by DAVID SCHMIDT
PRINCE GEORGE – The BC Cattlemen’s
Association (BCCA) is receiving up to $144,000
from the federal and provincial governments
to develop a business and marketing plan for a
new mid-size federally-inspected beef
processing plant in the Prince George area.
BCCA general manager Kevin Boon stresses
this is only a viability study and does not mean
a plant will be built.
“This is to see if it’s worth trying,” Boon says.
Currently, BC has only two federally
inspected plants capable of processing small
numbers of cattle and several dozen
provincially-licenced abattoirs, but the majority
of cattle are processed in Alberta or the US.
Boon readily admits a lot of processing
plants failed during the BSE crisis “for a
number of reasons” and the study is intended
to ensure a new plant does not suer the same
fate.
Although “there is money there right now”
to build a plant, the BCCA has cautioned
against moving too quickly.
“Our biggest fear is that someone will build
it (without first determining what is needed
to make it successful). This isn’t about a
packing plant – it’s about a whole industry,”
Boon says, noting interested investors
(primarily retailers and exporters) “aren’t that
familiar with the cattle industry. They just
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Farm tour City in the Country showcases innovative agriculture 11
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Life
in BC
The agricultural news source in
British Columbia since 1915
August 2016 • Vol. 102 No. 8
Chicken board
ready to sign on
the dotted line
Feasibility study for northern abattoir
Please see “FEEDLOT” page 2
Y
COUNTRY
by DAVID SCHMIDT
ABBOTSFORD – The BC Chicken
Marketing Board (BCCMB) was expected to
sign Chicken Farmers of Canada’s new
operating agreement at the CFC summer
meeting in Toronto in late July, after nally
getting approval to do so from the BC Farm
Industry Review Board.
FIRB issued its approval on June 30 but
told the BCCMB to hold o until after July
15 to give BC processors another chance to
appeal FIRB’s decision. The processors
waited until the last minute before deciding
against further appeals.
“This is very good news,” said Chicken
Farmers of Canada chair Dave Janzen, a
Chilliwack chicken grower, and BCCMB chair
Robin Smith, almost in unison.
Clay Hurren, 12, a junior member from the Armstrong Beef Club, parades his Simmental cross steer, Gus, in front of a
captive audience of buyers at the annual 4-H Stock Show at the IPE fairgrounds, July 9. (Cathy Glover photo)
Proud as punch
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Eight years of negotiations
over allocations at an end
CHRONIC UNDERALLOCATIONS From page 1
Country Life in BC • August 20162
“Now we can get on with
life,” Smith said.
The issue was predicated
by Alberta’s demand for a
higher allocation than they
were entitled to under the
previous agreement, saying it
led to chronic
underallocations for the
province. Failure to resolve
the issue in a timely fashion
led to Alberta withdrawing
from CFC.
In July 2014, after over six
years of negotiations, all 10
provinces reached an
agreement-in-principle (AIP)
on a new allocation formula
giving Alberta and Ontario a
larger share of future
growth.
Final text over a year ago
It took another four
months to develop a
memorandum of
understanding on the AIP and
till May 2015 for the provinces
to agree on the nal text of an
amended national operating
agreement and send it out for
the required signatures.
Nineteen signatures are
required, including two from
BC – BCCMB and FIRB.
Although Alberta participated
fully in the negotiations and
has been abiding by the
allocations, Alberta is not
among those signatories
since the province is not
ocially a CFC member.
“Until we have all 19
signatures, Alberta can’t take
the amended operating
agreement to its supervisory
board and minister to ask for
approval to rejoin CFC,”
Janzen says, adding
“obviously (CFC) wouldn’t
have tried to get the 19
signatures if we weren’t sure
we would get (Alberta) back.”
Challenges, all around
Although CFC got 11 of the
required signatures by the
end of 2015, it has taken time
to get the rest. The operating
agreement drew ocial
challenges in BC,
Saskatchewan and Manitoba
and unocial challenges from
Quebec and Nova Scotia. With
FIRB’s decision, all but the
BCCMB chair Robin Smith
FEEDLOT INDUSTRY WOULD NEED TO EXPAND From page 1
want the meat.”
A viability study completed
last year indicated BC could
support a federally-inspected
packing plant but certain
sectors of the production
chain would need signicant
infrastructure development.
As an example, there would
have to be an increase in BC’s
feeding (feedlot) industry as
most BC ranchers are cow-calf
operators who send their
calves to Alberta or the US for
nishing.
Locating the plant in Prince
George is another key as BC
cattle production moves
steadily northward.
“The cattle industry is
doomed in southern BC,”
Boon states, so building a
plant in the south would also
be doomed.
The plan would be to build
a plant capable of handling
200-250 head per day with
room to expand to double
that size. “We would start with
50,000 head per year and
hopefully increase to 100,000
head per year, which
represents about half the BC
calf crop.”
Export standards
The plant would be built to
export standards to take
advantage of both domestic
and export market
opportunities and give the
local industry the exibility to
do specialty programs such as
what Earl’s Restaurants want.
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“The big plants (in Alberta)
can’t do that,” Boon notes.
He believes that if the
feeding industry expands to
support a mid-size plant, it
would help rather than hinder
existing provincially-licenced
abattoirs.
“Right now, those plants
can only access cattle at
certain parts of the year.
Expanding the feeding
industry would increase the
number of nished cattle
available to them,” Boon says.
Last year’s viability study
indicated such a plant has the
potential to generate an
additional $250 million in
annual beef and byproduct
sales, increase value-added
exports up to $180 million,
and create up to 180 new full-
time-equivalent jobs within
the plant and about 620
spino jobs.
Those jobs could prove to
be the biggest stumbling
block of all.
Increased training needed
“Worker availability could
be our biggest hindrance,”
Boon says, noting that if a
plant is built there will be a
need for increased training
resources.
The BCCA is providing up
to $16,000 of its own money
to fund the study, to be
completed by March 31, 2017.
When completed it will be
jointly owned by government
and industry and be available
to anyone interesting in
pursuing the opportunity.
“If we want the cattle
industry in BC to continue to
grow, we have to follow up on
this,” Boon says.
Quebec challenge have now
been resolved. Once BC signs,
CFC will have 17 of the 19
signatures.
Quebec’s supervisory
board has given the
agreement its tentative
approval, subject to approval
by its minister and subject to
the Quebec chicken
marketing board passing a
bylaw agreeing not to
approve any changes to the
agreement without prior
approval from its supervisory
board.
With the operating
agreement apparently
reaching a successful
conclusion, both BCCMB and
CFC can now move on to
other equally, and perhaps
more, pressing issues.
For CFC, the big issue is
“plugging leaks in the dam” at
the border.
“The new agreement gives
us the unity and strength we
need to keep working with
the federal government on
import controls,” Janzen says.
“The amount of chicken that’s
coming in to Canada either
fraudulently or creatively
makes this agreement look
pretty small.”
For the BCCMB, the big
issue is live pricing.
Price review underway
“We’ve started a review of
pricing in BC,” Smith says,
claiming “a lot has changed”
since FIRB imposed the
current pricing formula on
the industry ve years ago.
He says the current formula
means “we’re allowing four
other provinces (AB, SK, MB
and ON) to set our price and
I’m not sure that’s right for
BC.”
Smith says the board has
given itself “all Fall” to work
with all the parties to develop
a formula which meets the
BCCMB’s mandate to ensure
“a reasonable return for our
growers and a competitive
price for our processors.”
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 3
by DAVID SCHMIDT
LANGLEY After a small trial
run late last summer proved a
success, BC blueberry growers
and packers have plans to ship
tonnes of fresh blueberries to
China this year.
BC Minister of Agriculture
Norm Letnick visited Driediger
Farms in Langley, July 3, to
watch workers package berries
for the Chinese market.
“This is a big market
opportunity for BC growers,”
Letnick said, claiming it could
grow into a $65 million market
in future years.
After years of eort by the
BC Blueberry Council, Canada
and China nally agreed on an
export protocol for BC
blueberries last year. The
protocol not only requires
complete product traceability
from eld to package but
requires each eld and each
packer planning to ship
berries to China to rst be
certied to Canada GAP
standards by the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency.
“All our elds have been
certied so we are ready to
export,” Rhonda Driediger
said. “We are very proud to be
one of the rst BC companies
to be approved for exporting
fresh blueberries to China. We
look forward to developing
long-term relationships and
increasing demand by the
Chinese consumer for BC's
exceptional quality
blueberries."
Finding and developing
new markets like China are
increasingly necessary as BC
continues to increase its
blueberry acreage and
production.
BC is already is one of the
largest highbush blueberry-
growing regions in the world.
In 2015, BC farmers harvested
about 70,000 tonnes of
blueberries, a 7% increase
from 2014. 2016 production is
expected to at least equal that
of last year.
Letnick notes the province
now has international trade
oces in 13 countries to
promote its agrifood products,
saying building export
markets is a key priority of the
BC Agrifood and Seafood
Strategic Growth Plan.
Inaugural shipment of BC
blueberries off to China
by DAVID SCHMIDT
LANGLEY The Fraser Valley’s cool, wet
summer has not dampened the spirits of BC
berry growers. Anything but.
Although the season started early because
of the unseasonably hot and early spring, rain
and lower temperatures in June and early July
served to improve what could have been a
poor year for production.
“The cold, wet June really helped our
strawberry crop,” Langley grower, packer and
processor Rhonda Driediger of Driediger Farms
said in early July. She noted one second-year
eld of Puget Alliance strawberries which
produced only 29,000 pounds last year yielded
about 115,000 pounds this year.
“We had too much heat last year,” she said.
Driediger notes she processed over 250,000
pounds of strawberries this year, more than
double what she put through her packing plant
last year.
Cool weather boosts berry yields
BC Blue! BC Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick, left, and Abbotsford South MLA Daryl Plecas, right,
join Rhonda Driediger of Blueridge Produce in Langley and Abbotsford berry grower David Mutz to
celebrate the rst exports of fresh BC blueberries to China. (David Schmidt photo)
Please see “LARGER” page 6
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Alberta premier Rachael Notley’s government
stirred up a hornet’s nest last fall when it introduced
Bill 6, making Workman’s Compensation coverage
mandatory on the province’s farms and ranches.
There was widespread resistance from the
agriculture community that resulted in several
amendments to the legislation that came into eect
on January 1. Until then, Alberta was the only
province that exempted agricultural workers from
compensation coverage. When it comes right down
to it, you have to wonder what took them so long.
Farming and ranching are dangerous work – work
that often involves workers not found in any other
employment category. What other eld of
endeavour generates workplace fatality statistics for
children under 15 and adults over 80?
Typical Canadian farms and ranches are family
enterprises. In most cases, the family lives in the
workplace. Being home means being at work and
much of that work cannot be accomplished in eight
scheduled hours from Monday to Friday. The
workload often demands long hours every day for
weeks on end, leaving workers tired and distracted.
Couple this with a workplace that is liable to be any
combination of loud, dusty, slippery, sharp,
poisonous, hot, cold, mean, scared, heavy or hungry,
and you have a recipe for trouble.
The farm population as a whole is steadily ageing
and as it does, the attendant physical human
decline will make farming and ranching increasingly
dangerous. Statistics from Canadian Agricultural
Injury Reporting (CAIR) paint a worrying picture.
From 1990 to 2012, there were 2,324 fatalities on
Canadian farms and ranches. 272 were children
under 15 years of age, 341 were 70 to 79 years of
age and 163 were over the age of 80.
Complacency born of years doing familiar and
repetitive tasks also complicates matters. The simple
truth is farm and ranch workers, kids, adults and
elderly, work in a dangerous, complicated and
unforgiving environment where a simple moment of
inattention can spell disaster.
Few of us who have been at this any length of
time will struggle to recall our own close calls, or
worse. Sadly, most of us will know others injured or
killed accidentally. While some jobs are inherently
more dangerous than others, all workers deserve
safe working conditions. Period. WorkSafeBC
regulations may seem onerous but they are
designed to ensure job safety. There is no rational
argument against that aim. As a construction site
compensation board inspector responded many
years ago to my observation that the regulations
seemed complicated and onerous: “Yes, they are;
but the sad reality is every word of them has been
written with someone’s blood and grief.”
Safety is no accident (no pun intended).
Compensation board regulations might make your
farm or ranch a less dangerous place to work but
only leadership and commitment from within can
make it truly safe. Every farm or ranch needs
someone to lead by example and make safety the
priority for every family member and employee.
At the very least, everyone should reect on and
assess their own situation and concerns,
communicate them to those they work with and
formulate a basic safety plan. The resources to go
forward from there are available from AgSafe BC
[www.agsafebc.ca]. In addition to on-line resources,
AgSafe has regional safety consultants covering the
entire province. AgSafe also oers a Certicate of
Recognition (COR) for agricultural employers who
implement an eective Occupational Health and
Safety plan which could lead to a 10% reduction in
WorkSafeBC premiums.
How much will safety cost? Awareness, basic
education and changes in attitude and behaviours
might be achievable at little or no cost at all. Seat
belts, replacements for missing guards, a safer
handling chute, or occupational rst aid training will
all cost something but compare those costs to the
value of the health, safety and life of those who live
and work on your farm and ranch.
While writing this, I have been remembering
three good friends, all experienced, involved in
machinery accidents. One died in a tractor roll-over,
one lost an entire arm in an implement drive shaft,
and one was pinned under a tractor and survived 25
chest fractures. A formal safety plan might not have
prevented any of their accidents but it could have.
And that’s reason enough for everyone to have one.
Summer is here and fall’s not far o. Statistically
they are the most dangerous seasons for ranchers
and farmers. Stay safe out there.
Editor & Publisher Peter Wilding
Phone: 604/871-0001 • Fax: 604/871-0003
E-mail: countrylifeinbc@shaw.ca • Web: countrylifeinbc.com
Associate Editor David Schmidt
Phone: 604-793-9193
E-mail: davidschmidt@shaw.ca
Advertising Sales & Marketing Cathy Glover
Phone: 604/328-3814
E-mail: cathyglover@telus.net
Production Ass’t: Ann Morris • Senior Researcher: Phil “Bones” Gordon
COUNTRY
Life
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Published monthly by
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Vol. 102 No. 8
August 2016
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Safety doesn’t take a holiday on the farm
The Back 40
BOB COLLINS
Country Life in BC • August 20164
If you build it, they will come.
That famous line from “Field of
Dreams” seems so appropriate as
the BC Cattlemen’s Association
ponders whether building a new
beef processing plant in Prince
George is a good idea or not.
In the movie, Kevin Costner
plays a farmer who hears a
mysterious voice telling him that if
he builds a baseball diamond in
his cornfield, the great baseball
players of old will come to utilize
it.
It appears the BCCA has heard
the same mysterious voice in the
night, telling them that if a plant is
built in Prince George, the BC
cattle industry will be transformed.
If that voice is to be believed,
the BC feedlot industry would
expand dramatically in northern
BC giving BC cattlemen a ready
market. The plant would foster
mid-scale production of grass-fed
and/or hormone-free beef or any
other type of specialty beef
consumer whims may demand in
future. The plant might even
attract cattle from northern
Alberta ranchers, who could find it
more economical to ship their
animals west to Prince George
than south to High River.
The BCCA also has a Kevin,
(Kevin Boon) to lead their
investigation and now the
government has given them the
money to find out whether that is
feasible or if they are, as many
believe, simply dreaming in
Technicolor.
History is not on their side.
Many have tried and failed. The
Blue Mountain packing plant in
Salmon Arm is the most obvious
example. Twice, investors poured
millions into that plant only to see
it fail miserably.
Will this be any different?
Our Kevin thinks so and we
hope he’s right. The BC cattle
industry could certainly use a shot
in the arm to turn around an ever-
shrinking industry.
To them we say: dare to dream!
Dare to dream
Time for stakeholders’ frank discussion on supply management
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 5
countries provide both direct
and indirect subsidies but
don’t suffer the same sort of
trade backlash because of the
different way those subsidies
are viewed.
Mismatch
In fact, the milk sector
looks, to the casual observer,
like the supply-managed
commodity that’s currently
under the most duress.
There’s a well-documented
mismatch between
production and consumer
demand that’s resulted in
ever-rising butterfat imports.
There’s a thriving grey market
in US milk solids that are
crossing the border by
exploiting a poorly
understood loophole. Our
exports are unwelcome
because of supply
management while at the
same time, our domestic
market is opening to dairy
imports, suggesting Canadian
producers are likely to lose
out market share with no
chance of a replacement.
Left unaddressed, it will be
death by a thousand cuts.
Rather than sticking their
collective heads in the sand
and hoping for the best, I
strongly believe supply-
managed producers would
be best served by having a
painful conversation amongst
themselves. They should be
taking a long and hard look
at what criticisms of the
current system might be
most valid, and attempting to
address them.
There’s still plenty of time
to take a more proactive
approach to this situation
and nobody appears to be
making a case for leaving
farmers high and dry, holding
the high-priced bag of quota
they just bought.
Gord Gilmour is
Associate Editor
of Manitoba Co-operator.
A few years back, while
working as a writer for
Country Guide, I spoke at
some length with
Saskatchewan-based
agriculture economist Murray
Fulton about how farm policy
is typically set in Canada.
He told me that what tends
to happen is something he
called “punctuated
equilibrium” – which is to say
that Canadian agriculture
policy tends to reach a state
of consensus on a topic, then
remain there for quite some
time.
Over time, new issues
appear and pressure begins
to slowly build under the
surface. Eventually it begins
to bubble up, reach a boiling
point, then boiling over in a
flash of action – like the
death of the Crow Rate or the
move to an open market for
western wheat and barley.
Pressure building
He also told me, in his
opinion, we were probably at
the start of the process where
the pressure would begin to
build on supply
management. With the
benefit of hindsight, he’s
beginning to appear
downright prescient.
There’s little doubt
pressure is rising. Various
trade agreements threaten to
both undermine it and cap
future growth. Columns in
both the farm press and
mainstream media
increasingly take issue with it.
Broken ranks
Recently, Maxime Bernier,
a Conservative MP from
Quebec and candidate for
the party’s leadership, broke
ranks and said it is time to
reform the system. A
pair of University of
Manitoba researchers
recently received a
national economics
award for a policy
paper examining the
outsize impact supply
management has on poor
households.
In a nutshell, their case
states that supply
management is a regressive
tax that rich and poor alike
pay at the same rate, and the
higher prices of basic grocery
staples is driving poor
households to less healthy
and wholesome options.
Drip by drip, the dam is
breached and change now
appears inevitable – the
question is no longer if, but
when, how and by whose
design, in my opinion.
So far, supply-managed
commodity groups have
taken a fighting stance,
battling every perceived
threat. It’s certainly
understandable. After all, the
current system appears to
have functioned well for
them for decades now. But in
a strategic sense, I believe
this is an error. After a while,
policy-makers will just
conclude the farmers in
question are resistant to
change and they’ll impose a
solution, like it or not.
When the punctuation is
reached, governments tend
to act the same no matter the
party in power or the issue at
play. It can be summed up
pretty simply: distract them,
rip the bandage off and run
like hell. It would be nice to
think a new generation of
leaders might actually display
leadership, but don’t count
on it.
If they won’t, industry will
need to or risk being saddled
with a deal they’ve had little
input on.
Many subsidies out there
I’m not suggesting giving
away the farm, of course, and
I don’t think even the most
ardent free market
proponents are either. The
truth is a lot of commodities
are subsidized in a lot of
different ways in a lot of
different places. But what
makes supply management
unique is that it’s been
singled out as a trade-
distorting policy and
essentially shuts Canada out
of export markets for
commodities, in particular
dairy, while spinning off
unintended consequences at
home.
Agricultural economists Al
Mussell, Doug Hedley and
Kamal Karunagoda examined
this in a widely discussed
policy paper, Canadian Dairy
Exports: The Knowns,
Unknowns, and Uncertainties.
In it, they noted many other
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Country Life in BC • August 20166
by PETER MITHAM
KELOWNA – Growing
demand for housing to
accommodate long-term
migrant workers is fuelling
demand for permanent rather
than temporary structures on
farms.
The province has long
maintained that just one
permanent residence is
permitted per parcel land
within the Agricultural Land
Reserve. The reserve was
established in 1973 to protect
rural land from development,
meaning any additional
dwelling, whether for an
immediate family member or
farm workers, is limited to a
manufactured home.
Such temporary structures
are deemed not to
compromise the productive
capacity of the land, though
local governments have the
authority to allow for extra
dwellings for farm workers “if
the number of residences is
commensurate with
agricultural activities being
undertaken on the parcel.”
But the guidance in the
regulations is creating
pressure on municipalities
such as Kelowna, which is
elding requests from
orchardists who want to house
dozens of workers on a single
farm property.
“The number of workers
that they need is more than
the ve or six they might have
needed in the 1970s,” explains
Minister open to permanent housing for temporary workers
Melanie Steppuhn, a land use
planner responsible for
suburban and rural planning
with Kelowna. “So the farm
worker housing is becoming
concentrated. They want them
on one farm rather than
having them all on ve farms.
It’s much more convenient for
them to house them on one or
two farms.”
While applications for farm
worker housing typically
number no more than ve a
year, farmers are increasingly
seeking permission to build
larger, permanent residences.
“We’re not getting a lot of
these requests but when
they’re bigger, they do tend to
hit the news,” Steppuhn says,
noting the concerns often
come from rural residents who
aren’t involved in farming.
“More and more people are
buying homes like severance
parcels and smaller parcels
and living on them, or larger
parcels, even, and leasing
them out as farms, who are
not farmers,” Steppuhn
explains. “[They] have very
little patience and interest in
the farm activities that are
protected under the Right to
Farm Act.”
Yet concern regarding farm
worker housing isn’t just from
cranky neighbours.
Greenhouse operators in
Delta encountered issues a
decade ago with respect to
farm worker housing. Rather
than lodge them at a hotel or
some other kind of leased
premises, there was a desire
to accommodate them on
site.
But in a municipality that
was grappling with the issue
of monster homes on
farmland, the issue was a hot
potato. Temporary housing
was the way to go, said Delta
mayor Lois Jackson, adding
stewardship of the land
beyond the needs of the
present was key.
Guidelines for hosting
temporary workers limit
themselves to saying that
workers only require housing
that meets government
standards and passes muster
with either a municipal
inspector, commercial
inspection service or third-
party inspector.
The province has regularly
studied the issue, issuing its
most recent revision of the
standard that aims to provide
a baseline for municipal
bylaws just last year.
Agriculture minister Norm
Letnick told media in June
that the provincial standard
remains the ocial stance on
the matter but he’s open to
discussing the matter if there’s
a signicant need for a new
form of worker housing.
“The preference, according
to the bylaw, is for them to be
temporary structures – some
kind of manufactured home
that can removed at some
point in the future if the need
no longer existed,” he told
CBC. “[But] I’m always open to
consider things that would be
best for agriculture.”
Current standard recommends temporary structures
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David Mutz of Berry Haven
Farms in Abbotsford seconded
her comments.
“Raspberry plants like cool,
wet weather so we expect a
larger crop than last year,”
Mutz said, adding the larger
crop is a mixed blessing.
He notes packers and
wholesalers still have a glut of
raspberries in storage so prices
are down from a year ago.
“There is more competition
in the market but prices are
down for both fresh and
processed raspberries,” Mutz
said, adding prices “will still be
protable for growers but not
as ridiculous (high) as last
year.
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 7
Shuswap-based food co-op rallies for agriculture
by TOM WALKER
SALMON ARM – The
Salmon Arm area has a history
of co-operation around food
production. In 1907, local
growers founded the Salmon
Arm Farmers Exchange to
pack, market and ship apples.
When those growers couldn’t
get loans from the local bank,
they formed their own Salmon
Arm Savings and Credit Union
in 1946.
Area citizens who are
concerned about their food
formed the Shuswap Food
Action Co-op (SFAC) and
registered as a not-for-prot in
2009. The co-op aims to raise
awareness around food
security issues with the
ultimate goal of creating a
local food policy.
“It’s all about education,”
board member Ronn Boeur
says. “We are dedicated to
improving food availability,
food quality and food security
in the Salmon Arm-Shuswap
region.”
Throughout the month of
May and June, the SFAC held a
series of “Shuswap Food
Conversations” on topics such
as food costs and your
budget, food waste, food co-
operatives, globalization and
farm practices. The sessions
were held at the recently
opened Urban Market, an
independent full service
grocer oering many products
from local growers and
processors in the Salmon Arm
area.
Country Life in BC attended
a session focused on
“Consumer Power” in relation
to food. About 15 attendees
listened to several short
presentations and broke into
discussion groups. One of the
topics was “Do we (the
consumer) have any power to
inuence the producer or
supplier? If so, how do we
exercise it?”
Ronn Boeur shared an
interesting story. He and his
wife stopped buying store
brand cheese from local
grocer Askew’s Foods when
they noticed a change in the
avour. They spoke with store
employees and were told that
nothing had changed.
However, the cheese label
was re-written to list
“modied milk ingredients” as
one of the product contents.
Recently, Boeur noticed the
cheese was now being
advertised as “traditionally
made without modied milk
ingredients.” He’s is now
heading back to buy some.
“Be the change you want to
see,” Boeur advocates.
But it’s not just about
education.
The SFAC developed a food
charter that was presented to
Salmon Arm city council in
2012.
“Received as information,
but never adopted,” says
board member John McLeod.
They have also gained
representation on the
Environment Action
Committee and the
Agriculture Advisory
Committee for the city as well
as Interior Health’s Shuswap
Healthy Communities
Coalition and worked on the
Columbia Shuswap Regional
District’s “Agriculture
Strategy” that was completed
in 2014.
That’s a lot of meetings for
the likes of retired dairy
farmer McLeod, who recently
made a presentation to the
Opposition Standing
Committee on Agriculture.
“Thirty years ago, everyone
had a connection or knew
someone with a connection to
agriculture,” says McLeod.
“But that’s gone now. There
isn’t the support for
agriculture.”
McLeod has worked with
local farmer Lesley Gurney,
who donated an acre of land
for a community garden.
“Over the last three years,
we have worked with Salmon
Arm Family Resource Center
who sourced funding through
the Evergreen Foundation
and the Shuswap Foundation
to help with tools, plants,
seeds, machine work and drip
irrigation,” McLeod explains.
“This spring, the rst garden
was planted.”
McLeod says he received a
spreadsheet from the city of
Salmon Arm that lists the
names and addresses of every
ALR property within the city
limits.
“Many of these properties
are not used or are under-
used for agriculture,” says
McLeod. “This could be a
huge asset in the
development of our land bank
Members of the
Shuswap Food Action
Co-op were delighted
to receive copies of
Country Life in BC at one
of their get-togethers in
Salmon Arm.
(Tom Walker photo)
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Okanagan cherry growers resorted to helicopters to dry their unharvested cherry crops in July. The
process caused several complaints from nearby residents over the noise, but with cherry season
coming to a close it is a short-lived activity and only necessary when it rains. (Jennifer Smith photo)
Country Life in BC • August 20168
by JUDIE STEEVES
KELOWNA – Rare wet
weather in the rst half of July
in the Okanagan, plus a
stormy June, has caused a
turnaround in the expected
good fortunes of cherry
growers this season.
What had been forecast to
be a large crop of early, good-
quality fruit has now been
downgraded to a much-
reduced crop of fruit. The
product suers from splits
caused by water sitting in the
stem bowl of the cherry
during hot weather, just as it
matures and is ready to pick.
Some larger growers have
spent huge sums of money
hiring helicopters to hover
over orchards, blowing that
water o the fruit immediately
following a rainstorm, or
driving through the rows
blowing air into the trees to
dry the fruit, but there will still
be damage.
That means growers must
sort out damaged fruit in the
orchard before it heads to the
packing plant where it
undergoes further sorting,
both to remove imperfect fruit
and for size, and it means
there will be large quantities
of cull cherries for which there
are few alternate uses.
Low grade or commercial
apples are used to make the
popular apple cider by the BC
Tree Fruits Co-operative but,
so far, cherries are not used to
make a cider-type product. In
fact, they’re not used in many
value-added products.
Co-op CEO Alan Tyabji says
pears are the next fruit they
plan to use for a ‘perry’ and
they will be followed by
peaches, before cherries.
He says the co-op had
anticipated handling a cherry
crop in the range of 12 million
pounds this year, as tree fruits
started the spring three weeks
earlier than normal, with a
mild winter and warm spring.
However, by June (due to
weather), that gure had
dropped to nine million
pounds. By mid-July, it was
down to 7.5 million pounds.
He estimates the co-op
handles about half the
province’s cherry crop with a
number of growers packing at
plants located in their
orchards, mainly because it’s
so crucial the fruit is chilled
immediately after picking to
maintain good quality and
rmness.
That’s also why the co-op
has spent millions of dollars
on eight hydro-coolers to chill
fruit throughout the cherry
growing areas of the province
– close to where the fruit is
Weather takes its toll on Okanagan cherry crop
One grower lost 65% of his crop due to splitting
inventory.”
He is working on a plan to
canvas these properties to see
if they would be interested in
registering with the idea of
leasing or renting and they
will be linked with the Young
Agrarians and the Land Link
websites.
“We are presently working
on a renewed three year
strategic plan with the help of
consultant Mike Simpson of
the Fraser Basin Council and
Laura Kalina of Interior Health
and lead of the Kamloops
Food Policy Council,” McLeod
adds. “We are very fortunate
to have these two excellent
resources leading this
initiative.”
Boeur calls the 15 regulars
that attend the meetings his
“core.” Two years ago, a public
health nurse working on her
masters developed a food hub
document for the SFAC.
“I think the creation of a
food hub is the direction we
are moving in,” he says.
CO‑OP WORKING ON PLAN From page 7
grown – before it’s shipped to
the packing plant.
Southern areas hit hardest
BC Cherry Association
president Sukhpaul Bal of
Kelowna admits the weather
has caused some
disappointing damage,
particularly for growers in the
south of the valley, but he
says the undamaged fruit is of
particularly good quality and
very large.
“It’s always a gamble with
cherries,” he comments.
In some blocks, he says he
lost 65% of his crop to
splitting. Even though he sold
some for juice, it still costs far
more to have the fruit picked
than what it sold for.
Some growers lost half
their crop, particularly in the
south where fruit matured
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 9
Employee honoured for 50 years of service
earlier and was more susceptible
to the rainstorms that battered
orchards in early July.
Changes need to be made to
the provincial crop insurance
program to make it work for
cherry growers, he noted. They
may lose an entire block of an
early variety but because they
have better success with a later
variety, no claim is triggered, he
explains.
As machinery hummed and
clicked in the background at the
Vaughn Avenue packinghouse,
sorting out fruit destined for
export markets, Tyabji recalled
the ‘old days’ when growers
experienced one in ve good
years in the cherry industry.
Today, he said, it’s much
better, with only the occasional
year like this one, when Mother
Nature plays the weather card on
growers.
“I want to cry when I see the
amount of splits in the cull bins
here,” commented Tyabji.
The large-sized cherries so
prized they receive a premium in
export markets such as China, are
also those that are rst damaged
by heavy rains because of their
size.
They are the fruit sorted for
export, while smaller-sized fruit
head for domestic markets where
consumers are not prepared to
pay such high prices. The fruit
quality, he noted, is the same.
Financially, cherries are the
most lucrative crop handled by
the co-op, although apples are
the most handled in terms of
quantity.
The co-op employs about 800
union members, with about 270
packing cherries in the summer,
and it handles fruit for about 450
contract growers.
In recent years, $20 million has
been spent on facility upgrades
with plans for a further $10
million in the near future, said
Tyabji.
Market returns for fruit are ne,
he said, and they’re not
anticipating the weather-
damaged fruit they have to deal
with this year will have a huge
impact on BCTF.
The biggest hurt from this
year’s weather-damaged fruit will
be to growers, he said.
“We’re concerned in terms of
grower returns,” he commented.
In coming years, based on
trees that have already been
planted but not yet producing,
Tyabji said they anticipate they
will be handling 14 million
pounds of cherries each season
so upgrades are needed just to
increase their capacity for
handling a further four million
pounds of cherries.
BATTERED BY RAINSTORMS From page 8
by JUDIE STEEVES
KELOWNA – She’s seen enormous
changes in the cherry industry in BC as
she celebrates 50 years working in the
industry for the BC Tree Fruits Co-op.
Isabel Roseen of Wineld was
recognized last month by CEO Alan
Tyabji in front of her colleagues on the
packinghouse oor at the Kelowna
plant. They were then all invited to share
her celebratory cake during their lunch
break o the packing oor.
He thanked her for her service and
talked about what teamwork and family
are all about.
When she began in the industry, it
was picking fruit, but as Tyabji jokingly
pointed out, she’s not very tall and
picking those sweet fruits from the old-
fashioned tall, spreading trees meant
she had a long way to fall if a misstep
was made.
So, she went to work for the packing
industry in those days, for the Vernon
Fruit Union, which ran four
packinghouses in the northern part of
the Okanagan Valley.
Tyabji recalled there were about 30
small packing plants all over the
Okanagan Valley who all sold their fruit
to BC Tree Fruits.
Today, they all come under the
banner of the united BC Tree Fruit Co-op
and Roseen works at the north end
Kelowna packinghouse until her
retirement in July.
“Now, we’re all part of one strong
community,” he noted.
Looking back, she recalled that much
of the work that’s now automated was
done by hand
from stamping
boxes to sorting
fruit.
From
procedures that
were done by one
machine at a time,
everything has
now been
computerized.
In the early
days, you had to
learn what all the
stamps meant in
order to know
where fruit was destined, but today
machines look after most of that, she
notes.
“Every year, there was something new
or some renovation,” she recalled,
admitting sometimes it seemed the
changes took them backward and others
forward.
It’s rare these days that an employee
works for one company for half a
century and Tyabji noted she has
worked through the industry’s ups and
downs, working shoulder-to-shoulder
with many others in the orchard
business.
Isabel Roseen
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 11
by RONDA PAYNE
ABBOTSFORD – Each year,
the City of Abbotsford’s
Chamber of Commerce plays
host to two bus loads of
people interested in nding
out what’s new and worth
celebrating in the agricultural
industry. Statistics drawn from
the city’s website note that
70% of the region’s 389 square
kilometers are in the
Agricultural Land Reserve.
There were 1,282 farms in 2011
and 2010 gross receipts were
pegged at $635 million. That’s
a lot of zeroes in support of
big agricultural in Abbotsford.
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stands for Absorbent Concepts
Inc. – the name Scales chose
when he started research and
development to nd natural
bres absorbent enough to
help prevent further corrosion
in aircraft.
“That was 25 years ago,” he
says. “I discovered hemp bre
is antibacterial. It’s absorbent. I
thought I’d hit the jackpot…
but hemp was illegal in those
years.”
When Scales was laid o
from his job about two and a
half years ago, he remembered
the hemp. While the
government had begun to
make changes to its
antiquated ways, the industry
was still not ready for his
original ideas so he went
towards the nutritional route
of development. Absorbent
bres for aircraft is a far cry
from the products his
company makes today.
“What we do here, we do
with a passion for human
health,” Scales says.
ACI does three major things
with close to 100,000
kilograms of hemp each
month: they process hemp
seed into oil, they create a de-
hulled product for breakfast
cereal and other producers’
products (Silver Hills Bakery,
Holy Crap cereal, Anita’s Mills)
and they package hemp seeds
in one pound to 2,000 pound
packages. They also create a
hemp protein supplement and
are working on getting a bre
supplement to market.
100% organic
Scales ships his products
internationally but because he
brokers much of it, he doesn’t
know what the buyers do with
the product. For example, the
resins from hemp oil are an
ingredient in car door panels
and even Airbus aircraft nose
cones. Perhaps not as
important to BMW or Lexus,
but ACI is the only 100%
organic hemp processor in
North America.
Even without the TCP (the
hallucinogen in marijuana),
Scales says hemp has
numerous health benets.
“Health-wise, hemp is
incredibly important to the
human system,” notes Scales.
Hemp is aligned to human
DNA and delivers a number of
important benets like
cannabinoids (only found in
hemp, echinacea and
mulberries), omega 3s and 6s
and is the highest source of
vegetable protein available.
Because omega oils are
sensitive, ACI has muted
lighting, refrigeration, triple-
ply bags and a nitrogen
treatment to eliminate
oxidization pre-shipment.
There is a growing market
in BC for hemp as an
alternative but serious, and
well-managed crop.
Acres of sushi and sake rice
Behind the Bakerview Eco-
Dairy is the northern-most rice
paddy in the world. Masa
Shiroki is an artisan sake maker
who is also growing table rice
in this surprising location.
It was when he was talking
to a group of wine makers that
he recognized he couldn’t
participate in discussions
about how the weather and
other factors inuences the
vintage of his sake. He’d
always imported his rice from
Japan.
“Why not?” led Shiroki to
changing the highest latitude
for rice growing from 43° or
44° to 49°.
Shiroki’s rice seedlings are
grown at Bevo Farms in
Langley, where they’ve been
started for the last four or ve
years. The two inch tall
seedlings are planted in May
with a planter, then harvested
in September. Water in the
paddy keeps the weeds down
and is drained at the end of
August, although water levels
vary during the growth
process to invigorate the roots
or stimulate growth.
“There’s always unused land
or wasted land in BC,” Shiroki
says. “Contact us as we’ll make
it productive land.”
The best land for rice
growing is almost always
unused because it doesn’t
drain. With two two-acre elds
in Abbotsford and 14 acres in
Surrey, Shiroki grows rice for
his sake production and also
what he describes as a
avourful organic brown table
rice and white rice.
“Restaurants have been
ordering it,” he says. “It’s a big
draw at the farmers markets,
too.”
It’s hard work, but it comes
with rewards. A two acre plot
yields 2,700 kilograms (after
drying) at $10 per kilogram
retail. Shiroki is working with
three dierent rice varieties
currently, including an
ornamental rice plant.
Additionally, he has been
providing his growing data
federally.
City in the Country showcases innovative agriculture
Sake maker Masa Shiroki
See “HOP” page 12
An ACI employee shows a tour guest the result of pressing oil out
of hemp. (Ronda Payne photos)
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Country Life in BC • August 201612
HOP PROCESSING EXPANDING From page 11
It takes a lot of work to grow
rice (not to mention the need
to import the appropriate
equipment) but Shiroki is
proving rice can be a viable
crop in the Fraser Valley.
Unused land
Country Life in BC readers
are already familiar with
Dwayne Stewart, owner of
Valley Hops, who has been
working to get landowners
and farmers on-track with
bringing their unused land
into production with hops.
What readers may not know
about is the expansion of the
processing side of the
business, BC Hop Co., where
Stewart is the general
manager. BC Hop works to
harvest, process and distribute
locally grown hops under
management with Valley Hops
and is expanding to make the
business even more ecient.
Brian Zaporozan, partner
and VP in BC Hop, takes on the
operations and quality
management of the
processing side of the
business. He guided tour
participants to the
construction site of the new
facility.
“Hops processing is
primarily automated after
picking,” Zaporozan says.
“There aren’t too many of
these kinds of facilities in
North America.”
The type of facility to which
he is referring is the 11,500
square foot processing facility
designed to take a process of
three to ve days down to less
than 24 hours.
“We’ll be one of the only in
North America to do it that
speed from eld to cold
storage,” he says. “It improves
the quality of the end product.
Hops oxidize really quickly.”
The building, expected to
be completed in August, will
house European equipment
and technology and is funded
in part by the Growing
Forward 2 program. With the
demand for locally grown
hops rising, brew masters want
the best quality ingredients
possible, consistently.
Zaporozan says this new
facility will deliver just that.
“We are currently looking at
trademarking our process,” he
notes.
Fields of 10 acres and larger
are the ideal size for coming
into production with Valley
Hops and making use of the
processing facilities BC Hop
will oer through the new
plant.
The unexpected fuzzy fruit
Since 2008, George Petkov
has grown eight acres of
pergola-supported kiwis on
leased land in Abbotsford. He
grew up in Macedonia (part
of the former Yugoslavia),
being trained in viticulture
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with vine fruits like grapes
and kiwi. He worked at a
couple of local wineries
before starting his own kiwi
farm.
“This year, I expect 200,000
to 250,000 pounds,” he said
of the anticipated harvest.
While kiwi aren’t native in
the Fraser Valley and don’t
have pests or diseases, Petkov
has found himself fighting
squirrels. He’s going to try
chicken wire and electric
fencing for his next battle
round.
“They can eat a lot of [kiwi]
buds in one day,” he says of
the rodents.
Weeds are a problem as
well but, as his farm is
organically managed, Petkov
turns to vinegar to spray
what pops up.
Training the vines
Petkov imported the tissue
cultures of the Hayward kiwi
variety from Italy and spent a
few years training the vines
to the wires. The capital
expenditures were high in the
early years for poles, wire,
drip irrigation and more; now,
it’s primarily labour.
“Every year you have to
prune,” he notes. There is a
lot of summer pruning.”
There are eight female
plants to each male, but the
males grow vigorously,
sometimes blocking out too
much sun from the canopy.
They can also block the
flowers from growing
upwards and block the sun
from sweetening the fruit.
Bees do some of the
pollination but kiwi can also
be wind pollinated so Petkov
has used a blower when the
spring is too cold for bees.
“They are very vigorous,”
he says of the shallow-rooted
plants. “They can grow up to
80 or 90 years. Full
production is at about six
years.”
Hand-picked
Kiwi don’t ripen on the
vine. They are hand-picked
when the inner seeds are
black but then go into cold
storage to ripen.
When ripe, Petkov sells the
largest amount of his
production to the BC School
Fruit and Vegetable
Nutritional Program but also
sells to IGA and a couple of
other local distributors. Sales
in the early years were
challenging because buyers
didn’t believe a kiwi could be
successfully grown locally,
but Petkov has proven it can.
The Fraser Valley is home
to a wide range of agricultural
activities but it seems it’s
more than just the expected
growing here. Farmers and
producers alike are looking to
new and innovative additions
to the province’s agricultural
growth.
Sam Glasgow of Valley Hops
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 13
Pan-Canadian poultry practice
codes receive final approval
by PETER MITHAM
ABBOTSFORD – Canada’s
National Farm Animal Care
Council has released new
codes of practice for poultry
producers, developed in
consultation with the
Canadian Federation of
Humane Societies.
Released earlier this
summer, the new codes of
practice govern broiler, egg
and turkey producers across
Canada. They follow the
release of 14 other codes
governing the production
and transport of animals from
bison to mink and rabbits.
The farm animal care
council describes the codes
as “powerful tool[s] for
meeting rising consumer,
marketplace and societal
expectations relative to farm
animal welfare.” With myriad
certification standards in the
marketplace, the codes aim
to establish a baseline for
animal care practices.
Earls controversy
Geoff Urton, manager,
stakeholder relations for the
BC SPCA, pointed to the
recent controversy over the
decision of Earls Restaurants
Ltd. to source beef produced
in accordance with the
Certified Humane standard
developed by Humane Farm
Animal Care of Herndon,
Virginia.
Canada’s beef code of
practice was released in 2013
and Urton said it established
a minimum standard for beef
production in Canada
approved by humane
societies across the country.
It’s been the basis for the
National Cattle Feeder’s
Association code and one the
Canadian Cattlemen’s
Association is developing.
But these codes, and
standards such as Certified
Humane, are simply
elaborations of the national
baseline.
“[Our national] code
should now be serving as the
underpinning of any
assurance system that’s being
developed in Canada for the
welfare of beef cattle,” Urton
said, noting that audits are
increasingly part of the
equation.
Raising the bar
“[It] will ensure … virtually
every cattle owner in the
country over the next few
years does get some kind of
audit, which is really
important for raising the bar,”
he said of the cattlemen’s
new code. “But you’re always
going to have consumers and
retailers who want to go
further.”
This being said, consumers,
activists and producers
themselves all have a chance
to provide feedback on the
national codes of practice
during a comment period.
Public comment on the new
poultry code was solicited in
fall 2015.
“People have a chance to
feel like they’ve had a voice,”
Urton said of the comment
period. “Regardless of their
dietary choices, Canadians
are very passionate about
these issues – Canadians are
very passionate about animal
welfare, in general.”
But between those who
want more humane
conditions for livestock and
those who feel no condition
but utter freedom is
appropriate, Urton said the
most productive comments
are those that govern actual
production practices rather
than the liberation of
animals.
Constructive comments
“The most practical
comments, the most
constructive, are the ones
that are going to get used by
the committee in any actual
wording amendments that
we make to the code,” he
said.
Complete details of the
new poultry codes of practice
are available online
[http://www.nfacc.ca/codes-
of-practice/chickens-turkeys-
and-breeders].
With so many competing certification standards in
the marketplace, the codes aim to establish baselines
New poultry code of practice follows in footsteps of 14 other codes
established governing the production and transport of livestock.
(File photo)
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Country Life in BC • August 201614
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 15
by DAVID SCHMIDT
VICTORIA
After close to
two decades under the
guidance of Jim Collins, the
BC Farm Industry Review
Board (FIRB) has a new
executive director.
During Collins’ lengthy
tenure as ED, FIRB’s role was
expanded from simply being a
supervisory board and
appellate tribunal for the
province’s regulated
marketing boards and
commissions to hearing
complaints under the Farm
Practices Protection (Right to
Farm) Act and acting as an
appellate tribunal for animal
custody decisions by the
BCSPCA under the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Retirement for Collins
Collins retired at the end of
June and has been replaced
as executive director by
Kirsten Pedersen. Pedersen
holds a Master’s of Public
Administration degree from
the University of Victoria and
has been with the
BC public service
since 1990, the past
20 with the BC
Ministry of
Transportation and
Infrastructure.
Most recently, she
was the BCMT&I
south coast regional
director, overseeing
the operation of the
provincial highway system in
the Lower Mainland,
Vancouver Island, Sunshine
Coast and Gulf Islands. Prior to
that, she was
executive director of
policy and planning
for transportation.
Pedersen joined
FIRB in mid-June and
ocially took over as
executive director
upon Collins’
retirement, June 25.
This is not the
only change at FIRB
as BC Minister of Agriculture
Norm Letnick also appointed
two new members to the FIRB
board. Named to the board
for two year terms beginning
July 31 and ending July 31,
2018, were Al Sakalauskas and
Diane Pastoor. Both have
extensive backgrounds in
supply management. A former
assistant deputy minister of
the BC Ministry of Agriculture,
Sakalauskas was general
manager of the BC Egg
Marketing Board before
retiring over a year ago.
Experience that counts
A BC native, Pastoor spent
many years as a chicken
grower in Saskatchewan
where she served as chair of
the Saskatchewan Chicken
Marketing Board and
represented that province at
Chicken Farmers of Canada.
Sakalauskas and Pastoor
replace Andy Dolberg and
Diane Filmore who each
completed two terms on
FIRB’s board.
Daphne Stancil, whose rst
term on FIRB expired at the
end of July, was reappointed
for a second term also ending
July 31, 2018.
Even though John Les’s rst
three-year term as chair of
FIRB was not due to expire
until the end of November,
the June 30 orders-in-council
also included his early
reappointment. Les’s term as
chair has been extended for
another three years and is
now set to end November 30,
2019.
New executive director, board members for FIRB
Commission won’t regulate specialty hatching egg production
Kirsten Pedersen
by DAVID SCHMIDT
ABBOTSFORD After
getting their knuckles rapped
by the BC Farm Industry
Review Board (FIRB) regarding
their handling of specialty
hatching egg quota issue, the
BC Broiler Hatching Egg
Commission has decided to
wash its hands of the whole
aair. However, that decision
doesn’t sit well with Trevor
Allen and Casey van Ginkel,
who successfully appealed
BCBHEC’s original order.
As reported in the June
2016 issue of Country Life in
BC, FIRB cancelled the
BCBHEC’s original order
regulating specialty hatching
egg producers and ordered
the commission to report to
stakeholders and FIRB by the
end of June as to whether or
not it would regulate specialty
production, saying BCBHEC’s
recommendation must be
“fully supported by a process
consistent with SAFETI
(strategic, accountable, fair,
eective, transparent,
inclusive) principles.”
In its report to FIRB,
BCBHEC says it has decided
not to regulate specialty
hatching egg production.
Although FIRB gave the
BCBHEC that option, Allen and
van Ginkel insist that was
never their intent.
“We were appealing the
allocation, not the quota,”
Allen states. “We always
wanted quota. It’s ludicrous
that a hatching egg
commission could nd no
reason to regulate yet they
boast about the benets of
supply management on their
website.”
While BCBHEC’s report
defends its decision using
FIRB’s SAFETI, Allen and van
Ginkel charge the commission
has missed a key element in
the process: consultation with
the stakeholders.
“Not operating properly
The commission “is not
operating properly,” van
Ginkel says. “I was a founding
member of the chicken
specialty marketing advisory
committee in 2005 and have
an idea of how it’s supposed
to happen.”
Allen notes ve of the six
aected producers delivered a
letter to the BCBHEC at the
beginning of April agreeing
on regulation and specic
quota allocations for each
producer. While the BCBHEC
acknowledges the letter, its
report to FIRB only states a
response will be part of “the
BC Hatching Egg Asian
Breeder Producer Work Plan.”
FIRB seems to side with the
producers that BCBHEC’s
initial report is not good
enough. In a June 23 letter to
BCBHEC chair Casey
Langbroek and Claire Hunter,
Allen and Van Ginkel’s legal
counsel, FIRB states it is their
expectation “that fulsome
consultation with specialty
breeder producers and other
stakeholders will be
conducted before any nal
recommendations are placed
before BC FIRB.”
Van Ginkel says that’s all
the producers want.“We just
want to see change and see
(the commission) functioning
properly.”
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Country Life in BC • August 201616
While the use of cover crops
is a preference for each
individual farmer depending
on their farm’s prole, research
out of the University of New
Hampshire has shown that
one of the most useful cover
crops that can be planted to
suppress weeds and increase
soil production values is
forage radish.
True, New Hampshire is in
the US northeast and some
distance from BC, but it
experiences cool, short-season
cropping niches that we can
see here.
Cover crops are plants that
are grown after the cash crop
has been harvested and they
are used to protect the soil
from erosion and the loss of
nutrients, suppress weeds,
enhance soil fertility, and
provide habitat for pollinators
the following spring or
benecial soil organisms. They
can also be planted on fallow
land adjacent to producing
elds.
According to a 2012 report
by the Delta Farmland and
Wildlife Trust, forage crops
grown for livestock feed (hay,
pasture or silage) in the Fraser
River delta are often grazed by
herbivorous waterfowl such as
snow geese and wigeon,
resulting in damage to the
cash crops. Cover crops are
grown not only for erosion
protection,
suppression of weeds
and enhanced soil
fertility but as a
potential means to
lure waterfowl away
from productive
forage elds and to oset
waterfowl grazing damage.
The most common cover crops
are winter wheat and barley.
“Control of weeds and
improvement of soil quality
and soil health are issues that
every farmer struggles to deal
with,” says Richard Smith,
assistant professor of
agroecology, UNH Agricultural
Experiment Station. “Cover
crops are tools that farmers
can use to address these
issues simultaneously;
however, not all cover crops
are equally capable of
suppressing weeds or
contributing to soil
enhancement, particularly
under the climatic conditions
that are typical of our [New
Hampshire] region. This
research is aimed at
determining which cover crop
species might be most useful
for farmers in our region.”
Taking advantage of cover
crops has a cost factor in terms
Forage radish sets the
standard for cover crops
of seeding, equipment time for
eld preparation and labour.
Then, a lot may depend on the
weather at the chosen time for
planting and/or harvesting. On
the BC south coast, a very wet
fall in 2010 led to fewer cover
crops planted and not many
harvested.
The researchers in New
Hampshire examined the
growth of eight dierent cover
crops that would be grown
from fall through to the
following spring before the
planting of the summer cash
crop. Summer vegetable crops
included snap beans, broccoli,
sweet corn and spinach or
corn silage.
Researchers planted cover
crops at the experiment
station’s Woodman
Horticultural Research Farm
either as monocultures (one
cover crop) or bi-cultures
(mixture of two cover crops).
Crops planted included annual
ryegrass, winter rye, alfalfa,
crimson clover, white clover,
hairy vetch, soybean, and
forage radish. Researchers also
included a control in which no
cover crop was grown.
The study extended for two
years which allowed scientists
to evaluate not only the
average value for each cover
crop but its consistency in
production.
“Based on our research, we
found that forage radish was
consistently among the
highest biomass-producing
treatments in the fall, provided
excellent fall weed suppression
and resulted in some of the
highest production values in
the test-crop,” says Smith. “We
were particularly surprised with
how well the forage radish
performed, both in terms of fall
growth and fall weed
suppression, and how much of
an impact it had on the
subsequent test-crop despite
the fact that it died in the
winter.”
The study is valuable in that
it allows farmers science-based
insights into the application of
cover crops that reduce the
need for costly and
environmentally stressful
agrichemicals. The goal, says
Smith, is to develop
biologically-based practices
that are appropriate for their
operations and that improve
the farmers’ bottom line.
Smith says that agriculture
is a vital part of any regional
economy and the
implementation of practices
that benet local farm
production such as planting
cover crops should be of
interest not only to farmers
but anyone who believes in
eating local or regionally
produced food or who values
sustainable agricultural
practices.
Further research will look at
a wider range of cover crops,
times of planting and their
performance under varying
growing conditions. In
addition, scientists will look at
a mixture of plant species and
the additional services cover
crops provide to agriculture.
The study by Smith and his
team entitled In-Season and
Carry-Over Eects of Cover
Crops on Productivity and Weed
Suppression appeared recently
in the journal Agronomy
Journal.
Research
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Field trials in New Hampshire, with similar growing conditions to parts of BC, are showing that forage
radish outperforms other winter cover crops with excellent weed suppression and crop enhancement.
(Photo courtesy of La Coop Prod’Or, Laurentides, Quebec)
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 17
In its heyday, Valley Auction in Armstrong would drop the gavel on upwards of 50,000 head annually
and draw huge crowds, like this one at a BC Angus Association purebred sale in the 1990s. (Cathy
Glover le photo)
by TOM WALKER
ARMSTRONG – The north
Okanagan ranching industry
lost a valuable service when
Valley Auction held its last
cattle sale at the end of June.
After 30 years, the Armstrong
company has merged its cattle
sales operations with BC
Livestock.
Company owners Don and
Peter Raan did not respond
to several interview requests,
however other industry
personnel say the move is a
reection of the market.
“The volume of cattle is
down drastically North
America wide, let alone in BC,”
says Jono Rushton of McClary
Stockyards in Abbotsford. “It
makes it more and more
dicult for auction marts to be
viable.”
BSE was the culprit
“It’s like Donny (Raan) says,
BSE killed them. A lot of guys
got out of the business,”
explains Kevin Johnson of BC
Livestock Producers Co-op
Association. “It costs a pile of
money to operate these barns
and you can’t do it on 15,000
head of cattle. They just don’t
have the customer base down
there any more; it’s a change
of the times.”
The Raans were quoted in
local press as saying their
annual cattle sales had
dropped from a high of 50,000
head to barely 11,000.
“A lot of the auctions that
are here are here because they
have been here for a very long
time,” says Rushton. “They are
not carrying debt. It’s not an
industry you are going to
come into.”
“Cattle isn’t lucrative
enough to be involved in it
unless you want to be
involved in it. It’s a way of life, I
suppose,” adds Rushton.
Valley Auction will continue
with the estate sales,
consignment, machinery and
o-site sales.
“We’ve got 100,000 head of
cattle in four barns,” says
Johnson, explaining that BC
Livestock has auction marts in
Vanderhoof, Williams Lake,
Kamloops and Okanagan Falls.
“In Alberta, they have 200,000
head in one barn and they
can’t keep the door open.”
“BC is a little bit unique
because we are so spread out
between auction barns,”
Johnson adds. “In Alberta, you
Valley Auction bids
adieu to cattle sales
might nd 15 barns within a
100 miles. But they are starting
to amalgamate over there
also.”
BC Livestock is looking
forward to working with the
Raans, who have won awards
for their auctioneering skills.
“They bring a lot of
knowledge to the table. I think
it is a great t,” says Johnson.
“Having them bring their
knowledge of how to sell
cattle, their customer base, the
contacts they have in the
business, is a huge asset to BC
Livestock.”
“I would like to think we will
end up with an extra 1,000
head annually through OK
Falls,” says Johnson. “And I
would like to say we will
probably end up with 7,000
head through Kamloops.”
Convenience has a price,
Johnson admits.
“If you are a rancher in the
North Okanagan, you will incur
a little bit more on the
trucking costs to Kamloops,
but I think you will gain that
back on the price that you will
get for your animals.”
Dairy herds have been
growing in the North
Okanagan and Johnson says
that will be a priority for the
Raans.
“We do have a plan in place
for Don and Peter to work on
that.”
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COUNTRY
Life
in BC
The Agricultural News Source in
British Columbia since 1915
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Aug 31 to Sept 4 - IPE, Hereford Mark Of Excellence Show,
Armstrong, BC
Sept 9 - BCHA AGM & Banquet, Best Western Inn, 3070 264th St.
Aldergrove, BC
Sept 9 - 11 - 73rd Annual Lakes District Fall Fair,
Hereford Mark Of Excellence Show, Burns Lake, BC
Sept 10 - West Coast Hereford Club, North Bluff Farm
Hereford Mark Of Excellence Show, Aldergove, BC
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for details
“The dairy farmers are
viewed a bit dierently by the
ranching community,”
Rushton says. “They don’t kind
of view them as the same
industry, which is kind of silly,”
adding that dairy is their
‘bread and butter’ the Fraser
valley.
It’s an aging population,
Rushton points out.
“A lot of older guys are
retiring from the cow/calf
industry,” he says. “With the
kids, if you give them the
ranch in order for them to
make a go of it, well, that
doesn’t really y so there’s no
young people around.”
“Part of the auction industry
is it’s a bunch of stubborn
people who have stuck around
this long,” says Rushton. “Your
accountant tells you you’re
crazy. It is one of those
industries that is old school
and there is something that is
comforting in that.”
Country Life in BC • August 201618
by JUDIE STEEVES
ARMSTRONG – Despite the
fact her parents were both
professional musicians, BC’s
winner of her colleagues’
Agrologist of the Year award,
Andrea Gunner of Armstrong,
says she hung out at the vet
clinic and roamed the woods
as a kid.
Even though she began
music lessons at the age of
four and was expected to play
the piano, violin or guitar, she
found there wasn’t a lot of joy
for her there.
“It just wasn’t in my blood,”
she recalls.
Instead, the time she
remembers was spent
outdoors, in the elds and
woods around her hometown
of Vernon.
And, by the age of six, she’d
set her heart on becoming a
vet instead of tickling the
ivories.
Her father suggested that
people will always have to eat
so that goal was rearranged
around agriculture instead
and she entered UBC in animal
sciences.
Due to a professor who was
a mentor, she made a further
switch into horticulture,
graduated in 1986 and went
on to do post-grad work in
economics and marketing in
1990. She became a
Professional Agrologist in
1992.
Today, she and her
husband have a nine-acre
poultry farm permitted by the
BC Chicken Marketing Board
where they pasture feed 2,000
chickens and 300 turkeys a
year, with a further 3,000 to
3,500 chickens on the ve
satellite farms they mentor,
providing those young
farmers with their own milled
feed and processing the birds
as well.
They bought the farm as an
acreage in winter, when it was
covered in snow. They realized
it hadn’t been a working farm
in decades.
But when they took
possession that summer, the
weeds were six feet high and
there were stumps
everywhere. They began to
realize they had quite a job
ahead of them.
Gunner says they used pigs
to help get rid of the weeds,
then sheep and then goats
before implementing their
plan to pasture-feed chickens
and turkeys.
They have their own feed
mill and processing plant
today, as a result of the
introduction in 2007 of a new
meat inspection regulation
that put many BC small-scale,
livestock-based farms out of
business.
Gunner found herself
immersed in educating the
policy-makers and public
about the impact of that
legislation. But, it wasn’t the
rst time she went on the
public speaking circuit,
educating the community
about agriculture.
“It’s needed in this
industry,” she comments. “As a
professional agrologist, it’s
one way I can help,” she adds.
Farmers, she believes, have
to take an interest in telling
their stories to the community.
People often don’t realize
that farmers get what’s left
when everyone else along the
line has taken their slice of the
pie, she comments.
In addition to working as an
advocate for food security and
for farmers, she uses her links
with the arts network in the
community to get the farm
message out and has
organized a number of events
which benet both groups.
She has also served the BC
Institute of Agrologists,
including sitting as president
in 2009.
Looking back, she says it’s
very rewarding to nd that a
workshop or talk she’s given –
possibly years ago – has had a
signicant impact on someone
and their farm operation or
their outlook on farming.
And, she is enjoying
mentoring young farmers.
“It’s really fun. They have
ideas and energy and we
provide perspective,” she
comments.
Mirroring her own
departure from her parents’
vocations, only one of her
children is headed into
farming, and then it’s into
ranching rather than
horticulture or small animals.
Asked to consider what
advice she has for farmers with
an eye on success in
agriculture, she says it’s really
important to think outside the
box; to do the research; to
stretch yourself beyond your
comfort zone; look for the new
innovation or the gap you
might ll; to know your own
resources and to do the
numbers on paper before
taking that rst step into
something new.
She’s very positive about
the new crop of farmers,
noting they make rational
decisions, rather than
behaving like starry-eyed
romantics about getting into
agriculture.
Mentoring young farmers a specialty for BC’s agrologist of the year
Former president of BC Institute of Agrologists pasture feeds 2,000 chickens, 300 turkeys
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 19
by TOM WALKER
KELOWNA – The Opposition
Standing Committee for
Agriculture and Food was back
on the road this spring, with
stops in Cranbrook and
Kelowna.
“We feel this should be an
ocial committee in the
legislature,” says committee
co-chair and NDP MLA for
Saanich South Lana Popham,
pointing out the Liberal
government dismantled the
Select Standing Committee for
Agriculture in 2001. “Until that
time, we are going to continue
to meet as we have.”
The problem, according to
Popham, who is also the NDP’s
spokesperson for agriculture,
is that “we create agriculture
policies on election cycles and
farmers do not work on those
cycles.”
“Agriculture should be a
non partisan issue,” echoed
committee member and NDP
Skeena MLA Robin Austin.
Last year, the committee
hosted meetings in Williams
Lake, Courtney/Comox,
Chilliwack and Vancouver.
They tabled their rst report in
the legislature last November.
“It was a bit like presenting
a petition,” Popham allows, as
they have no ocial standing
in the legislature. However,
Popham believes they are
providing a valuable focus for
farmer concerns.
“Everywhere we go, we are
fully booked,” she says. “Over
and over, we hear that the
government should reinstate
the standing committee.”
“I think that we are taken
seriously because we take
people seriously,” she adds.
“What was interesting is
that the Minister of Agriculture
Norm Letnick presented his
report [the BC Agrifood and
Seafood Strategic Growth
Plan] at the same time. I
promise it was a coincidence!”
says Popham. “But every time
the minister’s report got
media, we had a counter point
of view.”
The standing committee’s
report makes
recommendations under
“existing policy in need of
improvement” and “in need of
new direction.”
The report expressed
concerns with regulatory,
nancial and administrative
barriers – particularly those
that impact new and small
farm operators. There was a
call for better information
sharing, training and technical
assistance, more work
addressing the coming
challenges to farmers from
Opposition ag committee listening to farmer concerns
NDP’s Standing Committee continues tour of province
climate change and a call for
more support for BC farm
products and businesses.
Looking forward, the report
addressed issues for the
Agricultural Land Reserve, a
desire to return the ALR to one
zone, better scrutiny of use
(particularly for carbon credits)
and the establishment of a
provincial farmland trust.
Popham believes that in an
open public forum, people feel
free to express their true
beliefs.
“We get amazing
presenters,” she says.
“Monsanto came and spoke in
Cranbrook. We hear a lot
about sustainability, organic
agriculture, extension services,
the barriers new farmers face
and underutilized land.”
“I feel strongly that we
should be looking at
procurement contracts (using
local food in public institutions
such as hospitals and schools)
to incent production,” says
Popham. “It’s a no brainer.
Everyone across the province
agrees with this. It’s not our
idea. Just having that stability
of the domestic market, it
incents that land to go into
Professional
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production.”
Kelowna presenters spoke
about creating food hubs to
facilitate the exchange of food
from farmer to consumer:
locals supporting locals.
“I believe Canada’s food
sovereignty is hanging in the
gallows of globalization,“ said
John McLeod of the Shuswap
Food Action Co-op. “We can
not allow foreign multi-
nationals to control our food
and its production.”
He talked about how milk
from his family farm in the
North Okanagan is shipped to
Vancouver, processed and
then trucked back to Salmon
Arm for sale. He urged British
Columbians to look at the
Community Economic
Development Investment
Fund model in Nova Scotia
that has successfully raised
and invested $40 million for
local enterprises.
Kelowna cherry grower Neil
Dendy advocated for stronger
Right to Farm legislation. His
orchards are experiencing
signicant losses when newly
planted young trees are eaten
by local deer. He also said
there is a need for continued
research and extension
support for better farm
practices.
“In the 1950’s, tree fruit
growers were using about 500
lbs of nitrogen per acre. Today,
we are using about a fth of
that but we can get better by
knowing more about plant
physiology.”.
Farmers in Cranbrook and Kelowna had an opportunity to address a panel of opposition members
this spring, with many expressing concerns over food sovereignty, right to farm legislation and lack of
extension support. (Tom Walker photo)
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 21
Country Life in BC • August 201622
by TOM WALKER
KAMLOOPS – The BC Association of
Abattoirs (BCAA) held their annual meeting in
Kamloops May 26-28. A full day of workshops
covered a variety of topics including marketing,
WorkSafeBC and illegal facilities.
Member concerns included the potential
dierences in regulation standards between A
and B, and D and E slaughter facilities and
employment issues. Members were told they
would be able to speak individually with the
provincial manager of Jobs, Tourism and Skills
Training.
“Where does the line start?” joked out-going
BCAA president Mike Noullett.
Sandy Vanderbyl of the BC Meats program
gave an overview of major projects to date. The
second phase of the BC Abattoir’s Food Safety
Enhancement program has now been
completed with all abattoirs. Vanderbyl says
they are currently developing Phase 3.
She outlined the recently launched 100% BC
Lamb program that follows the model set up
for BC Beef. BC Chicken will follow. The BC’s
Best Raw Pet Food project is continuing to
develop.
Bonnie Windsor from Johnston’s Pork told
the story of how their successful marketing
campaign has evolved. She said it began with
changing the name from Johnston Packers to
include “Fresh, Local, Quality” and identifying
who their customers were in order to solidify
their position as a niche supplier.
“We are marketing to the consumer who
cares,” says Windsor.
Attention grabbing slogans such as “Don’t
Cook Bacon in the Nude” and “Bacon is a
Vegetable” on t-shirts and aprons has helped to
boost the company’s prole.
“We are in a situation in this province where
we compete with commodities, so we have to
be dierent,” says Windsor. Consumers love the
swag.
“It costs us nothing; they are paying for our
brand.”
“Customers want a relationship with you,”
Windsor says. “Facebook has gone crazy for us.
It has provided a platform where we can have a
humorous relationship with customers, and
provide recipes with very little eort.”
Inspection issues
The dierences in oversight for class D and E
slaughter facilities came under re. Part of the
problem is that A and B facilities are under
Ministry of Agriculture (BCMA) jurisdiction and
Abattoirs struggling with
BC licensing regulations
D and E under the Ministry of Health.
“We should all be playing on the same eld,”
says Noullett.
There are currently 48 class A facilities
(slaughter, cut and wrap) and 22 class B
(slaughter only) operations. At these facilities,
each animal is pre- and post-harvest inspected
by a Ministry of Agriculture ocial on site, and
wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales
are allowed across the province.
Needs of rural areas
D and E licenses were developed to ll the
smaller needs of rural areas that do not have
access to a full scale facility, such as Haida
G’waii. They may only sell within their own
regional district, are restricted in the number of
animals they can process and are subject to
periodic inspections by the provincial health
ministry.
The current 44 D and E facilities have lower
capital and operating costs. Meat processed
can be sold at local farmer’s markets, for
instance, at a very competitive price.
Association members pointed out the cut
and wrap portion of an A establishment is also
subject to provincial health ministry inspection,
which can be intermittent.
BCAA executive director Nova Woodbury
notes that Ministry of Health (BCMA)
inspections are usually complaint driven,
conrming that there is always Ministry of
Agriculture inspector on site for the slaughter
process.
That could indicate inconsistency, say
members.
”If they aren’t checking on us, they certainly
aren’t checking on the D and E guys,” says a
frustrated Richard Yntema.
“You are not going to strengthen the food
safety aspect of the industry if you allow those
places to continue,” added Yntema.
“We have been asking for one agency,” says
Noullett.
Gavin Last, executive director of the Food
Safety and Inspection Branch oered that the
government is working on a regulatory
solution.
“It is changing,” Last promised.
WorkSafeBC reported injuries in the abattoir
industry are two and a half times the provincial
average, according to Manager of Industry and
Labour Services Chris Back. He said that meant
operators were paying more than two times
the provincial base rate to insure their workers.
Please see “WORKER” page 23
Stang BC abattoirs is not a new issue in the industry but it is one that is taking on new urgency as
the industry looks to expand its marketing eorts to BC consumers. (Tom Walker photo)
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 23
WORKER SAFETY From page 22
by PETER MITHAM
ARSTRONG
Residents who
draw water from the Hullcar
aquifer near Spallumcheen
have won the right to see the
results of government
analyses of local soil and
water.
The province had
steadfastly refused to share
the documents, arguing that
the analyses – which it
required of H.S. Jansen & Sons
Ltd., the farm widely
suspected of being the source
of the contamination – were
commissioned by a third party.
This meant that the
documents, while provided to
the province, were not the
property of the province and
therefore privileged
information which it could not
disclose.
However, the province’s
information and privacy
commissioner, Elizabeth
Denham, quashed that
argument with her order in
late June that the province
disclose documents regarding
the aquifer, which has been
subject to a drinking water
advisory since spring 2014.
Approximately 150 residents
who rely on the aquifer have
been advised not to drink the
water, leaving them with few
alternatives – all of them
costly.
Matter of public interest
“Public bodies [must]
proactively disclose
information that is clearly in
the public interest. In this case,
it is clear that the ongoing risk
to clean drinking water in the
Hullcar Valley constitutes a
matter of public interest,”
Denham wrote. “Residents
Ongoing risk to clean drinking water trumps privacy
have been under a water
advisory for two years; in order
to restore public condence in
the measures undertaken by
the ministry, residents should
have access to the soil test
results and analysis that
support those measures.”
Denham’s order promises to
ensure the province’s
disclosure of materials relevant
to the Hullcar aquifer until
there’s a resolution of the
contamination that triggered
the water advisory.
However, she said good
faith and the public trust
should encourage the
governments candour rather
than the order of a watchdog
such as the province’s privacy
commissioner or the public’s
hounding.
“Public bodies need to aid
applicants throughout the
freedom of information
Back reviewed WorkSafeBC
on-line planning tools that
would help members reduce
their costs.
“Over-exertion and fall from
the same level are the biggest
cost injuries in your industry,”
he says, with 16,000 worker
days lost.
“Bring down the number of
injuries and get people back to
work more quickly,” says Back.
“If you are performing better
than the average of the
industry, you will pay less” (for
your WorksafeBC coverage).
Illegal slaughter is a concern
for the industry. Brent Smith
with the Ministry of
Agriculture’s Enforcement
Ocer Meat Inspection
Program discussed a number
of unlicensed operations,
including a facility processing
1,000 squab a week in the
Lower Mainland.
“The organized high volume
guys that are undercutting
you guys are not hard to nd,”
says Smith. “The diculty is
getting information and
pictures and grounds to do an
inspection.”
Sourcing and retaining
workers is a chronic problem
for abattoir employers,
explained Woodbury. The
association is working to
organize an “industrial meat
cutter” program, likely in the
Kamloops area.
“This is not a commercial
butcher program for someone
who works in a meat shop,”
Woodbury points out. “It takes
a whole dierent set of skills to
take apart a full carcass into
manageable sections and
retain the most value that the
shop butcher can then cut
steaks from.”
Ken Faulk is the new BCAA
president while outgoing Mike
Noullett remains on the board.
Dave Fernie has re- joined as a
director. Bonnie Windsor,
Jacques Campbell, Dennis
Gunter and Richard Yntema
were all re-elected.
process. Applicants should
never have to defend their
motives for requesting
information,” Denham said.
“This report is a reminder to all
public bodies about their
many obligations to the public
under BC’s access and privacy
laws.”
The reports are available
online at
[https://www.oipc.bc.ca/report
/investigation-reports/].
The information includes
the basis for allowing the
Jansen farm to spread liquid
manure above the aquifer
while the water advisory was
in place. Disclosure of the
information follows
Spallumcheen council
granting the Jansen farm a
permit in late May for
construction of a 33,920-
square-foot expansion to its
barn.
Town had concerns
While all conditions for
issuing the permit itself were
met, Spallumcheen mayor
Janice Brown issued a
statement underscoring the
town’s concerns with the
prospect of an expansion of
the farm’s operations.
“Spallumcheen Council is
very concerned that the dairy
barn addition will
accommodate additional cows
on the farm and produce more
manure to manage,” she
wrote.
Brown noted that the farm
is located above the
contaminated aquifer. While
she acknowledged that hasn’t
been denitely determined to
be the source of nitrates
contaminating the aquifer,
Brown said council felt its
actions showed a disregard for
the community’s concerns.
Disappointed Council
“Council is disappointed
that the building permit
application for this dairy barn
addition has been submitted
when the sources of the high
nitrate levels in the Hullcar
aquifer have not been
conrmed and an action plan
to remediate the aquifer has
not been implemented,”
Brown said in the statement.
Al Price, co-chair of the Save
Hullcar Aquifer Team, pointed
out in his own statement that
the Jansen family didn’t need
to be so antagonistic.
“Aside from doing what the
government allows, the
owners of the dairy farm could
have some consideration for
their neighbours,” he wrote,
adding in a note to
stakeholders: “We will
continue to try to make the
government see that it doesn't
have to be us and them, the
Jansens or the residents. It
could force changes to the
farm's nutrient management
practices, or its equipment,
and we could all get along.”
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by TOM WALKER
KELOWNA – If you drive
along the Kelowna lakeshore
on a long weekend, it’s easy to
forget it’s a farm town. You’ll
pass a lot of convertibles on
the road. Sunbathers,
swimmers, paddle boarders
and boaters cram the beaches
and the lake. But with almost
40% (8,621 ha) of the land in
the city within the Agricultural
Land Reserve, Kelowna is
denitely a farming
community.
“It may not be obvious but
what some of the
stakeholders pointed out is
that agriculture is part of the
fabric of our culture,” says
Tracey Guidi, sustainability co-
ordinator for City of Kelowna.
“It is what started our
community and people
denitely embrace it.”
Guidi is leading the
development of a new
agriculture plan for Kelowna
and at this point, it looks
pretty positive for
agriculture.
“The message we get from
farmers is that agriculture is
an industry. It’s not just some
pastoral activity where you go
and pick a bucket of apples,”
says Guidi. “That is what they
would like to see come
across.”
“The ag plan was
innovative in its day,” says
Guidi. “It was one of the rst
ones done in the
province.” But a lot
has changed since
the rst plan was
written in1998.
Agri-tourism and
housing for
temporary farm
workers weren’t
really issues back
then.
“And of course
there has been a
ton of growth since
1998,” Guidi adds.
She says the new ag plan
will play an important role in
guiding the Ocial
Community Plan (OCP). A
revised ag plan will feed into
the next update to the OCP,
which is scheduled for 2017.
Indeed, 55% of city land
(12,000 ha) is zoned A-1
(agriculture and yes, more
than is in the original ALR
classication).
Permanent growth boundary
“We are hoping that the
vision of the new plan will be
to preserve and protect
agriculture land going
forward,” says Guidi. She
explains one of the ways the
most recent OCP has done
this was to create a
“permanent growth
boundary” within the city
limits.
The permanent growth
boundary protects lands that
are outside the boundary as
Country Life in BC • August 201624
Kelowna takes collaborative path in developing ag plan
agriculture and
directs
development for
the city to be inside
the boundary.
“It is actually
saving the city
money by having it
densify,” Guidi
points out.
“There is 365 km
of interface with
that boundary and
pressure to develop
along it,” Guidi adds. “That is
part of the reason we need to
update the ag plan; is to
strengthen that.”
The 18 month process
involves several steps. Firstly,
the city met with the
Agriculture Advisory
Committee several times and
prepared a draft mission
statement. Then, stakeholders
such as the BC Fruit Growers,
the BC Cherry Association,
regional district and First
Nations were invited to a
planning session.
Next were two community
meetings and an on-line
survey.
“We have had over 550
surveys already completed,
which is phenomenal for a
rst kick,” Guidi says. “Mostly,
people really grab on to it
when they have a draft
policy.”
“This rst stage is really
issue identication,” explains
Guidi. The issues are familiar
to other agriculture
communities.
“Non-farm use of course,”
says Guidi, such as running a
transport company from ALR
land.
Farm weddings shut down
With agri-tourism, Kelowna
council has recently shut
down on-farm weddings at a
property that was not
licensed to operate while they
and the Agricultural Land
Commission did allow
ceremonies only and a craft
distillery on a property that
went through the application
process. The ALC noted
“challenges for agriculture
development due to severe
topography” and concluded
the proposed non-farm use
would have “no impact on the
agriculture capacity of the
property.”
Likewise, council has
approved the installation of
mobile trailers for temporary
worker housing but turned
down an application for a
permanent worker “hotel.”
“We have actually initiated
some work (on worker
housing) regionally as well,”
says Guidi. “We are working
for consistency so if we
decline an application, that
same application it is not
going out to the regional
district.”
Water access crucial
With the need for climate
adaptation, water access has
become an issue.
“The recent provincial
agriculture survey showed
that 86% of the farm lands are
being irrigated,” Guidi pointed
out.
Access to land and land
pricing continue the list.
And then there is the
vacant or under-farmed land.
“The province identied
about 1,500 acres that are
underutilized,” says Guidi.
“That’s opposed to being used
as a hay eld that some
people think of as
underutilized but it is an
actual use.”
Kelowna is the site of
numerous “estate” properties
where large homes are built
on ALR property that is un-
farmed or under-farmed.
“There is a denite
opportunity there,” Guidi
adds.
There will be two more
occasions to be involved
again.
“This fall, we go back out to
the public and stakeholders
again saying here is some
draft policy and direction,”
Guidi says. “Then, in February,
we will go back a third time
with the draft plan.“
Tracey Guidi
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BC ANGUS
LIZ TWAN PHOTO
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 25
On a recent visit to
Switzerland, I was given the
opportunity with Kathy Mere,
my cousin’s wife, to visit a
small ock of Skudde sheep
owned by Hans Gugger and
his partner Eliane. My German
being rudimentary and
Gugger’s English being equally
limited, Kathy, a professional
translator of many languages,
acted as intermediary between
us. Gugger, it turns out, keeps
the breed records of all Swiss
Skudde sheep.
The farm is located in
Mamishaus, on picturesque
side hills in the canton of Bern.
Electric netting is used to
subdivide specic areas.
Outside their immediate
grazing area, Gugger said he
would be cutting the adjacent
long grass on a steep bank by
hand as soon as it dries up a
bit.
The Skudde is a small, hardy
sheep, with mature ewes
weighing about 25 to 40 kg.
They are white, brown or grey.
They originated on relatively
barren areas where good grass
is often absent and where
lambing ease, resistance to
worms and overall good
health is a high priority. Before
the days of easy access to
purchased feed, veterinary
care, wormers and antibiotics,
these were the essential
characteristics for survival in
these areas. Thus, Skudde
breeders select heavily for
these traits while actively
discouraging inbreeding.
They breed, in part, to
preserve the breed, prevent it
from dying out, to preserve its
original characteristics and, in
case their genetic strengths
may one day be wanted to
impart traditional factors.
To meet this end, their
paper records note, among
other things, the genetic
presence of each ram as noted
by all its registered lambs and
relatives in Switzerland, with
dierent numbers of points
added for each sibling, parent
and grandparent. To avoid too
much line breeding, the ram is
‘retired’ once the number of its
ospring gets to a certain
count and not permitted for
use on registered ewes again.
A count of 39 ospring is
considered very close to
retirement age.
The degree of inbreeding
can be calculated before each
mating.
Gugger demonstrated a
paper record on one of his
ewes, Mimosa. She has the
usual identifying information,
including the gure 20 for her
genetic presence and four
ratings for dierent attributes
(where six is the highest score)
as rated by a judge who visits
the farm. The rst two gures
indicate general
presence and last two
gures include ratings
for conformation and
eece. They do not go
to ocial shows.
Skudde is classied
as a rare breed within
Switzerland with a head count
of approximately 1,000
including rams, ewes and
lambs. There are Skudde
sheep also in Germany and
other nearby countries but
there is little or no import of
rams.
“Permitted, but not being
done,” said Gugger, noting
also there is no AI of sheep in
Switzerland.
“It is not a meat breed – nor
lucrative,” he added with a wry
smile. But their fertility and
health is good, their eece has
value and input costs are low.
If the lambs are not good
enough to be kept for
breeding or there is no market
for them, they are slaughtered
at about eight months. The
carcasses of the ewe lambs will
yield about three kilos of meat:
two legs, two roasts, chops
and stewing meat.
They have a vet living about
four kilometres from them but
A rare breed of sheep in Switzerland
Columnist Jo Sleigh gets a tutorial on Skudde sheep
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Hans Gugger looks over his ock of Skudde sheep and a couple of alpacas on his Swiss farm. (Jo
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many do not utilize their
services.
“Swiss vets specialize and
many know little about sheep
unless they have done studies
of their own, under their own
initiative,” says Gugger.
He knows of one vet who
had made a point of studying
alpacas but that is unusual.
Few vets are interested in
sheep.
Breeders can send feces to a
lab to have worm counts done
and treatment suggested. He
uses his own microscope to
check his sheep.
In Switzerland, there are
associations for various
specic breeds of sheep, but
others have none. A few
associations run further
education courses but it is
often dicult to get people
together as everyone always
seems so busy.
Some aspects of sheep
breeding and rearing is the
same as in Canada; some
dierent. As a comparison, in
Canada, there is no denition
of the maximum number of
sheep needed to formally
identify a breed as rare. When
a breed is described informally
as rare, the reference is made
only to that breed’s presence
in Canada and not in other
countries.
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Country Life in BC • August 201626
by EMILY BULMER
SALT SPRING – Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt
Spring Island has a unique agricultural focus. This
living museum is a showcase for family farming from
1872 to the present day. Nestled inside this 1,000
acre park is a 200 acre working farm which has been
working continuously since 1872.
Henry Ruckle, an immigrant from Ireland, bought
land on Salt Spring Island to set up a homestead
and farm and make his fortune. He purchased his
rst 80 acres at roughly a dollar per acre in 1872. In
the early days, Ruckle produced oats, wheat, peas,
hay, a large vegetable garden, turkeys, cattle, pigs
and sheep. In a matter of about 20 years, Ruckle had
cleared elds and gardens out of raw cedar and
arbutus forests with little more than the tools he
made and his own force of determination.
“A man who understands farming and has a little
capital will do as well or better here than any place
in North America,” he said of Salt Spring Island in a
brochure from 1895.
After working the farm for more than 40 years,
expanding his holdings to 1,200 acres and planting
an apple orchard of over 600 trees, Ruckle died in
1913. His sons remained on the farm until 1930
when his grandson, Henry ‘Gordon’ Ruckle, moved
into one of the houses with his young wife, Lotus,
and continued the farming tradition.
Gordon loved his farm and his land and was a
Provincial park on Salt Spring home to working farm
Mike Lane stocks his farm stand with everything from jams to dried apples, bringing in about $15,000 per year on
the honour system alone. (Emily Bulmer photo)
No excuse not to!
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Only rinsed containers
can be recycled
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Helps keep collection
sites clean
#
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Use all the chemicals
you purchase
#
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Keeps collection sites
safe for workers
#
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Maintain your farm’s
good reputation
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Now, take your empty fertilizer containers along for the ride!
well known conservationist. He once said, “You can’t
own land – you can only preserve it for future
generations.” And preserve it he did in 1972 when
he turned over a large portion of the land to the BC
government, which then became Ruckle Provincial
Park in 1974. The arrangement excluded the 200
acres of working farm to which the Ruckle
descendants have a Life Tenancy Agreement.
Today, Mike and Marjorie Lane work the farm.
They have raised many of the crops and livestock
raised by the original Ruckles, giving the park a
living history feel. Lane confesses he’s been slowing
down a bit.
“We’re down to 85 ewes. It is a lot of work... I’ve
been at this for 25 years or so.” He laughs, “Its a long
time without a day o.”
The Lanes raise lambs, sell wool and other value
added products, including dried apples from some
Ruckle Historic Farm is
BC’s oldest continuously
running family farm
Please see “WORD” page 27
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 27
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of those original trees planted
in 1895.
“We try to make farm
products last longer than they
normally do by dehydrating or
making jam, saving seeds and
herbs. That farm stand does
about $15,000 a year on the
honour system alone over
about four months and that’s
pretty good.” The Lanes have
an excellent reputation for
their products and do no
advertising because all their
products are spoken for ahead
of time.
“There’s one Ruckle left and
I leased the farm from them
about 20 years ago. I started
as the park ranger in the
campground at night and
they needed help so I started
helping and the next thing
you know, I bought a tractor
and was plowing the elds. I
guess about 18 to 20 years
ago, they asked me if I wanted
to lease the farm. I said sure
I’d love to – I’d never been a
farmer. The one way I look at
is the richest guy on Salt
Spring couldn’t aord my life
‘cause this land isn’t for sale.”
Lane works the farm
organically.
“When I rst started here,
the wireworm was so bad I
couldn’t even grow corn. The
larvae of the click beetle is the
wireworm and it eats the roots
o of grass, and these old
elds were full of them. Since
I’ve had the turkeys and
pheasants here, we have no
more wireworm problems.
They eat all those beetles and
there aren’t any larvae.”
Lane is reective about the
conservation aspect of the
park and his role as a farmer.
“I think that farming is a
very good way to keep the
land healthy. Lots of people
come here and enjoy the
place ... and it is a beautiful
spot because it is a farm. If the
farm wasn’t here, it would be
a road through the forest like
the rest of Salt Spring Island.”
He is also passionate about
passing on an understanding
about farming to the public
and the next generation. The
Lanes have had many young
people stay with them over
the years and work on the
WORD OF MOUTH From page 26
Sheep graze within public view at Ruckle Provincial Park, bringing agriculture to the fore on the
province’s oldest working farm still held by the original family. (Emily Bulmer photo)
Interpretive signs bring the history of the Ruckle Farm to life. (Emily Bulmer photo)
farm as hands.
“The best thing I can do
here is pass on some of the
knowledge and help people
see what a working farm looks
like.” At this point, Ruckle
Historic Farm is the longest
continuously running farm
held by the same family.
There are many
interpretive signs describing
the historic farm buildings
and much of the old Ruckle
property can be accessed by
hiking trails that wind around
the rocky shoreline and
through the meadows and
forests. The working farm
itself is not accessible to the
public and dogs have been
prohibited from some
sections of trail due to
ongoing livestock
interactions. There are drive-
in sites but the most scenic
are the walk in sites that
overlook the water. For a
piece of farm history and a
beautiful combination of
historic farmland, ocean and
forest, Ruckle Provincial Park
is a worthwhile stop.
28
Country Life in BC • August 2016
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DŝůŬDĂƌŬĞƟŶŐŽĂƌĚDĞŵďĞƌ
ƉƉŽŝŶƚŵĞŶƚďLJƚŚĞDŝůŬ/ŶĚƵƐƚƌLJ
ĚǀŝƐŽƌLJŽŵŵŝƩĞĞ;D/Ϳ
The British Columbia Milk Marketing Board
(BCMMB), under federal and provincial
law, promotes, controls and regulates
the production, transportation, packing,
VWRULQJDQGPDUNHWLQJRIPLONÁXLGPLONDQG
manufactured milk products in BC.
A Board member is due to be appointed by
MIAC with an effective date of December
2, 2016 for a three-year term. (Reference:
BCMMB Election and Appointment Rules and
Procedures, May 19, 2015)
Board duties include the analysis of detailed
statistics in relation to production, product
quality, consumption patterns, and industry
economic impacts, and direct involvement in
regional, national and international policies.
The person appointed will have strong
skills in communication, complex analysis
and decision-making. Good background
knowledge of the dairy industry and supply
management is important. Board members
are required to relate well to and have
WKHFRQÀGHQFHRISURGXFHUVSURFHVVRUV
suppliers, Board staff and other stakeholders.
This part-time position is suitable for an
individual who can commit to Board and
other meetings, likely or approximating three
WRÀYHGD\VDPRQWKDQGZKRFDQXQGHUWDNH
some travel.
This Board Member cannot be a licensed
producer.
The BC MIAC invites applications from
TXDOLÀHGLQGLYLGXDOVZKRDUHNHHQWRPDNHDQ
active contribution to the dairy industry.
7RDSSO\IRUDQLQWHUYLHZTXDOLÀHGDSSOLFDQWV
are asked to please send their resume via
HPDLOLQFRQÀGHQFHE\6HSWHPEHU
to:
miac@milk-bc.com
Attention: Walter Goerzen, Chair
Milk Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC)
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 29
by DAVID SCHMIDT
ABBOTSFORD BC milk
producers got good news and
bad news in July. The good
news came from Dairy Farmers
of Canada (DFC), which
announced an agreement-in-
principle with Canadian dairy
processors on a new national
ingredient strategy at its
annual meeting in
Charlottetown, PEI, in mid-July.
The bad news came from the
BC Milk Marketing Board
(BCMMB), which announced
the blend price for a standard
hectoliter of milk dropped
over $6.00 from May to June.
The blend price for a standard
hectoliter was $76.7878 in May
but only $70.3650 in June.
The blend price is based on
usage statistics from the
previous month, i.e., the June
price was based on actual milk
utilization in May. The price
drop in June was attributed to
higher-than-expected
equalization payments and
audit adjustments for the May
production.
After Dairy Farmers of
Ontario implemented a new
Class 6 at the beginning of
April, giving its processors a
reduced price for skim milk
and liquid MPC (milk protein
concentrate) used to make
cheese, all other provinces
agreed to match the new price
for skim milk and liquid MPC
their processors were using in
Class 3 milk products. They
subsequently expanded the
program to include skim milk
and dry MPC used in Class 2
products (yogurt and ice
cream). Although the
temporary agreement was set
to end July 31, it will likely be
extended until the new
national ingredient strategy
(NIS) is implemented.
“We had predicted the price
would go down but the
amount of equalization
payments (over $4.5 million)
was disappointing,” says
BCMMB general manager Bob
Ingratta.
Although he expects the
“downward pressure” on the
blend price to continue until
NIS is implemented, “I would
be surprised if the equalization
payments and audit
adjustments were as high as
they were in June. We expect
blend prices to be higher than
they were this month.”
The national ingredient
strategy is intended to
improve the eciency and
evolution of the market and
stimulate growth and
production of value-added
products from the structural
surplus accumulated through
existing policies.
Although details of the
strategy will only be released
after all provinces have ratied
it, Ingratta says, “I think we
have achieved” that objective.
“It sets up the opportunity
for signicant growth in the BC
dairy industry,” he says, adding
“from what I’ve heard, our
producers are pretty pleased.”
“As our dairy industry
operates under supply
management, it is important
that farmers and processors
work together to be
responsive to the evolution of
the market, and this is exactly
what this agreement in
principle is all about,” Jacques
Lefebvre, president and CEO of
the Dairy Processors
Association of Canada, said in
a mid-July media release.
While DFC announced it
aims to implement the strategy
by September 1, that won’t
happen as implementation can
only begin after all provinces
have ratied it. Ingratta says BC
does not expect to sign the
agreement before the end of
September as it needs prior
approval from the BC Farm
Industry Review Board to do
so. To obtain that approval, the
BCMMB must rst consult with
all stakeholders, then make a
recommendation to FIRB.
“Our target is to have it
ratied by the end of
September,” he said.
Although Ingratta hesitates
to call it Jim Byrne’s legacy, he
does credit the BCMMB’s
outgoing chair as one of the
architects of the new
agreement.
“(Byrne) represented the
Western Milk Pool (on the
negotiating committee) and
has done a great job for
producers in BC and across
Canada.”
Byrne reached the end of
his six-year tenure as BCMMB
chair at the end of July and
has been replaced by Ben
Janzen of Yarrow. Janzen is the
rst (former) milk producer to
chair the board since its
present structure was adopted
over two decades ago. He
served on the BCMMB as an
elected producer from 1996 to
2012. Although he has since
retired from milk production,
he continues to live on the
farm and remains a chicken
grower and hatching egg
producer.
In his nal report to
producers, Byrne said he
“thoroughly enjoyed serving
the industry as best I could.”
His service not only included
six years as chair but over a
decade as a BCMMB sta
member. He told producers
the new ingredient strategy
“will provide direction for
strengthening the Canadian
dairy industry as world-wide
activity inuences and aects
supply management in
Canada.”
Noting Janzen’s previous
experience as both a producer
and board member, Ingratta
calls his new boss “the right
guy to lead that eort as we
build a bridge to the future.”
National ingredient strategy
could spur BC dairy growth
Ben Janzen has taken over as chair of the BC Milk Marketing Board.
He replaces Jim Byrne who reached the end of a six-year tenure.
(File photo)
2017 Tree Fruit Replant Program
ANNOUNCEMENT:
Application forms and the updated requirements of the 2017 Tree Fruit
Replant Program will be available August 1, 2016 on the BCFGA website,
www.bcfga.com
Project applications (along with the required Replant Plan) will be
received between August 1 and October 31, 2016. Please avoid the last
minute rush and get your application in early.
An horticultural advisor is required to help prepare and sign individual
applications for the 2017 Tree Fruit Replant Program. The following
information will be provided to assist growers in completing applications.
a. A list of qualied advisors.
b. Information on project grading.
c. Program operational policies.
d. A series of reports on replanting and variety performance
and selection are available and should be referenced when
preparing a Tree Fruit Replant Program Application.
The Tree Fruit Replant Program provides funding for quality projects.
Applications will be rated by a committee of horticultural experts. The
rating of individual applications will be based on meeting the program
requirements and on the quality of the Replant Plan. Projects will be
placed in order of rating for projects, and the top-rated projects will be
approved until all funding is utilized.
The Tree Fruit Replant Program is a 7 year, $9.4 million
program, funded by the Province of BC.
BC FRUIT GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION
1-800-619-9022 (ext 1)
email: info@bcfga.com
www.bcfga.com
Country Life in BC • August 201630
by DAVID SCHMIDT
ALDERGROVE It may have
been the third annual BC
Veggie Day in the rest of the
province but at TopGro
Greenhouses in Aldergrove, it
was also BC Goji Day.
TopGro was one of four
Delta, Aldergrove and
Abbotsford greenhouses to
open their doors to the public
earlier this spring, but owner
Peter Breederland was just as
interested in showing people
his 10-acre goji berry orchard
as his 10-acre pepper house.
After growing bell peppers
for almost 20 years,
Breederland made some
major changes in 2010-11.
Inside the greenhouse, he
switched to growing mini
sweet peppers while outside
the greenhouse he planted a
10-acre goji orchard as well as
another half-acre under-
tunnel housing.
“I like to be innovative and
adventurous,” he said.
Native to China, the
nutrient-rich bright orange-
red berries are highly-prized
for their health properties,
with some claiming the goji
berry is a veritable fountain of
youth. Despite that, goji
berries are still largely
unknown and his 10-acre
orchard makes Breederland
the largest commercial goji
berry grower in North
America.
Although he believed there
would be a ready market for
the berries since “nine out of
ten Orientals already know
them,” he was forced to
become a trailblazer as there
was no information on how to
grow them commercially.
That’s why the half-acre
under the hoop-house tunnel
is so important. “With the
tunnels we can play with the
climate and get to know the
plants better.”
He is trying ve dierent
pruning techniques to see
which works best, modifying a
berry picker to pick the
berries, and spreading the
pepper plant prunings under
the goji plants to provide an
organic fertilizer. Since he
uses biological pest controls
in his greenhouse, bringing
the pepper prunings into the
orchard also brings biologicals
out to the berries.
Breederland admits
bringing a new berry onto the
market is a daunting task but
believes it will ultimately be
successful. “It’s going to be a
few years before we become
protable but I’m convinced it
will work.”
He notes his products are
already available in 40 stores
in BC and several more in
Alberta. His product line
includes a smoothie booster,
fresh berries in a clamshell
and, as of May, whole frozen
berries.
Greenhouse grower
becomes goji trailblazer
Province makes judgement
call on tree planting in ALR
Peter Breederland
of Topgro
Greenhouses in
Aldergrove is the
rst commercial
Goji berry
producer in BC. In
addition to 10
acres of eld
production, he has
a half-acre
research plot in a
tunnel house.
(David Schmidt
photo)
by PETER MITHAM
VICTORIA – Victoria is
giving explicit guidance to
landowners that want to plant
trees in the Agricultural Land
Reserve, following concern
over the activities of English
consumer goods
conglomerate Reckitt
Benckiser Inc.
Reckitt Benckiser had
planted thousands of hectares
with trees as part of an
ambitious scheme to green its
operations and oset carbon
emissions from its production
of goods ranging from Durex
condoms to French’s mustard.
Public backlash to the
program saw the company
step back from its activities
while the province – which
was blindsided by the
program – said the matter was
in the hands of the
Agricultural Land Commission.
Having identied various
properties where trees had
been planted, agriculture
minister Norm Letnick told
Country Life in BC that the next
step was up to the land
commission, which had the
regulatory powers to take
action.
“We’ve got the property
identication numbers and
forwarded that information
over to the Agricultural Land
Commission,” Letnick said at
the time. “The next step’s up
to the commission. … They’ll
have to look at the le and
determine what action, if any,
they want to take.”
Now, the province itself has
taken action, telling
landowners that if they want
to plant more than 20
hectares (or about 50 acres)
with trees for a use other than
food production or
agroforestry, they’ll need
Please see “PROJECTS” page 31
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 31
PROJECTS THWARTED From page 30
by PETER MITHAM
VANCOUVER – Ten years
ago last month, federal and
provincial agriculture
ministers met to discuss the
value inherent in providing
public goods – such as the
reduction of greenhouse gas
emissions associated with
climate change – on private
land.
Such “environmental goods
and services” have long been
seen as an important but
undervalued aspect of farm
operations.
The idea still sparked awe
when US Secretary of
Agriculture Tom Vilsack sat
down with Scientic American
earlier this year for an
interview and said that
agriculture could be part of
the answer to a changing
climate.
With California in the fth
year of a ve-year drought,
despite a much-needed dose
of precipitation this past
winter, Vilsack said many of
the biggest farms in the US
still don’t want to hear about
climate change.
It’s seen as a threat to their
way of life – not because it
impacts growing conditions,
but because it means big
changes in how they go about
their business.
Vilsack pointed out,
however, that climate change
isn’t just disruptive to farmers.
It’s actually a problem they
can solve in the natural course
of doing business.
Power generation and
transportation are the most
signicant contributors to
greenhouse gas emissions in
the US, at 56% of the total in
2014, making renewable
power and electric cars
popular topics of discussion.
While buildings account for
12% of greenhouse gas
emissions in the US, they’ve
won the lion’s share of
recognition for green
practices through certication
programs such as LEED
(Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design).
Least damaging
Agriculture is one of the
least-damaging sectors,
accounting for just 9% of total
greenhouse gas emissions in
the US.
Yet the sector is often
vilied for the deleterious
eects of methane, a
persistent greenhouse gas
whose number one source is
livestock. Cattle gas, as
methane, is a reason why
people should switch to grass-
fed beef, adopt vegetarian
diets and generally see
farming as bad for the
environment.
Vilsack doesn’t deny that
agriculture can do better – but
he also sees better farming
practices as part of a holistic
strategy to reduce human-
related climate change.
“There are other industries
and other sectors that also
have to do their part. But
agriculture needs to be part of
the solution,” he said. “We
need to do a better job of
how we raise livestock and
how we graze to maintain
sequestered carbon. We need
to continue to focus on
energy eciency and
renewable energy.”
The kinds of change
required open “an incredible
amount of innovation, job
opportunities and business
Agriculture may help mitigate changing climate
Ranchers are often vilified for the damaging effects of methane, a greehnouse gas
growth if we do this right. It’s
a lot of dynamic activity
within agriculture to attract
young people whereas before
they were discouraged.”
Ambitious city
The message rings true in
BC, which is home to David
Suzuki, Osetters Carbon
Neutral Society and
Vancouver, a city whose
ambitions to become the
world’s greenest includes
urban agriculture among its
strategies.
Moreover, new entrants to
the sector are frequently
embracing organic and low-
impact farming practices that
were often novelties to their
parents and grandparents.
The federal government,
recognizing the enthusiasm
for such practices, recently
launched the Agricultural
Youth Green Jobs Initiative.
The program aims to fund
internships for post secondary
graduates who are 30 years of
age or younger, meet
citizenship requirements and
are interested in working in
the agriculture industry.
Two options exist, one for
on-farm programs that
provides $10,000 per intern
for placements of at least four
months, and another for
businesses active in the
agriculture sector who wish to
employ an intern “to
undertake environmental
activities, services or research
that will benet the
agriculture sector.” The latter
option provides $16,000 that
funds up to 80% of the
internship (again, of at least
four months).
The internships must
compete by March 31, 2017.
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“The 20-hectare threshold
was determined as a result of
[stakeholder] discussions,
recognizing 20 hectares is
large enough for most
agricultural purposes, and
carbon sequestration projects
would require a larger land
area than that to be feasible,”
the province said in a
statement.
The move promises to shut
down the use of farmland for
carbon sequestration projects,
though monitoring and
enforcement will still be
through the existing
complaint-driven process.
Stakeholders including the
Agricultural Land
Commission, BC Cattlemen’s
Association and the BC
Agriculture Council were
among those consulted as
the province drafted its
explicit guidance for
landowners.
Country Life in BC • August 201632
What were the early days of the COABC like? Just ask this group of COABC veterans: from left to right,
Heather Pritchard, Andrea Turner, Robert Hettler, Paddy Doherty, Carme Wakeling, Linda Edwards
and Joppa Wills. (David Schmdit photo)
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by DAVID SCHMIDT
VERNON Although the
Certified Organic
Associations of BC (COABC)
and its subsidiary certifying
bodies are now thriving
organizations, it did not start
that way. Seven vanguards of
the local organic movement
reminisced about the sector’s
early days during the recent
COABC conference in Vernon.
“We started farming before
standards,” notes Heather
Pritchard, one of the founders
of Fraser Common Farm and
the Glorious Garnish and
Seasonal Salad Company in
Aldergrove. “Our farm was
considered quite quirky.”
The first farm to grow
arugula commercially,
Glorious Garnish got a big
boost in 1986 when the
Northwest Territories
contracted them to provide a
salad mix for their restaurant
at Expo 86.
“We then went to eight
other restaurants,” Pritchard
recalls.
Harvey Snow came to help
However, growers were
reluctant to get organized so
it took them a long time to
form bioregional associations
and start establishing
standards. Helping them was
Harvey Snow, the BC Ministry
of Agriculture’s organic
extension officer in the 1980s.
Fraser Valley growers
formed the BC Association of
Regenerative Agriculture
(BCARA). When BCARA
insisted on limiting itself to
selling locally, Snow, by then
a BCARA member and a large
organic vegetable grower in
Delta, broke away to form the
Fraser Valley Organic
Producers Association
(FVOPA), which would adopt
the ISO certification required
to ship products outside the
province. Ironically, BCARA
has since also become an
ISO-certifying body.
“It is a testament to the
growth of our industry that
we had to go to ISO-
certification,” says Linda
Edwards, a Cawston organic
orchardist and consultant,
who has also served as
president of both COABC and
the Pacific Agricultural
Certification Society, BC’s
largest ISO-certifying body.
SOOPA one of the first
One of the first
associations to be formed
was the Similkameen
Okanagan Organic Producers
Association (SOOPA).
“We became partners in a
conventional orchard in
Cawston and wanted to grow
naturally,” recalls Joppa Wills.
“We sold organics with a
story,” she says, noting they
sold Woodwards (then a
major Vancouver
department store and
grocery) their first organic
cherries and apricots.
Soon a story was not
enough. After distributors
told them it was getting
harder to sell organic fruit
without certification, Wills
and nine other local
“natural/organic” growers
formed SOOPA with the help
of Harold Madsen, then a
scientist at the Pacific
Agriculture Research Centre
in Summerland, who became
their first third-party
verification officer.
The North Okanagan
Organic Association also
created organic standards
but they were “philosophical,
not regulatory,” recalls Robert
Hettler of Pilgrim’s Produce in
Armstrong. When most
regional associations decided
to unite as the COABC in
1993, he became its first
secretary.
Dedication nonpareil
Despite having “no
budget,” COABC founders
were extremely dedicated.
“People would drive up to 14
hours to attend monthly
meetings,” Hettler said.
Just as with BCARA, the
COABC had a lot of early
internal struggles as not all
growers were initially in
favour. Some even formed a
short-lived second group, the
BC Alliance of Organic
Growers.
“We didn’t want to be part
of COABC and standards,”
recalls Andrea Turner, now
COABC’s vice-president.
But the association
persevered. Paddy Doherty,
an early COABC president,
says it was critical in
developing relationships with
government and building
what has become a multi-
million dollar business.
“We were a happening
group,” Doherty said, noting
they convinced then BC
Minister of Agriculture Corky
Evans to give them a $2
million fund which they used
to develop the BC and
Canadian organic sector.
Everything changed
When Edwards was hired
in the late 1980s to
document what was
happening in the BC organic
sector, there were only 47
acres of certified organic
apples in the Similkameen
region. After Australian
research described the
potential of mating
disruption to manage codling
moths in 1990 and the Sterile
Insect Release facility was
built in Oliver, “everything
changed.”
“We grew to over 400 acres
of organic apples within two
years,” Edwards said.
“Growers didn’t want to
take it over but I am so glad
we got the SIR program,”
Wills added.
Current COABC president
Carmen Wakeling says
COABC’s biggest legacy is the
community it has created.
“We have been lucky to
stand true to our principles,”
she said, adding “this is our
way of changing our food
system.”
Thriving organic organizations evolved from humble beginnings
Seven pioneers of the local organic movement present a retrospective of the sector’s early days
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by RONDA PAYNE
LANGLEY – The summer
was already looking hot for
the Finley family before spring
had even arrived. The owners
of Laurica Farm were booking
more events (including this
year’s Feast of Fields) than
most farmers would sanely
agree to. According to Cathy
Finley, she does it because
meaningful conversations
about farming happen when
people are having fun on the
farm.
Laurica was founded about
three years ago when the
Finleys bought ve acres with
a house and barn in south
Langley. From there, it has
grown into an adventure in
running a farm on mostly
recycled materials and a
passion for engaging people
with their food.
“Dairy is the only thing we
buy once a week,” says Finley
of the ability to feed her
family of four o the land
while also hosting events,
oering CSA boxes and selling
to restaurants and at farmers
markets whatever might be
left over.
“[Farming] has become
more important to me,” she
says. “I just wanted to be
sustainable, just wanted to
feed my family organically,
but now it’s more. People
come here to see it. They want
to be involved in the journey.”
It’s a mix of old-style
farming where there are
vegetable crops, an
orchard, pigs,
chickens, ducks and
sheep all on the
same land but with
a new take – a look
to sustainable,
educational farming
that gets people interested in
how their food is grown. It’s
an exercise is symbiotic
relationships that is easy even
for non-farmers to
understand.
“We found that we could
build a farm on reclaimed
materials,” Finley notes. “70%
of what you see here is from
reclaimed materials.”
Most of the buildings, the
greenhouse, even the
meshed-in orchard are
constructed from things
destined for the dump. Yet
it goes beyond the
buildings. Other items that
may otherwise go to the
landfill are fed to the pigs
which the Finleys are now
Old farming
practices for new
ways of thinking
Country Ways
breeding on site.
“They get no commercially
created feed at all,” says Finley
of the Berkshire and Berkshire-
cross heritage pigs’ diet.
They also churn up the
earth and fertilize it for crop
planting in a three-eld
rotation. They deliver a great
deal of nutrients to the soil,
allowing for the fast pace of
farming demanded at Laurica.
“The vegetables always
follow the pigs around,” she
notes. “I don’t know why
anyone farms without pigs.”
The pigs are even lining the
duck pond by digging it up
and creating a natural clay
lining.
The emphasis is to make
use of animals instead of
machinery, but a balance
between selling the meat and
making use of “animal labour”
has to be found. The Finley’s
pigs are so popular they have
been used at their
neighbour’s (Fraser Common
Farms) long table dinners with
chef Chris Whittaker.
Even the method of
heating the greenhouse is
based on reclaimed materials
and will allow for winter
vegetables. The cob clay
rocket mass stove is made
from earth, straw, clay and
rocks. There’s also a plan for a
cob pizza oven.
“You can burn all sorts of
things in it,” Finley says. “Just
Laurica Farm’s Cathy Finley keeps a watchful eye on her menagerie of farm animals at her
demonstration farm in Abbotsford. (Ronda Payne photo)
Please see “MIXED” page 35
Country Life in BC • August 201634
www.AgSafeBC.ca
WORKER SAFETY
SHOULD BE YOUR
TOP PRIORITY
Cherry growers prove there is life after retirement
by SUSAN MCIVER
NARAMATA – There’s no
doubt that Joe and Trish
Ciaramella, owners of CC
Orchards in Naramata, are
crazy about cherries.
“I love the romance of the
traditional cherry orchard,”
says Joe, who picked cherries
on the Niagara Peninsula in
his youth.
When Joe retired as an
executive with Suncor, the
Calgary-based energy
company, and Trish no longer
taught French, the Ciaramellas
went looking for a cherry
orchard.
“I didn’t want to be re-
organizing my wife’s kitchen
when I retired,” Joe says.
In 2007, he and Trish
purchased their 10 acre
property, of which 3.5 acres
are planted in cherries.
“The orchard is nestled
between a natural waterfall
and a gully. It’s a peaceful
piece of paradise to me,” Joe
says.
The orchard contains
plantings of the white-eshed
Rainier variety and ve red
varieties – Stella, Lambert, Van,
Lapins and Sweetheart.
“Rainiers are very sweet and
are especially popular with
Asians. But they are delicate
with a high cull rate,” Joe says.
The Ciaramellas produce
more Lapins than any other
variety.
“These are some of the
largest, juiciest cherries that
grow on trees,” says cherry
connoisseur Joe. Lapins were
named in honour of Karlis
Lapins, a scientist at the
Summerland research station
who created the variety by
crossing Vans and Stellas, Joe
explains.
Joe’s favourite variety is
Vans.
“They produce magnicent
blossoms and deep-red, sweet
fruit. They’re typically used in
Black Cherry ice cream,” Joe
says.
He and Trish sell about half
of their crop as fresh fruit on
either a U-pick or We-pick
basis. Ciaramella cherries are
also juiced, dried, covered
with chocolate and made into
preserves, jams and salsa, to
name only some of their uses.
“We try to make everything
you can from a cherry tree.
That includes a dried cherry
stem tea infusion, cherry oil
and teacher to fruit growers
came with challenges, starting
with how to raise cherries.
“The former owner, BC Tree
Fruits and Charlotte Leaming
have all been very helpful,”
says Joe, who also had to learn
how to operate and maintain
farm equipment.
Orchard employees are
primarily university students
and other young people from
Quebec.
“They come as a rite of
passage to pick fruit like their
parents and grandparents
did,” Joe says.
Increasingly more
employees are from Western
Europe.
“We even had one fellow
from Siberia,” Joe says.
The Ciaramellas are keen
promoters of agri-tourism and
enjoy telling visitors about
how fruit is produced and
processed. In addition to a
current vacation rental on
their property, they are
converting the upstairs of
their barn into a B&B.
Looking to the future, Joe
said, “We want to continue
operating our orchard and
keeping the tradition of
Okanagan of cherry
production alive,” Joe says.
and balsamic cherry
reduction,” says Trish, who will
prepare gift baskets on
request.
Fresh-pressed CC Orchard
cherry juice is used at Bad
Tattoo Brewing in Penticton
to make R&B Cherry Wit beer.
“Cherry pits make good
landscape cover,” Joe says.
Trish and Joe sell their
cherries and cherry products
at Penticton Farmers’ Market
and farm-gate. Fresh cherries
are also sold to BC Tree Fruits
along with the various cherry
products at outlets in Calgary.
The switch from executive
Trish and Joe Ciaramello, owners of CC Orchards in Naramata, grow six varieties of cherries including
the light-eshed Rainiers and dark red Lapins shown above. (Susan McIver photo)
Armstrong BC
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August 2016 • Country Life in BC 35
MIXED FARM From page 33
Community is more than the dictionary’s definition
According to the dictionary,
community is dened as “a
group of people living in the
same place or having a
particular characteristic in
common.” That’s it, a neat
packaged version of what it
means to live in the same
locale as other folks or to share
a common trait, hobby or just
anything else for that matter.
Over my years of living in both
urban and rural parts of this
country, I’ve discovered that
true community involves both
these things, but it goes far
deeper than a verbal
or written denition
and adds one more
vital component: a
genuine concern for
others.
Born and raised
for the rst 25 years of
my life in suburban or city
areas of the West Coast,
moving to a tiny country town
on the prairies wasn’t the
shock that I or others
imagined it might be. In fact, I
A Wannabe Farmer
LINDA WEGNER
immediately fell in love with
most aspects of my new life.
For the next three decades,
hubby and I discovered the
joys and frustrations of
residing in rural agriculture-
based communities with
populations of less than 1,500
people. It was an environment
that I described this way: Here,
everyone knows all your
business and what they don’t
know, they make up. On the
other hand, if you’re in an
emergency, the folks are right
there to help. If it’s during
harvest, the farmers will even
shut down their own
operations and take o the
crop for you. (To this
observation, my suburban
dwelling brother once
responded with a grin, “Oh
they do that here, too. They
just don’t tell you they’re
going to take it.” A true cynic,
he is.)
Population alone isn’t the
determining factor of a real
community. I’ve lived both in
cities and rural towns where,
as a newcomer, I immediately
felt welcomed; conversely, in
other areas it took far longer
before that happened. No
matter how large or small, it’s
important to remember that
populations are comprised of
individuals.
Some measure of
uniformity is also a
determining factor and that’s
dened as a “feeling of
fellowship with others as a
result of sharing common
attitudes, interests and goals.”
In other words, be it bake
sales, painting in oils, quilt
making or sports teams,
community members are
linked by mutual support for
something.
More than a decade ago,
we left an area comprised of
agricultural behemoths to be
closer to family living on the
West Coast. Decades ago, this
town was home to Canada’s
largest goat dairy farm; not
now but we can boast a
commercial chicken hatchery
and, equally important, a
growing and vibrant small-
farm component. The
common goals of
encouraging, supporting and
consuming local food
production are principles
supported by many – from our
mayor to the backyard
gardener (that’s me).
“The people who farm care
about their animals and their
crops. They nurture them,
protect them and nourish
them from babies until it is
time to harvest them. Like
artists, farmers care; they take
pride in their work and their
signature is on everything
they grow.” (Isabelle
Southcott, editor, Powell River
Living)
Last but far from least,
community is about being
there in both the good and
the bad. And honestly, who of
us hasn’t had days when it
seemed that anything that
could go wrong was going to.
Or, in some cases already had.
There is no better time than
those times to have a friend or
friends step in to oer support;
there’s no better feeling than
to be part of community that
truly cares for each other.
No matter who or where we
are, let’s keep growing, keep
eating and keep caring. We all
need each other!
sticks and twigs that fall to the
ground.”
Some composting is done
in the lasagna method to
make use of discarded
packaging materials. Bee hives
on site take care of pollination
needs from the fruit and
vegetable crops to the herb
garden (run by a local
herbalist) and one of the
Finley daughter’s cut owers
garden. Finley describes
chickens as the farm’s natural
insecticides as well as egg
providers and a rainwater
collection system to help
compensate for the dry
summers is well underway.
Down to business
It all sounds rather
idealistic, but as much as the
Finleys love the lifestyle
they’ve been able to create,
they recognize the business
aspect of what they do as well.
For example, they’ve chosen
to not be organic certied in
order to avoid the costs.
“I prefer for our customers
to come here and see how we
do things. They can decide on
their own,” she says. “I don’t
want to pass that cost onto
my customers. I think that
when people come out to the
farm and try the food, they
have an interest in it – in
farming as a whole.”
Part of the plan is to
encourage other farmers, both
those on their own land and
the herbalist and sheep farmer
on the Laurica site.
“They give up hours
working on the farm in return
for the space,” Finley explains.
About three acres of the
site are planted with crops in
what Finley describes as spin
farming on a larger scale. She
is looking to nd more land to
expand the operation and the
barn, which once housed
family games and activities,
will be converted back into a
barn.
“We grow a lot in a small
space,” Finley says. “And we’re
building a root cellar so the
root vegetables will last
longer. It’s very intensive
growing. A fast ip.”
It’s a lot of work but
something that Finley sees as
important, not just for fellow
farmers, but for everyone.
“If we don’t change
something, the future
generations aren’t going to
be able to live the same kind
of peaceful lifestyle we do,”
she says. “Having people
come out [to the farm] for a
meal tells its own message. If
we can use this as a platform
to change the way people
think about food, then let’s
do it.”
NOW accepting applications for the
Provincial Livestock Fencing Program
along travel corridors
Provincial Livestock Fencing Program
Eligibility Requirements
• Schedule 2 Highways, Schedule 1 Highways, and Railway Corridors.
Secondary (sideroad) paved routes may also be considered.
• Must be a livestock producer.
• Fence must be part of an existing fencing system to contain livestock.
Application forms available at:
http://www.cattlemen.bc.ca/fencing.htm
Call TOLL FREE 1.866.398.2848
to have an application mailed to you.
Application Deadline
August 31, 2016 for consideration for the 2017 construction year.
FINAL
CHANCE TO
APPLY
www.oyfbc.com
2017 Outstanding
BC AND YUKON REGION
YOUNG FARMER
Now accepting nominations!
Do you know an OUTSTANDING
young farmer between the ages
of 19 and 39 who derives two thirds
of his or her income
from their farming operation?
We want to know about them!
Nominate them NOW to be
eligible to compete as one of
BC’s OUTSTANDING
YOUNG FARMERS in 2017!
www.oyfbc.com
Outstanding
BC AND YUKON REGION
YOUNG FARMER PROGRAM
Nominee’s Name:
Nominee’s Phone Number:
Nominated by:
Phone Number:
MAIL nomination to
HEATHER CARRIERE, 36376 STEPHEN LEACOCK DR., ABBOTSFORD, BC V3G 0C2
Email: zamacaconsulting@gmail.com
2016 REGIONAL SPONSORS:
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
2016 OYF winners Brian & Jewel Pauls
Country Life in BC • August 201636
by GINA HAAMBUCKERS
VERNON – Twenty-one
outstanding 4-H members have been
awarded scholarships on behalf of
the 4-H British Columbia program
and its generous partners. The worthy
recipients are headed for post-
secondary education in disciplines
ranging from agriculture to nursing,
literature and fashion.
The overall amount awarded in
scholarships this year is $54,500.
“We are thrilled and delighted to
be awarding scholarships to such a
deserving group of young people.
Congratulations to all our recipients,”
says Claudette Martin, 4-H BC
manager.
Chernoff Family Foundation ($5000
renewable over two years)
• Rachel H. (Elementary Education
Program, University of Victoria)
• Katrina J. (Foundation Year
Programme, University of Kinds
College)
• Aimee T. (Faculty of Science &
Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic
University)
Chernoff Family Foundation ($1000
renewable over two years)
• Danika Z. (Applied Sustainable
Ranching, Thompson Rivers
University)
• Taylor V. (Fashion Business &
Creative Arts Diploma, John
Casablanca Institution)
• Paige T. (Animal Science
Technology, Lakeland College)
• Erica B. (ARCT Teachers, Royal
Conservatory of Music)
• Clay K. (Applied Sciences, University
of British Columbia)
BC Youth in Agriculture Foundation
($2000 each)
• Christine K. (Bachelor of Journalism,
Thompson Rivers University)
• Hannah F. (Bachelor of Science,
Thompson Rivers University)
Wim & Annie Zylmans Agriculture
Memorial Fund Scholarship ($500 each)
• Neila S. (Associate of Science, North
Island College)
BC Agriculture in the Classroom
Foundation ($1000)
• Abigail T. (Animal
Bioscience/Agriculture, University of
Saskatchewan)
BC 4-H Foundation ($1000)
• Jeremiah L. (Music – Piano
Performance, Kwantlen Polytechnic
University)
Mutual Fire Insurance ($1000 each)
• Steven D. (Faculty of Science,
University of Victoria)
• Rachel G. (Bachelor of Arts in
Political Science, University of
Victoria)
Western Producer ($1000)
• Victoria F. (Bachelor of Science in
Nursing, University of the Fraser
Valley)
Saanich Fruit Growers ($1600 each)
• Angela K. (Management: Wildlife
and Fisheries, University of Northern
British Columbia)
Saanich Fruit Growers ($800 each)
• Orrin W. (Bachelor of Kinesiology,
University of British Columbia)
• Cliff C. (Basic Certificate of Christian
Studies, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom)
MNP ($1000 each)
• Mackenzie K. (Natural Resource and
Environmental Technology, College
of New Caledonia)
• Brandon K. (Animal Science
Technology – Beef Production,
Lakeland College)
BC 4-H proud of its scholarship winners
Twenty-seven
senior 4-H
members from
across BC
competed at the
4-H BC
Provincial
Communication
nals in
Kamloops,
July 7-9.
Rising to the top. Matthew S. (left), Jeremiah L. and Sara-Kate S.
show o their public speaking awards after competing at the 4-H
BC Provincial Communications Finals. (BC 4-H does not provide
surnames for participants, citing privacy concerns.) (Photo
courtesy of 4-H BC)
by DAVID SCHMIDT
PRINCE GEORGE – The BC Cattlemen’s
Association (BCCA) is receiving up to $144,000
from the federal and provincial governments
to develop a business and marketing plan for a
new mid-size federally-inspected beef
processing plant in the Prince George area.
BCCA general manager Kevin Boon stresses
this is only a viability study and does not mean
a plant will be built.
“This is to see if it’s worth trying,” Boon says.
Currently, BC has only two federally
inspected plants capable of processing small
numbers of cattle and several dozen
provincially-licenced abattoirs, but the majority
of cattle are processed in Alberta or the US.
Boon readily admits a lot of processing
plants failed during the BSE crisis “for a
number of reasons” and the study is intended
to ensure a new plant does not suer the same
fate.
Although “there is money there right now”
to build a plant, the BCCA has cautioned
against moving too quickly.
“Our biggest fear is that someone will build
it (without first determining what is needed
to make it successful). This isn’t about a
packing plant – it’s about a whole industry,”
Boon says, noting interested investors
(primarily retailers and exporters) “aren’t that
familiar with the cattle industry. They just
P
ostm
aster
, Please return
U
n
delive
rable labels to:
C
oun
tr
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in B
C
112
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Vol. 1
02
N
o. 8
Farm tour City in the Country showcases innovative agriculture 11
Poultry Practice codes hope to establish baselines 13
Dairy National ingredient strategy could spur growth 29
Life
in BC
The agricultural news source in
British Columbia since 1915
August 2016 • Vol. 102 No. 8
Chicken board
ready to sign on
the dotted line
Feasibility study for northern abattoir
Please see “FEEDLOT” page 2
Y
COUNTRY
by DAVID SCHMIDT
ABBOTSFORD – The BC Chicken
Marketing Board (BCCMB) was expected to
sign Chicken Farmers of Canada’s new
operating agreement at the CFC summer
meeting in Toronto in late July, after nally
getting approval to do so from the BC Farm
Industry Review Board.
FIRB issued its approval on June 30 but
told the BCCMB to hold o until after July
15 to give BC processors another chance to
appeal FIRB’s decision. The processors
waited until the last minute before deciding
against further appeals.
“This is very good news,” said Chicken
Farmers of Canada chair Dave Janzen, a
Chilliwack chicken grower, and BCCMB chair
Robin Smith, almost in unison.
Clay Hurren, 12, a junior member from the Armstrong Beef Club, parades his Simmental cross steer, Gus, in front of a
captive audience of buyers at the annual 4-H Stock Show at the IPE fairgrounds, July 9. (Cathy Glover photo)
Proud as punch
IR
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IG
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Eight years of negotiations
over allocations at an end
It’s time
for a change.
The publisher of
Country Life in BC is
ready to retire and
this publication is now
offered for sale.
For more information,
contact Peter Wilding
604.871-0001
countrylifeinbc@shaw.ca
COUNTRY
The agricultural news source in
British Columbia since 1915
Life
Y
in BC
Y
Y
Helping BC farmers
GROW THEIR
BUSINESS
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 37
When we left o last time,
Henderson got himself into yet
another rage over the snow-
covered roads, and threatened
to sell the house and move back
to the city. Deborah said if he
did that, he’d better get a good
lawyer. Rural Redemption (part
75) continues ...
The Department of
Highways truck plowed the
road an hour and a half after
Kenneth spun his way out to
the main road and drove o
to the city. Shortly after, a
white pick-up drove up Tiny’s
driveway.
“It’s Mr. McLeod!” said
Christopher. “Maybe he’s here
to tell us there’s no school
tomorrow.”
Doug McLeod broke the
sad news that it was all
systems go on the school
front to Christopher at the
back door.
“Sorry, Chris. I’m here to talk
to your mother and sister
about the spring musical. Are
your mom and dad home?”
“Just my Mom. C’mon in.”
Doug apologized for the
intrusion and said that Cec
Montgomery’s passing had
kind of derailed Gladdie and
the spring musical plans and
he was touching bases and
trying to ll in some of the
blanks before the meeting at
Gladdie’s on Wednesday
evening. He wanted to make
sure Deborah was still on
board to play Daisy Mae and
he wondered if Ashley would
take on two or three smaller
parts that called for singing.
Ashley agreed reluctantly
and Deborah agreed
wholeheartedly but wondered
how he could possibly come
up with enough volunteers to
ll the whole cast and crew.
“Oh, you’d be surprised
how folks get together behind
something like this when push
comes to shove. If we’re really
Oh, what a tangled web we weave ...
short of performers, we’ll skip
a scene or two and have a
narrator tell it instead.
“Tyler Koski and his wife,
Jade Song, volunteered to
help out. Tyler is going to look
after the sets. Lisa Lundgren
and Cynthia, her mom, are
going to give him a hand and
they were kind of thinking
that Chris might like to help
out, too.”
Chris said he’d phone Lisa
and check it out.
“Jade oered to play the
piano and Eddy
Eberhardt’s always a
willing whiz on the
accordion. Turns out,
Jade has a music
degree and she’s willing
to make the music work
with whatever players we can
scratch up.”
“How do you get away with
just talking your way through
some of the scenes?” asked
Deborah.
“That’s not a problem. I
think we’ve done it with
almost all the musicals. Glad’s
a master at it and remember,
the audience are your family
and friends and neighbours.
They just want to come out
and see folks they know take
to the stage. It would be hard
to disappoint them.”
Doug stayed for coee and
said he was really looking
forward to another spring
musical. Deborah said she
was really looking forward to
it, too. Doug noticed that no
one said anything about
Kenneth.
“Do you think your
husband might want to get
into the act?”
Deborah looked him in the
eye and shook her head.
“I can guarantee you he
won’t want anything to do
with it.”
***
Kenneth sent a text
message to Janice on his way
back to the city. They
arranged to meet for coee at
six. Kenneth was drinking his
third cup when she arrived.
She looked radiant. Kenneth
held her chair.
“You can’t imagine how
I’ve missed you. I need to talk
to ...”
“You need to listen
carefully before you do any
talking,” said Janice. “This
conversation never took
place, understood?”
Kenneth gave her a
troubled nod.
“Good. The committee
chair will be announced in the
morning and you’ll wonder
about the choice but it
doesn’t really matter because
someone in the ministers’
oce will be pulling all the
strings through a special
assistant to the chair. That’s
who everyone, you included,
will be taking their marching
orders from.”
“Do you think they’re
considering me for the special
assistant?”
“Don’t you think you’d
know by now if that was the
case?” asked Janice.
Kenneth nodded.
“Who do you think it will
be then? And how do you
know about all of this?”
“It’s me. I’m the special
assistant.”
“You?”
“Yes, Kenneth. Me. Don’t
you think I’m good enough
for the job?”
“Sure, sure you’re good
enough. I’m just surprised,”
stammered Kenneth. “How
long have you known?”
“Since they tossed
Linderman.”
“I can’t believe you didn’t
tell me.”
“I was going to tell you at
New Year’s.”
“I would have told you if
the shoe was on the other
foot,” said Kenneth.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t
have lied to me?”
“Why would I lie to you
about something like that?”
“You know, that’s exactly
the question I’ve been asking
myself. Why did you lie to
me?”
“What lie are you talking
about?” asked Kenneth.
Janice gave her shoulders a
shrug.
“Gee, I don’t know. How
many lies did you tell me?”
“If you mean the ski trip
with the kids? I was just trying
to make things easier for
you.”
“Give me a break, Kenneth.
You were trying to make
things easier for yourself.
You’ve been around politics
too long.”
“What does politics have to
do with it? That was between
us.”
“It was a lie between us.
Lies, the lifeblood of politics.
Eventually, you can’t tell one
from another.”
“Deception is the lifeblood
of politics, not lies.”
“Oh, really,” said Janice.
“What’s the dierence?”
“A lie speaks its own truth;
deception can be
interpreted.”
“Do you have any idea how
stupid that sounds? A lie
speaks its own truth?”
“Think about it. It’s like that
blended tax thing years ago.
The government said it was
unfair and regressive and they
wouldn’t have anything to do
with it. They said it too
concretely. When they
imposed it a couple of
months later, everyone
remembered exactly what
they said and saw the truth
that it was a lie and the whole
thing blew up in their face.”
“And a deception is what?
A lie without details? A
bundle of lies that might not
all be true? Something the
spin doctors can weasel out
of? So, explain why you lied
to me about having to take
your kids on a ski trip so you
could deceive me about
spending New Years with
your wife so that you could
deceive her about planning
to spend New Years with me?
I’d be interested to hear how
you dance around all that.”
Janice stood and pulled her
coat on.
“See you at work,” she said.
To be continued ...
The Woodshed
Chronicles
BOB COLLINS
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Country Life in BC • August 201638
Garden treasures
Substitute raspberries for blueberries and these scones take on a whole new avour. (Judie Steeves photo)
I was worried they’d find something
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Lisieʼs Blueberry Scones
For those who love to cook and eat, August in this part of the
world has to be one of the most exciting and rewarding
months of the year as we harvest so very many fresh fruits and
vegetables from our gardens and farms.
The diversity of the agriculture sector in BC is astounding. It’s
no wonder chefs from around the world tend to gravitate to
this province, passionate as they are about the opportunity to
focus on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients with which to
showcase their talents.
In our home kitchens as well, we have the opportunity to
take what’s ripe today as our cue to prepare delectable dishes
for those we love while
the harvest is underway.
Instead of canned
mandarins or mangoes
imported from halfway
around the world, we
can use fresh peaches
from the tree in ours or our neighbour’s backyard or fresh
berries instead of frozen.
We can pick beans right from the plant to toss in a stir-fry,
steam in a pot or just eat raw, and the same can be said for
juicy tomatoes, still warm from the sun and full of avour that
bursts in the mouth. It’s in sharp contrast to the sad, avourless
orbs available out of season, imported from another country
and likely picked green and ripened en route.
So, enjoy the bounty while it’s available this month and
preserve what you can’t eat for a taste of summer in the o-
season, when freshly-harvested avours are only memories.
I love to freeze tomatoes whole on sheets, then toss them
into bags in the freezer to remove in the quantity I need for
winter’s sauces or to add to casseroles. It preserves the avour if
not the texture.
Most herbs are best dried or allowed to steep in vinegar or
oil for use in winter, while canning such appetizer treats as salsa
and antipasto can ll the pantry shelves for o-season
entertaining.
In addition to garden-fresh vegetables, we have our pick of
fruit fresh from Okanagan orchards and the berry elds of the
Fraser Valley, perfect for adding to baked goods, salads, pies,
desserts or breakfast cereal or smoothies.
They also make excellent nger food for the lunch box, along
with a few fresh, green snap beans, carrots, celery, peppers,
cucumbers and patio tomatoes
Flavour, convenience, economy and nutrition all at once!
These are delicious for breakfast, brunch or for lunch, served with chunks of sharp cheddar.
The second day, split them and put in the toaster to freshen them up.
2 2/3 c. (650 ml) our 4 tsp. (20 ml) baking powder 1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
1/3 c. (75 ml) ground ax seeds 1 orange, zest only 1/2 c. (125 ml) cold butter
1/4 c. (60 ml) sugar 1 c. (250 ml) blueberries 1 c. (250 ml) milk
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Measure dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Cut butter in (using a pastry blender
or two knives) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add blueberries. Mince orange peel and mix in. Add milk slowly and mix until just blended.
As the mixture makes eight scones, you may divide the dough in half and pinch o a quarter
of each side for each scone.
Use your hands to press each at and roughly shape it into a round. Don’t over-handle the
dough, though. Place each on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
You may wish to brush the tops with milk and sprinkle a little sugar on top.
Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes, then check if browned. Leave in a few minutes longer if needed.
Variations: substitute lemon peel for the orange peel; substitute 1/2 c. each of chopped apples
and walnuts for the blueberries; or 1 c. cranberries for the blueberries; or use 1 c. raspberries plus
a half cup of chopped chocolate, white or dark; or fresh peaches instead of blueberries.
Makes 8 scones or more smaller ones.
Spiced-up Snapper
Reminiscent of sh dishes from down Mexico way, this delicious sauce is perked up with a
jalapeno. I'm betting the sauce would be delicious with prawns or chicken instead of, or in
addition to a white-eshed sh. Use of the eshier plum or Italian type tomatoes is better than
Jude’s Kitchen
JUDIE STEEVES
Please see “SPICED” page 39
Spiced‑up Snapper
Please mail your application to
1120 East 13th Ave Vancouver, BC V5T 2M1
604.871.0001
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SWEET IRON PHOTOGRAPHY
August 2016 • Country Life in BC 39
SPICED UP SNAPPER From page 38
Reminiscent of sh dishes from down Mexico way, this delicious sauce is perked up with a
jalapeno.
I'm betting the sauce would be delicious with prawns or chicken instead of, or in addition to a
white-eshed sh.
Use of the eshier plum or Italian type tomatoes is better than beefsteak-types so the sauce is
thick rather than runny.
1 lb. (454 g) red snapper 1 onion 1 tsp. (5 ml) cumin
1 tbsp. (15 ml) lime juice 2 garlic cloves 2 tbsp. (30 ml) cilantro
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) coarse salt 1 lb. (454 g) tomatoes 2 tbsp. (30 ml) white wine
1 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil 1 jalapeno pepper salt and pepper, to taste
Prick the white sh llets (you could substitute cod for the snapper) on both sides with a fork
in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with the salt and lime juice. Refrigerate for an hour or two.
Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
Heat olive oil in a fry pan and sauté onion until soft, adding garlic near the end. Add skinless,
chopped tomatoes, minced jalapeno and cumin.
Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes and add the minced cilantro, white wine and salt and pepper, to
taste.
Pour the sauce over the sh llets and bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or just until sh
is cooked through.
Serves 2 to 3.
Sharon's Mexi Green Beans
Fresh from a holiday in Mexico, this is my friend's version of veggies from down that-a-
way, and it’s a great summer side dish, with fresh local green beans from the garden or
farm.
1 lb. (454 g) green beans 2 tbsp. (30 ml) lime juice 1 chilli pepper
2 tbsp. (30 ml) butter 3 tbsp. (45 ml) cilantro salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. (30 ml) lime juice
Cut fresh green beans into two-inch pieces; mince chilli pepper and fresh coriander (cilantro).
Melt butter in a large frypan over medium heat and add the beans, lime juice and chillies. Stir
about well, then cover for a couple of minutes to steam.
Uncover and add the chopped cilantro, salt and pepper, to taste, mixing thoroughly until the
beans are still crisp, but cooked.
Serves 4.
Sharonʼs Mexi Green Beans
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Email: countrylifeinbc@shaw.ca
Phone 604/871-0001 • Fax: 604/871-0003
Aug 16
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Lola!
NEW
POLYETHYLENE
TANKS
of all shapes & sizes for septic
and water storage. Ideal for
irrigation, hydroponics,
washdown, lazy wells, rain
water, truck box, fertizilizer
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Call
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Web:
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DISPLAY CLASSIFIED: $20 plus GST per column inch
1120 East 13th Avenue, Vancouver V5T 2M1
Phone: 604/871-0001 • Fax: 604/871-0003
E-mail: countrylifeinbc@shaw.ca • Web: www.countrylifeinbc.com
FARM FOR SALE
FOR SALE
LIVESTOCK
MF 2775 TRACTOR, 166 HP, CAB, DUALS,
rear hydraulic outlets, low hours, $7,000.
Call 250/567-2607.
STEEL
STORAGE
CONTAINERS
FOR SALE
OR RENT
jentonstorage@gmail.com
604-534-2775
EZEE-ON
FRONT END LOADERS
#125 Hi-Lift, c/w 8’ bucket, $4,000
#90 c/w Q/A 7’ bucket
& Q/A bale spike, $3,500
Both are in excellent condition.
Call 250/567-2607
(Vanderhoof)
TWO YEAR OLD
PB ROMNEY RAM
imported from S Oregon, available in
October. Also, 20 PB white and coloured
Romney lambs, well grown, correct,
healthy. Flock selected for ease of
lambing, prolificacy, and conformation for
35 years. Discount on 3 or more.
Call Bramblewood Farm
604/462-9465
MASSEY FERGUSON 8450 COMBINE
Hydrostat. Mercedes-Bens engine. 1376
hours. Straw Chopper & Spreader. MF
pick up header. MF 9550 Straight cut
Header with pick up reel. Transport
trailer included. Asking $28,000. Call
604/220-5249.
AQUAPONICS/BIOPONICS
FARM FOR SALE
Well established turnkey operation
including everything - equipment, fish,
plants, pots etc. Solid customer base!
http://EcoProperty.ca/listing=30333
VEGETABLE EQUIPMENT FOR SALE:
carrot harvester, drum washer c/w hoist
and conveyor, packaging equipment, 5
ton delivery truck and more. For photos
and more info, call David at
250/330-4494.
FOR SALE
FOR SALE
Toll Free 1-888-357-0011
www.ultra-kelp.com
ULTRA-KELP
TM
Celebrating 30 Years
Serving Western Canadian Agriculture
Congratulations to:
ROMYN HILL FARM LTD
BRAD & JODI ROMYN • SORRENTO,B.C.
2014 & 2015 TOP PRODUCTION HERD
BC HOLSTEIN
Flack’s Bakerview Kelp Products Inc
Pritchard, BC
LOVELY PUREBRED SHORTHORN HEIFER
(15 months old, not papered). Ready
to breed. Correct conformation, quiet,
friendly temperament. Good home only.
Call Ingrid 604/538-1092 or email
[fourwinds.stevenson@mac.com]
GOTLAND RAM LAMB, $450 WITHOUT
papers, (recordable, 76.6% purebred).
Lovely disposition, silver-grey fleece. Sire is
Mr. Goodyarn, Spinners Choice winner
LMSPA wool sale. Contact: smrussel@sfu.ca.
DeBOER’S USED
TRACTORS & EQUIPMENT
GRINDROD, BC
JD 7400 MFWD c/w cab, 3 pt, ldr 64,000
JD 6410 MFWD, cab & ldr 54,000
JD 6400 MFWD, cab & ldr 49,000
JD 6400 MFWD, w/ldr 29,500
JD 4240 cab, 3pt hitch 18,500
JD 1830 diesel, with loader 10,500
JD 2630 diesel, 65 HP w/ldr,
comp engine rebuild 12,500
JD 1120 diesel, w/ldr SOLD
NH 1032 bale wagon, 70 cap. 5,500
NH 1400 SP combine, diesel w/14’ direct
cut platform, 1400 original hours 8,500
JD 220 20’ disc, ctr fold, complete new
set of blades 16,500
Ed DeBoer • 250/838-7362
cell 250/833-6699
Curt DeBoer • 250/838-9612
cell 250/804-6147
EQUIPMENT DISPERSAL:
2011 CASE IH MAGNUM 180, 4 WD,
Michelin rubber, c/w duals, CVT, deluxe
cab leather, 846 hrs., mint, $129,500.
NH 790 harvester, grass head, metal
detector, nice condition, $3,500.
NH 900 forage harvester, c/w grass
head, metal detector, good condition,
$5,500.
TWO BADGER 16’ TANDEM AXLE silage
wagons, w/roofs, shop stored, excellent
condition, $6,500 ea.
Call Tony 604/850-4718.
Country Life in BC • August 201640
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