Burns says. “It’s an inuenza virus so any inuenza virus is not 100% eective at preventing disease or preventing spread. What it does do is it does, generally, reduce the chance of infection.” While the current outbreak has ramped up attention on the potential of a vaccine, Leech said biosecurity remains growers’ rst line of defence. “Biosecurity vigilance is paramount,” he says. “Biosecurity is the only thing keeping this out of our barns.” —Peter Mitham Vaccination under discussion
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 23Potato growers buoyed by strong marketsBCPVGA marks 25th anniversary with high hopesEmployers are responsible for the safety of their workers. Educate new and young workers to identify hazards and minimize risks.TRACTOR TIME VICTORIA 250.474.3301 4377C Metchosin Rd. 30 mins from Victoria and 15 mins from Hwy#1 in Metchosin.HANDLERS EQUIPMENTABBOTSFORD 604.850.3601 339 Sumas WayHOUSTON 250.845.3333 2990 Highway CrescentSPRINGSALESEVENTINTERESTON SELECT MODELS*SAVETHOUSANDS0%TOUGH TRACTORSMahindra 5100with Mower PETER MITHAM DELTA – The new normal may well be a new start for the BC Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, which met for its annual general meeting in Tsawwassen on March 1. “We are now well into what we call a new normal in the world of agriculture,” association president Bill Zylmans told growers, noting that it’s brought good times to growers. “People are wanting more potatoes, we have an industry that’s thriving, we have a shortage of seed, so there’s not one part of this puzzle that’s not positive,” he says. “Looking forward it’s going to be great. If you can charge through this coming year, I think you’re going to see your profit margins highly increase.” While there are challenges, including high input costs (notwithstanding a decrease in the price of fertilizer versus last year) and a lack of access to critical pest control products, the sector is positioned for growth if it can secure the support – moral and financial – it needs to move forward. Zylmans met with the provincial agriculture minister’s staff at the end of February with a view to securing funding for the association’s business plan, which is vital to industry development. “To deliver the programs we need to support this industry, we need more dollars,” he says. “I’ve had support from the minister’s office to put in a business plan that they will support, I hope.” The association is also doubling the cash collected from every ton of potatoes marketed, from 50 cents to $1, to support sector-specific research and development activities. And the association itself is expanding. It was originally formed by potato growers in 1998 to address emerging pests, challenges and regulatory issues facing the sector. “Over time we’ve included the vegetable world, and part of the cole crop industry I think is slowly coming under our umbrella to make the team a little stronger,” Zylmans told the meeting. He hopes this will give the association a stronger voice for the vegetable sector, and coupled with a closer relationship with the BC Agriculture Council (which has started sending representatives to its meetings), become a key association alongside other commodity groups. The annual variety trial and associated field day is a case in point. “[The variety trial] is hugely important to our industry. We need this base to develop new varieties that are for the needs of our fellow British Columbians that are eating potatoes,” he says. “We’ve seen over time that some varieties grow extremely well in British Columbia and don’t do a darn in Alberta or East.” ES Cropconsult potato supervisor Megan Gray delivered the 2022 variety trial report, noting that 56 varieties were planted in replicated trials while 43 varieties were planted for demonstration purposes. The trial was conducted at Swenson Farms on Brunswick Point. Gray said the numbered Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada variety F160025-03 came out tops in terms of positive comments. “Over 30% of the respondents indicated a positive interest in this variety,” Gray says. But the new yellow variety Satina, which has gained ground in BC since 2016, tipped the scales with a yield of more than 30 tonnes an acre. Its success demonstrates how higher yields have been helping the national potato sector increase production with less land. United Potato Growers of Canada general manager Victoria Stamper said that acreage of older varieties including Chieftain, Yukon Gold and Kennebec is declining in BC while Satina and its fellow yellow variety Constance are on the rise. She says the shifts reflect a broader trend away from red in favour of yellow varieties. But growers who want to embrace some of the newer varieties – or any variety at all – will be hard-pressed this year to source seed, Zylmans says. “Seed supply is extremely short, and that could hold this market at bay,” he says. “There just isn’t the supply of seed around the nation, and talking to my relatives in Europe, it’s no different there.” But this may keep the good times rolling for the sector. With demand high but growers facing limits on how much they can plant, the market may be undersupplied this fall. And that means higher prices. “A short crop is a rich crop for all of us,” he says. “A big pile of potatoes with very little money in the bank doesn’t go very far.”
24 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCScan to learn moreIn agriculture, we know the value of checking in. Checking the fields. Checking the markets. Checking the weather. But what about checking in on yourself?Make sure your well-being is a priority and talk to somebody if you or someone you know needs help.Where can you start? FCC has a mental health check-in online. Learn more at fcc.ca/WellnessTime for a check-in?
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 25Rising cost of dairy production drives agendaNorth Okanagan seminar offers options to help with expenses Canadian Mental Health Association service navigator Denise Butler says good mental health means focusing on things you can control like attitudes, actions, responses and choices. JACKIE PEARASEEurope & North America, Little & Large, Local & Long Port to Dealer, Farm to Farm and anything in between.Versatile Ramp to Ground Capabilities!Greenhouse Ground CoverGreenhouse FilmProtection NetsMulch Film Landscaping FabricsShade Nets Bale WrapsBunker CoversSilage BagsTwine & Net WrapsHay TarpsForage & Grain Seed1.800.663.6022ofﬁce@silagrow.com5121 - 46 Ave S.E. Salmon Arm, BCPick Up & Delivery Only 112-18860 24 Ave. Surrey, BCVisit our website for informative content and detailedproduct descriptions.silagrow.comJACKIE PEARASE SALMON ARM – The dairy industry’s eorts to address rising production costs was a key theme at the North Okanagan Dairy Seminar and Trade Show in Salmon Arm, February 21. Five speakers highlighted programs, funding options, mental health resources and dairy operation nances. Each presentation contained elements around the ramications of high production costs and relatively stagnant milk prices – from a program aimed at new dairy processors to ways to address nancial and mental health concerns. Using government programs to become more successful featured prominently in presentations by Investment Agriculture Foundation director Chris Reed and BC Dairy Association producer services manager Carla Soutar. With 15 agriculture industry members and 16 programs, IAF is working hard to eectively provide funding to producers and processors. Reed says its new Farmland Advantage program is currently working with 47 farms on riparian and grassland projects “We work with farmers to be better stewards of the land,” he explains. “The long term goal is to develop a suite of programs that address needs identied by farmers.” Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture Program funding starts this month with categories for wildre protection, extreme heat preparedness and ood protection. “There will be no retroactive funding for this one so if you’re going to do a project and you would like to do some cost-share funding … I suggest waiting until April because if you do it in March you won’t be able to get any retroactive funding,” adds Soutar. Benecial Management Practices funding will change this spring from a $70,000 lifetime funding cap for farms to a ve-year cap. A year-long funding window for the program is also being discussed. “Hopefully that will be more eective for us,” says Soutar. She says new intakes are expected in June and September for On-Farm Climate Action funding to aid with implementing new grazing, cover crop or nutrient management practices. The nitrogen category of this program has ample funds to help farms reduce their use of synthetic fertilizers. “If you’re already thinking about changing from broadcast to a dierent kind of nitrogen application on your farm, let’s talk about what we can do to make that happen for you,” Soutar says. The federal Dairy Processing Investment Fund, which provides funds to new processors, opens again this summer. “We all know that processing is a huge piece of our industry that’s currently lacking,” notes Soutar. RBC Royal Bank senior manager Steve Saccomano and KPMG partner Matt Creechan provided a nancial perspective. Both discussed rising interest rates, the costs and prots of running a dairy, and the need to be diligent with all nancial aspects of the farm, regardless of its size. “It’s important to be truly critical and realistic on what you’re able to achieve,” advises Creechan. He says milk shipping costs have gone from an average of just over $14 a kilogram in summer 2021 to a current level of $15.40 a kilogram. He expects things to balance out a bit as milk prices rise. “Generally speaking, the last six months were better than the six months before that,” Creechan says. “Hopefully this keeps going the right way for you guys right now and creates some more cash coming out of the barn.” Saccomano says rising interest rates are helping to keep ination in check but he warns that it will be some time before they come down. “The anxiety in our industry has not been the fact that the (prime) interest rate has hit 6.7 … the anxiety is when is it going to stop?” he says. He recommends that producers fully understand their nancial position before making big decisions. “Sometimes the best advice you can get from your banker is ‘no,’” he adds. Service navigator Denise Butler with the Canadian Mental Health Association Shuswap/Revelstoke, says farmers are twice as likely to contemplate suicide than the general Canadian population. While complex, good mental health is about seeking help when life gets out of balance. “It’s things we can do as a community to introduce more resilient factors so that we’re able to stand up to some of the stress factors that are happening for our farmers,” Butler says. The event was hosted by the North Okanagan Dairy Extension Advisory Committee.
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 27In spite of the weather, Okanagan cherry growers continue to seek out new, lucrative export markets for their fruit. MYRNA STARK LEADERFarm & Rural ResidentialProperties in the Peace Country are our specialtyAnne H. ClaytonMBA, AACI P App, RIAppraiserJudi LeemingBHE, CRA P AppAppraiser250.email@example.com www.aspengrovepropertyser vices.caTOM WALKER KELOWNA – The rst in-person annual general meeting of the BC Cherry Association was a particularly upbeat aair after two years of online gatherings. “You just can’t replace in-person engagement,” says BC Cherry president Sukhpal Bal. Approximately 130 people, including 96 grower and packer members, attended the February 24 meeting in Kelowna. The weather issues of the past few years loomed large in Bal’s president’s report. “As I reect on the past several years, I nd myself turning into a broken record that repeats that we have had a challenging season and hopes for a better one in the coming year,” says Bal. “My grandfather used to say there is always next season, but after a short pause he would say, ‘I haven’t seen that next season yet.’” Bal acknowledged the high level of cooperation within the cherry industry. “We have a strong track record of working towards common goals,” he says. “I believe that the cherry association plays a big part in that.” The association is funded by a voluntary grower levy of $50 per acre of bearing orchard and $20 per non-bearing acre. The result is a healthy balance sheet. “The bottom line is that we are doing very well nancially,” reports BC Cherry treasurer Erin Carlson. “Those funds allow us to deliver our mandate of supporting research, extension and market access.” Export markets have been key to the cherry industry’s continuing success. South Korea became the latest destination for BC growers when it opened last year. It joined China, Japan, Thailand, the EU and United Kingdom as well as California as destinations for BC cherries. “Jealous Fruits and Northern Cherries participated in a successful pilot program to South Korea that included both air and a container shipment last summer, and the Korean market is now open to all growers,” Bal notes. Market access committee chair Richard Issacs of Global Fruit calls the opening of the Korean market “the best news we have had in a while.” Overseas markets come with strict protocols that are supervised by CFIA, meaning growers can’t just ll out a form and expect to ship, says Isaacs. “You have to understand what you are getting into,” he says of South Korea. “There can be no cherry leaves in Korean shipments, the bag liner must be folded in a certain way and the pallets wrapped according to their requirements.” There are in-orchard pest trapping and reporting requirements, too. Growers who wish to export to South Korea must also attend a mandatory training session in early April. China was an initial export success story, supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s market access secretariat. “The cherry industry is a poster boy for agriculture access across China,” says Issacs. But the Chinese market is slowing. “We have been told that no new growers will be admitted to the program to export cherries to China in 2023,” says Isaacs. “Only orchards that were included on the 2020 list of approved growers will be eligible.” The market access committee continues to expand the potential of the Indian market, having secured an agreement that the fumigation and cold treatments Indian authorities require will be administered when the cherries arrive in that country. “We have received positive feedback on our cherries and the Indian market shows lots of potential,” Isaacs notes. “We are planning a trade mission to bring a number of buyers over to BC during blossom time in early May.” Mexico, Australia and Brazil are the next export destinations being explored, and BC cherries will be more of a feature across Canada, too, as marketers turn their attention to home. “Export markets can be disrupted,” notes Isaccs. “Canada is the most interesting market we can look at in the future.” Indeed, 1,500 reefer trucks a year can’t be wrong. “That’s how many full truckloads of US cherries come into Canada a year,” Isaccs says. “If we could replace at least half of these with BC cherries, it would be worthwhile. Washington spends money marketing their cherries in Canada; why not us?” Isaacs outlined a program that would award prizes to individual Canadian retailers for the best cherry display. “It is something that has been done in the UK to incentivize the produce managers,” he says. The research committee Export markets focus of upbeat cherry meetingResearch presentations point to ongoing fruit improvementCherries uYOURHelping YouHelping YouWEEKLY WEEKLY FARM FARM NEWSNEWS UPDATES UPDATES Sign up for FREE today.
28 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCu CherriesMultiple modes of actionson your toughest pests.Cormoran® Insecticide• Broad-spectrum rapid insect knockdown combined with extended residual control• Controls all damaging stages of target insects, including eggs, immatures & adults• Convenient co-formulation replaces the need to tank-mix different products• Registered for apples, blueberries, cherries, strawberries and many other fruit & vegetable cropsAlways read and follow label directions. Copyright ©2021 ADAMA Ltd. Cormoran® is a registered trademark of ADAMA Ltd.Technical and sales support provided byCohortWholesale.comheaded by Gayle Krahn of Jealous Fruits has ve on- going research projects with scientists from the Summerland Research and Development Centre. Summerland researcher Hao Xu reported on how environmental stress aects fruit set. Her colleague Mehdi Shari summarized projects regarding ground cover management and fruitlet analysis while Masoumeh Bejaei spoke on fruit sensory characteristics. The work on fruitlet analysis was of particular interest. It is a technique that allows growers to monitor mineral levels in pre-harvest fruit with the aim of predicting post-harvest fruit quality. This information can be combined with leaf and soil samples to adjust a fertilizer program. Several presentations covered the latest research on the trio of viruses behind Little Cherry Disease, which is impacting Washington growers. While these microbes are present in BC cherry blocks, they are not as yet a signicant threat to BC production. Long-time cherry researcher Greg Lang from Michigan State University wrapped up the day with a talk on the future of cherry production systems. The return of little cherry disease to BC orchards has the potential to deliver a major hit to the province’s cherry industry. “This is a disease we need to stay ahead of and be proactive about,” says Gayle Krahn, operations director at Coral Beach Farms Ltd. in Lake Country and research committee chair for the BC Cherry Association. She spoke to growers attending the association’s annual meeting on February 24. Little Cherry Disease is the umbrella name for a disease caused by the viruses LChV-1 and LChV-2 as well as the bacteria Western-X. The three microbes cause similar symptoms in cherry trees. Just one week prior to harvest, growers with infected trees will notice branches that may have a pointed tip and a line down one side bearing small, unripe fruit. The symptomatic fruit will fail to ripen and have a poor avour, rendering it unmarketable. The entire tree will eventually manifest symptoms and die. LCD gutted the Creston cherry industry in the mid 1940s but the removal of infected trees and control of vectors allowed the industry to restart. “Little Cherry is a reportable disease under CFIA regulations,” provincial plant pathologist Siva Subaratnam says. “And it requires immediate removal of infected trees.” California lost half its orchards to the disease in the 1980s and Washington now considers the disease to be “epidemic.” It’s been a state-wide problem since 2010, resulting in more than 1,000 acres of trees being removed at a cost of tens of millions to growers. Despite LCD being a reportable disease, a survey the province undertook last summer detected three orchards infected with LChV-2: one in Creston, one in Cawston, and one old and entirely symptomatic bloc in Penticton. Western-X was found in one orchard in Cawston. Both the viruses and Western-X phytoplasma are introduced into the orchard via infected plant material. It can be spread between neighbouring trees through both top grafting and root grafting. It is not spread by mechanical means such as pruning tools. LChV-1 has no known vectors, while LChV-2 is spread by mealybugs and Western-X is spread by leafhoppers. “We haven’t found mealybugs in our cherry orchards and we are happy to have them stay in vineyards,” quipped Susanna Acheampong a provincial entomologist based in Kelowna. “But we do have the three main leafhoppers that are responsible for vectoring Western-X in Washington.” There is no known cure for the disease. Tree removal, including the killing of the roots, together with eliminating vectors is the only means of control. “Your best defence is to start with certied clean plant material,” says Summerland Research and Development Centre plant pathologist José Úrbez-Torres. Growers are urged to scout for symptoms just before harvest. “It’s a busy time of year and there may be as little as one aected branch on a tree, but early detection is crucial, as testing asymptomatic trees is not reliable,” Úrbez-Torres says. Growers will be able to send samples to the provincial plant health centre in Abbotsford for testing this summer. Samples were previously sent for testing to a lab in Washington, but the province is nalizing its own testing protocol for all three LCD pathogens. A notice will be posted on its website when available, ideally by early summer. —Tom Walker Provincial survey tracks spread of Little Cherry Disease
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 29Cranberry crop dips in 2022 but growers optimisticResearch projects and new weed control tools count as winsWhile last year’s cranberry harvest was lower in volume, fruit tended to be larger than 2021. FILEWITH OVER 29 YEARS OF EXPERIENCEWe oer our clients the best service there is in the real estate industry ensuring there are no unanswered questions or concerns.8230 Upper Prairie Road, Chilliwack 17.74 acres of fertile farmland in East Chilliwack. Awaiting your ideas and inspiration for a new farming venture.MLS# C8049964 | Asking $2,400,000../$/'0$/(*/EP;8I<8CKPRONDA PAYNE RICHMOND – A dicult harvest for BC cranberry growers resulted in a below-average yield in 2022, but growers were focused on the future as they met for their annual meetings last month. “It was a complicated harvest for a lot of people because everyone knows cranberries need a lot of water,” Jack DeWit, vice-chair of the BC Cranberry Marketing Commission, told the organization’s annual general meeting held online March 7. The dry fall created a lot of concerns about the availability of water to ood bogs but the majority of growers were able to make do, harvesting around 900,000 barrels in 2022. This was is a reduction from last 2021’s yield of just over 1 million barrels. The year was challenging from start to nish given a late spring that delayed pollination by 10 to 15 days. The crop never caught up, making harvest two weeks later than usual. Provincial acreage rose 1% to 6,435 acres last year but yields were down 15% at 189 barrels per acre. Volume isn’t a major concern however, as it’s the third-highest per-acre yield in the last 10 years. Fruit tended to be larger than in 2021. The meeting drew more than 25 attendees and while the short crop was a discussion point, the focus was on ways to create better outcomes for those in the industry. “We have 71 licensed growers, seven producer-vendors and three agencies,” says DeWit of the commission’s membership. Growers sell to the agencies, while producer-vendors grow and sell their own cranberries, but may also sell to agencies like Ocean Spray. These producer-vendors had a new food safety program recommended by the BC Farm Industry Review Board and developed for them in 2022. “We did work with an experienced food safety consultant and developed a program,” says commission general manager Coreen Rodger Berrisford. “They always did have one, but it’s just a little bit of an enhanced program. They all passed it.” Additionally, promotional activities shifted from in-person attendance at the Dieticians of Canada national conference, taking place in Montreal this year, to using an e-blast instead. “It seems to be a better method,” she says. Additionally, chef Trevor Randall created a recipe that made cranberries the star in front of participants at the annual Wellness Show event natural foods retailer Nesters Market presents in Vancouver. “It’s a lot better than having some cranberries sprinkled over a dish there,” she says. Todd May continues to chair the research committee, which includes activities at the cranberry research farm. BC Cranberry approved six research programs in 2022. Three ongoing projects include variety trial work at the research farm with an emphasis on canopy management. The second year of using prohexadione calcium in canopy management was approved as was assessing an herbicide layering strategy. Three new projects included exploring tools for priority insect and weed pests; the response to fertilizer in cranberry canopies and fruit; and research of the most common Lower Mainland aphids. Research was a main theme at the meeting with berry sector research director Eric Gerbrandt discussing the breeding programs for blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Grant McMillan, regional manager with ICMS, told growers he’s on the lookout for a sites to conduct residue trials in cranberries. The commission’s nancial position remains strong with net assets of more than $1.5 million. The BC Cranberry Growers’ Association held its annual meeting immediately after the commission’s. Its executive director, Mike Wallis, noted a win in terms of chemicals through the minor-use working group. “Prism is being given a renewal of registration,” he says. “We’re still working on getting the list of weeds and application rates for that chemical use moving forward. It gives cranberry growers another tool in the toolbox for ghting weeds.” The association acclaimed Lynn Kemper, Kyle May, Dale Duley and Garrett May to the board for two-year terms. Extreme High DigestibilityHigh Disease ResistanceBranch & Tap RootedPerforms in Heavier SoilsRapid Re-GrowthVery High QualityExtreme High DigestibilityHigh Disease ResistanceBranch & Tap RootedPerforms in Heavier SoilsRapid Re-GrowthVery High Quality1.800.282.7856 terraseco.comTerra Seed Corp Tap Root with Branch Root
30 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCCohortWholesale.comTechnical and sales support provided byAlways read and follow label directions. Gatten® is a registered trademark of OAT Agrio Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2021 Nichino America, Inc. Worried aboutPowdery Mildew?Get Gatten!Gatten® fungicide Gatten®acts on multiple stages of powdery mildew development, delivering both preventative and post-infection control.TOM WALKER KELOWNA – New regulations under the federal Pest Control Products Act now restrict the practice of tank-mixing to only products that are labelled specically for mixing “Under the old regulations, products could be tank-mixed if they were both labelled as registered to be used on a crop and did not specify otherwise,” provincial pesticide specialist Ken Sapsford told BC Cherry Association members on February 24. However, the PCPA prohibits the use of pest control products in a way that is inconsistent with the label. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has come out with a guidance document that requires new label statements for products that must read, “This product may be tank-mixed with registered pest control products whose labels also allow for mixing providing the entirety of both labels.” “As a result, if a label contains no guidance related to tank-mixing, then tank mixes are not permitted,” Sapsford says. Sapsford says the PMRA has given product registrants two years to update their labels. “PMRA is not going to be doing any compliance and enforcement on this for the next two years – the 2025 growing season – until labels are updated,” Sapsford says. Sapsford also gave an update on regulations for pesticide drift developed by the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Drift is one of the most important things we are working with, especially here in the valley where we have such an urban-rural interface,” Sapsford notes. “We have neighbours and schools right next to our orchards and we have to be sure we are doing things properly.” In addition to ensuring contaminated run-o does not enter a watercourse or groundwater, the provincial Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management requires pesticide applicators take all “reasonably necessary” precautions to prevent pesticide drift from entering a watercourse or groundwater as well as “all precautions that are reasonably necessary to prevent an unreasonable volume of pesticide spray drift from crossing a property boundary are taken, unless the person in possession of the property into which the drift crosses allows otherwise.” Sapsford personally worked to ensure the wording served farmers’ interests. “I was on a committee for more than a year to make sure they put that ‘unreasonable volume’ in there,” Sapsford says. “We know that zero spray drift is not possible. But we now must be sure we are doing everything possible to avoid that drift.” Provincial compliance ocers may respond to complaints from neighbours. “If they nd you have not taken the proper reasonable precautions, there could be a ne associated with that,” Sapsford says. There is also a new emphasis on record-keeping. “Keeping records is nothing new, but one of the things we need to add on to our records is the date and time and location of our spraying and also the temperature, wind direction and wind speed,” says Sapsford, explaining that they’re for the applicator’s protection. “If you have good records showing that there is no way the drift could have gone in a certain direction, if a compliance ocer comes out, you have got records to show that you have done everything possible,” he says. Sapsford reviewed spray drift management techniques that can help growers. “Identify sensitive areas and be careful to time your sprays for a favourable wind,” he advises. “You can consider planting hedges at the edge of your property to minimize drift.” Sapsford also urges growers to make the best use of their equipment. “Make sure your operator is trained properly and your sprayer is calibrated and the speed adjusted to suit your orchard rows,” he says. New rules for pesticide applicationsTank-mixing prohibited unless specifically allowed; new regulations address driftSpraying tipsThe BC Tree Fruit Production Guide, available online at [bctfpg.ca], provides information on sprayer calibration. Those tips include special precautions that can help reduce and prevent pesticide drift. The guide recommends spraying only when wind speed is less than 5-8 km/hour but not when it is dead calm. “There is usually less wind in the early morning and late evening,” the guide notes. Pesticides should not be applied when temperatures exceed 30° C, or when inversion conditions are likely. Use boom sprayers with as low pressure as possible, the correct nozzles, large volumes of water, and set the boom as near to the ground as possible to get uniform coverage. Sections of the boom that are not needed should be shut o. A drift control agent can help prevent drift, as can drift guards or other specialty nozzles. The guide also oers calibration tips for herbicide sprayers, primarily focused on ensuring an even application of the chemical to limit damage to trees which can be damaged by drift. —Peter Mitham
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | firstname.lastname@example.org@cleanfarmsWhen recycling ag containers, every one countsGreat job recycling your empty pesticide and fertilizer jugs, drums and totes. Every one you recycle counts toward a more sustainable agricultural community and environment. Thank you. Ask your ag retailer for an ag collection bag, ﬁll it with rinsed, empty jugs, and load up your jugs, drums and totes, to return to a collection site for recycling. Find a collection location near you at cleanfarms.c aRodenticide restrictions now permanentBarn owls, other raptors knocked back by 2021 heat domeRONDA PAYNE DELTA – A perfect storm is brewing for farmers when it comes to rodent control, thanks to new provincial limits on rodenticides and the impact 2021’s heat dome had on owl populations. The province’s temporary ban on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), in place since 2021, became permanent in January in response to impacts on non-target species that prey on poisoned rodents. “In order for [farmers] to use second-generation rodenticides now they have to get a pesticide licence, the usage of them has to be within an integrated pest management framework and they have to document what they’ve done prior to using the pesticide,” Fraser Valley Conservancy project biologist So Hindmarch says. “They can only use it as a last resort.” While farmers are able to access SGARs, their use is strictly controlled. Preventative baiting is prohibited, for example. They cannot be used more than 120 days a year, or more than 35 consecutive days at a time. “There is too much documented die-o of our raptors, our wildlife,” says Hindmarch. “I kind of got a sense that [farmers] expected [the restrictions].” Most farmers don’t want to use rodenticides, realizing the harm they can cause wildlife. Jack Bates, co-owner of Tecarte Farms in Ladner, has a few hundred acres in set-asides “mostly for the raptors and waterfowl.” “It’s undisturbed and they come and hunt throughout the year,” he says. Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust installed a number of owl boxes at Bates’ farm more than a decade ago. The farm has played host to barn owls, short-eared owls, Northern harriers and other raptors. Bates has not noticed a decline in the endangered barn owls, but Hindmarch says the heat dome in 2021 took its toll on the local population. “Unfortunately, 2021 was a really bad year for barn owls,” she says. “The heat dome was really bad for the owlets. The timing was just horrible. About a third of the owlets died that year.” Hindmarch wrote a letter to the Journal of Raptor Research outlining a phenomenon where young birds died from heat exhaustion or due to jumping from the nest prematurely. “During this period, the local raptor facility (OWL) had an inux of young raptors … due to heat stress,” she writes. Hindmarch’s annual barn owl survey work found that 32% of monitored owlets between 20 and 45 days old died during the extreme heat. Hindmarch says it’s the rst time weather has caused a dramatic mortality rate like this. The atmospheric rivers that followed in November submerged hunting regions and were followed by freezing temperatures to which barn owls are not adapted. The following breeding season, Hindmarch discovered that just 13 of 109 nest boxes were occupied in the Eastern Fraser Valley. Some owl boxes have been retrotted with a white sheet metal roof to increase air circulation and reect heat. This will support future broods but it will take time for populations to rebound. “Larger landscape-scale protection measures need to be implemented,” Hindmarch says. “I’m working with farmers about rodent management. Talking to them about how to manage their grasses around their crops or their trees. There’s not just one solution.” Other options to attract raptors include leaving old fence poles or putting in perches for red-tailed hawks, Northern harriers and kestrels. “You want to both encourage the nighttime owls but also the daytime raptors,” she says. SOFI HINDMARCH
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 33Pender Island’s Michael Cowan wants the BC Ministry of Health to reduce regulations surrounding homemade “cottage foods” as a way to increase food security and support rural and remote communities. SANDRA TRETICKProudly certifying Producers and Processorswithin BC and Alberta.FVOPA provides year round certiﬁcation services compliant with the Canadian Organic Standards (CAN/CGSB) and in accordance with the BC Certiﬁed Organic ISO 17065 recognized program. Products may be sold Canada-wide and in international markets. FVOPA ensures an efﬁcient, professional certiﬁcation process for all farm, processing and handling operations. Inspectors are lOlA trained and qualiﬁed making FVOPA a leading Certiﬁcation Agency.Message 604-607-1655Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone 604-789-7586P.O. Box 18591Delta, BC V4K 4V7Phone: 778-434-3070 202-4841 Delta Street email@example.com Delta, BC V4K 2T9 www.fvopa.ca Proudly certifying Organic Operators across Canada Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association (FVOPA) offers organic certication services for producers, processors, packaging and labelling contractors, distributors, and various organic service providers. We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service and we welcome new members year-round. FVOPA certies to the Canadian Organic Standards and to the Canada Organic Regime (COR). Certied products may bear the Canada Organic logo and be marketed Canada-wide and internationally. Homemade food rules are too restrictiveRules work against greater food security, critics saySANDRA TRETICK PENDER ISLAND – While Canadian grocery retailers were called to Ottawa in March to account for last year’s record prots amid double-digit food ination, one micro food producer in the southern Gulf Islands has been lobbying for changes to regulations on the production and sale of cottage foods. Rising grocery costs and issues of food insecurity irk Pender Island resident Michael Cowan, who used to make soup and bake bread in his home for sale at the local farmers market and to his neighbours. This came to a crashing halt when a food inspector from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) contacted him and a second vendor in January. While bread falls within the low-risk category for food-borne illness and can be baked at home for sale at a market, it cannot be sold from home under the BC Food Premises Regulation. “That very same loaf of bread that I would sell at the market, I cannot sell to a neighbour who’s housebound and is food insecure,” says Cowan, who calls this distinction illogical. “I don’t understand what’s so bad if [I’m] following food safety guidelines.” Soup is considered high-risk and selling it involves “far too many hoops,” according to Cowan, who has completed FoodSafe training. In an email, Island Health says the current provincial food safety regulations and guidelines do not vary geographically within BC. Unless the food product is a lower-risk food in accordance with the BC Temporary Food Market Guidelines and solely oered for sale at a temporary food market, home preparation of food for public sale is not allowed. Health approval or a permit is required and the food must be prepared at an approved commercial kitchen. When they observe issues of non-compliance, health authorities work with food operators, including vendors and market managers, to ensure compliance. Island Health environmental health ocers conduct more than 7,000 restaurant, food facility and store inspections each year, including farmers market vendors. Dawn Larden, coordinator of the Salt Spring Saturday Market, says VIHA has been working with food vendors to meet requirements so they can sell food that is safe for the public. Vendors at the Tuesday farmers market and Saturday market were invited to a meeting in February to learn about the requirements and have their questions answered. Larden says more meetings will be held if there is demand. “Both the market and VIHA are behind the food vendors,” says Larden. “We are looking at a common kitchen at the middle school for the vendors to share and use.” Back on Pender, Cowan says the cost to use the commercial kitchen at the local community hall isn’t viable for his volume of sales and he wouldn’t be able to pass on the added cost to his customers. Rather than sitting down and shutting up, as some Penderites advised him to do, Cowan has been trying to work within the system to Cottage food laws uThe vls has received multiple international awards:Agritechnica innovation award 2011, silver Germanyeima innovation award 2012 ItalyEquitana innovation award 2013 GermanyWEIDEMANN T4512 COMPACT TELEHANDLERBETTER WORK FLOWVAN DER WAL EQUIPMENT (1989) LTD. 23390 RIVER ROAD, MAPLE RIDGE, BC V2W 1B6 604/463-3681 | vanderwaleq.com
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He believes this is especially important in rural and remote communities. “In the last 24 months, the fragility of our food system has become very [apparent],” Cowan adds. “These laws need to change.” Cowan would like the BC government to take a page from cottage food laws south of the border. “Every state in the US allows the sale of cottage foods. In all those states, I can sell low-risk foods from my house up to a certain dollar value,” he says. “Most states allow only the sale of shelf-stable foods. In some states, like Wyoming and Utah, they allow people to sell nearly all types of homemade foods, including meals and perishable foods.” Wyoming’s Food Freedom Act allows “unimpeded access to healthy food from known sources” and introduced the concept of an “informed end-consumer” – the last person to purchase a product. Consumers are informed that the vendor they’re patronizing is not licensed, regulated or inspected, and they can’t resell the product they’re buying. “I really think we need to look at this through more of a systems lens and recognize that it does impact seniors aging in place, single-parent families, marginalized and vulnerable communities,” says Cowan. “It speaks directly to food security and that is why the [BC] Minister of Agriculture needs to leverage the situation and relax the rules somewhat.” In an email, the BC Ministry of Health says the existing guideline supports the processing of low-risk foods in home kitchens for sale in temporary markets. Sta are also considering an expansion that includes Internet sales and direct sales from the home. Alberta and Ontario have already been contacted but there’s a lot of work ahead. There are no plans at this time to allow the sale of “high-risk” foods prepared in a home kitchen. It’s an issue that BC Liberal agriculture critic Ian Paton has been tackling for years. A year ago, he made a second attempt to have home-based foods acknowledged through a private member’s bill, the Home-Based Craft Food Act. It failed to move beyond rst reading but he received a number of phone calls from people he didn’t know who thanked him for raising the issue. Not one to back down, Paton is planning to bring it forward again if the situation doesn’t change, next time with a focus on high-risk foods. “We want to try and get people in agriculture growing food that they want to turn into an end product, especially in our rural areas where you’re hundreds of kilometres away from a commercial kitchen,” Paton says. Meanwhile, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food has been looking into global food insecurity and food price ination. During questioning, Galen Weston, president of Loblaw Companies Ltd., whose chains include Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills and Wholesale Club, denied that grocery chain prots are the reason behind food ination. “Food ination is a global problem,” said Weston, adding that grocery retailers should be able to make reasonable prots, such as $1 on $25 of sales, or 4% of sales. Pender Island was not immune to skyrocketing grocery prices this past winter. “I had a cauliower over $8. In Sidney the next day it was three bucks. A cucumber was $7 this winter and in Sidney it was $2,” says Cowan. “We’re facing ination in Canada that’s reaching a four-decade high. People are feeling the pinch.” Canada’s Food Price Report predicts a 5% to 7% food price increase in 2023, with the most substantial increases in vegetables, dairy and meat. Canadians will continue to feel the eects of high food ination and insecurity. Contributing factors include climate change, supply chain disruptions, carbon taxes, geopolitical factors and rising transportation costs. The report is an annual collaboration between research partners Dalhousie University, the University of Guelph, the University of Saskatchewan and UBC. Homemade soup is considered high risk by the BC Food Premises Regulation. SANDRA TRETICK
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 35Sunflowers are multi-purpose helpers Cover cropping yields colourful benefitsJack Bates of Tecarte Farms in Delta started planting sunowers with his cover crops last year and saw a dramatic increase in the number of pollinators in his set-asides. RONDA PAYNEIrrigation Pipe | Traveling Gun/Hose ReelsPivots | Pumps | Power UnitsCall for a quote on Irrigation Design and our current inventory of new & used Irrigation Equipment.Several used 1,200ft pivots & used hose reels available now.TALK TO BROCK 250.319.3044Dynamic Irrigation firstname.lastname@example.org www.tubeline.ca 1.888.856.6613TL1100RTL1700SRWraps round bales up to 6’ in diameter. Runs in automatic mode using either tractor hydraulics or as a standalone wrapper with the optional power pack. Wrap round or square bales in either manual or fully automatic operation when equipped with required options. Standalone operation with available power pack.Visit us online for complete listing of features and options.RONDA PAYNE DELTA – Farmers took a look at region-specic cover crops and pollinator attraction methods at Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust’s rst farmer-to-farmer discussion on March 9. Sunowers played a key role in the conversations at both Tecarte Farms and Emma Lea Farm. “This was a unique opportunity for farmers who have been seeing solid results from these stewardship practices to showcase their experiences and learn from one another,” says DFWT executive director Christine Schmalz. The event attracted about 30 growers from Delta, Richmond and Surrey and was a timely tie-in with DFWT’s new Blueberry Rest program that provides cost-shared funding to growers who remove blueberry bushes and plant cover crops. Emma Lea Farm owner Kevin Husband started his discussion of sunowers by explaining he wanted to attract more bumblebees to the Westham Island farm. Bumblebees y earlier in the season than honeybees and can handle cool weather and island winds better, making them great for pollinating in long cold springs. “We are looking to enhance the bumblebee population as much as we can,” he says. “Just for fun, we planted sunowers. People look at them, they’re beautiful, and every one of them had a pollinator on it.” Husband and his daughter Katie Leek decided to plant mostly Black Russian sunowers mixed with a lesser amount of ornamental sunowers in 2021. These are mixed in with other cover crops suitable for the eld’s needs and require minimal cultivation between rows. They repeated a similar sunower seed and other crop mix in 2022. The owers were intended to support all native pollinators, not just bumblebees, and add to the diversity of the cover crop mix. So far, the plantings are delivering on both fronts. “We planted on June 9 last year, which was late,” Husband says. This led to owers in the eld in August. He may also try some later planting this year to provide fall foraging for pollinators. He has counted as many as ve or six bumblebees per row in adjacent berry elds. This amount would be very low for honeybees, but not for the fat fuzzy bees given the bumblebee’s signicant vibration, longer tongues, willingness to travel further and ability to carry more pollen on their bodies. Jack Bates, co-owner of Tecarte Farms in Ladner, says seeing ve or six bumblebees during the day is a great indication that there are many more at work. He suggests counting them early in the morning or later at night to see how many of the native bees are dining in the berry elds. The benets of the sunowers are threefold for Husband: the attraction of pollinators, a cover crop with deep roots to assist with soil drainage and compaction and extra income as a u-pick item. Leek also does a number of other owers like zinnias and cosmos for guests as well as wildowers. She says even after guests pick owers, the eld remains “full, bright and colourful.” “I start a lot of them in the greenhouse and then direct-seed too,” she says. “I try different things every year. Just different varieties that work with our soil climate.” Flowers are planted alongside every berry crop at Emma Lea from blueberries to strawberries, tayberries to currants. Husband is pleased with the sunflowers’s impact so far. While he initially thought Sunflowers u
36 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCu Sunflowers great for attracting bumblebees Chassis with ideal ground tracking Hydraulic working width adjustment. Very convenient operation on request Comfortable road transportMore success with PÖTTINGER.TOP 1252 CChilliwack – 1.800.242.9737, 44725 Yale Road WestLangley – 1.800.665.9060, 21869, 56th AvenueChemainus – 18.104.22.1683, 3306 Smiley RoadPÖTTINGER CANADATel. 450-372-5595, www.poettinger.ca 2 year warrantyCHILLIWACK 1-800-242-9737 | 44724 Yale Road West LANGLEY 1-800-665-9060 | 21869 56th Avenue CHEMAINUS 1-250-246-1203 | 3306 Smiley Rd KELOWNA 1-250-765-8266 | #201-150 Campion StreetPÖTTINGER CANADATel. 450-372-5595, www.poettinger.cathe stems would create too much straw in the field to be a successful cover crop, he says it mostly just decomposes into the soil. “They provide a good amount of feed and forage for our pollinators,” he says of the flowers. “It’s also a great benefit to the songbirds.” While the sunflowers are great for attracting bumblebees, the ground-nesting bees require a unique environment to overwinter. Having undisturbed areas are the ideal location, and Husband has ditch banks and a sandy bank at the back of the property that are attractive. Emma Lea has about two acres of land set aside specifically for pollinators in addition to the sunflower cover crops. It only requires a small amount of land to attract native pollinators that benefit berry yields, says Bates. “Say you had 100 acres in blueberries, you maybe would want to have three acres in set-asides for the pollinators,” he says. “It’s a smaller piece of it. There’s never a good story about the bees, so the more you can diversify for them, the better.” Bates started incorporating sunflowers into his cover crops last year after hearing about neighbour Brent Harris’s success with them at Fraserland Organics over the past six years. “I noticed a lot of natural pollinators using them for nourishment,” Bates says of his first time with the sunflowers in his cover crop. Bates was also impressed with Harris’ reports that lots of beneficials like ladybugs were present everywhere the sunflowers had been when he started working his fields in the spring. “At least they wintered over,” Bates says. “They had that habitat.” He regularly shifts the pollinator set-asides to add more new areas that provide continuous habitat and food. “Not everyone likes clover, but if you have some clovers in it, it can add some forage for the bees and nitrogen for the soil,” Bates says. “We’ve already proven it works,” he says of creating pollinator habitats to benefit berries, both next to and within cover crops. Using cover crops isn’t new to Husband; he’s used them for as long as he can remember. “We’ve been heading more towards oats. It seems to get a better regrowth,” he says. “It seems to be less desirable to the waterfowl until late in the year, when they need it.” Waterfowl are a significant problem on most Delta farms. Emma Lea finds the grasses and forage crops planted for the cattle can sustain wildlife like the aggressive snowbird appetites and still build up forage. Husband explains that planting cover crops like oats in August allows about a foot of growth before the birds arrive looking for their free meal. This ensures the plants are stalky enough to be less attractive to the fowl, which prefer their greens tender. “Any wildlife is super smart, they know what is the most nutritious,” he says. The farm rotates fields between grasses, vegetables and strawberries. Husband says the grasses help break up disease cycles. He’s thinking about trying buckwheat to kill wireworms. While buckwheat would add a pest control layer to the cover crop strategy, Husband’s cover crops also add nutrients to the soil. Additional nutrients come from manure from the farm’s cattle. He tests his soil every spring in all fields. “We match the nutrient program to our growing needs,” he says. “It’s made a huge difference and increased the productivity of our soils.” This has allowed for reduced, GPS-targeted applications of synthetic fertilizers. The results are more productive crops, reduced fertilizer costs and labour savings. Farmers in Delta are seeing the benets of using Black Russian sunowers as cover crops because they attract more pollinators to their elds. FILE
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 37Growing better fruit is key to restoring the reputation of BC’s apple industry and improving returns for growers. MYRNA STARK LEADERFOR BAGGED or BULK ORDERSDarren Jansen Owner604.email@example.comCertified by Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd.TOM WALKER PEACHLAND – The quality of BC’s apples has come into sharp focus throughout the province’s tree fruit industry stabilization initiative over the last two years. “Participants in the consultation process expressed that the overall quality of BC apples has declined, which has reduced returns to farmers of high-quality fruit and diminished the reputation of BC’s apple industry and sales in domestic and international markets,” the Path Forward document the province published in 2021 reported. Part of the province’s response to the concern was hiring two new tree fruit extension specialists, Lindsay Hainstock and Katelyn Hengel, and supporting continued knowledge transfer. “It’s great to be back discussing horticultural practices,” Hainstock says as she welcomed 150 growers to the “Growing value with great apples” session in Peachland, March 7. “Lets talk about growing great food that can be stored.” The day included a talk on export-quality apples, sessions on crop load management through pruning and thinning, techniques to avoid sunburn, preharvest assessment of fruit to determine nutrient needs and a popular grower panel. Export-quality apples demand the highest price for growers and Ricky Chong, director of business development for World Fresh Exports Inc. in Lake Country, described what international buyers are seeking in the popular Ambrosia variety. “Colour is key,” says Chong. “Ambrosia that are 65% or more red and larger sized demand the top price.” Reaching that target can be problematic for growers. Ambrosia is naturally a bi-coloured apple and redness is a result of high light exposure for the fruit and cool fall nighttime temperatures. Chong urged growers to use reective ground tarps to provide more light distribution to increase redness. “The customer dictates the market, not you or me,” Chong notes. Growing large, well-coloured fruit requires the grower to carefully manage the crop load on each tree. “You need to set a target for each tree of how many fruit you want at harvest,” says Terence Robinson from Cornell University. That target is achieved by winter pruning, chemical thinning in the spring and if necessary, hand-thinning to achieve the desired number of fruitlets per tree. “You have to calculate how many fruit you want based on your growing conditions, and then you have to count,” says Robinson. There is a sweet spot, he adds. “The more fruit you have, the smaller the size will be, but if you are too aggressive pruning, particularly with Honeycrisp, you get the large sizes and biannual yields that are plaguing Washington State growers.” The grower panel featured three younger local growers and an industry veteran now working in Washington. Steve Brown grows on 12 acres in Summerland; David Machial farms nine acres in Oliver and helps run the family packing business, Fairview Cellars; Raj Gill manages 70 acres in the Similkameen Valley; and Tony DiMaria, formerly a eldman with BC Tree Fruits Co-op, is orchard manager for 1,230 acres at ve locations in central Washington that grow the Arctic varieties of genetically modied apples privately developed in Summerland. The panel echoed the precision farming practices outlined by Robinson. “Crop load is key,” says Brown, who has been featured in a number of YouTube videos on pruning practices. “You need to really know your soil and your tree and rootstock combinations,” says Gill, adding that he too counts fruit on the tree. “Machial says that the extra red colour from using extend day tarps will give him $125 to $150 more per bin. But it all starts with a healthy tree,” says DiMaria. “We had some weak trees from the nursery starting o and they have never done as well as we would like.” Sunburn is a constant risk in the Okanagan’s hot and sunny climate, notes Tory Schmidt of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. “Sunburn can be from intense sunlight, or from high temperatures on their own, but is usually a combination of both light and temperature,” he explains. Schmidt reviewed sunburn protection sprays as well as the use of overhead shade cloth. “Workers appreciate the Boosting value with great apples Researchers, marketers share tips to improve fruit qualitycooler temperatures under the cloth and a full wrap-around cloth can help with insect control as well,” he says. “But there is less light penetration so you have to retract them closer to harvest to get your apples to colour up.” Evaporative cooling from overhead spraying takes a lot of clean water, Schmidt adds. “It works to bring down the temperature in the canopy, but you have to be mindful of the amount of water on the orchard oor and the eect on tree health. Harvest is the time that you need to protect the investments made in producing quality fruit. “You need to plan for harvest so that you have enough pickers,” says DiMaria. Fruit needs to be maturity-tested to ensure that it’s been picked at the right time. And pickers need to be trained and managed properly. “Treat them well,” says Brown, who believes the only Apple day uYOURHelping YouWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATEScountrylifeinbc.comSign up for FREE today.YliYlbc.com
38 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCu Apple day thing worse than having no pickers is unhappy or angry pickers. This can lead to quality issues, with varieties such as Honeycrisp bruising from a simple, half-inch fall. “If I can hear apples thumping into the bin I know that I have to go and check on my pickers,” says Brown. You can think of an orchard as an apple factory with the trees as machines, suggests Bill Wolk, post-harvest physiologist with BC Tree Fruits. “Those machines need to be in tip-top order to do their best job,” Wolk says. He says a soil test will tell the grower the resource available to a tree, while leaf sampling will give an indication of the health of the tree. Preharvest fruitlet analysis will predict the quality and storage potential of the fruit to be harvested. There is a definite correlation between certain nutrients in the fruitlet and harvest fruit quality, says Wolk. “Fruitlet analysis looks at the effect of the minerals on the quality of the fruit and it allows you to tweak your nutrient program next year,” he says. Right now, somewhere in this province, there are snowdrops poking out of the snow and blooming. It’s this time of year that really separates the snowdrops from the cherry blossoms, if you know what I mean. I don’t exactly know myself, but I think what I am getting at is that it is still very much winter in some parts of the province, while in others, spring is well under way. I merely make the observation. Also notably spring-like in a snowstorm: mixed vegetable growers seeding tomatoes and onions and cutting their rst greens. This never used to be an early sign of spring in my area but now I often catch glimpses of bundled-up farmers marching purposefully along snowy paths leading to greenhouses. Getting a peek inside those structures is like visiting a far foreign country for a potato farmer like me. So much verdant, humid greenery and evidence of forward planning in action. I bring this up because actioning forward planning is not currently in my work plan, and signs of spring therefore make me anxious. I am busy dealing with last year’s crop and in no position to start thinking about the one to come. The mixed vegetable people were starting to poke around in the actual dirt, forsooth, before their hopes were recently sensibly dashed by -14° and a foot of snow. Mine were uplifted. I am sorting and packing seed potato orders. This includes hours on the computer manipulating spreadsheets into yielding the useful information I am certain they contain. I subscribe to an online store platform to run the online seed potato store and it is mostly magic. However, being generic to a range of farming enterprises, it takes a lot of time to get familiar with all the downloadable reports and spreadsheets. The splendid online system allowed me to take a record-breaking number of orders that now need fullling. I may possibly be somewhat overwhelmed. Before the seed business was a thing for us, I would have been spending more time doing things like organizing the shop and turning it into a grow room. I would have been seeding unreasonable amounts of celeriac and tomatoes, guaranteeing myself another year of being totally overwhelmed with non-potato related work. Well, I plowed my way into the shop the other day and it’s clearly not available for that sort of thing anymore. My main impression of the shop was that PTO shafts and clutches are littering every worktable surface. I guess I was too busy with other jobs last fall to realize the extent of Dad’s PTO clutch rebuild program. I believe every PTO assembly on the farm is disassembled. I should really be checking in with him to see if I need to join the campaign. Let this article serve as such. I am available in late April. Today, I spent all day making up 50 lb boxes. The machine we have for this job is called Yours Truly and she’s a relic. There’s a trick to propping the 30 lb bin on the side of the box, steadily dispensing the potatoes, and picking the seconds out of the stream. I like the work, and am pleased with the product, but this is a job we’ll have to think about automating. I won’t be doing it at 80. Wrestling with PTO shafts and clutches, which for those who don’t know may be characterized as unreasonably heavy, greasy and oppy to an exquisitely painful degree, is also in the “not when I am 80” category. Without giving away too many family secrets, let me just say that my dad is older than me and he doesn’t have much in that category at all. Sigh. Here we go. Anna Helmer farms in Pemberton and has unspecied issues with local government. 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023 | 39MFG OF MINI SKID STEERS AND A VARIETY OF ATTACHMENTS INCLUDINGDRAINAGE PLOWS | TREE SPADES | TREE SAWS & SHEARS | BOOM MOWERS | PTO POWER PACKSBRUSH MULCHERS | ROTARY BRUSH CUTTERS | PTO GENERATORS | AUGER DRIVES | FLAIL MOWERSTREE PULLERS | FELLER BUNCHERS | EXCAVATOR ADAPTERS | SCREW SPLITTERS | TRENCHERS | STUMP GRINDERSBAUMALIGHT.COMAdair Sales & Marketing Company Inc. 306-773-0996 | firstname.lastname@example.orgLocate A Dealer OnlineKATE AYERS SURREY – Researchers at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey are developing a soil assessment tool that will let growers assess composition of microbes in soils, much like they test soils for nutrients to ensure ecient input application for their crops. “They're only a very small portion of the soil, but they are the living portion of the soil on which all other life depends. We can get so far with chemical fertilizers, but at some point, we still need those microbes,” says KPU Institute for Sustainable Horticulture director Deborah Henderson, speaking at the Pacic Agriculture Show in late January. The new tool would measure the health and functionality of soil through the presence or absence of soil microbes. Biological soil tests to measure microbe activity and thereby soil health exist but they are expensive and need rening, making them inaccessible to most growers at this stage. Soil microbes, including bacteria and fungi, conduct many activities in the soil. They cycle nutrients and carbon, stabilize soil aggregates, inuence water holding capacity and inltration rates and contribute to pathogen and pest suppression. Dierent microbes often perform the same benecial functions, allowing soil to be more adaptable to changing conditions, where some microbes perform better than others. Since microbes react quickly to changes in their environment, they are early indicators of soil stress or poor health, Henderson says. Research has shown that soil microbes are eective soil health indicators because the genome of living organisms in the soil can predict soil type with 85% accuracy and pH, nutrient concentrations and bulk density with up to 95% accuracy. In addition, microbe type and populations can be correlated to suppression of soil-borne diseases. The organisms are also sensitive to pesticides and metal pollution. Henderson’s research focused on ve indicators of soil health: bacterial and fungal colony counts, soil respiration (which measures total soil microbial activity), Pseudomonas uorescens (a growth-promoting rhizobacteria that has disease suppression abilities), Trichoderma (a soil fungus that has disease suppression activity) and active carbon (an estimate of food available to microbes). Using and rening these indicators, Henderson hopes to one day have a cost-eective soil assessment tool for growers. Right now, costly biological tests sequence the genomes of bacteria and fungi, which measures all the DNA in the soil sample, including dead, dormant and live organisms. But healthy soils depend on living organisms, so Henderson wants a better tool for growers. “What I think we need to do is just take the best of everything that's out there and think about function,” Henderson says. “What do you want your soil to do? And is there something that can measure that specically?” With Henderson’s focus on disease suppression, she wants to develop a test that compares the ratios of Pseudomonas and Trichoderma, for example, and disease. Ideally, the results would identify whether or not a pathogen is a threat to crops. This information could result in lower pesticide costs, higher yields and better long-term eld management. The goal is one shared by researchers around the world. “Papers are being published in which researchers are thinking about indicators and learning what they mean,” Henderson says. “I think that global knowledge is going to coalesce and … help us nd some good tests that will mean something to growers.” This research and development also means that products are coming down the pipeline to support soil health and food production for a growing population. “Companies are developing alternative products to replace chemical nutrients and some of them are microbes that provide food for the plant,” Henderson says. “The chemicals, even the fertilizers, there is a damage associated with them. … But I think eventually we have to get to the point where if we use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, then we have to have enough microbes going into that soil so that it can recover because it does not have a lot of resilience.” Together with climate change, agricultural impacts have made soils more vulnerable to stress, she adds. In perennial systems, it’s easier to build organic matter, which supports healthy microbe populations, Henderson says. But in eld vegetable production, no-till is not an option and growers need options to support soil health. This year, Henderson hopes to focus on nding more specic organisms as indicators of soil health and test them in conventional vegetable systems. New soil assessment tool in developmentSoil microbes are just as important as nutrient levelsYOURHelping YouOURng Young YouDon’t forget to RENEW your subscription toCountry Lifein BC
40 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCJust when things start going right, stuff happens When we left off last time, Kenneth was reeling from a growing list of unexpected expenses to bring the new farm into the 21st century and was just about to receive more bad news from Al at Jiffy Electric. Rural Redemption, Part 157, continues. Kenneth squinted his eyes shut and squeezed his temples with both hands when Al from Jiffy Electric said he had problems. The whole house thing seemed to be spinning out of control. Al thought it looked like his head was ready to explode or something. “Are you okay, Mr. Henderson?” Kenneth nodded. “Let me guess,” he said. “It’ll cost a small fortune to solve whatever it is?” Al motioned to the old wicker chair and said it would be best if Kenneth was sitting down. “In a nutshell, you aren’t going to have enough power for all you need to do.” “How much power can one lousy stove take?” “You’d be laughing if that’s all there was to it but you already added in the RV plug out back and the water tank and lights and outlet out in the barn. Add in the stove and there’s nothing left for the wall heaters, or the hot water tank, or the dryer plug in the house.” “Who said anything about all that?” “I’m surmising your plan is to replace the woodstove with the electric range, is that so?” Kenneth nodded. “In that case, there’s no source of heat for the back half of the house, and without the stove there’s no way of heating the water. So, we need to figure in heaters and a water tank.” “And why the dryer plug?” “Well, most folks nowadays are keen to have a washer and dryer and I figured as long as you were getting a new water heater, you’d probably want one, too.” “Do I look like someone who is keen to have a dryer, Al?” “Can’t say that you do. I only mention it because your missus was asking where the plug for it was.” Kenneth had never imagined heating water with a coil in the firebox of a wood stove, but Al assured him it was all the rage back in the old days. Al couldn’t be exactly sure what it was all going to cost because he didn’t know what exactly he was going to be up against, and it would probably be best just to wade into it and see where things went. He said they should probably settle up every couple of weeks, so no one got a nasty surprise at the end. Kenneth said the whole house deal was already a nasty surprise but he supposed there was no way around it so Al should go ahead, and he would pray to the Almighty there wouldn’t be any more nasty surprises. His prayers were in vain. Two days later, Delta phoned while he was in town picking up some cans of paint. “We’ve got a problem,” said Delta. “A problem with what?” “Plumbing, I think. The toilet isn’t flushing properly. Al says there is a big wet spot in the back yard, and it smells pretty skunky. He says we should get the septic tank guy to come and look at it.” Kenneth called AAA Septic Service to see if someone could drop by and take a look. He reached Floyd Gurney who was in the middle of a job. “Not today,” said Floyd. “We’re just swamped, if you know what I mean. Haw haw haw.” Phil waited for Kenneth to chuckle along. After a long pause, Kenneth asked, “When, then?” Floyd checked his note pad and said he could make it at 2 tomorrow and asked for the address. Floyd pulled in at five after 2 the next afternoon. He was driving a brand new one-ton pickup that said AAA Septic Service on the doors. The company motto was proclaimed boldly across the tailgate: Your Business is Our Business. Kenneth introduced himself and told Floyd to follow him around the house. “No need,” said Floyd. “Your drain field is shot.” Kenneth stopped in his tracks and spun around. “How could you possibly know that? Are you some kind of septic tank psychic or something?” Floyd pondered the possibility; he was always looking for ways to add value to his business. “That’s one possibility, I suppose. But not this time.” Kenneth launched into a tirade about how he was sick and tired everyone trying to play him for some sort of fool, and said he wasn’t interested in any of Floyd’s septic field malarky without one good reason how he could possibly know anything about it at all. “Well, then you’re in luck,” said Floyd, “because I just happen to have one. I know your field is shot because I was out here less than a month ago for the same reason. There’s only one place to put a new field and I can see there isn’t one there from here. So, unless there’s been some kind of divine septic miracle, I think its safe to say your field is still shot.” Floyd reckoned Kenneth was going to be a pain in the neck, and made a mental note to charge accordingly. Kenneth asked if he would show him what needed to be done. Floyd said, “Absolutely.” First, he apprised Kenneth of the need for someone licensed to design and install a new system. Kenneth asked if he was? Floyd said, “Absolutely.” Kenneth asked if he could give him an estimate? Floyd said, “Absolutely.” Kenneth asked if there was anything he could do to make it cheaper? Floyd said, “Absolutely,” then showed Kenneth where the new field would need to go. It was covered in blackberry vines. “If you could clean off all these blackberries before we get here, you could save yourself a few hours of machine time. If you have a tractor and loader, you’d be away to the races.” As soon as Floyd left, Kenneth phoned Deborah and said he realized that technically the MF 285 belonged to her, but it was his idea in the first place, and he didn’t ask for any of the farm stuff when they were negotiating the divorce and now that he had a place of his own, it only seemed fair that he should get to use it whenever he wanted. Deborah said he was welcome to it as long as he promised not to bring it back. By 10 the next morning, Kenneth was pushing long roads seven feet wide through the grasping tangle of blackberry vines. There was something visceral about taking command of 85 horsepower and wielding it to subdue Mother Nature. The MF 285 was indeed a fitting steed for a landlord. Now who was an idiot for buying a tractor this big? Finally, something was going right for a change. He waved to Delta who was watching from the back porch. Delta watched as Kenneth backed up and steered over to line up for the next charge. He looked over and waved to her. He was smiling. She raised her hand to wave back at the precise moment the tractor canted sideways and came to a whiplashing stop. One of the rear wheels dropped two feet and started throwing a rooster tail of raw sewage ten feet into the air. ... to be continued Woodshed Chronicles BOB COLLINSThousands of BC farmers and ranchers turn to Country Life in BC every month to nd out what (and who!) is making news in BC agriculture and how it may affect their farms and agri-businesses! 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023| 41FOLLOW USLIKE US W US@countrylifeinbcThe agricultural news source in BC since 1915.BC breeder wins national Jersey awardMichael Podschadly breeds award-winning cattle A passion for Jerseys has garnered Mike Podschadly Jersey Canada’s Youth of Distinction award. He’s been adding Jerseys to his family’s Holstein herd at Chadview Farms in Spallumcheen. SUBMITTED$10eachSUPPORT 4-H ANDWIN PRIZES!BUY TICKETS TODAY4-H BC GATORLOTTERYKATE AYERS SPALLUMCHEEN – Michael Podschadly, 26, has been named Jersey Canada’s Youth of Distinction in recognition of his savvy breeding and herd development work. “It’s an acknowledgement that moving potentially towards a more Jersey-focused herd does have its benets and that we’re moving in a positive direction,” Podschadly says. Podschadly’s parents Keri and Ernie of Chadview Farms in Spallumcheen manage a 75-head Holstein dairy herd and Podschadly has added 10 milking Jerseys to the herd along with seven young animals. “He’s transitioning our farm into both a Holstein and Jersey herd and it’s exciting to see him and how he has developed a passion for what he does with the breeding,” Keri says. “He is always looking to increase his herd with great genetics and milk production.” Podschadly has shown cattle since he was seven, getting his start in the local 4-H club. Since then, he has worked with Stanhope-Wedgwood on Vancouver Island, one of the top Holstein breeders in North America, Ernie says. Podschadly has also worked with Westcoast Holsteins in Chilliwack and farms in the United States as a sought-after clipper. It was through these experiences that he developed a keen interest in Jersey cattle. “I clipped show cows and I had went down to the States to work for a herd and they were Jerseys and milked 1,200,” Podschadly says. “I just really liked the temperament of them. They have a lot less issues than the Holsteins. The butterfat is nice since we get paid on our components.” While working south of the border, Podschadly expanded his network, which would later help him expand his Jersey herd with R&R Dairy, based in Tillamook, Oregon. The Rocha family of R&R Dairy reached out to Podschadly to ask for his support during a local show. “I got a Facebook message asking if I could come down and clip and I agreed. Now they’re my second family,” he says. The Rochas raise the Pacic Edge line of Jerseys, which has seen recent success at the All-American and the International Jersey shows. Podschadly has partnered with Brent Rocha (both of whom are the third generation of their respective farming families) and owns another 25 Jerseys that live in Oregon year-round. With his show herd, Podschadly continues to show at the BC Jersey Spring Show in Chilliwack as well as major shows in Madison and Louisville. Despite his success in the show ring and commitment to continuous herd improvement, Podschadly was taken by surprise when notied he had won Jersey Canada’s award. “I really wasn’t expecting it and then a member from PEI was like, ‘Congratulations, you won,’” he says. “And my rst thought was, ‘Oh, I won a free trip to Mexico,’ and then I saw the email was from Jersey Canada.” Friends and colleagues Michael and Gina Haambuckers of Agassiz and Jim and Kirsty Macavoy of Armstrong nominated Podschadly for the award. It's a busy time of year for Podschadly but he hopes to make the cross-country trek to receive his award in person at Jersey Canada's annual meeting and awards banquet in Quebec, April 1.. Moving forward, he wants to continue growing his herd and breeding good-pedigree cattle with the aim of exporting Jersey genetics beyond North America. “The goal is to try and create the most protable cow we can. Type-wise, production-wise, have a well-balanced cow that works in any kind of environment or situation that will draw an international interest,” Podschadly says.
42 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCWhenever I have company coming, whether it’s for the weekend or just a meal, I try to plan on oering some great food that I can prepare ahead of time so I can enjoy the visit. That doesn’t need to mean putting a couple of salads in the fridge and serving cold chicken with them. Instead, it means thinking about what you’ll serve ahead of time, and prepping. If breakfast is one of the meals you’ll be making, you want to think about either dishes that can be served hot or cold, or ones that can be prepared ahead of time, ready to toss into the oven at the last minute. Consider the familiar Christmas breakfast known by many names, such as Wife Saver or Egg Casserole, which is a strata of bread slices, ham, cheese, sometimes vegetables and beaten eggs made up the night before and put into the oven in the morning. However, this crustless quiche can also be made ahead of time, all ready to Celebratory foods for friends & familyA no-crust quiche with cottage cheese is a tasty make-ahead egg dish that’s sure to please. JUDIE STEEVESCRUSTLESS COTTAGE CHEESE QUICHEThe cottage cheese makes the eggs nice and light, and adds a bit more body to the quiche while the other ingredients are all about the avour. You may make this the night before and refrigerate until ready to put into the oven. It can be served warm or cold. 1 c. (250 ml) cottage cheese, small curd 6 eggs 3 tbsp. (45 ml) pepperoni or ham bits 3 mushrooms 2 green onions • Pre-heat oven to 375° F. • Spray an 8-9-inch pie plate with oil or use mun cups for individual servings. • Combine cheese and eggs in a bowl, and beat until well-combined. • Chop pepperoni or ham into small dice and slice mushrooms and green onions. Finely chop peppers and spinach. • Melt a dab of butter in a small frypan and warm through the meat, mushrooms, peppers and onions, seasoning with pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and cool, unless cooking the quiche right away. • Combine with the eggs and pour into a greased pie plate. Sprinkle grated cheddar over the top. • Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the eggs are set in the centre. • Cool for a few minutes, then cut into wedges to serve. • Serves 4-6. 1/4 c. (60 ml) each red & green pepper 1 c. (250 ml) chopped spinach pepper, to taste 1/2 c. (125 ml) grated cheddar BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON & APPLEThis is a sweet, sour and salty mix that will turn the most determined sprouts hater into a lover. These sprouts are great with the traditional ham dinner, and you can prep most of the dish the day before the big meal. 1 lb. (454 g) Brussels sprouts 2 slices of bacon 2 green onions 1 apple • Select even-sized sprouts; small ones cook more quickly. Trim o the stem ends and outer leaves and cut each in half. • Slice bacon into lardons, narrow strips cut across the grain. Brown in a medium-sized pot. • Meanwhile, mince green onions and add to bacon, turning until translucent and soft. Drain fat o. • At this point you can put it all into the fridge until the day of the big meal. • Cut apple up into small dice. • Pre-heat oven to 400° F. • Drizzle a little oil in a sheet pan and toss the sprouts on the pan with the diced apple. • Mix lemon juice, water and honey in a small bowl. Pour over the sprouts and apple and gently turn them about in the mixture, leaving the sprouts at side down. • Bake for 15-20 minutes or so until the sprouts are still rm, but not hard. • Serve garnished with the bits of bacon and green onion. • Serves 6-8 1 tbsp. (15 ml) lemon juice 2 tbsp. (30 ml) water 1 tsp. (5 ml) honey Jude’s Kitchen JUDIE STEEVES‘Mise en place’ lets you enjoy your companypop into the oven in the morning. Bread, buns, toast or a salad could accompany it. In industrial kitchens and restaurants this procedure is known as ‘mise en place’, which simply means preparing or putting your ingredients in place ahead of time, ready for a quick pulling-together at the last minute. Chefs will ensure the washing, peeling, slicing, dicing, grating and measuring is all done ahead of time, ready for last-minute assembly. If you’re making a big Easter ham dinner, use the ‘mise en place’ procedure to lighten the load once your guests or family arrive. That means rinsing and cutting vegetables and maybe even putting them into the serving bowl you will cook them in the microwave in; or tossing them into a bag, ready to dump onto a sheet pan to go into the oven prior to dinner. If you’re planning to roast a few pecans with the chunks of yam or squash, cut them up ahead of time and set aside in a small bowl, ready to garnish your roasted vegetables. Prepare your pans ahead of time and decide on serving bowls for each item, so there’s no decision-making needed at the last minute. It all makes it much less of a chore to feed a bunch of people and when your guests arrive, you can enjoy yourself.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC APRIL 2023| 43TRACTORS/EQUIPMENTREAL ESTATEFOR SALEFOR SALEHAYSERVICESBERRIESIRRIGATIONFor Tissue Culture Derived Plants of New Varieties of Haskaps, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Saskatoon Berries and Sour Cherries, Please Contact:DISEASE FREE PLANTING STOCK OF NEW BERRY CROPS 4290 Wallace Hill Road, Kelowna, BC, V1W 4B6info@agriforestbiotech.com250.764.2224www.agriforestbiotech.com NEW polyethylene tanks of all shapes & sizes for septic and water storage. Ideal for irrigation, hydroponics, washdown, lazy wells, rain water, truck box, fertizilizer mixing & spray-ing. Call 1-800-661-4473 for closest distributor. Manufactured in Delta by Premier Plastics premierplastics.com Feeders & Panels that maintain their value!ROUND BALE FEEDERS BIG SQUARE BALE FEEDERS FENCE PANELS CATTLE & HORSE FEEDERSHEAVY DUTY OIL FIELD PIPE CRADLE FEEDERS. Single big square or 2 round bales Outside measurement is 8 feet x 12 feet Silage bunk feeders For product pictures, check out Double Delichte Stables on Facebook Dan 250/308-9218 Coldstream DON GILOWSKI 250-260-0828 Royal LePage Downtown Realty Ltd BUYING OR SELLING OKANAGAN FARM, RANCH OR ACREAGE? COURTENAY HEREFORDS. Cattle for Sale: yearling bulls and bred heifers. John 250/334-3252 or Johnny 250-218-2537.PYESTERDAY’S TRADITION - TODAY’S TECHNOLOGYMANAGERS Phil Brown 250-293-6857 Catherine Brown 250-293-6858 email@example.com www.coppercreekranch.com PRINCETON, BC Raising registered polled & horned Herefords & F1s. BREEDING BULLS FOR SALE.RAVEN HILL MEADOWS: Purebred North Country Cheviot yearly ewes and rams for sale. 250-722-1882. NanaimoLIVESTOCKLIVESTOCKREAL ESTATEIt’s the top linethat makes the Bottom LineBC SHORTHORN ASSOCIATION Scott Fraser, President Bob Merkley, BC Director 250-709-4443 604-607-7733DeBOER’S USED TRACTORS & EQUIPMENT GRINDROD, BCWANTED: USED JD TRACTORS 60-100 HP JD 115 12’ DISK 6,500 JD 6400 W/CAB&LDR 60,000 JD 1830 W/LDR 16,000 JD 1830 W/LDR 15,000 JD 1630 W/LDR 16,000 OLIVER 12’ disc 3,750 ED DEBOER 250/838-7362 cell 250/833-6699 CURT DEBOER 250/838-9612 cell 250/804-6147CUSTOM BALING 3x4 BIG SQUARES SILAGE BALING/WRAPPING ED DEBOER 250/833-6699 CURT DEBOER 250/804-6147EDVENTURE HAY SALES ENDERBYAvailable now, 4- 1/4 mile Used VALLEY, ZIMMATIC, T.L. PIVOTS, 3- Used 1,000 ft, 1,250 ft Hose reels, 10,000 ft 12 in 8,000ft 10 in HDPE, Steel pipe in all sizes used. Dealer for Pierce Pivots, T.L Pivots, lease your new or used pivot, Hose reels, RM, Idrio, diesel pumps, centrifugal, sub-mersible, freq drives, pump stations, 30 years experience. Talk to Brock! 250 319 3044ZcXjj`Ô\[j7Zflekipc`]\`eYZ%ZfdfiZXcc1-'+%*)/%*/(+C@E<8;J1),nfi[jfic\jj#d`e`dld(*gclj>JK#\XZ_X[[`k`feXcnfi[`j%),;@JGC8P8;J1),gclj>JKg\iZfclde`eZ_M[WYY[fjcW`ehYh[Z_jYWhZi$EQUIPMENT DISPERSAL • LOEWEN 422 vertical mixer wagon, scales, side-shift feed conveyor, good condition, $13,000 • LOEWEN SUBSOILER, 2 shank, 3 pt hitch, $2,500 • LOEWEN BOX SCRAPER, 3 pt, with rubber, like new, $800 • LOEWEN AGITATOR 18’, 100 HP prop, nice condition, $2,000 • WINPOWER 30/20 kw pto generator on trailer, exc cond. $3,500 • JD CLAMP-ON DUALS 18.4-38, $2,500 TONY 604-850-4718Craig Elachie ShorthornsGrant & Barbara Smith | Balmoral Farms 250.835.0133 firstname.lastname@example.org 1802 Tappen-Notch Hill Rd Tappen BC V0E 2X3Baler, NEW HOLLAND 2004’ Model 570, $13,000; Tedder, CLAAS 2006’ Model 52T, 17’6” Hyd. Fold, $7,000; Tedder, CASE 2003’ Model IH 8309, 540 PTO, 9’2” Cut, $8,000; Manure Spreader, JOHN DEERE Model 40T, $4,000; Hay BALE SLED, bunches up approx. 40 bales, $2,000; HAY RAKE, 4 wheels, $1,500. Call Shawn (604) 615-3646 SEEDADVERTISING THAT WORKS!4x3 BIG SQUARES, first crop, $250/ton; Round bales, first crop, $90 ea. 250-833-6699; 250-804-6147ALFALFA SEED For Sale. Tap root blend for hay and pasture. North Okanagan produced. Common #2, $125 for 44 lb bag. Larry 306-580-3002, Armstrong200 ROUND BALE SILAGE. First cut, good feed. $60/bale. South Surrey, Peter, 604-538-4435PACIFIC JET OPTICAL SORTER Designed for use with blueberries or cranberries. Ready to place in a production line to reduce labour costs in sorting. Located on Vancouver Island. Asking $19,980. CALL 250-743-9464 or email email@example.comCall us today for a free consult: 604-835-5155WE PAY CA$H FOR TREES!WANTEDCASE 3850 disc harrow, asking 6,800. MF disc harrow, $3,850 obo; KUHN FC300G mower cond; needs one cut-ter bar bearing & new skirting, $1,500 obo; KUHN FC350G in good running cond but needs new skirting, $2,500 obo or both mowers for $3,000; ROCK PICKER: we removed tons of rocks off our fields with this converted potato harvester that has a very large rock catch box with hydraulic rock dump control, $3,500 obo. Phone Carl 604-825-9108 GOING CONCERN POULTRY FARM or QUOTA I'm interested in purchasing broiler, layer, or egg hatching operation. Must be located in BC. Manny 250-689-4119 North America's rst domestic pig! Now a critically endangered breed, Ossabaw Island hogs produce exceptional free-range pork. Semi-retirement herd reduction: BREEDING PAIRS SOWS, GUILTS, BOARS, FEEDERS. Preference given to seriously interested breeders. Located in Cobble Hill BC BILL 250-746-7883RETIRED COUPLE with organic gar-dening and small livestock experience looking to rent year round cottage/cabin in rural BC or on an op-erating farm. Willing and able to assist with chores. Please phone or text 506 378 0603IN GOOD CONDITION. 36” ROW SPACING | 2 ROW or 4 ROW (2 row is preferred) Call Stephen at J.S. Nature Farms 604-842-7770 POTATO PLANTERHOG EQUIPMENT FOR SALE Concrete slats, SS feeders, plastic walls, feed bins and more. In good condition and reasonable prices. Chilliwack Ard @ 604-819-3678Carrie Nicholson PREC* 250-614-6766 DISCOVER PRINCE GEORGE KELLOG CREEK RANCH 5 titles, 7000 acres range, 2200 sq ft home, guest cabin C8059864 $1,899,900 SHADY REST Mobile & RV park on 23.87 acres, Hwy 16, Houston C8049762 $1,450,000 ROBSON RD 5 bed/4bth custom built home on 11 acres R2744370 $999,900 QUAINT & COZY 3 bed log home on 5 acres R2749969 $450,000 BUCKHORN LK RD House w/garage, workshop on 8.5 acres. R2707052 $690,000 56 CITY ACRES Zoned AF, bring your ideas R2716736 $2,499,900 160 ACRES west of PG, Zoned RU3, R27229 $369,000 PARADISE FOUND updated log home on 42 acres. $749,900 R2691271 COUNTRY GEM 3 bed/1 bath home of 2.2 acres. R2711734 $379,900 DOME CREEK 160 acres with tons of potential. R2702148 $549,900 SALMON VALLEY 370 acres; 3 titles. 150 ac cleared, R2675843 $599,000 STUNNING MTN RESORT on 82.25 acres, 17 chalets, 50 camps. C8040948 $4,850,000 CATTLE RANCH 1,280 acres; 5 bed/3 bath home. Fenced, outbuildings; R2677116 $2,100,000 CONCRETE BUSINESS Robson Valley, C8040939, $759,000 PARADISE IN THE VALLEY 192 acre pri-vate estate, custom home, outbuildings to die for. R2720083 $1,425,000 SAXTON LAKE ROAD: R2610535 R2610527; R2610554 and more lots available in this area. CRANBROOK HILL 77 acres w/dev po-tential minutes from UNBC. R2640598 $1,500,000 HART HWY 54.95 acres. R2640583. $699,900 CLOSE TO THE LAKE 8.3 acres. R2610880 $250,000 74 ACRES w/ 20,000 sq ft bldg., 40 acres cultivated. C8041167 $1,700,000 ESCAPE the city. Two lots in Willow River, 22,500 sq ft. R2591708, $28,900 69+ ACRES ON RIVER Approx 50 acres in hay. River, road access. R2685535 $838,000 55 ACRES Dev potential close to airport. R2707390, $675,000 TREED LOT on edge of the Fraser. R2622560 $229,900 80 ACRES/TIMBER VALUE Zoning allows ag, housing, forestry & more. R2665497 $449,900 15 MINUTES TO PG ~58 acres with tim-ber value. Mostly flat lot with lots of po-tential. R2665474, $349,900 HWY FRONTAGE 190 acres w/exc po-tential for subdivision/commercial ven-tures. R2660646 $749,900 42-ACRE PARADISE Updated 3 bed/ 3bath 3248 sq ft log home, 35 minutes from downtown PG. R2748743 $649,900 WRIGHT CR RD 195 acres undisturbed bare land. R2655719 $649,900 21 ACRES PG in city limits on Hwy 16, R27163337 $595,000 TABOR 7.61 acres short drive from town. R2716743 $129,900 PRINCE GEORGE & AREA SUBDIVISION LOTS: PARADISE ESTATES: R2688574; R2688580; R2688588; R2588581 and more lots available in this subdivision. GLADTIDING ESTATES R2687614; R2687593; R2687125; R2687155 and more lots available in this subdivision. CHIEF LAKE ROAD: R2689813; R2689815; R2689817 and more lots available in this subdivision. MAY DEADLINE APRIL 22YOURHelping YouHelping YouWEEKLY FARM NEWSUPDATEScountrylifeinbc.comSign up for FREE today.LYESESnbc.comSignSignupYOURHelping YouOURng Young YouDon’t forget to RENEW your subscription toCountry Lifein BC
44 | APRIL 2023 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCKubota gets it done and then some. That means dependable performance with the comfort to match, easy operation with easy maintenance, and dedicated service with great affordability. Right now, save big on quality Kubota tractors, utility vehicles, mowers, implements, attachments and more at our Bring in Spring event. Contact your local Kubota dealer today.GET IT DONE AND THEN SOME.THIS SPRING,PROUD PARTNER OFAMC010kubota.ca | OLIVER GERARD’S EQUIPMENT LTD 250/498-2524 PRINCE GEORGE HUBER EQUIPMENT 250/560-5431 SMITHERS HUBER EQUIPMENT 250/847-3610 SURREY DOUGLAS LAKE EQUIPMENT 604/576-7506 VERNON AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 250/545-3355 ABBOTSFORD AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 604/864-2665 COURTENAY NORTH ISLAND TRACTOR 250/334-0801 CRESTON KEMLEE EQUIPMENT LTD 250/428-2254 DAWSON CREEK DOUGLAS LAKE EQUIPMENT 250/782-5281 DUNCAN ISLAND TRACTOR & SUPPLY LTD 250/746-1755 KAMLOOPS DOUGLAS LAKE EQUIPMENT 250/851-2044 KELOWNA AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 250/769-8700