Postmaster, Please return Undeliverable labels to: Country Life in BC 36 Dale Road Enderby, BC V0E 1V4CANADA POSTES POST CANADA Postage paid Port payé Publications Mail Post-Publications 40012122Vol. 108 No. 5The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 MAY 2022 | Vol. 108 No. 5FLOOD Four options floated for flood mitigation 3 FRUIT Packers protest apple marketing commission 13 POLLINATION Apiarists fear heavy winter losses 19PETER MITHAM ABBOTSFORD – Good weather and the lingering eects of COVID-19 put a damper on attendance at this year’s Pacic Agriculture Show, but all signs point to another successful year for the province’s biggest farm show. “Tradex was completely full of the latest big shiny machines and ag equipment and everyone was happy to be back to an in-person show,” says show organizer Jim Shepard. “The quality of attendees was excellent and lots of business and deals were taking place.” But he says attendance was “noticeably down” from past shows, which typically draw 7,500 visitors. Shepard credited this to the show being postponed until March, when many growers are preparing in earnest for the new season, combined with good weather that encouraged them to be in the eld. The ongoing proof of vaccination requirement also discouraged some attendees, he adds, but it wasn’t the only pandemic-related impact. The long shut-down of events has left many hospitality businesses scrambling to sta up, and Tradex was no exception. “Unable to get sta for the food concessions, they had food trucks out the back,” he says, though that turned into a boon for attendees who had a diverse set of meal choices and could socialize outdoors under sunny skies. The education program also Despite lower attendance, producers and the public took the chance to walk the trade show oor at Tradex as the Pacic Agriculture Show returned in-person for the rst time since 2020 on March 31-April 2. The lifting of public health restrictions and the return of in-person social activities is a bright spot as summer approaches. MYRNA STARK LEADER Ag show pivots to in-personSEE HYBRID on next page oGrowing more with less waterwatertecna.comttttttttIRRIGATION LTD1.888.675.7999 888 6 9999888669999 Diesel & PTO Pumps PVC & Aluminum PipeIrrigation ReelsDRIP IRRIGATIONCentre Pivots1-888-770-7333 Quality Seeds ... where quality counts!YOUR BC SEED SOURCEPETER MITHAM ENDERBY – A broiler farm in the North Okanagan has been depopulated following the positive identication of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian inuenza. Preliminary tests at a lab in Burnaby returned positive results, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency lab in Winnipeg conrmed the disease on April 13. “CFIA is leading the investigation and response, with provincial support for testing, mapping, surveillance and disposal,” says BC Agriculture Minister Lana See DOMESTIC on next page oOn red alertAvian influenza hits BC farmsGreening up
HYBRID short course was costly nfrom page 1DOMESTIC flocks placed in lockdown nfrom page 12 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCcontinued, with Scotiabank hosting a dairy lunch-and-learn. “That gave 100 dairy producers a chance to receive some timely dairy education while enjoying a tasty lunch,” says Shepard, who says the event will take place again next year. The main learning event, the growers short course organized by the Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association, was also a success. “The program was excellent,” says LMHIA Popham. “The ministry has also activated its emergency operations centre and will work with the CFIA, producers, industry and other stakeholders to eectively respond to this outbreak and any others that may occur in BC.” The broiler farm, north of Enderby, is the only commercial operation to test positive to date. A backyard ock near Kelowna tested positive April 25, while an earlier suspected case in the Cowichan Valley tested negative. The case near Kelowna is relatively isolated, and a 12km control zone CFIA established doesn’t include other ocks. The farm in Enderby was home to 25,000 birds, according to CFIA. Depopulation took place April 15 and CFIA established a control zone April 16 to prevent the spread of the disease. “All movement of domestic birds in and out of and through a PCZ is strictly controlled and requires a permit from the CFIA,” agency sta say. “Movement restrictions also apply to poultry products and by-products, as well as material that has come into contact with domesticated birds.” Contravening the order is a federal oence. The province encourages poultry owners, both commercial growers and small-lot owners to be vigilant. A provincial order requires all commercial ocks in the province of 100 birds or more be kept indoors. "All poultry producers, including backyard poultry owners, are advised to increase their biosecurity practices and to be vigilant and monitor for signs of avian inuenza in their ocks,” says Popham. Poultry, for the purposes of the order, include chickens, turkey, ducks and geese. However, small-lot growers won a concession from the agriculture ministry permitting them to keep their ocks outdoors if their practices include pasture-based systems, multi-species production and on-farm slaughter. The exemption is contingent on producers following the Enhanced Biosecurity for Small-Scale Poultry Producers - Highly Pathogenic Avian Inuenza guide provided by the Small- Scale Meat Producers Association. The order runs through May 13. Seven provinces To date, cases of high-path avian inuenza have been identied in seven provinces and aected approximately 717,000 birds. The only provinces free of the disease this season include Manitoba, New Brunswick and PEI. Ray Nickel of the BC Poultry Association says the situation could easily expand, which makes it important for all poultry owners to maintain strong biosecurity protocols. In addition to keeping ocks indoors, growers should limit farm access to essential visitors only, provide a wash station for all vehicles entering executive director Sandy Dunn. “We continue to live up to our reputation for presenting exceptional speakers, and the topics were timely.” Similar to the trade show, attendance was down on account of the weather, but participants were keen. “Those who attended in-person were really thrilled to be back together face-to-face,” she says. However, the nancial cost of oering the event online as well as in person was signicant and the LMHIA will the farm, avoid public gatherings, and shower before and after completing daily barn chores. The province issued an order April 19 banning the taking of birds to events including “poultry swaps, auctions, ea markets, bird shows, fairs, public displays or competitions where birds from multiple sources would be present.” Some smaller producers have also reported issues obtaining birds from hatcheries given the animal health risks and the threat to large commercial producers. CFIA notes that avian inuenza is spreading through migratory birds, and that producers need to reduce the threat to domestic fowl. While the province’s Animal Health Centre lab in Abbotsford remains closed as a result of last November’s oods, Popham told egg producers in March that surveillance of wild birds was continuing. The program was on track to test 400 sediment samples and 1,200 birds for avian u. “It’s not a time for panic, but it’s denitely a time for heightened vigilance,” she told producers. The situation has increased the importance of local production, and may put upward pressure on prices of poultry products. Speaking at the March meeting, Egg Farmers of Canada chair Roger Pelissero said strong demand for eggs following the latest wave of COVID-19 has upped pressure on supplies reduced by AI outbreaks. “Now we can’t ll the market, and we can’t get eggs out of our US partners because of high-path AI,” he said, noting that the US egg prices on the Urner-Barry index had increased as a result. “It’s gone up considerably, and it’s going to go up more.” But the impact hasn’t yet been felt in BC, says BC Egg Marketing Board communications manager Amanda Brittain, who also serves as chief information ocer with the BC Poultry Association emergency operations centre set up to deal with avian u. “There is no issue with egg supply in BC,” she says, but notes the industry is ready if this changes. “We are bringing in new programs to increase the egg supply in BC to compensate for the lack of imports from the US and to prepare for a situation where AI does spread,” Brittain says. be taking a close look whether or not to continue oering this option next year. While the pandemic oered a chance to take things into the digital realm, Dunn says LMHIA’s board will consider whether a hybrid event is the best use of the association’s resources. Shepard says the show is set to return to its traditional date next year, on January 26-28. “We are looking forward to going back to traditional January dates and traditional in-person delivery!” Dunn says. www.tractorparts4sale.caABBOTSFORD, BC Bus. 604/807-2391 email: email@example.comWe accept Interact, Visa and Mastercard MCCORMICK CT 28 HST 4X4, LOADER, EXT SCV, 1185 HRS, GOOD CONDITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $17,500 BRILLION CULTIPACKER 14 FT WIDE, GOOD CONDITION . . . . . . . 6,500 FORD 7000 2WD OPEN ST 83HP 540 PTO GD COND . . . . . . . . . . . 7,000 VICON PS602 FERTILIZER SPREADER, 3 PT, 1,000 KG CAPACITY . . 2,200 MASHIO CM4500 14’ PWR HARROW W/ROLLER GD COND. . . . 14,000 FELLA TS1601 ROTARY RAKE, 3 PT HITCH, TWIN ROTOR, 25 FT WORKING WIDTH, GOOD CONDITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17,500 YANMAR FX42D 2WD OPEN STATION, 42HP PSHIFT TRANS, 4 SPEED PTO. 2961 HRS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,500 NH 256 ROLLARBAR 10 FT SIDE DELIVERY RAKE, GROUND DRIVEN, PULL TYPE, GOOD CONDITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,200 JOHN DEERE HD BALE CONVEYOR 40FT ON ADJ FRAME WITH AXLE, PTO DRIVEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,200 LOEWEN 9612 VERTICAL MIXER . 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Sumas Prairie producers in the crosshairsCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 3KATE AYERS ABBOTSFORD – Abbotsford's four options for mitigating the risk of future oods like the ones that happened in November are getting mixed reviews from farmers. Karl Meier of U&D Meier Dairy on Sumas Prairie would like to see improvements to the Barrowtown pump station and construction of a Sumas River pump station, proposed in the least-expensive of the four options. “Options three and four, they want to put more dikes up and increase the diking. I’m not really for that because the dikes [would go] on both sides of Cole Road,” he explains. He fears that new diking may restrict building permits and lower land values. “It’s not in my best interest either way. They can put more dikes up if they want, but in the end, I feel like trying to divert the water around where it wants to go is the hardest thing to do. I feel like all of the options are okay, but they are more of a contingency plan.” Meier’s family and dairy operation were signicantly impacted by the oods in November and continue to deal with repairs. “For all the money for the upgrades if we do them, you could just go down to Washington and go half on dredging the Nooksack. If the water just went to the ocean, we wouldn’t have a problem,” Meier says. “When the Nooksack oods, Sumas River oods, Sars Creek oods, Marshall Creek oods and then we have to rely on the pump station.” As a result, Meier would like to see a more collaborative cross-border plan rather than Abbotsford take on all the improvements. “The dikes have held for over 30 years without having to modify anything else and the Nooksack has never been dredged in almost 50 years or more,” he says. “Floods could have been avoided. We’re 65 to 70 feet below the Nooksack. Even if a drop of water falls outside the Nooksack, it’s coming our way.” On March 15, BC and Washington pledged to strengthen Nooksack River ooding response and prevention. Details are expected this spring. While Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun did not reveal his preferred ood mitigation option, he hopes shovels can hit the ground soon after the public consultation ends this month. “If we do nothing, we’re going to have this happen again,” he says. “I have kept the ministers provincially and federally in the loop. … They have a rough idea of what a ballpark dollar value is. That won’t come as a shock to them, but they haven’t guaranteed funding yet.” The amount of funding Abbotsford seeks will depend on which of the four options council selects. “Options one and two do not meet provincial standards for dikes,” he says. “The only way one of those two options will be chosen is if the federal and provincial governments say they don’t have money for us.” But the city doesn’t have the money, either. “We don’t have this kind of money as a city through property taxes,” he says. “We need their help.” Meier thinks that greater provincial and federal support should be available to protect Abbotsford and the surrounding area from ooding. “It should be a provincial thing, not a municipal thing. If this was re-related, they would have money set aside for it. You’d think there would be federal funding for this versus a municipal tax,” he says, noting that ratepayers contribute to a fund valued at $250,000 annually for diking infrastructure. “We have already paid tax to a diking Fronting Hwy 1, U&D Meier Dairy was one of the most visibly impacted farms during November’s oods. Co-owner Karl Meier favours the lesser of four options to prevent future ooding, however. CHELSEA MEIERboard, and it wasn’t big enough and they didn’t do anything.” Residents, businesses, stakeholders, First Nations and neighbouring governments can submit feedback on their preferred mitigation option via Let’s Talk Abbotsford. Once the consultation period wraps up, the city will identify the preferred ood mitigation option and complete a long-term ood mitigation plan. Funding discussions will then commence with senior levels of government. Four options floated for flood mitigationSilagrow.com1.800.663.6022 | ofﬁce@silagrow.comMulch FilmLandscaping FabricsShade Nets Bale WrapsBunker CoversSilage BagsTw i n eNet WrapsHay TarpsForage & Grain SeedVisGreenhouse Ground CoverGreenhouse FilmsProtection NetsSALMON ARM 5121 - 46 Ave S.E. SURREY 112-18860 24 Ave (PU & Delivery Only)Serving all of BCAbbotsford city sta, with the assistance of consulting engineers Kerr Wood Leidal, developed four options for long-term ood risk reduction and mitigation on Sumas Prairie. Two largely maintain the status quo, with minor improvements to the Barrowtown pump station and a new Sumas River pump station. Option 3 relocates the Sumas River dike north of Hwy 1 and adds a new oodway as well as additional storage capacity in addition to upgrading the Barrowtown pump station and a new Sumas River pump station. Option 4 would create a new oodway and add three new pump stations as well as upgrade the Barrowtown pump station. The most expensive option, it would have the least impact on property owners. Options 3 and 4 meet BC’s ood protection guidelines and can withstand a 1-in-200-year event. The four options range in cost from $209 million to $2.8 billion. —Kate Ayers Four options; a lot at stake
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Publication Mail Agreement: 0399159 . GST Reg. No. 86878 7375 . Subscriptions: $2/issue . $18.90/year . $33.60/2 years . $37.80/3 years incl GSTThe agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 Vol.108 No. 5 . MAY 2022Published monthly by Country Life 2000 Ltd. www.countrylifeinbc.comPublisher Cathy Glover 604-328-3814 . firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Emeritus David Schmidt Associate Editor Peter Mitham email@example.com Advertising Sales & Marketing Cathy Glover firstname.lastname@example.org Production Designer Tina Rezansoff Welcome home, PW!In the April 1997 issue of Country Life in BC, publisher Malcolm Young penned a heartfelt farewell to retiring long-time columnist Martha Hett. He nished by asking if there was anyone in the readership willing to try lling her shoes. On a bit of a whim, I gave him a call. He asked if I had any experience. I told him I’d shown some brief promise in Grade 4 nearly 40 years before and more recently had a year of weekly garden box one-page newsletters under my belt. To say Malcolm sounded skeptical would be a massive understatement, but he said to go ahead and give it a try anyway and he’d take a look. I had been lling the blank side of the garden box newsletters with rural observations and viewpoints and decided to fax a couple to him. He phoned a few hours later and said he wanted to buy them both for the May and June issues. They were published under the byline From the Back Forty. I didn’t hear from Malcolm again until the mid-June deadline. He seemed vexed and wanted to know when I was going to submit the column for the July paper. I said I didn’t realize he was expecting one. “Yes!” he said. “And just keep sending them until someone tells you to quit.” Malcolm died in 2000 and Peter Wilding took the helm at Country Life in BC. Peter retired in 2016 and the reins passed to current publisher Cathy Glover. None of them, in all those intervening years, ever told me to quit. Thanks to that oversight, and despite such improbable beginnings, The Back 40 is still here 25 years later. To write for a single publication for 25 years has been a rare privilege. With print media in long-term decline and increasingly controlled by a handful of large corporations, Country Life in BC is an anomaly on several counts. The paper has now published continuously for 108 years, it is privately owned and independent, it is focused on providing timely and relevant reporting and observation to an audience that drives a diverse and vibrant agricultural industry, it provides a public forum for relevant comment from producer groups, industry professionals, government sta and politicians, and it places advertisers on the kitchen table of nearly every commercial farm and ranch in the province every month. This paper is both a testament and a legacy of 108 years of Country Life in BC. Singularly, every issue is a testament to the dedication and talent of those who create it. It is a tall order considering the scope of its subject matter and the relative few who write about it, photograph it, sell advertising, edit it, assemble it, and have it printed and delivered. Altogether, my math adds up to nearly 1,300 issues, which are a legacy not only of the paper’s publication but to the 108 years of vision and toil that established and nurtured the agriculture industry that made, and continue to make, Country Life in BC possible. Twenty-ve years of The Back 40 feels like a bit of a milestone. Reecting on it, I realize I’ve ridden on many coattails all along the way. If we liken the paper’s publication to a machine, I am most assuredly the smallest cog in the works and owe those 25 years to many others, among them Malcolm Young, Peter Wilding and Cathy Glover for putting themselves where the rubber meets the road every month; all of the writers – past and present – who tracked down the news and events, and often took pictures to go with it; all of the businesses that support agriculture and make the paper part of their success, and all of the farmers and ranchers, from Chetwynd to Chilliwack, Saanich to Springhouse, and points between and beyond. They make agriculture happen in BC and nd time each month to read about it in Country Life in BC. My heartfelt thanks to every one of you. (And to Mrs. Armes who taught Grade 4 at Skyline Elementary in Williams Lake a long, long time ago.) Twenty-ve years seems to have slipped by awfully quickly. I’ve enjoyed every word of it, and so far no one has told me to quit! Bob Collins raises beef cattle and grows produce on his farm in the Alberni Valley.The Back 40 BOB COLLINSA quarter century of gratitude and appreciationWe acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada.4 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCThere’s no shortage of reasons for gratitude in BC. Indeed, a certain measure of local pride is baked into our constitution. The province’s motto Splendor sine occasu is a nod to the idea of the sun never setting – originally, on the British empire, but now on our own wonders. “Super, Natural British Columbia,” as the old tourism tagline put it, before the government doubled-down on pride for the 2010 Winter Olympics with “The Best Place on Earth.” The slogan was dropped in 2011, but the province regularly celebrates the work of the humble folk who tend the soil and care for livestock as heroes for producing and harvesting more than 200 commodities from our lands and waters. Despite just 5% of the province being set aside for agriculture, no one calls BC the land God gave to Cain. Since time immemorial, the Cowichan people have referred to their country as “the warm land.” The province’s bounty has been a boon to the world. Our mountains have formed natural barriers against many pests and diseases, allowing for the production of low-input, high-quality produce. While the province has never been self-sucient in terms of food production, we produce enough to supply ourselves with staples and trade for the rest. There’s even enough margin to experiment with crops such as ginger, lemongrass and saron for the diverse tastes of the many cultures that call BC home. These advantages have come into sharper focus this year as war returned to Europe and the impact on global food systems began attracting attention. What stands out in conversations with BC growers and those elsewhere is the bubble we nd ourselves in. While the war is exacerbating many pre-existing challenges, growers elsewhere fear greater, direct impacts. Growers in Eastern Canada, for example, received about a third of their fertilizer shipments from Russia. This makes them more vulnerable to reductions as sanctions kick in, and even product ordered before the sanctions could face a 35% tari on arrival. Here in BC, access continues to be shaped by factors aecting deliveries from the Prairies, making any impact from Europe far more indirect. The province has also largely avoided the outbreaks of avian inuenza elsewhere in North America in recent months. While no cause for complacence, just one commercial farm – and that, outside the main production area of the Fraser Valley – has been depopulated to date. We can so far be glad that the pattern of transmission this year has largely spared our region, whether because of geographic barriers, enhanced biosecurity or simple dumb luck. This is good news after the challenges of the past year – a cause for gratitude as another growing season begins. Whatever the months ahead bring, BC is largely in an enviable position versus the rest of the world. Without taking it for granted, it’s something growers can take forward into whatever the season ahead holds. An enviable position
Will food security be rooted in soil or software?Technology is reframing the regenerative agriculture conversationCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 5system of farming principles that rehabilitates the entire ecosystem and enhances natural resources, rather than depleting them.” Rehabilitation and enhancement are inextricable from the soil on site. A farm with a Regenerative Organic Certied label issued by the Regenerative Organic Alliance must meet certain standard practices related to soil health. These include conservation tillage and cover cropping as well as the absence of soil-less systems and synthetic inputs. An agritech operation growing food under articial light using vertically stacked equipment and hydroponic watering systems is unrelated to the practices of regenerative agriculture. Technologies have a lifecycle that degenerates. They become obsolete, need expensive xes and are ultimately trashed. It is incumbent on us to discern and evaluate the trade-os that come with new technologies. This is the basis of the precautionary principle, the foundational ethical principle that asks us to comprehensively consider the possible eects of a new technology before adopting it. We cannot escape the irony. The soil rating system of the Canada Land Inventory was used to establish the ALR. Without this system, the ALR would cease to exist. Soil is the core foundational aspect of the ALR. In the rst annual report of the British Columbia Land Commission in 1974, the ALC was clear regarding alternative uses on agricultural land: “The test is whether or not the proposed use irreversibly aects the agricultural productivity of the land.” The rst objective of the ALR was the “preservation of agricultural land for farm use.” ALR land was to be used “for bonade farm purposes as well as certain other uses which are compatible with the preservation of land for farm use. Closely related to this is the encouragement of and preservation of family farming and family farms.” Furthermore, the report stated that “the objects of the Act are to protect the agricultural resource in the long haul, hence, short-term economic or technological consideration must be given relatively little weight in evaluating whether a given parcel of land should be included or excluded from the ALR.” How far we have drifted from these foundations as we watch the terms ‘farm,’ ‘farmer’ and ‘farming’ being nonchalantly transformed before our eyes. The predecessor of the precautionary principle was the German legal term Vorsorgeprinzip which can be translated as the “foresight principle.” It is appropriate and advisable that we use our human capacity for foresight to ask questions during this critical period. Economically, we must consider the impacts on labour and operating expenses of increased technology in agriculture. How do we protect farmers who mechanize from the debt they will accrue when technologies break down and require xes involving chips one cannot manufacture or weld? Will further mechanization contribute to the ongoing consolidation of farms? What of the existing farms we value now that depend on manual labour? Socially, why is it taken for granted as positive to disconnect human hands from soil? What of the labour and wisdom of older farmers? Why is their intimate knowledge and experience accumulated from decades of manual labour with plants, equipment and livestock so casually dismissed? Intergenerationally, what will children in the future visit during Family Farm Day? Will we take them by the hand into windowless buildings where white robotic arms rapidly harvest identical heads of lettuce? Afterwards, are they led to a backroom where a ‘farmer’ sits looking at a screen and talks about the real-time software he is using to control irrigation so he never needs to step foot in the elds? We all agree food security is a pressing challenge. Concerns about food production stimulated the creation of the ALR. We have before us many options. Our choices matter and the stakes are high. It is to our collective peril that we forget the past and treat soil-based agriculture as yet another anachronism. Meagan Curtis is a doctoral candidate and public scholar based at UBC whose work focuses on the history and economics of food suciency. In 2006, Gary Runka, the rst manager of the BC Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), called the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) one of the “most durable and successful” preservation programs in the western hemisphere. Although it had been successful at reducing the amount of farmland lost to urban uses, he felt it was potentially moving away from its original roots. Sixteen years ago, he asked, “Are we comfortable with the direction the ALR has been drifting over the past decade? If not, what would be required to get it back on track?” At a moment when provincial food security is being allied with agritechnology, it is appropriate to recognize, remember and respect Runka’s questions. The Regenerative Agriculture and Agritech Network (RAAN) created by BC’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food is intended to drive modernization. The province’s investments in agritech began in early 2020 when various technologies (such as robotic milkers and drones) began to be aliated with food security. Such technological solutions are now being presented as a form of “regenerative agriculture.” Since the 1980s, the Rodale Institute (USA) has led work on regenerative agriculture as a practice and set of principles. 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 7“Serving British Columbia proudly since 1946”Machinery LimitedROLLINS RToll Free 1-800-242-9737 www.rollinsmachinery.com email@example.comChilliwack 1.800.242.9737 . 47724 Yale Rd W Langley 1.800.665.9060 . 21869 56th Ave Chemainus 22.214.171.1243 . 3306 Smiley Rd Kelowna 250.765.8266 . 201-150 Campion StToll Free 1-800-242-9737 www.rollinsmachinery.comChilliack 1.800.242.9737 | 44725 Yale Rd W Langley 1.800.665.9060 | 21869 - 56th Ave Chemainus 1.250-246.1203 | 3306 Smiley RdChilliwack 1.800.242.9737 . 47724 Yale Rd W Langley 1.800.665.9060 . 21869 56th Ave Chemainus 126.96.36.1993 . 3306 Smiley Rd Kelowna 250.765.8266 . 201-150 Campion StSPRING FEEDING MADE EASYKATE AYERS KELOWNA – The province has stepped up with a year’s worth of funding for an additional 20 seats at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, but students say the vet shortage requires a long-term solution. On April 4 the BC ministries of Agriculture and Food and Advanced Education and Skills Training pledged $10.7 million to the double number of subsidized seats available to BC students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. The move secures 20 seats that became available when Alberta relinquished its own seats after the University of Calgary opened its Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 2019. The increase marks the first time BC has added government-funded seats in 10 years. “It’s important that we continue to support training of more BC vets so British Columbians have assurance their pets and animals can be cared for when the need arises and this includes our BC farmers and agricultural community who rely on vets year-round to come to their farms and tend to their animals,” agriculture minister Lana Popham said at the announcement. The one-year commitment means that, starting in August, the education of 40 vet students from BC will be subsidized. Provincially funded students pay $11,000 a year in tuition versus $68,000 for unsubsidized students. But the new funding isn’t enough to solve the long-term issues facing BC veterinary students. “Any kind of positive action is good for the Province doubles vet school seats with funding New subsidy helps, but may not be enoughstudents, good for the program. Having said that, it is only for one year,” says Chris Dolbec of Oliver, whose daughter attends WCVM as an unsubsidized student. “They are simply dousing the flames and not putting out the fire. They are not really addressing the long-term issue. Nor are they doing anything in the present moment for the situations that are critical for veterinarians, farmers and companion animal guardians.” See TWO-TIER on next page oVet student Ruth Patten of Kelowna is worried how long it will take to repay her student loans. SUBMITTED
8 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCTWO-TIER tuition raises concerns nfrom page 7Dolbec petitioned the province earlier this year to subsidize more seats for BC students. When the petition closed on March 29, it had garnered 2,951 signatures. Dolbec considers the funding commitment a small victory, and is grateful, but feels the province needs to take further steps to make a meaningful impact. Opposition agriculture critic Ian Paton also questions the short-term support and need for long-term seats to address the veterinarian shortage. "The announcement only mentions subsidizing students for the 2022-23 academic year," says Paton. "What happens beyond that? The government must remove this uncertainty and reassure veterinarians that long-term support will be there.” To further support students, the province pledged $1.2 million to waive $55,000 in tuition fees for 24 previously admitted BC students who were not in a provincially subsidized seat. Again, a welcome gesture, says Dolbec but a drop in the bucket for non-subsidized students. “You’re looking at $300,000 in loans for non-subsidized [students] versus $44,000 for subsidized, for the exact same schooling and degree,” she says. “While $55,000 sounds good, it doesn’t even scratch the surface. The balance is very large. … The discrepancy between the two is nothing less than outrageous.” Financial worries Second-year WVCM student Ruth Patten of Kelowna is grateful to have a seat in the college, even if it is unsubsidized. But she worries about future nances. “Being a BC-born-and-raised young woman, I never thought that this would be my reality. … I didn’t think that being a Canadian resident at a Canadian school alongside Canadian classmates that there could be two dierent tuitions being paid for the same level of education,” Patten says. “I’m highly concerned about whether I’ll be able to borrow enough [money] to complete the program as it currently stands.” About 21 of her 85 classmates face the same challenge. They cannot borrow enough money to complete a domestic program as a Canadian. “I had classmates who were accepted to go abroad to study veterinary medicine and had I been applying for an international school, more funds would have been available to me than are available for a Canadian student studying in Canada. There’s still a disconnect,” Patten says. “I’m only halfway through and I recently got an email saying that the banks are not budging past $200,000 for a line of credit when we’re going to need upwards of $300,000.” This situation leaves Patten disheartened and unsure if she will be able to practice in BC after graduating. Failure of responsibility “We’re being told this is such an essential and crucial [career] to serve Canadian citizens,” Patten says. “There’s a failure of responsibility to make this all come together.” The provincial student loan program has not recognized any dierence between subsidized and non-subsidized tuitions, Patten adds. “No additional funding is made available, which is crazy. I was told by bank managers to choose a dierent profession, that this made no sense,” she says. “There is the public opinion that because we’re doctors, we’re going to be making lots of money so what’s the big deal. But the reality is that upon graduation, if I can make $90,000 a year, a good salary for veterinarians, it just does not make sense when you’re paying around $70,000 in [annual] tuition. I couldn’t aord this if I was already a veterinarian.” Dolbec’s daughter faces the same reality. Ideally, she would like to practice as a mixed-animal vet in Prince George but may have to take a higher-paying job in the US or elsewhere to begin paying o her mortgage-sized loan. The pandemic and recent natural disasters in BC underline the need for trained medical professionals on the interface of animal and human health as new zoonotic diseases emerge, and livestock producers adapt to increased weather extremes, Patten adds. More than animal health at stake In addition to pet and livestock welfare, food safety and human and animal health hang in the balance. Government employees who oversee food production and manage provincial labs “have training in epidemiology, virology and bacteriology,” says Dr. Rob Ashburner, a vet in Vancouver. “They are having equally as much trouble nding people to work as any other employers of veterinarians.” The BC Labour Market Outlook predicts that 770 job openings will become available for veterinarians through to 2029. A 2019 Canadian Veterinary Medical Association survey, requested by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, showed that 65% of BC veterinary employers would hire at least one veterinarian in the next two years and would hire another vet immediately if candidates were available. “The ministry understands the challenges that veterinarians, their support sta, and people are experiencing with respect to seeking small and large animal care,” the ministry said in a statement to Country Life in BC. “British Columbia, like many other Canadian jurisdictions, is currently experiencing labour market shortages, and continues to work towards providing made-in-BC solutions to resolve them in the short, medium and long-term.” CLAAS 860 SP FORAGE HARVESTER 12.5’ PICKUP & 6-ROW CORNHEAD $93,700 CLAAS 880 CENTRE DELIVERY RAKE CALL! CLAAS XERION 4500 VC TRACTOR CALL FOR PRICING & DETAILS SOLD! 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 9Ag council caps a year of changes, challenges Haskap association is the council’s newest memberThankful for theCommunity Support of theSpring 2022 Auction! Thanks!DAVID SCHMIDT ABBOTSFORD – He is still not quite retired but for the rst time in a decade, Reg Ens was not front and centre when the BC Agriculture Council held its annual meeting in Abbotsford, April 1. Ens stepped down as BCAC executive director last August but did not exit the scene, taking on a diminished, although probably equally important, role as general manager of a BCAC subsidiary, the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative. With BC agriculture now employing about 9,500 temporary foreign workers a year, WALI’s service has become increasingly critical. “Thank you for your dedication and awesome work,” chair Stan Vander Waal told Ens. BCAC did not look very far for Ens’ replacement, selecting its director of communications and stakeholder engagement Danielle Synotte to take over the council’s top job. “With (Synotte’s) background in business administration and economic development, and her passion for advocating for the farmer, we know that BCAC is in good hands,” Vander Waal said. After securing funding from the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC for the position, BCAC announced that it has hired Paul Pryce of Calgary as its new director of policy and Synotte’s second-in-command. The new position will be critical as BCAC has handed the on-farm programming it was delivering to IAF so it can focus on advocacy and policy development. “Growing BC’s understanding of agriculture is a continued focus,” Vander Waal said. The move of many of its programs to IAF as well as a recent change in controllers meant BCAC was unable to present members with audited financial statements at this year’s AGM. However, the unaudited statements showed the council did better than expected in the past year despite the loss of program revenues and decreased membership dues. While revenues declined by almost $100,000 last year, BCAC was able to reduce expenses by about $65,000. This resulted in a net loss of about $76,000, less than had been budgeted. To help offset future losses, members approved a 2% increase in membership dues, the first increase since 2016. Despite that, the total membership dues collected are expected to be lower because the BC Salmon Farmers Association has withdrawn its membership in BCAC. Partially offsetting the loss of the salmon association is the addition of the BC Haskap Association, which was approved as a new member at the AGM. Vander Waal noted much of the council’s recent activities revolved around the recent flooding in Merritt, Princeton and Abbotsford. Not only did BCAC provide workspace for AgriRecovery staff in its Abbotsford office but it also established a Fund for Farmers affected by the flooding. “We collected more than $750,000 in funding which will be distributed to associations in the coming weeks,” Vander Waal said. Not only are there new faces in the BCAC offices, but there will also be four new faces at the board table. David Mutz has replaced Rhonda Driediger as the director representing Coastal horticulture, Jenn Critcher takes over the grain director’s position from Ed Hadland and Peter Simonsen replaces Troy Osborne as the Interior horticulture director. Once the spring rush is over, former BC Landscape and Nursery Association chair Len Smit will replace Peter Levelton as the director representing the nursery sector. Thank you!Representatives of commodity groups, including Tristyn MacLeod, left, and Amy Dhanjal, right, of the BC Agriculture Council were at Abbotsford fairgrounds, April 9, treating the public to exhibits, swag, games and local food as a gesture of thanks to the community for its support during the November oods. RONDA PAYNE
10 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCDustin Stadnyk CPA, CAChris Henderson CPA, CANathalie Merrill CPA, CMATOLL FREE 1-888-818-FARM | www.farmtax.ca1Expert farm taxation advice: • Purchase and sale of farms • Transfer of farms to children • Government subsidy programs • Preparation of farm tax returns • Use of $1,000,000 Capital Gains Exemptions Approved consultants for Government funding through BC Farm Business Advisory Services ProgramARMSTRONG 250-546-8665 | LUMBY 250-547-2118 | ENDERBY 250-838-7337View over 100 listings of farm properties at www.bcfarmandranch.comBC FARM & RANCH REALTY CORP.Buying or Selling a Farm or Acreage?GORD HOUWELING Cell: 604/793-8660GREG WALTON Cell: 604/864-1610Toll free 1-888-852-AGRI Call BC’s First and Only Real Estate Office committed 100% to Agriculture!PROFESSIONAL SERVICESCourt offers no relief for mink farmersThe province’s ban on keeping mink has caused irreparable harm to producers, but BC Supreme Court has stopped short of awarding relief. In a decision rendered March 4 but only published April 8, Justice Carol Ross denied a request by the Canada Mink Breeders Association, BC Mink Producers Association and six farms for an order “suspending the prohibition on breeding or acquiring mink and the requirement to slaughter kits born on mink farms,” pending the outcome of a challenge on the province’s ban on mink farming. The ban was announced in November, and producers are challenging it in court. Producers hoped to breed their herd and maintain a small quantity of mink – less than 50,000 animals – in the event their challenge was successful. “The petitioners submit that any eort to retain breeding herds without the benets of breeding would result in massive expense with slim or no chance of recovery,” according to court documents. The province argued that the petitioners had “failed to advance a serious question to be tried.” It also claimed that mink producers had failed to demonstrate any irreparable harm from the ban. Ross dismissed the province’s claims, noting an adavit from Joseph Williams of the BC Mink Producers Association that detailed how replacing top-quality breeding stock is not simply a case of going to the market and picking up new animals. However, she denied the request for an order allowing breeding to proceed this spring given the public health risk mink pose as “the leading domesticated animal reservoir of the virus.” “The pandemic requires proactive and speedy action by the government and that sometimes this will entail signicant economic consequences,” Ross wrote in her decision. Despite those economic consequences, the province says it will not compensate farmers for losses suered as a result of the ban on their operations. However, in December it told producers it was willing to work with the federal government to provide AgriRecovery funding to assist with decommissioning farms. No funding program has been announced. —Peter Mitham Grape crop short and sweet BC grape growers harvested their shortest crop in years in 2021 but quality was by and large good, according to the 2021 vintage report released by Wine Growers BC in April. “The 2021 vintage will be remembered for low yields but intensely avoured fruit resulting in wines of remarkable character, concentrated avours and balanced acidity,” the association reports. Data for the report was drawn from the annual winemakers and viticulturists forum held in December as well as a survey of producers. The vintage report says the crop is down 30% but does not provide an exact tonnage. The province’s wine grape crop has exceeded 28,000 tons for much of the past Ag Briefs EDITED BY PETER MITHAMdecade, with the low point being 26,455 tons harvested in 2013. The 2020 harvest was 29,113 tons, down from a record 35,537 tons in 2019. A 30% decline would put the 2021 crop at less than 20,000 tons. While growing conditions were generally favourable to fruit development last year, warm, dry weather resulted in lighter cluster weights. “Overall, BC wine grape yields in 2021 were lighter than expected due mainly to extreme heat and in some cases wildre,” the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food told Country Life in BC. A total of 307 wine grape producers in BC obtained crop insurance last year, and of these 47 led notices of loss. On the winemaking side, the vintage report says a few producers reported impacts from wildre smoke in 2021. The most notable is Blue Mountain Vineyards, which will not be releasing wines from last year’s grapes. Smoke from the Thomas Creek wildre in Okanagan Falls entered the vineyards and stayed long enough to impact the ripening grapes. “While attempts to mitigate the impact of the contamination were tried, the results did not meet the winery’s quality standards,” the Mavety family said in a statement. “We are condent that we will resume making premium wines with the 2022 vintage. The vines themselves were not aected.” According to Wine Growers BC, the majority of BC producers “observed that the higher, thinner smoke cover did not negatively impact the grapes.” To help the industry anticipate and prepare for similar shortfalls in the future, Wine Growers BC is undertaking research to better identify the factors that contributed to a short crop in 2021. —Peter Mitham Gala winners An outstanding trio were honoured April 1 with awards from the BC Agriculture Council. Richmond farmer Bill Zylmans received BCAC’s award for Excellence in Agriculture Leadership for his work at the municipal, regional and national levels on behalf of the sector. Abbotsford consultant Christine Koch was recognized as a tireless worker on behalf of the seven organizations and programs she currently manages. Past roles have given her unparalled respect and reach in the sector, for which she received the Scotiabank Champion Award for Ally of Agriculture. In addition, Royal Bay Secondary teacher Robin Ruff was presented with an Outstanding Teacher Award by BC Agriculture in the Classroom. The awards were presented at a special dinner in early March, and the filmed event was screened on April 1 as part of a virtual gala in view of uncertainties around public health protocols. —Peter Mitham Insurance products and services are provided through Assante Estate and Insurance Services Inc. 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 11Vegetable sales remain strongBuyers want local produce; distributors demand transparency The British Columbia Vegetable Marketing Commission (Commission) anticipates the arrival of new agricultural technologies including vertical farming, where crops are grown in vertically stacked layers within an enclosed structure. Agritech operations that intend to use this technology or other innovative practices and controlled environment structures are reminded that vegetables and vegetable marketing are regulated in British Columbia by the Commission. All vegetables grown in the province are subject to the Commission’s authority. Producers are required to be licensed by the Commission to grow, process or market regulated vegetables. Regulated vegetables currently include lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that are grown within an enclosed structure. The BC regulated vegetable industry is organized under the Natural Products Marketing (BC) Act and the British Columbia Vegetable Scheme (the Scheme). The Scheme prescribes the rules, procedures and application. The Commission is the first instance regulator and acts by the authority delegated through the Natural Products Marketing (BC) Act and its Regulations. It is responsible for administering the Scheme, including coordinating producer activities, to ensure Orderly Marketing. Orderly Marketing is achieved through the promotion, control, and regulation of production, transportation, packing, storage, and marketing of vegetables. The Commission’s General Order sets out the rules on how it manages the industry. Information concerning the application of these regulations can be obtained from the Commission’s website www.bcveg.com, or by contacting the Commission directly. Please direct your inquiries to the Commission General Manager. BCVMC Office Phone: 604-542-9734 / 1-800-663-1461 Office e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Vertical Farming Vegetables In A Controlled Environment Structure Is Regulated By The British Columbia Vegetable Marketing CommissionPETER MITHAM DELTA – Good demand, good governance – those were the two themes underpinning the annual general meeting of the BC Vegetable Marketing Commission in Delta on April 12. “We have strong market demand for BC products because people want to consume local BC products, and pricing remains rm,” reports the commission’s market analyst, Debbie Oyenuga. Nevertheless, the total value of regulated vegetables was $390 million in 2021, down 6% from 2020, due to a slow rebound of foodservice sales, weather events and other factors. While average potato prices hit a 10-year high of $837 a ton, acreage declined 3% in 2021 versus 2020. Yellow potatoes remain the largest portion of the potato crop by acreage at 28%. White potatoes claimed a greater share of production in 2021, rising three percentage points to 12%. “Acreage into white potatoes has increased because the industry is trying to store longer,” says Oyenuga. Kennebec potatoes, which the foodservice sector favours for hand-cut fries, saw demand fall. The variety claimed 17% of acreage in 2021, down from 20% before the pandemic. “Kennebec is still trying to pick up,” says Oyenuga. ”It still has not recovered fully.” Total rootcrop acreage other than potatoes increased 3% in 2021 versus 2020, with yellow onions and carrots growing slightly to account for 49% of the non-potato acreage. The average value of root crops was $945 a ton, a slight but steady decline over the past two years. Total value of storage crops last year was $84.5 million, up 10% from the previous year. The growth was led by potatoes, which saw 19% growth in value. “But all others reduced by 13% from last year. This was partially due to the Sumas oods,” Oyenuga says. Greenhouse production increased by 54 acres in 2021 versus 2020, led by an 11% increase in tomatoes and a 21% increase in specialty crops o a relatively low base. The growth saw long English cucumbers fall to last place in the crop mix as production declined by ve acres. But acreage doesn’t tell the whole story. Oyenuga says bell peppers saw acreage increase 6%, but prices fell to their lowest level in 10 years at $13.34 a case. “This was basically due to the heat dome,” she says. “It aected quality.” Conversely, the decline in long English cucumber production gave prices a lift. “This price remains the highest in 10 years,” she says. Tomatoes are experiencing a post-COVID hangover, as a greater production pushed down prices in 2021. Beefsteak tomatoes, for example, saw production increase 48%. “Beefsteak, we had a very high price in 2020 which is due to COVID – low acreage, low volumes, prices increased. But in 2021 the price actually dropped by about 20% [to $14.81 a case],” she says. A similar phenomenon aected tomatoes on the vine, See PRICES on next page o PETER MITHAM SURREY – The rise of vertical farms has attracted the notice of the BC Vegetable Marketing Commission. Also known as contained growing systems, vertical farms have become a popular way to produce leafy greens on small lots and marginal land. But leafy greens – specically, greenhouse-grown lettuces – are regulated by BC Veg as part of its statutory mandate “to promote, control and regulate the production, storage and marketing of vegetables and encourages the marketing of high-quality product.” On April 14, it issued a bulletin putting vertical farms on notice. “Agritech operations that intend to use this technology or other innovative practices and controlled environment structures are reminded that vegetables and vegetable marketing are regulated in British Columbia by the Commission,” the bulletin notes. “Producers are required to be licensed by the Commission to grow, process or market regulated vegetables.” The commission’s general orders dene a greenhouse as “an enclosed structure.” Most vertical farms in the province to date have been small operations. Supermarkets, for example, have produced living greens with the refrigerator-sized InFarm system. But companies like CubicFarm Systems Corp. of Langley, which provides growing chambers to producers, provides brokerage services through CubicFarm Produce(Canada) Corp. to existing and potential customers. The greens are sold under the Allways Local banner to high-end grocers and restaurants. This year, Fresh Green Farms Corp. will open a 50,000-square-foot production facility in Pitt Meadows producing leafy greens set for distribution through the Oppenheimer Group. CubicFarm, for its part, has begun talks with BC Veg to ensure compliance. “They’ll also be discussing the dierences between chopped/shipped lettuce and if that will be classied the same as living lettuce harvested with the roots attached, as it is by farmers growing indoors using the CubicFarm system,” says Andrea Magee, communications director with CubicFarm. Vertical farms face regulation
12 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCPRICES stable nfrom page 11Agricultural Grade Products - Made in the U.S.A. Contact your local Nelson Irrigation dealer today!NEW HANGINGSPRINKLER SOLVESPROBLEMS FORORGANIC GROWERS15-50 PSI8.5-75 GPH9-16’ RAD.PREMIUM PERFORMANCE ON HOSE REEL TRAVELERSIntroducing the S7 Spinner - a new Nelson innovation designed to combatrising energy and labor costs. The S7’s modular design allows quick and easynozzle exchange - and the Quick Clean (QC) technology reduces irrigatorhours — simply turn, ﬂush and reconnect. Special insect protection helpsprevent plugging or stalling. Find out more at WWW.NELSONIRRIGATION.COM®DAVID SCHMIDT ABBOTSFORD – After more than 20 years on the board of AgSafe BC, Don Dahr marked his final appearance as chair at the agency’s annual meeting in Abbotsford, April 1. “I’m so pleased with the direction we’re going,” Dahr told the meeting, saying “the horizon looks very good.” He noted 2021 was a year like no other, with COVID-19 all year, massive wildfires and an unprecedented heat dome in the summer and devastating floods in the winter. It all served to underscore the need for robust occupational health and safety programs and for agriculture to be prepared for environmental emergencies. It also led to “countless hours” of effort by AgSafe staff to help farmers and ranchers deal with the challenges. “We now have 14 people in our field team,” Dahr said, pointing out that field staff account for about half of the agency’s $1.5 million annual budget. The other 50% is spent on AgSafe’s eight office and website staff and maintaining and growing its extensive library of agricultural safety resources. In 2021, that included AgSafe BC’s new Mental Wellness for Farmers initiatives, a project spearheaded by executive director Wendy Bennett. Dahr also praised AgSafe’s COR workplace safety certification program, noting 91 employers are now COR-certified. That includes the first cannabis grower in Canada to be so certified. The past year was also the first one in which AgSafe BC was guided by an elected board of directors, although some members grumbled that the election is little more than a formality as they are expected to “elect” the slate of directors presented to them. They also noted they could be losing their direct input into the agency. Dahr countered that the new format allows the agency to select directors for their workplace safety expertise rather than simply because they represent a specific industry group. Despite the agency’s best efforts to improve safety in agriculture, there is still cause for concern. Dahr noted the injury rate in agriculture went up again in 2020 after falling in 2019. Health and wellness resources expandDahr steps down as AgSafe BC chair with prices dropping 8% to $15.81 a case. However, the total value of sales in 2021 is estimated at $306 million, on par with 2019. “I feel like for the greenhouse side of things, things were quite good,” says Oyenuga. Governance With improvements to the commission’s governance structure, things are set to get better. Governance was a priority for the commission as it implemented its new strategic plan in 2021, says chair Debbie Etsell. One of the plan’s aims was to ensure that decision-making at the commission was free from the apprehension of bias, an issue raised in ongoing legal challenges. “What we’re hoping for as we work through all these goals is that it will lessen the incidence of legal challenges as well as general orders as we work on process fairness that the outcome will be a little bit brighter for the industry as a whole,” says Etsell. BC Veg general manager Andre Solymosi has felt the challenges keenly, and not just because governance issues accounted for 16% of his working hours last year. Solymosi, as well as several commission members, are named in ongoing civil suits that impacted the commission’s decision-making abilities. “It was dicult to obtain quorum to full statutory obligations, including appointments to panels to address specic matters,” he told the meeting. “Then we have the BC FIRB restriction that was placed on myself so that I could only function in an administrative capacity regarding dealings with specic entities until a conclusion to the supervisory review is completed.” However, governance changes helped the commission move forward despite the challenges. Two independent directors were appointed to increase decision-making capacity and provide independent perspectives. These include Natalie Janssens, a manager with the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, and Craig Evans, executive director of the Primary Poultry Processors Association for BC. “We’ve amended the scheme, and that has permitted two independent members to sit on the commission, and we’ve established a governance committee,” Solymosi says.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 13Packers protest apple marketing commissionProposal meets opposition at in-person presentationAn information meeting organized to discuss the potential for an apple marketing commission turned into a ruckus when packer reps voiced their opposition to the proposal. FILECheck that the ladder is in good working order and all parts are secure, free of cracks, corrosion, rot and excessive wear.TOM WALKER KELOWNA – High emotions characterized an April 12 meeting to discuss the possibility of establishing an apple marketing commission to succeed the New Tree Fruit Varieties Development Council, next year. A number of attendees at the live meeting, also streamed online, gave the impression of not wanting to listen to or discuss the proposal. Many objected to what they saw as a move to impose a marketing commission on them. The meeting could not proceed as the organizers had planned when a number of packer representatives began stating their disproval of a commission in raised voices, along with disparaging comments towards the organizers. The meeting began with a presentation on the objectives and benets of a marking commission and a video interview with a member of the Quebec apple industry. Participants were invited to grab a coee before they broke into groups to discuss various aspects of a possible commission. But that was not to be. Several packers called out in loud voices: “We don’t need this.” “We don’t want a Quebec system.” “This is a joke.” “Why are you mandating this?” “We just need better price insurance.” “We need better horticulture support, so we can grow better quality.” “We need processing for our culls.” Despite organizers asking the opponents several times to esh out their ideas or suggest alternatives, the negative comments continued. “We gave money to the Ambrosia council, but we didn’t get a better price for our apples,” the packers challenged, taunting NVDC chair Bruce Currie and administrator Jim Campbell. “Are you guys going to control the packers?” Vernon grower Sam DiMaria nally stood up and got the meeting back on track. “You guys are completely missing the point here,” he said in a commanding voice. “Nobody is mandating anything. This is just an information session to share more about the possibility.” A commission won’t solve everything, he pointed out, but it could be part of the solution. Some of the growers’ concerns, such as horticulture support and processing, will be addressed as the recommendations of the tree fruit stabilization initiative are implemented. (There is no timeline for implementation.) “Is anybody happy with their apple returns right now? DiMaria asked. Two packers in the audience put up their hands. Proposal The idea for an apple marketing commission was one of the options in the New Horizons for Ambrosia report prepared last summer as NVDC prepares to wind up in March 2023. This led to a report last fall by Vancouver consulting rm Ference and Co. on the feasibility of a marketing commission succeeding NVDC. The report was shared with growers in October but an informal survey at the meeting indicated broad resistance to the idea. This led to the April meeting, where industry could discuss concerns in person rather than online. Currie was clear about the meeting’s intent. “We are here to present the proposal again. It is up to See COMMISSION on next page email@example.comCheck out our Einbock Tillage Equipment For Organic FarmingTine Weeders Row Crop Cultivators Rotary Hoes Camera GuidanceSystems AND AEROSTAR 900 Tine WeedersDELTA Drain Tile Cleaners Improves Drainage & Conditions Soil Economical & Reliable Low Maintenance Safe and ProvenSPRING PRICING On In Stock
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But he also expressed his frustration at the negative reception. “No one else has come forward with another idea,” he says. “We can put this on the shelf and dust it off when the industry gets really bad,” NVDC secretary Madeline van Roechoudt gave a quick overview of some of the powers that a marketing commission could have, such as the ability to set quality standards, minimum pricing and conduct marketing and promotion. “The industry would get to decide what sort of powers they would want a commission to have,” she explains. The top advantage of a commission would be that growers would make more money. “Ference and Co. suggests that growers could earn 10 to 20 cents per pound more than the current returns,” van Roechoudt says. She notes that BC vegetable growers who belong to a commission make more than Washington growers who operate independently. Conversely, Washington has a marketing commission charged with advertising, promotion, education, and market development related to the state’s apples. The commission doesn’t set minimum prices or quality standards, but Washington growers still fare better than BC growers. “BC apple growers make considerably less than their Washington neighbours,” van Roechoudt notes. A commission could benefit packers, too. Packers would retain their independence under a marketing commission, but they would be allowed to discuss and set minimum prices for apples to be shipped from the province. Controlling prices is illegal under the federal Competition Act but the BC Natural Products Marketing Act allows a commission to regulate prices to ensure orderly marketing. The commission could support research, market access and the development of new varieties as well as provide incentives for top-quality fruit. Ultimately, it could be part of a lasting solution to stabilize the declining apple industry in the province. “These are all just suggestions about what a marketing commission could be and do,” says van Roechoudt. “You get to decide what you want.” An interview with Quebec grower and past president of the Federation of Apple Growers of Quebec, Stephanie Levasseur, gave attendees an idea of how an apple commission works for Quebec growers. “The growers are happy because they make money,” says Levasseur. Indeed, the Ference and Co. report pegs average returns for Quebec growers in 2019 at 44.3 cents per pound while BC saw an average of 25.6 cents in 2020. “Some of the younger packers think that we don’t need it,” notes Levasseur. “But not the older ones, they remember what it was like before the commission. Our packers also grow apples and if the price falls they lose too.” Packers are designated as authorized agents to discuss and negotiate prices weekly, based on the world apple markets, she explained. Fragmented industry After DiMaria’s intervention at the meeting, other growers spoke up. “I believe that the industry is really fragmented right now,” observed grower Katie Sardinha, who directed a question to the corner of the room where packers were seated. “Is there a possibility that some packers may be undercutting each other?” she asked, garnering some nods in response. “We need a baseline of cooperation so that we don’t get taken advantage of by retailers.” Packers have fixed costs which they are able to ensure are covered when they are pricing fruit, points out Kelowna grower Avi Gill, who also sat on the province’s tree fruit stabilization committee. “The farmer at the bottom is always the cushion. If the price needs to come down to be competitive, it is the grower who gets less at the end of the day.” At the end of the meeting, facilitator James Grieve of Catalyst Strategies in Kelowna challenged participants to propose alternatives if they didn’t like the idea of a marketing commission. “If you don’t think a marketing commission is the right way to go, who would like to be part of a committee to make suggestions to help the industry?” he asks. Only Sardinha, Gill and DiMaria put up their hands. The packers were silent. “Is there a possibility that some packers may be undercutting each other? We need a baseline of cooperation so that we don’t get taken advantage of by retailers.” KATIE SARDINHA
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 15Egg farmers urged to register for compensationSector focuses on resilience in the wake of 2021’s challengesFred Krahn of Paragon Farms in Abbotsford received the Legacy Award from BC Egg during the board’s annual meeting in Vancouver in recognition of his business success and exceptional service to the industry. BC EGG“Serving and Supporting the Community Together”PROVINCIALLY INSPECTED ABATTOIR B.C. #34ALL SIZES MARKET GOATS & LAMBS604.465.4752 (Ext 105)FAX 604.465.4744 firstname.lastname@example.orgModern 140 stall barn with 3 x A4 Lely Robots, drive through centre feed alley and 1.5 million gallon Lagoon. Barn is fully equipped with great quality city water supply, 60KW backup Generator (powers both the barn and house) and Lely Juno Automated Feed Pusher and Lely Calm Calf Self Feeder. Newly built 1,700 sq.ft home with double car attached garage. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, open concept living area all on the main oor as well as an unnished basement. All located on 70 acres with paved road access, 15 minutes North of Saskatoon. Asking $2,400,000.00 Opportunity for 450 additional acres connected and 50+ KG of Quota available at Market Value. Contact Ken at (306) 229-4591 for more informationPETER MITHAM VANCOUVER – BC egg producers ocked to downtown Vancouver on March 18 for their annual general meeting, a chance to get o the farm and get together after a year marked by the ongoing pandemic, extreme weather and unprecedented supply chain challenges. BC Egg Marketing Board board chair Gunta Vitins says 2021 was “one of the toughest years in recent memory,” but also one with plenty of good news. “Through all these hardships, our producers, graders, processors, friends and allied trades have shown incredible resilience, spirit and community,” she said in her report to the meeting. “While it may have felt like we were running from one disaster to another, that wasn’t the case. We actually had things to celebrate.” COVID and its variants continued to shape demand, but the return of consumers to restaurants and normal social activities helped buoy sales. “We had strong BC table egg sales throughout most of 2021 and a gradual but continuous rebuild in the processing and foodservice sectors, and I’m pleased to say that is accelerating,” Vitins says. Sales totalled $246.7 million, up from $230.5 million in 2020. When extreme weather events struck, the sector was ready. “We responded swiftly to production pressures caused by the heat dome,” she says. And when ooding disrupted supply chains in November, the national industry pulled together to make sure customers had the eggs they needed. “The support from other provincial egg boards, and our national agency as well, truly highlighted the benets of working together under supply management,” she says. But the sector itself also looked at ways to become more resilient. With supply chain disruptions in mind, the board awarded Salmon Arm producer Chelsea Keenan quota through its new producer program. “The current supply chain challenges combined with the extreme weather events and the transportation disruptions that we saw this past year have emphasized the importance of having egg production throughout the province,” Vitins says. The nancial resilience of producers is also in the spotlight as production costs rise and concessions under recent trade agreements hit home. Producers are being surveyed this year on production costs so the formula for compensating them for their eggs ensures adequate payment. With half of producers in BC having transitioned to alternative or enriched housing, four years before the rest of Canada is set to meet that milestone, it’s important for them to participate. “We need a fair representation of all production,” Egg Farmers of Canada director Walter Siemens of Abbotsford told growers. “So please, please participate in that.” Participation is also important to federal payments for concessions made under the CP-TPP and CUSMA trade deals. Registration in the Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program, announced last year, has been underwhelming. Producers have 10 years to access the funds, and many are already doing so, but just half have registered. “That sends a message,” Siemens says. “The CUSMA deal is next on the table funding, and they’re going to be looking to see how this is working. You are the benet of your own success, so at least register. It doesn’t take long.” Egg Farmers of Canada chair Roger Pelissero reiterated Siemens’ comments. “I’m already getting questions about CUSMA mitigation, and it seems to be, ‘Well, you’ve only got 50% of your farms that are registered. Are they really interested? Do they really need the compensation?” he says. “Yes, we are interested, we do need the compensation and [CUSMA] will impact us far quicker than the CP-TPP agreement. So please register. It will help us with moving forward.” Keynote speaker John Scott, a veteran of the grocery industry, spoke about changes in the retail channel. Traditional supermarkets are under pressure from discount retailers, he said, especially for commodities. He also doesn’t expect foodservice demand to fully recover. “I don’t see, based on the joy of cooking that we’re seeing, that there’s going to be a rush back to the same level of consumption at food service that we had before,” he says.
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 17Raspberry growers are looking for varieties that stand up to machine harvesting but still provide the avour and shelf-life consumers want. FILEThird round of replant money for raspberriesBetter timing should improve uptake this time aroundAlways read and follow label directions. Gatten® is a registered trademark of OAT Agrio Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2021 Nichino America, Inc. Worried aboutPowdery Mildew?Get Gatten!Gatten® fungicide Gatten®acts on multiple stages of powdery mildew development, delivering both preventative and post-infection control.RONDA PAYNE ABBOTSFORD – The 2022 season looks hopeful for BC raspberry growers despite the challenges of 2021. Part of the optimism stems from a third round of the BC raspberry replant program, announced at the online Raspberry Industry Development Council annual general meeting on March 29. “The goal of the raspberry replant program is to revitalize the industry,” says Carolyn Teasdale, berry industry specialist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food. “You have time to place your orders [for raspberry stock] before June if you need to. Applications will open in the spring and will stay open into the fall.” Up to $300,000 is available in the 2023 program for growers who replant fields with varieties better suited to the Lower Mainland’s climate. These varieties also need to be specific to fresh, IQF and high-value processing. BC’s raspberry acreage has declined steadily, going from more than 2,900 acres in 2017 to 2,143 acres in 2021. The program was over-subscribed in its first year but less than 120 acres have been planted to date, due in part to timing of applications and the need to pre-order stock. “The timing (this year) is definitely more favourable to growers,” says council chair Jordan Alamwala. Despite a late frost in spring 2021, the heat dome in late June and flooding, Alamwala anticipates a good season ahead. “The plants have come out of the winter looking pretty healthy,” he says. Reduced yields in 2021 led to a reduction in levies for the council. In addition, public health protocols limited research activities, reducing research income available. While expenses were also less than expected, the council still posted a net loss of nearly $53,000 for the year. Council manager Lisa Craig proposed a 2022 budget with an anticipated net loss of $2,717, which was approved. It anticipates higher levies this year on a crop of 11.5 million pounds. Top traits Machine harvestability and processing continue to be top traits sought in the berry breeding program, according to BC Berry Cultivar Development research scientist and breeder Michael Dossett. “We’re on track to have about 5,000 seedlings for our 2022 crosses,” he says. “Some crosses we’re going to be putting in more seedlings than usual.” See BERRIES on next page o
18 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCBERRIESnfrom pg 17Each and every day, no matter the season, you’re the ones who get up and feed the world. We see you navigating through bad conditions, uncertain markets and wild world events and we can’t say it loud enough - Thank You Farmers!THANK YOUFARMERSABBOTSFORD1-888-283-3276VERNON1-800-551-6411KELOWNA1-800-680-0233Three selections from the 2019 plantings stood out this year: BC 15-53-3 and BC 15-53-15 both appeared to have consistently high quality and oer some root rot tolerance through their lineage. After the heat dome, BC 15-43-53 started ripening. The berry size wasn’t great, but quality was above average. “It’s a beast of a plant,” he says. “I’m expecting it’s probably going to be at the top of the list for yield.” Propagation is somewhat of an issue as crosses can only move to nurseries south of the border as tissue culture, not as bare plants. While he would like to reduce the amount of propagation being done in-house, Dossett feels the challenge is manageable. Overall, the breeding program is moving in the right direction and Dossett is excited to see plants coming through the program every year for grower trials. “The trajectory of the breeding program is looking very good,” he says. “The changes we’re making, we’re starting to see trickle-through.” Four positions were available on the board this year with Amrit Brar, Dave Maljaars and James Bergen stepping forward to ll three of them. PETER MITHAM ABBOTSFORD – Steady demand for processed raspberries promises strong prices for BC growers, but a host of variables mean plenty could change before payments are made. “Weather is usually the main factor that we have to consider,” says Pacic Coast Fruit Products account manager Ben Klootwyk, who spoke at the Pacic Agriculture Show in Abbotsford at the end of March. “But some of the other issues that we’re facing this year are obviously inationary pressures – is it going to work in our advantage?” Some of the factors aecting pricing this year include not just the supply of fruit, but input costs, fuel costs and shipping costs. “Raspberry pricing did remain quite strong in 2021 and customers did stick with raspberries simply because there was nothing really to switch to,” says Klootwyk. “That said, if pricing does remain high on raspberries and some of these other crops do start to come down in price, some of these buyers may start to look more closely at switching out or reformulating or trying to get their costs down relative to other food ingredients.” Klootwyk says IQF buyers appear to be more prone to switch out, but the push to shorter supply chains means that US demand has been “relatively stable.” The war in Ukraine, which produces 44 million pounds of raspberries annually, is a concern but not necessarily because of the impacts on its own production. The country is also a signicant source of workers to growers in neighbouring countries and major producers such as Poland. “Usually Poland and Serbia do get a million migrant labourers out of Ukraine so that is again another question mark on what is going to happen there with their crops, and if they’re going to have enough labour to fully pick their crops,” says Klootwyk. The potential impact was seen following the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Prices for IQF (individually quick frozen) berries dropped in January and February as Chile’s crop came online. However, war in Ukraine sent prices back up as buyers worried about supplies. COVID remains a concern in Chile. COVID-related labour shortages pushed production down 18% in 2021 versus 2020 and most berries went for IQF. This year’s harvest is likely to face similar and potentially more severe challenges. “This year they had even more problems with labour,” says Klootwyk. “One plant that I spoke to that normally has about 200 people in its IQF facility was only averaging about 100 people a day.” This adds up to an opportunity for BC growers, if they can deliver the fruit. But as last year’s weather showed, that’s anything but guaranteed. In fact, the only major region to see production increase last year was Mexico, which retains its spot as the world’s second-largest fresh raspberry producer. “Production this year was relatively abysmal, to say the least,” says Klootwyk of the 2021 crop. “The lowest that we’ve seen by far since we started keeping track, with about 53 million pounds in the Pacic Northwest.” This is down from the 10-year high 96.5 million pounds harvested in 2016. The shortfall helped push down raspberry stocks by 13.6%, led by an 11% decrease in pales and a 6.3% reduction in IQF stocks. This is in turn helped support overall pricing. Grower interest in raspberry production is also increasing, and the province’s raspberry replant program appears to be having a measureable impact in BC. A total of 1.9 million plants sold last year, approaching the 2.2 million plants sold in 2018 but still well o the 3.1 million plants purchased in 2016. “The lion’s share of new plantings did go into BC, at 146% increase [versus 2020],” says Klootwyk. “In Washington it was 27.9%. Oregon was fairly minimal.” The majority of sales were WakeHaven (35%) and WakeField (20%), both varieties suitable for machine harvesting and IQF processing. Raspberry prices show promise
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 19SFU chemistry professor Erika Plettner has discovered a synthetic compound that may successfully control and kill varroa mites. It is still in the testing stage, but it is showing promise. SUBMITTEDSANDRA TRETICK BURNABY – Beekeepers across Canada were in for a shock when they opened their hives this spring to check on colony health. The Canadian Honey Council (CHC) conrms severe losses from Alberta to Quebec. “Nationally, it seems to be very high. We may come close to 40%,” says CHC executive director Rod Scarlett. “But on the two coasts I have not heard of any disasters.” The 15-year national average is below 26%. BC beekeepers open their hives earlier than those east of the Rockies, but it is unclear as yet what the numbers will be here. The province’s annual survey on wintering losses won’t be complete until June, and the BC Honey Producers Association is reluctant to comment on overwintering numbers at this point because of concern that its observations might be skewed to a particular area or operation. Last year, BC reported losses of around 32%. Further east, these high losses have some beekeepers calling on the federal government to relax the ban on bee package imports from the US. Currently, packages and queens can only be imported from select countries and the US is not on that list. When a large commercial beekeeper has to build up colony numbers quickly after a heavy loss, they’d like more options. Scarlett says package imports from Italy are expected to be approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) within the next month. CFIA, however, has no plans to perform a new risk assessment for import of honeybee packages from the US, as they say there has been no indication that the level of risk has changed signicantly since the last assessment in 2014. Mites to blame Ineective control of the Varroa destructor mite within colonies is the main reason for overwintering losses. As mite numbers go up during the active season, the bees weaken and eventually the colony dies. “We all agree that varroa is the No. 1 challenge of beekeepers, not only in BC but in Canada and worldwide,” says Nuria Morn, technology transfer program lead for the BC Honey Producers Association (BCHPA). “It’s the No. 1 cause of overwinter colony mortality.” Many would like to see more emphasis placed on monitoring for pests like varroa and better integrated pest management (IPM). Done properly, IPM can keep mite numbers in check. The target is two or fewer mites per 100 bees. Eective IPM includes Apiarists fear heavy winter lossesBeekeepers need more options for controlling mitescountrylifeinbc.comThe agricultural news source in BC since 1915.www.tubeline.ca 1.888.856.6613@TubelineMFGFind us onNITRO 275RS SPREADERSACCUMUL8 & RETRIEVERBALEWRAPPERS SILAGE RAKEmonitoring mite numbers, cultural techniques to prevent reproduction, and mechanical or chemical treatments to reduce mite levels. Apivar, one of the most reliable acaricides (miticides) for treating varroa in Canada, is now showing some evidence of resistance. Other chemicals can be more dicult to apply or require exacting timing or temperatures for eective treatment. Beekeepers say new IPM tools could aid in the ght See RESEARCH on next page o 23390 RIVER ROAD, MAPLE RIDGE, BC V2W 1B6 604/463-3681 | vanderwaleq.com VAN DER WAL EQUIPMENT (1989) LTD.Work hard. Feel good.When you have a lot of ground to cover and productivity is key, a Ferris zero turn mower with suspension technology is the best choice.
20 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCRESEARCH on varroa mite control showing promise nfrom page 19PRINCE GEORGE | KAMLOOPS | KELOWNA | CHILLIWACK | LANGLEY | NANAIMO WWW.PCE.CA | 1-877-553-33733025Etractor loader$478OVER 60 MONTHSAT 0%PERMONTHSome restrictions may apply. See dealer for details. Offer valid May 1 - 31, 2022. · 25 HP· Standard 4WD for maximum traction· Tightest turning radius in its horsepower class· Hydro transmission w/ Twin Touch™ pedals for ease of use· 6-year limited powertrain warrantyagainst varroa. “The reason why we have such high overwintering loss numbers this year nationally seems to be varroa and the lack of tools for beekeepers to control varroa,” says Scarlett. “So the testing and approval of new products is paramount to the success and livelihood of the honey industry in Canada.” A new acaricide developed at Simon Fraser University is showing promise. SFU chemistry professor Erika Plettner discovered the compound in her lab a number of years ago when she was looking for feeding deterrents for cabbage looper. It’s a synthetic compound that closely resembles products typically produced by plants. When she turned her focus on bees, she found that this particular compound, nicknamed 3C, also slows down varroa mites and eventually kills them. Plettner says it doesn’t visibly harm the bees and has no adverse eects in vertebrates. After a series of laboratory experiments, she did the rst eld trial in 2019. Another one planned for 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, but she was back in the eld last year. More trials are planned for this year and next. While it’s too soon to get really excited, initial results are promising. “In the lab, it’s pretty good,” says Plettner. “The thing is, it has to work in a real colony. And that's what we're trying to establish in the eld.” Honey producers are hopeful, but acknowledge that commercializing a product created in the lab is complicated. “I can clearly see from the eld trials that there is good potential. It showed good mite drop in the trial,” says BCHPA president Heather Higo, who ran a eld trial for Plettner in 2019. “The need is absolutely huge with the hiving losses that we’re having every year in BC and in other areas. We need another tool in the tool basket to ght varroa.” The new trials will determine the best timing, the best method of application and the ecacy. The rst step is mite collection and BCHPA members are supplying these. Mites are needed to seed the colonies so the numbers are high enough for testing. The compound will be applied this summer and they will measure what happens. Follow-up treatments will happen in the fall. Each of the BC trials are being mirrored at the Beaverlodge research station in Alberta, so they will end up with twice the data. The actual eld trials are only one aspect of the project going forward. Plettner is collaborating with Leonard Foster, a professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC. “When we made progress with this acaricide, I really felt that we needed to gure out exactly what the acaricide is doing inside the mite and why it doesn't really aect the bees too much at all,” she says. “That's when I approached Dr. Foster.” Foster will apply proteomics tools to identify the molecular target and determine when and where the compound can be applied. Information about the new compound’s target site in mites is vital for registration with health authorities, the biggest hurdle to commercialization. Understanding the target site and mechanism of interaction will help the team, and end users, make future improvements to the product, its formulation, and the schedule of application. Genome BC is contributing $250,000 through the Pilot Innovation Fund. Paul van Westendorp, provincial apiculturist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food, believes the best approach is a cautious one until more is known about the compound’s eectiveness. Plettner agrees. “It's a slow process,” she says. “It takes a couple of years to get it approved, even just for emergency use.” Until such time as this compound gains approval, beekeepers will need to keep monitoring their hives and rotating the existing treatment options. Beekeepers are also encouraged to report their mite numbers for the period April 30 to May 15 and August 13-28, as part of the biannual North American Mite-A-Thon [www.mitecheck.com]. Genome BC partners with IAF to deliver new program On April 7, Genome BC and the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC jointly announced they will partner to deliver the Genomic Innovation for Regenerative Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Program, funded by the governments of Canada and BC to the tune of $2 million. Proposals must involve genomics and address at least one of the program objectives: improving the health of crops, livestock, sheries and ecosystems impacted by climate change; optimizing productivity and ensuring sustainability in a changing climate; or supplying genomic innovations to reduce environmental impacts. Statements of interest must be submitted by May 10. —Sandra Tretick
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 21Strawberry levy to increaseFresh berries remain the association’s focusHelpingyou growyour Business.RONDA PAYNE ABBOTSFORD – Higher levies are in the cards for BC strawberry growers, who are seeing the results of homegrown research designed to make them more competitive. BC Strawberry Growers Association members discussed a quarter-cent increase to levies on fresh and processed berries at their March 24 annual general meeting, held online. “We’re going from three-quarters of a cent to one cent [per pound],” says association president Ed McKim of Ed McKim Farms Ltd. in Delta. But since the increase wasn’t previously announced to members, implementation won’t happen until 2023. The increase will be subject to conrmation at next year’s AGM and implemented if growers are still in favour. While a quarter-cent hike in levies was applied in 2020, the association needs additional dollars to fund activities like breeding, research and promotions. The increase could add $6,500 to the association’s budget, something David Mutz of Berry Haven Farm in Abbotsford says doesn’t amount to a huge increase. Still, every penny counts. In 2021, BC produced more than 2.6 million pounds of fresh strawberries and a similar crop is expected in 2022. That works out to levies of approximately $19,500. But projected expenditures mean the association will face a decit of close to $9,000 this year. “This could change based on the levies that are received from fresh and/or processed [berries],” says association general manager Lisa Craig. A portion of levies helps fund activities like the fresh campaign planned for the 2022 season. The campaign will also receive funding through the province’s Buy BC program. Clint Omelaniec of Picnic Creative is managing the social media aspect of the berry campaign for the association. “We had a lot of success in dierent areas [in 2021]. Our reach overall was much higher last year,” he says, noting that recipes found their way into print publications such as the Georgia Straight. “We had a lot of traditional publications share about our recipes. We had a lot engagement.” New varieties BC Berry Cultivar Development Corp. research scientist and breeder Michael Dossett noted that 2021 was a year of attempting to return to normal after COVID-related challenges within his program’s usual structure. The focus of breeding is on new fresh, day-neutral varieties better suited to the Lower Mainland climate. Higher yields than Albion, the traditional favourite, are targeted. Dossett resumed crosses in 2021 after a hiatus of a few years and of these, 3,000 seedlings were generated for spring and summer 2022 planting. Among his existing selections, BC 10-2-1, a BC-bred variety that was selected in 2011, continues to be a standout and he hopes to see it named and commercialized in the next year or two. Dossett feels it could complement Albion in the Fraser Valley. “It continues to stand out for marketable yields. Firmness is right there on par with Albion,” he says. “It’s got good brix. Fruit size tends to be slightly smaller than Albion, but not by a huge amount. … We’ll continue to keep our eyes on it.” In other research, association research director Eric Gerbrandt is putting together a survey to discover what growers want most from their research program. He noted that E.S. Cropconsult has created 12 pest and disease management guides to supplement IPM training materials and make identication easier. They can be found on the BC Climate Change Adaptation Program website. “They worked with strawberry growers and other berry and vegetable growers,” he explains. “They are more than just fact sheets. They are actual guides to how to identify and manage pests.” A new project, aimed at developing a lab-based technique for determining nematode populations in soil and root samples, was put on hold in 2020 but relaunched in 2021. A collaboration between the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the three major berry industry groups, there has been plenty of progress in the last 10 months, Gerbrandt says. “We lost access to nematode diagnostics,” he explains. “Hopefully, in the next maybe 12 months or maybe 18 months, we’re going to have PCR-based ways of identifying nematodes. These tools will be available from the plant health lab when it’s back up and running.” Three positions on the association’s board expired and two were lled by returning directors Alf Krause and David Mutz who were elected by acclamation. &KHFN,QYHQWRU\RQOLQHWelcome back!After a one year hiatus and postponement from earlier this year, the Pacic Agriculture Show was back in business, March 31-April 2, with a full slate of exhibits and plenty of opportunities to catch up with friends. MYRNA STARK LEADER
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 23Alf and Sandee Krause used digital marketing to get them through the pandemic but believe people still want a personal experience. HEATHER CAMERONKuhnNorthAmerica.comVisit your local British Columbia KUHN dealer today!INVEST IN QUALITY®www.kuhn.comMatsqui Ag-RepairAbbotsfordNorthline EquipmentPouce CoupeHuber Farm EquipmentPrince GeorgeDRY WITH THE SPEED OF LIGHTExclusive DigiDrive® couplers provide low maintenance and long lifeMultiple options and adjustments for tedding in various crop conditionsReduce drying time with steep pitch angles and asymmetrical tinesHydraulic folding provies easy transport between work and 昀eldGF 102 / 1002 SERIES Rotary Tedders8’6” - 56’5” working widthsThinking twice about digital marketingOnline sales come with its own set of challengesSANDRA TRETICK ABBOTSFORD – Fraser Valley Direct Farm Marketing Association president Gary Moran calls direct farm marketers the ambassadors of the province’s Buy BC program. “Direct farm marketing is the key, I think, to agriculture going forward,” says Moran, who addressed direct farm marketing session attendees during the Pacic Agriculture Show in Abbotsford at the beginning of April. Moran, who operates Fantasy Farms Inc. in Chilliwack, has been involved in on-farm marketing for 30 years. For much of this period, farmers like himself relied heavily on publications like BC Farm Fresh, a printed guide listing farms in the Lower Mainland that open to the public. Using this strategy, the number of visitors to his farm grew gradually from a handful of people in the early days to 15,000 by 2019. And then COVID-19 hit. With public health restrictions in place, farms needed a new approach and many farmers selling direct to consumers turned to digital marketing and e-commerce platforms. For every success story, there were others who stumbled. Take Driediger Farms Ltd. in Langley. Rhonda Driediger runs one of BC’s largest berry farms and is a wholesaler and distributor of fresh and frozen berries. She also operates an on-farm market. When COVID hit, she quickly set up an online store using the Shopify platform. It didn’t go so well. “We were one of the ones that jumped in during the pandemic because we had a lot of stock and we needed to move it out to our customers,” says Driediger, who had great hopes for e-commerce. “We put quite a bit of eort into it, but didn’t sit down and draw out the roadmap for it rst. That’s really what we should have done.” Driediger found Shopify dicult to use and lacking in critical supports like inventory control, customer tracking and analytics. “They didn’t have a lot of the back oce apps [built in],” she said. “You had to keep buying those.” It was her desire to nd out about other available e-commerce platforms and hear from other farmers about what worked and what pitfalls to avoid that drew Driediger to the short course, along with fellow Langley berry farmer Alf Krause of Krause Farms Ltd. Krause also uses Shopify, which seemed the best option to integrate all his farm’s oerings, but he echoes Driediger’s concerns about the costs of the add-ons. “We investigated and ended up with Shopify because we’re so diversied,” said Krause. “But you’ve got to buy apps all the time to do [everything you want to do] and all of a sudden we weren’t saving the amount of money we were hoping to. You learn it the hard way.” But Shopify is just one of a number of e-commerce platforms available. Glorious Organics Cooperative in Aldergrove opted for Local Line when COVID happened, says Mark Cormier. Glorious Organics grows mixed vegetables and fruit and operates a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Its e-commerce site allowed Cormier to spend less time taking customer orders and more time in the eld. The co-op also got paid on time because payments were made by credit card. See ONLINE on next page o
24 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCONLINE options nfrom page 23A digital marketing panel at the Pacic Agriculture Show in Abbotsford this spring focused on how to attract and retain customers online. Greg McLaren, principal of marketing agency Farm Food Drink Inc. in Nanaimo, purposefully chose to work with farms and small food companies in BC. He says customers want to know where their food comes from. He encourages farmers to be authentic, tell their story and take lots of photos of themselves, their farming operations and their products during the growing season. These are valuable assets for building a farm’s brand. He also encouraged farmers to know who they are trying to reach. “Who’s your target audience? Your consumer base isn’t everybody,” he says. “You need to have some focus; 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.” Mike Williams, CEO and co-founder of Jetstream Agency in Victoria, works with companies to create paid digital marketing and advertising strategies. He said people have shifted their behaviour to buy online since the start of COVID. “It’s easy to build a Shopify store or a site, but what are you going to do with that?” he asks. “How are you going to get people there?” Williams says paid advertising gets people in fast, but it doesn’t have longevity. He recommended that farmers who can’t aord to spend on ads start by creating content and building their brand. “People buy from people they know, like and trust,” Williams says. Mikuni Wild Harvest, a Vancouver-based distributor which sells a boutique line of sustainable wild foods primarily to chefs and gourmet retail outlets, had to shift focus when COVID hit and restaurants shut down. Mikuni president Pablo Rodriguez said the company decided to target people cooking at home, often foodies who were trying to recreate the gourmet experiences they used to enjoy at restaurants. Working with Freshline, Mikuni built a new website and worked with chefs to reach this new market. He also used Mailchimp to send weekly emails containing photos, videos and recipes to stay in front of his customers. There was a lot of trial and error. “Know which ocean you’re throwing your pebble in,” said Rodriguez. “Sometimes you’re in the wrong pond.” —Sandra TretickDigital tips for farm marketers“We end up with almost nobody owing us money at the end of the year, which didn’t use to be the case,” said Cormier. “Moving our business, even though it’s small, online has been very useful for us.” Once you’re set up online, Brianna van de Wijngaard of Puddle Produce, a 70-acre organic vegetable farm in Soda Creek, says growers need to have the space, capacity and suitable packing materials to prepare orders, and a way to provide delivery. The farm’s online sales are through the Harvie e-commerce platform, specically designed for farmers engaged in a farm-share model. The CSA Innovation Network out of the United States has compiled a comparison of several platforms popular with farmers. Van de Wijngaard notes that using a farm e-commerce platform is an advantage, even though there’s a price to it. “Be honest about how much you’re willing and able to do,” she says. “Compare the costs. It can be worth it to go with a more expensive platform that takes more o your plate.” Steve Souto, one of two brothers behind Steve and Dan’s Fresh BC Fruit Ltd., markets fruit grown at their parents’ Oliver farm and others to customers in Alberta. His focus is on freshness and customer satisfaction. Now that their customers are used to shopping online, Souto believes they will have to stick with it. For him, the trick is providing personalized service even when they aren’t always meeting their customers face-to-face. They do this with little things, like a handwritten note or a ower at Valentine’s Day. Andrea Gray-Grant is the driver behind BC Local Root, a North Vancouver-based online grocery platform featuring BC food and beverages. Her system uses the Shopify platform and, like Driediger, she is not a fan. It worked okay when they were listing 200 to 300 products, but as they scaled up to 1,000 products, she said she wanted to throw it against the wall. “I wouldn’t do Shopify again,” she said, but now feels bound to it after spending the time and money to build her online presence. The need to buy more apps to add features like inventory is also a drawback. Gray-Grant also recommended having someone dedicated to digital marketing all the time. She had a full-time person for a year, but when the position was vacant, their sales tanked. E-commerce is a big black box according to Robert Kirstiuk, CEO and co-founder of Freshline in Toronto, an online ordering platform that specializes in selling perishable foods. Taking the rst step can be daunting. It’s a big investment of time and money to customize an online store and it can be tough to get that rst handful of customers. To ease into the process, Kirstiuk recommended nding someone to help, rather than trying to go it alone. Sponsored by Country Life in BC, the direct farm marketing session gave Krause the kind of information that would have been good to have when he was considering platforms in 2020. But the demand for in-person experiences is coming back, meaning he has an opportunity to rene his online sales eorts. “[Online sales] peaked really fast in 2020 and ‘21,” says Krause. “We’re not sure where it’s going to go. We still want people to come and have the experience.”
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 25Fire can benet soils but it still takes time to recover, something BC ranchers with Crown range don’t have as they struggle to place cows this year. FILEPROVINCIAL LIVESTOCK FENCING PROGRAMApplications Close: August 31, 2022View program updates at cattlemen.bc.ca/fencing.htmToll Free: 1.866.398.2848email: email@example.com In partnership with:YOURHelping YouHelping YouSignSign up today forfor freeupy eeWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATESRanchers facing rangeland lossesCrown land significantly impacted by wildfires KATE AYERS WESTWOLD – Ranchers in areas hit hard by last year’s heat dome, wildres and drought shouldn’t count on rushing out on their rangeland this summer, cautions a professional agrologist. Chris Wellman, a fence contractor and former range agrologist with the Vernon Forest District, says many herds may need to stick close to home this season pending an assessment of range conditions. “The problem with this whole thing about grazing now is that all the Ministry [of Forests] infrastructure has been taken out – all the pasture boundaries, the fencing, the water developments – [they] have been compromised because of the res,” he says. “As far as getting cattle into these areas, it’s virtually impossible. You could do electric fencing, but the terrain doesn’t lend itself to that.” Fires can benet soils by returning nutrients and reducing future re loads. However, they also leave soils susceptible to erosion. “The soil has no structure at this time. It needs snow-press, it needs a year or two to establish and really get structure back in the soil,” says Wellman. Pasture conditions depend on the severity of the wildres in each area. The province may require that some ranchers take acreage out of their grazing rotations to allow the land to recover. “I would think that you would be very lucky in these heavily impacted areas if there’s any grazing at all,” says Wellman. Westwold rancher Russell Clemitson considers himself lucky to have grazing options. Even though 85% of his range was touched by wildre last year, he will be allowed to turn out cattle, albeit a bit later than normal. “They did a re intensity analysis on it, and they said around 30% was blacked out. So, severely burnt and the soil is burnt and everything,” says Clemitson. “And then around 40% was moderately burnt and the rest of it was lightly burnt.” As it stands, he has just enough feed for his 350 cows until the beginning of June, which is when he would typically put his herd on grass. “Between the drought and ooding last fall, there is no See FEED on next page oProducer Check-o Supports Beef Industry Projects.www.cattlefund.net 1.877.688.2333www.cattlefund.net 1.877.688.2333
26 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCFEED shortage likely to continue nfrom page 25feed available in BC to purchase. And if it is, it’s so overpriced that you can’t aord to buy it now,” he says. Fortunately, after meetings with the BC Ministry of Forests and local First Nations, his cattle will be able to return to Crown lands further into June. “Usually, they don’t let you go back for anywhere between one to four years. They don’t like to see cattle back on these ranges [after res],” says Clemitson. “I tried to explain to them that without summer range, ve generations of ranching come to an end. … We don’t have any options.” On one of his ranges, cattle can return at full stock with stringent management practices and he will delay turnout by up to two weeks. “My other range also has a deferred turnout day to the middle of June rather than the beginning of the month, providing the grass is ready,” he says. To promote rangeland recovery, Clemitson will reduce his stocking rate to 60% of normal. “So, I still need to nd a home for some cattle but I’m going to take 60% over 0%,” he says. Ministry help The impacts of reduced grazing options aren’t lost on ministry sta. Wellman says they have been doing everything they can to accommodate ranchers through the winter and know a dicult season lies ahead. “[They’re] trying to nd them programs, help them with hay or nd other pastures that are vacant or other Crown tenures that are vacant. They are scrambling. It’s chaos,” he says. “It’s a really horrible situation that we’re put in. The Ministry of Forests is absolutely sweating every night trying to gure out how they’re going to help these guys. Those people are run ragged right now.” In Clemitson’s case, the ministry is using electric fence units to keep cattle away from the blacked-out areas and o highways. “We solely rely on the Crown ranges to keep our operations alive. I’m thankful that they’re letting us go back out there right afterwards. We are very thankful for the understanding and cooperation,” says Clemitson. Wellman fears for large ranches that are short on feed and depend on grazing leases to feed their herds. If they can’t access their leases, that will eectively shut them o from natural feed and force them to buy forage. Some may choose to sell. “Being put in this type of position – I wouldn’t want to be in their place,” says Wellman, who grew up on a ranch and knows the business rst-hand. “It’s crazy. Some of these guys run substantial numbers. How are they going to feed these animals during the summer? Hopefully it rains all summer long or we’re going to be in trouble.” At Lazy L Ranch in Merritt, the Lytton re jumped the highway and aected the backside of one of the operation’s range units. The re damage was minimal, but ranch co-owner Haley Rutherford is more concerned about drought for the upcoming season. “We’ve already had to open up a couple little ponds that were dammed up to get some water owing down the ditches to water stock,” she says. “Usually, we take some seasonal custom grazing cattle and we’re probably not going to do that this year.” Rutherford and her family run 400 cows on over 3,000 deeded acres. “The regular lack of water and drought is going to hurt us more than the res did,” she says. And Rutherford is not convinced the province will accommodate upcoming water needs for livestock producers. For her to create o-site year-round watering, the government will require that she reallocate irrigation water to livestock watering and acquire alternate-use registration on their water licence. “I don’t think they’re going to give anyone more water than what they’ve already got. There is no drought-proong from that perspective,” says Rutherford. There won’t be much feed value in Crown range ravaged by wildres last year and that has ranchers scrambling to nd alternative grazing leases. MURRAY MITCHELL
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 27Strong demand but uncertain feed outlook for beefCattlemen should brace for volatilityThere’s a lot of factors working against the beef sector right now, but consumer demand remains strong and that’s keeping packers working at record capacity. OGILVIE STOCK RANCH / KARI LYNN HOFFMANemail: firstname.lastname@example.org: email@example.com St. Laurent Avenue Quesnel, B.C. V2J 5A3Producers can apply for an advance on calves, yearlings, lambs, bison, forage and grain up to $1,000,000.00 with the rst $100,000.00 being interest free. Plus, interest relief through the Advance Payments Program is available to association members on their feeder cattle purchases.TOM WALKER KAMLOOPS – If cattle markets in North America were simply a story of supply and demand, then producers could well see decent pricing this year. But weather, international events, feed prices, processing capacity and consumer demand factor into prices and prots, explain two noted market analysts, meaning this year is anything but certain. Both the Canadian and the US cow herds are at record lows, says Anne Wasko of Eastend, SK, a market analyst with Gateway Livestock. Drought conditions have led to herd liquidations she told the South Peace Stockmen’s Association and the Peace River Forage Association in a webinar April 20. “There were a lot of crop failures in 2021,” says Wasko. “This is the rst year we have ever had to purchase feed for our own operation here in Saskatchewan.” US producers have cut numbers by 60%, and the herd is now at its lowest level since 2012. Canada’s herd stands at 3.5 million, the smallest herd in 35 years. “That is down a quarter of a million in the last ve years,” she says. The outlook promises little relief. While vegetation appears to be greening up as expected in BC, Matt Makens of Makens Weather LLC in Castle Rock, Colorado expects a dry summer in central BC and across the southern Prairies. Speaking to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association on April 5, Makens said those conditions will aect the amount and quality of grass available on BC ranges as well as the price of feed in Canada and the US, where drought conditions will likely remain across the corn belt. “US corn production is predicted to be down 5%,” notes Canfax executive director Brenna Grant. Canada’s seeded acres of barley are expected to be up 55% this year versus last. Supplies should increase with sucient moisture, but Grant expects continued price volatility. “We can expect volatility in feed prices over the next 18 months given North American weather and world events, and those costs may pressure feeder and fall calf prices,” she says. Right now, Canadian See BEEF on next page oJune 3-5, 2022Williams Lake, BCBC LIVESTOCK STOCKYARDSThank you to all our generous sponsors and contestants for making this Cariboo Classic Jr. Steer & Heifer Show a great firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow usWelcome to the 昀rst annualHave you herd? VBP+ TrainingWorkshops or Webinarsare Free!Looking to learn moreabout how to raisehealthy beef cattle?Open to producers of allsizes!free to all beef producersin bc!
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Many of those animals have come from the US. “We have been a net importer since 2014,” notes Wasko. “But the economics of today don’t support that and I expect we will return to being an exporter.” Record capacity Alberta packers are processing at a record 94% capacity, says Grant. Both feedlots and packers across North America have increased capacity over the last several years and that means there is room for animals. “We expect to see fewer calves come to market in the fall,” says Grant. “And supplies should tighten by the third quarter.” Wasko believes a change is coming. Canadian feedlots have added 19% more pen space since 2019 and will not want that to go empty, she says. “That should support a change in the leverage piece,” she says. Grant says that the global demand for protein is stable, with Canadian beef exports at record value of $4.4 billion and the highest volume (500,000 tonnes) since 2002. Nearly half of that goes to the US, while Asia, particularly Japan and Vietnam, are also important customers for Canadian beef. Price ination could impact demand but beef prices remain within typical ranges when compared to pork and chicken. “We are watching closely, but consumers are still choosing beef at retail,” Grant says “I’m always cautious when it comes to predicting prices,” Wasko says. “There are so many factors involved.” Generally, Western Canadian calves have traded very close to US calf prices in Canadian dollars over the last 50 years, she says. US prices are projected to be between $185 and $190 per hundredweight this fall for a 550-weight calf. “Assuming we still have an 80-cent dollar at that point in time and no price spread between Alberta and US, that would put our price between $232 to $238,” Wasko says. Input costs could put pressure on prots through the summer for both the feedlot and the producer. “If feed costs push prots down for the feedlots, they may pay less for calves. And if calf producers have to put animals on feed they will see a lower prot per animal,” says Wasko. “We really are unsure until we get this year’s crop o.” The kids are alright, and so is that flooded fieldOne of the joys of spring is wandering around the farm with a rake and a shovel poking around in all the drainage ditches. This non-productive work is intended mainly to satisfy an obsession with making water move. Obviously, I am not out here to x all the drainage issues on the farm. Not at all. I am merely having fun. Could we not agree that scraping out a wee little channel leading from a eld lake to a swale is one of life’s great satisfactions? Or how about raking a year’s worth of debris from an important drainage ditch? I am almost certain that the current increases – it’s quite a thrill, even if it’s not ecient. Drainage is an issue in this valley, and approximately one third of our pending potato eld is under water right now. My ditches are not going make the slightest dierence in the world. The expansive lake system is hosting hundreds of ducks, several types, and the farm ock is enjoying the pool amenity and whatever is the duck equivalent of people-watching and scong at strangers. We are theoretically condent that the eld will dry up as the water table drops, having seen it do so many times before. In the meantime, along with everyone else, we’ll have to progress through the many stages of water management impulse control, hoping to get as quickly as possible to the fun stu. The rst stage is to have an absolute conniption. It is completely unacceptable to be slogging about in mud and puddles everywhere. The water must go. At this point, one is driven to deploy all available water eradication tools, according to resources. Consequently, the entire Pemberton Valley rings with the sound of water pumps, the highway is busy with gravel trucks, and the Pemberton Valley Dyking District oce is peppered with drainage solution suggestions. We have more than once sunk a tractor and a PTO pump during attempts at draining the springtime lake on Field 1b, for example. Not fun. The new landowners hit this stage hard. I am sure it is horrifying to nd massive puddles covering your coveted piece of Shangri-La. Adding to the discomture, Pemberton groundwater is very high in iron and magnesium, which makes everything orange and a bit smelly. By and by, if one takes it very seriously and goes to great expense, some headway may be made. Gravel will replace mud, and the grass will green where once lay a lake. Even the dirt will start to dry. The sad truth is this: the rain is never far from falling and the groundwater table is lurking just below the surface. Square one will be re-encountered. One must become resigned to the existence of water on the land in mid-spring and accept the attendant gift of dissolved duck manure. As soon as the sun comes out for more than one day in a row, it will all dry up anyways. ‘Twas ever thus. Might as well enjoy it, and not try to over-perform. I think it’s like having kids, you know. I have been trying to nd a way into this topic for ages and there it is – just where you least expect it. How handy. I will take full advantage and explain my position. Pemberton is gorgeous most of the time. Very alluring, akin to paradise, and, as I am sure I have pointed out, fun. Unfortunately, there are also random oods for various reasons, it gets too hot, it gets too cold, when it rains it pours, and there are ies. It’s not as advertised. Same with kids. So that’s that. Somehow, I exhausted that topic sooner than I expected I would. Anna Helmer farms in Pemberton and is no stranger to productivity impediments. Farm Story by ANNA HELMERDid you know that some invasive plants are toxic to livestock and animals? It’s vital to frequently monitor your pastures and rangelands to PREVENT invasive plant establishment and spread.Feeling overwhelmed? Call us today for trusted advice and more information on: s3EEDINGs0RIVATELANDCONSULTATIONSs&)-#/SPRAYERSANDAPPLICATIONEQUIPMENTs%QUIPMENTLOANOUTSs(ERBICIDESANDMORE INVASIVE PLANT MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONALSPre- treatmentPost-treatmentREPORT ALL INVASIVE PLANTSEmail: email@example.com Phone: 1-877-377-8673250.372.2233www.purityfeed.ca 471 Okanagan Way Kamloops BCPictured Below: Hoary Alyssum, toxic to horses, controlled with Reclaim II selective herbicide. North Thompson Valley.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 29Blueberries need more than honeybeesDiverse pollinators deliver a better cropUBC researchers are collaborating with the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust to study how ower-enhanced hedgerows and setasides that support pollinators can boost blueberry yields. DFWT / CLAIRE KREMENPETER MITHAM DELTA – Blueberry growers need pollinators, but not all pollinators deliver the results growers expect. While honeybees are the pollinator of choice for growers, native bumblebees and other species may do a better job. Unfortunately, they’re not domesticated and aren’t usually available in the numbers growers require. But the past three years have seen researchers from UBC working to discover whether modications to the environment in and around blueberry elds could improve pollination by attracting bumblebees and other native species. Research by SFU biology professor Elizabeth Elle was the starting point for Claire Kremen, a professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC and President’s Excellence Chair in Biodiversity. “She found that growers could obtain up to 30% higher yields and prot if they had full pollination,” says Kremen, who shared the ndings of her work at the Pacic Agriculture Show in Abbotsford at the end of March. “She further found that, statistically, full pollination depended on the combination of both the managed honeybees and the wild bumblebees that were free-ying in some elds.” Kremen approached the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust, which works with growers to implement grassland set-asides for soil health and hedgerows for biodiversity. Kremen felt the set-asides and hedgerow stewardship programs could also serve pollinators. “Bumblebees need both nesting sites and oral resources, and where bumblebees nest is typically in abandoned rodent nests,” she says. “You often nd these in untilled ground, such as you might nd in a grassland or a forage meadow or even by the sides of your elds.” A study in Michigan demonstrated that managing such areas to attract pollinators by planting a native wildower mix increased native bee abundance and also highbush blueberry yields. “After about four years, the cost of implementing the wildower patch was equalized by the increases in production and their prediction was that production and prots would continue to surpass that,” she says. She set out to see if the results could be replicated in Delta. The results to date have been promising, with a third INSECTICIDEMultiple modes of action on your toughest pests. · Broad-spectrum, rapid insect knock-down control combined with extended residual control· Controls all damaging stages of target insects, including eggs, immatures and adults· Easy-to-use, pre-formulated mixture® CORMORAN is a registered trademark of ADAMA Agricultural Solutions Canada Ltd. Always read and follow pesticide label directions. © 2021 ADAMA Agricultural Solutions Canada Ltd.CORMORAN® INSECTICIDESerious Insect Protection See FIELD on next page o
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Baldy offers the best value in property and skiing in BC! $129,900JAMIE ZROBACK 1-604-483-1605 JASON ZROBACK 1-604-414-5577RICH OSBORNE 604-328-0848Personal Real Estate Corporationrich@landquest.comFAWN GUNDERSON 250-982-2314Personal Real Estate Corporationfawn@landquest.comKEVIN KITTMER firstname.lastname@example.orgMATT CAMERON email@example.comJOHN ARMSTRONG 250-307-2100Personal Real Estate Corporationjohn@landquest.comSAM HODSON 604-809-2616Personal Real Estate Corporationsam@landquest.comCHASE WESTERSUND 778-927-6634Personal Real Estate Corporationchase@landquest.comSAM HODSON 604-809-2616Personal Real Estate Corporationsam@landquest.comROB GREENE firstname.lastname@example.org of trials this year hoping to demonstrate that wildower patches in the margins of elds can make a dierence to Fraser Valley blueberry yields. An initial survey of eight sites in Delta last year found that blueberries in elds that hadn’t been modied had a fruit-set decit of about 22% versus maximally pollinated berries (a term that refers to berries thoroughly pollinated by hand). Berry weights were 33% lower. Duke blueberries were the least decient because honeybees nd them easier to pollinate, while Bluecrop saw a greater decit. (“Blueberries have this special ower that require it to be vibrated at a certain frequency in order to get the pollen to come out. And honeybees are not good at doing that,” Kremen notes.) This year’s trial will plant a mix of 11 annual and perennial owering forbs plus two grass species, in a patch 100 metres long and three metres wide. The mix was developed with the help of local seed nurseries, which chose species native to the Lower Mainland. “They also ower at dierent times to provide that whole sequence of bloom that’s important for the persistence and health of bumblebees and honeybees,” says Kremen. With the baseline established last year, this year will give researchers a glimpse of whether or not the owers had an impact. The team will study visitation to blueberries and pollination eectiveness in transacts of dierent distances from the eld edge. “Hopefully next year we’ll have some information about its eectiveness, but it might take a couple of years,” warns Kremen. But the past two years of work with set-asides and hedgerows indicate that the strategy will work. In the case of the set-asides, the standard practice is to seed the site with a mix of grasses and legumes and leave it for about ve years before returning it to production. But for the purposes of Kremen’s study, herbaceous owers were added to the mix with the goal of attracting and supporting local pollinators. “We have something blooming all the time, and that’s very, very important for supporting pollinator communities,” she says. The trial saw ve elds seeded with the standard mix and ve with the pollinator-enhanced mix. The results indicate that pollinator populations were higher in the set-asides than in blueberry elds “It may be because both grassland set-aside types provide nesting habitat for these bumblebee species that are not found in the crop elds,” says Kremen. But when researchers went into the elds and counted the actual number of pollinators on blossoms, set-asides with the enhanced mix of wildowers saw a greater number of pollinators, something Kremen says reects “the very large dierence in oral resources.” Hedgerows benefit pollinators Similarly, hedgerows appeared to provide good nesting opportunities regardless of ower mix, but those with pollinator-enhanced seed mixes saw signicantly more bumblebees. “Dierent kinds of edges are probably not so dierent from one another in terms of the nesting resources that they might provide to bumblebees, but the hedgerow sites are providing some additional oral resources that are not present on the unplanted margins but are good for bumblebees,” says Kremen. This should be good news for blueberry growers who want to attract pollinators and improve yields, she says. The additional oral resources are also good for honeybees. “Both bumblebees and honeybees and depend on a wide variety of oral resources,” she says. “It’s not going to be enough for them to just have oral resources by visiting blueberries.” But nesting sites and owers aren’t the only thing pollinators need. Kremen also pointed out that bees need refuge from pesticides, an issue that has been a ashpoint between growers and apiarists in recent years. “We’re interested in the relationship between bringing in this new kind of habitat, like these wildower strips or other kinds of restored habitats, how that aects benecial insect biodiversity, and in turn how that aects pollination and pest control,” says Kremen. While the wildower patches may provide habitat that’s pesticide-free, Kremen says growers also need to be mindful of when they’re applying sprays. “It can also be the careful management of pesticides by growers, trying to use pesticides at times of day when the bees aren’t ying, or trying to avoid using them when the crop is actually owering,” she says. Since habitat adjustments can also support domesticated pollinators such as honeybees, Kremen was asked if a growers could release bumblebees into their elds see success. Kremen was cautious. While introduced bees could work, Kremen notes that genetics and health issues could be factors in getting the population to establish and then reproduce. “They could contribute to the populations,” she says. “[But] they would have to be successful enough to produce queens.” The challenge for growers, however, is to have the pollinators available at the time when pollination is needed. With blueberries being among the rst commercial forage crops of the year available to bees, having a strong population is essential. But if a bumblebee population could be introduced and then established at a certain location, the grower could see benets. “The upside is you can potentially get pollination where you want it,” says Kremen.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 31Forum highlights made-in-BC ag innovationLabour shortage is propelling interest in agritechSUBSCRIBE TODAYCSA-spec Pressure Treated Barn PolesPreferred supplier for British Columbia Ministries & Parks Canada.Farm | Orchard | Vineyard | Berry TrellisingBill Everitt 250.295.7911 ext #102 email@example.com | Toll free 1.877.797.7678 ext #102PRINCETON WOOD PRESERVERS LTD. 1821 HWY 3 PRINCETON, B.C. V0X 1W0PV RanchHayshedPhoto: Allan Pauls KATHLEEN GIBSON ABBOTSFORD – The seventh annual Agriculture Innovation Forum, held at the Pacic Agriculture Show on April 1, provided an overview of current agritech developments in BC. A series of panel discussions gave details on programs supporting innovation in the sector, the adoption of on-farm technology and initiatives that support regenerative agriculture practices. Pandemic and climate emergencies are pushing farmers and ranchers to reach for new solutions to pressing problems, says forum organizer Mike Manion, a director with the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAF) and executive-in-residence with its Agritech Ramp-up Program. “We had producers in the room this year,” he says. “What brought them? Labour. If 30-40% of your labour force goes missing, you need other options.” The forum discussed BC companies’ innovations currently being tested, including Artenal Agritech Ltd.’s robotic cherry tomato harvester, Neupeak Robotics’s strawberry harvester, Lyne Systems (PickAssist)’s mushroom harvester and HOOH Organic Hop Company Ltd.’s work on new strains of hops for BC’s organic brewers. Field-testing is essential to ensure innovations work as advertised. The discussion of technology adoption was taken from the innovators’ point of view and focused on how to “land and expand” to get the rst trial and nd farmers willing to collaborate as “early adopters.” From the farmer’s point of view, there may not be enough incentives to participate. Manion acknowledges that eld-testing requires farmers’ resources, time, and patience – all of which are in short supply. Startups usually don’t have much money to oer as compensation, but Manion says they might oer discounts on the nal product. Understandably, farmers are most likely to support innovations already proven to work. Small-scale eld trials at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and facilities like Abbotsford’s Eco-Dairy, which showcases innovations so visitors can see them in operation, can help demonstrate project value. Three participants in the Agritech Ramp-up Program are currently testing their products at the Eco-Dairy: • Point 3 Biotech, a Toronto-based company that’s improving the performance of on-farm anaerobic digesters for gas production using only on-farm livestock manures (no o-farm additives); • Farmers’ Hive, a Vancouver startup testing on-farm sensors and cameras to rene management of real-time data on farms; • Valid Manufacturing, a Salmon Arm company using scale-appropriate centrifuges to extract phosphorus from animal manure so the product meets current soil nutrient level regulations for land application as fertilizer. BC agriculture minister Lana Popham introduced the afternoon and the ministry’s agritech lead Georgina Beyers spoke to the ministry’s Regenerative Agriculture and Agritech Network (RAAN). Beyers dened regenerative agriculture as practices that respond to climate change, strengthen food security and increase farm protability and productivity. The afternoon’s third panel focused on related innovations such as non-polluting fertilizers based on cellulose rather than conventional synthetic chelates from Lucent Biosciences in Coquitlam; fermentation technologies that improve soil biodiversity with biological rather than synthetic nitrogen developed by Vernon’s Acterra Tech; and vineyard management without chemicals, using native plants and wildlife monitored with radar tracking systems, from Echo Track Inc. headquartered in Ottawa. Relationships continue to evolve between innovators reaching towards agriculture from outside the industry and farmers reaching towards innovation from inside the industry. BC programs that support commercial agriculture innovation can be accessed alone or in sequence to take an innovation from startup to market. Programs include the BC Agritech Concierge oered through the BC Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. It helps new business ideas nd funding and get established. IAF oers the Agritech Ramp-Up Program, which oers market validation training, mentoring, networking and some grants to startups. It is currently seeking its second cohort. Finally, the Agtech Innovation Sandbox (AGIS) at Simon Fraser University, operated in partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley and KPU, helps scale-up small and medium-sized agri-tech enterprises in precision agriculture, circular agriculture and agri-genomics. A recording of the forum is available online at [https://vimeo.com/698434893]. No two test tubes were alike in this display at the Pacic Agriculture Show last month. These two young girls were trying to choose which of the matching tubes was something they could eat or touch and which was not, even though the contents looked almost identical. The display from the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association helps to educate all ages about the dangers of farm chemical look-alikes. MYRNA STARK LEADERDouble-checking
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 33Big data poses challenges and opportunitiesBC symposium suggests ways for farmers to engageOver 15,000 sq.ft of NEW high-end 16ft ceiling farm and storage buildings. New high-end fencing & deer fencing. 40 acres in quality hay with wheel line irrigation in place. Great community water. A 2000sq.ft rancher with many updates. It is the last property on a no-through road with spectacular views of the valley and mountains. Total privacy in a quiet natural setting. Great building sites for view and privacy. Farm and Rural Residential Properties in the Peace Country are our specialtyAnne H. ClaytonMBA, AACI P App, RIAppraiserJudi LeemingBHE, AIC CandidateAppraiser250.firstname.lastname@example.orgKATHLEEN GIBSON KAMLOOPS – “Smart” farming using big data promises greater eciency, better use of resources and more exible management but it also raises concerns about farm data ownership, privacy and security. To address those concerns, “The Big Data Revolution in the Canadian Agricultural Sector” symposium at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops on March 25 discussed how farmers can organize their own data initiatives, possibly in the form of co-operatives, to retain more control over their data and its value. The symposium took an in-depth look at digital agriculture as part of BC’s rst agriculture and food co-op conference and trade show, gathering panelists from academia, government, and agriculture to discuss opportunities and challenges. Symposium co-organizer Bill Oemichen is a co-op lawyer and research fellow at the University of Saskatchewan. He recently co-authored the report Digital Technologies and the Big Data Revolution in the Canadian Agricultural Sector. He notes that Canada lags about six years behind other countries in probing the ways big data is changing agriculture. “We as a research team are concerned that producers are giving up something that has signicant value and don’t even realize it,” he says. The digitization of agriculture involves the collection of data about everything on and for the farm. Big data is the result of an agricultural technology provider (ATP) combining data from many farms with data from other sources (such as weather). An ATP such as a traditional farm supplier like John Deere or Bayer, or new platforms like Amazon Agriculture Services or Telus Agriculture, creates value by applying proprietary algorithms to analyze large datasets. The analysis is then packaged and sold back to farmers through products or services. A recent Farm Credit Canada survey of Canadian farmers showed that about 70% believe information technology can increase eciency, lower costs, increase yields and improve decision making. However, a quarter of the farmers surveyed have growing concerns about sharing data with outside parties. Several big questions on the minds of farmers and ranchers informed the symposium’s discussion. These included questions about ownership, such as who owns a farm’s data once it is aggregated and whether or not a farmer can access their own data or retract it. Questions about portability include what happens to a farm’s data if the farmer switches suppliers. There are also questions about privacy, including whether farm data collection is really just a form of surveillance and whether or not farmers can protect condential information. Most important, can farmers share in the value created from use of their farm’s data? Oemichen conrms that the question of who owns a farm’s data after it is aggregated does not yet have a clear answer in law. It makes sense to assume that, once aggregated, one farm’s data is no longer the farmer’s and cannot be retracted. Voluntary codes of practice have been developed by ATPs and farmers in several countries that aim to clarify key issues about data use and security and reduce farmers’ mistrust. Ag Data Transparent (ADT) in the US certies ATPs using principles of transparency, ownership, control, portability, choice, termination and education. ADT blog administrator Todd Janzen suggested that farmers ask suppliers if their company is ADT certied. The Canadian government is about to enact a digital charter with a strong focus on data privacy rights. While helpful, voluntary codes are unlikely to address all farmers’ concerns. The University of Saskatchewan research team noted that although farmers lack trust in ATPs, they have a high level of trust in farmer-owned cooperatives. The symposium examined agriculture data co-ops, an approach that BC Tree Fruits and other parties in BC are considering. One example is the Texas-based Grower’s Information Services Co-op (GiSC). When Nebraska state authorities required farmers to reduce water use, GiSC helped them collect and aggregate their own data to track water use and facilitate compliance. The same approach could be used to leverage other data, such as energy savings for carbon credits. Oemichen says empowering farmers is key in the age of data. “That’s why we held the conference, to bring attention to this and get the discussion started,” he says. Helping you grow your business. you ours.Tiptoeing through the tulipsRain won’t stop Kate Onos-Gilbert from walking among the owers at the Chilliwack Tulip Festival. With crop rotation, it’s the biggest acreage Onos has offered in 16 years. Some patches were damaged by November’s oods, but there are still plenty of rows of bright, beautiful owers. RONDA PAYNE
34 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCSANDRA TRETICK ABBOTSFORD – Business planning is critical to mitigating risk and reducing stress, but surprisingly few farmers have taken time to draft written plans. Less than a quarter of Canadian farmers have a written business plan and just 32% have any kind of risk management plan, says Heather Watson, executive director of Farm Management Canada (FMC), a national organization that works to build the business acumen of farmers. This concerns Watson, who told growers attending the Pacic Agriculture Show that “88% of farmers who follow a formal business plan report greater peace of mind.” Most plans are typically limited to nancial risk, which can leave producers unprepared to deal with the non-nancial risks their operations face. The several unprecedented events BC farmers have dealt with in recent years oer plenty of examples: COVID, wildres, heat domes and ooding. Watson doesn’t think farmers are ready to manage all the risks coming their way. “You can’t control the weather, but you can control your response to it,” she says. The bulk of Watson’s presentation centered on the tools FMC oers to help farmers plan. AgriShield, an online platform that helps farmers assess on-farm risks and implement plans to manage those risks received special emphasis. FMC also oers Roots to Success, free risk management training workshops for producers. Risk management planning is something Amy Cronin of Cronin Family Farms in Bluevale, Ontario, believes in strongly, but she was still caught o-guard when the pandemic hit and borders closed. Amy and her husband Mike were the 2015 Outstanding Young Farmers and have farms in Canada and the US. When they started producing hogs in 1998, they had one 150-acre farm, 2,100 sows, 52,000 weaners and one employee. Today, they have nine sow farms totaling 2,100 acres, 22,500 sows, 280,000 early weans, 135,000 weaners, 200,000 market hogs and 125 employees spread over 11 companies. That growth came about after they sat down in 2009 and wrote a plan. Until then, they had nothing on paper. They spent a lot of time developing their mission statement and core values. Cronin said this helps them attract people with shared values. The planning process also opened their eyes to their key risks. As a hog producer, market volatility was a big one. In 2019, they added chickens to diversify their income and now raise 500,000 antibiotic-free chickens and also grow corn and soybeans. The quota was expensive, but it was a calculated risk. As part of the planning process, they wrote down their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – called a SWOT analysis. Doing so forced them to give these issues more attention. “It was some of these strengths that we had that helped us to get through that really dicult time of the pandemic and constant change,” says Cronin. It highlighted some weaknesses as well, including cash ow and labour issues, particularly in the US. Cronin rmly believes it’s important to have policies and procedures in place for smooth day-to-day operations. These allow them to focus on issues as they arise. They pay special attention to the risks that keep them up at night, whether that’s market volatility, biosecurity, trade, supply issues, cash ow, labour or COVID. “We can never be fully prepared for these kinds of incidents,” adds Cronin, referring to the natural disasters that BC farmers have faced over the past year. “We can be proactive. By thinking through situations, you’re training your brain to problem-solve. When disaster strikes, you know that the day-to-day is looked after. You’re going to be able to remove yourself and focus on the disaster.” Three other speakers at the session highlighted additional planning tools and resources, and nancial tools that can help with decisions about crop selection and pricing. A late substitute speaker, Jim Forbes, an environmental farm planner with the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, walked through the Taking Stock workbook, a planning tool designed to help farmers assess their business management practices, knowledge and skills. He called it a simple process but a big job. He also highlighted the BC Agri-Business Planning Program which provides funding for business plan coaching. Chris Bodnar of Close to Home Organics Ltd. in Abbotsford, a small-scale, family farm operation, makes his business decisions on what to plant each season by knowing his cost of production for each crop and factoring in his prot. Number crunching can be done using rough unit costs or enterprise budgets. Each has advantages and disadvantages. He encourages farmers to base their decisions on the numbers and revisit the business data throughout the season, not just at year end. That’s what Courtenay-area mixed livestock farmer David Semmelink of Lentelus Farms, does. He likes to try his hand at dierent things to nd what will be protable, but if it doesn’t pan out, he quickly moves on to something else. That’s led him into and sometimes out of beef, hay, grain, hogs, sheep and eggs. He’s checking the numbers on a month-to-month basis to see what works and what doesn’t. “It’s all just playing with the numbers,” says Semmelink. 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 35Three-fold growth marks hazelnut sector’s recovery Province shells out for funding as growers go nuts for expansionBC Hazelnut Growers Association president Steve Hope is pleased the province’s hazelnut renewal program has been extended for another two years. Demand outstrips supply. RONDA PAYNEGATORGATOR LOTTERYLOTTERYGRANDGRANDPRIZE:PRIZE:John Deere XUV 560E 4X4GATOR utility vehicleMust be 19+. Know your limit. Play within it.BUY YOUR TICKETS NOWwww.4hbc.caServing the Okanagan and Fraser Valley We’ve been proudly family owned and operated since opening in 1976. And with two blending plants, we’re one of BC’s largest distributors of granular, liquid and foliar fertilizers. Our buying power and proximity to the Fraser Valley makes us the logical choice for truckload shipments. OKANAGAN FERTILIZER LTD 1-800-361-4600 or 250-838-6414BARBARA JOHNSTONE GRIMMER CHILLIWACK – Hazelnut growers are excited to hear that the industry is nally turning around. Hazelnut production is now nearly triple what it was prior to the launch of the province’s Hazelnut Renewal Program (HRP) in 2018. Better yet, signicant growth is expected next year and for several years to come. “By 2032, we could return to 2012-2013 levels of 1.1 million pounds of hazelnuts per year,” explains Karina Sakalauskas, hazelnut specialist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food. From 2018-2021 under the HRP, 249 acres were planted with new Eastern Filbert Blight-resistant cultivars and 42.5 acres of diseased trees were removed. This equates to the planting of 47,099 trees and the removal of 4,795 infected trees. The program’s success has resulted in new funding of $100,000 being put towards extending the HRP for an additional two intakes in spring and fall 2022. Although the spring deadline has passed, the fall intake will accept applications starting August 9. “It is great to see the program extended another two years,” says Steve Hope, president of BC Hazelnut Growers Association and co-owner of Fraser Valley Hazelnuts Ltd. “It has greatly contributed to the hazelnut industry in BC.” In 2017, Fraser Valley Hazelnuts received 25,000 lbs of hazelnuts at its processing facility. This increased to 44,000 lbs in 2018, and 43,000 lbs in 2019. Hope explained that in 2020 they didn’t know what to expect because of the mix of tree removals and the fact new plantings had yet to come into full production. A disappointing crop of 30,000 lbs meant they had to turn local customers away. In 2021, it was a dierent story. The weather was very odd, so again they did not know what to expect. By late August, they heard it was going to be a bumper crop, and they were thrilled to see that the nut harvest was signicantly higher than they expected at nearly 73,000 lbs. The increased production is a result of the persistent eorts of the BC Hazelnut Growers Association to recover from the devastation of EFB through the replanting of disease-resistant trees developed at Oregon State University. Thom O’Dell of Nature Tech Nursery propagated the new cultivars and was science advisor for their evaluation in BC. He has a PhD in botany and plant pathology from Oregon State University and is a board member of the BCHGA. Although most of the new plantings are in the Fraser Valley, there are new plantings on Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and the Kootenays as well. Oregon has seen three-fold growth in its hazelnut acreage in the last 10 years, with 90,000 total acres. “For the rst time, hazelnuts were in the top 10 commodity crops in Oregon at $132 million,” says Nik Wiman, orchard specialist and associate professor at OSU. “As new acres come into production, and with a lot of acres still being planted, there is room for more growth.” Oregon produces most of the hazelnuts in North America, with much of the crop exported to China. O’Dell and Hope agree that local demand exceeds local supply by a wide margin in BC. They both anticipate growth in new plantings and more new varieties. “There has been a regression on the price globally of 10-12%, which impacts Turkey and Oregon,” says Hope. “But BC kept all its nuts in BC, and kept prices stable. There is a growing customer base. The industry is healthy, and we have more demand for local nuts than we have supply in this point in time.” HRP has two types of funding: $1,800 per acre to remove diseased trees and $5 per tree to plant, capped at $13,500 per applicant. The program is open to new and existing growers, who must either own or lease the land. The area to be planted must be at least one and up to 10 acres for double-density plantings, or a maximum of 20 acres for a single-density planting. BCHGA is planning two eld days this year. The rst will be on Vancouver Island at Coastal Black Estate Winery in Black Creek on May 14, and the second will be in the Fraser Valley on September 10. The fall eld day will also have an in-person and virtual AGM.
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SPREADER, SAWDUST & SAND THROWER PETER MITHAM VERNON – An evolving role for the group that represents organic certifying bodies across BC is prompting a review of its governance structure and heralds changes for local producers. The results of the rst phase of a structural review was the focus of OrganicBC’s annual general meeting, held online April 12. “As the organization has evolved over the last 29 years, the priorities and needs of our members, the sector and the organization have changed,” OrganicBC executive director Eva-Lena Lang said in her report to members. Strengthening the sustainability of the organization, the umbrella group for eight organic certifying bodies, is key to its long-term success. “The aim of the project is to review at a high level the services that we oer, and the fees that we charge and to make recommendations for structural alignment to ensure that the organization is nancially sustainable and successful in pursuit of our goals,” Lang explains. The review kicked o in November with the vision of engaging all stakeholders in a process that will move through three phases over three years. With the help of Notio Consulting Inc., the rst phase began in January but an initial series of more than 20 interviews conrmed that some issues identied in the organization’s strategic plan from 2018 and core review of 2019 remained valid. Key areas of focus in the 2018 plan included certication, consumer engagement, education, and the sustainability of the organization. The core review in 2019 aimed to support the organization’s eorts to meet the objectives of the strategic plan, with membership, public engagement and marketing being key concerns. “To address these obstacles, a more comprehensive alignment of the organization, starting with the strategic direction over the next three years, was deemed necessary,” a progress report notes. “The initial plan of the project really has grown, and the purpose of it,” Lang told meeting participants. “It was identied that we needed to dive even deeper and we’re now starting phase 1.5.” Seven points Seven decision points were identied to help the review move forward in “a purposeful and planned way.” These will be eshed out between April and June in papers identifying the “risks, options and recommendations” associated with each. The seven points relate to OrganicBC’s aim, goals, and vision; governance structure; which certication bodies hold accreditation and the right to license the organization’s ‘checkmark’ logo; the place of the accreditation board; who holds membership in the organization, and receives services; which services align with the strategic direction; and what to charge for those services. “We’ll be working very closely with the board of directors in working groups and with this work we’ll be reaching out to our membership and to our operators to ensure that we have the expertise within those working groups to go over these seven decision papers,” Lang says. Recommendations, as approved by the board of directors, will be presented to the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food for approval later this year. Action plan An action plan for communicating changes to the sector will be developed during the second phase to raise awareness of the proposed changes, and a plan will be drafted providing “a sense of direction and clear, achievable steps to OrganicBC undertakes structural review Association’s long-term sustainability in the spotlightmove forward with renewing, updating and reinvigorating service delivery.” The annual meeting followed a successful conference in early March, one of several highlights for the organization over the past year. While in-person events continued to be limited, OrganicBC enjoyed partnerships with BC Agriculture in the Classroom and participated in the province’s RegenBC conference and the BC Agriculture Council Ag Days event in Victoria. Change was also afoot. On the certication front, the association lost long-time accreditation board members Anne Macey of Salt Spring Island and DeLisa Lewis on Vancouver Island. Macey's loss was keenly felt, as she had been involved with accreditation since the board's inception. One certifying body, the Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association, left the association. It now holds accreditation through the International Organic Accreditation Service, based in North Dakota. Heather Stretch’s stepped down as co-president after three years in the role. She is succeeded by Niklaus Forstbauer, who is also the association’s representative to the BC Agriculture Council. This bodes well for solid connections beyond the sector in the year to come. “Niklaus has built a very strong relationship with BCAC during his tenure,” Lang says. 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 37YOURHelping YouWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATEScountrylifeinbc.comYOURHelping YouHelpingpingplinYoulHHping YoeWSfeinbc.comSee MUSHROOM on next page oGrowth surges in specialty mushroomsValue-added, home grower kits among the innovationsKyle Born and Chadd Bauman started Circular Harvest Farm in Abbotsford last year. They produce and sell gourmet mushroom kits and espouse the benets of a circular economy. SUBMITTED SANDRA TRETICK ABBOTSFORD – If there was a common thread running through the mushroom talks at the growers’ short course during the Pacific Agriculture Show in late March, it was a passion for all things fungi. Most of the focus was on specialty mushrooms, acknowledging the explosion in the number of specialty mushroom growers over the last 20 years. Denis Vidmar, a second-generation mushroom grower from Windsor, Ontario, and owner of The MUSHHUB Co., joined the session live from Detroit where he was about to open his second store. He operates a fruiting chamber to grow specialty mushrooms, and sells a line of fungi-based foods, snacks and beverages. Vidmar is a self-proclaimed fungite, what he terms the new generation of mushroom farmer. “We believe mushrooms will save the planet,” he says. “Our mission is to leave our planet healthier than we found it. We believe fungi are that solution.” Vidmar is excited about mushrooms’ “therapeutic and mycelium power,” as well as the culinary aspect. He also calls himself a fungivore, or an eater of mushrooms. “For every taste profile that we’re trying to achieve, there’s a fungi that mimics it,” says Vidmar. “For every meat taste profile, there’s a mushroom substitute. At some point this year, we’ll have 45 varieties of mushrooms on our menu.” Returning to the local Abbotsford mushroom scene, Kyle Born and Chadd Bauman from Circular Harvest Farm Co., stepped up to share their story. They are newcomers to the mushroom world, having started operations last year. The two 20-somethings met at the University of Waterloo in 2019. A common interest in indoor agriculture led them to combine forces, first to start the UW Hydroponics Club and more recently to launch Circular Harvest. They originally intended to create a hydroponics farm, but quickly discovered that the high start-up costs would take years to recoup. They pivoted to mushrooms and today produce mushroom kits for home growers. The company’s name is based on the idea of a sustainable, circular economy. They were disillusioned with linear farming models, and wanted to create something aligned with a circular farming model, where nutrients are returned back to the soil instead of being landfilled. “The main goal of a circular economy is to design waste out of the system,” says Bauman, a former player in the Ontario Hockey League. Together, they repurposed an old poultry barn on the Born family farm (known for its Born 3 eggs) to produce mycelium, which go into the kits that produce mushrooms (the fruiting body). It’s a low-tech operation with a lab and incubation room. They sourced waste hardwood sawdust from local carpenters to use as the substrate for the kits, but they expect supply issues will become a factor as they scale up production. They’ve also been experimenting with different nutrient supplements to add to the substrate, including soy hulls, newspaper, coffee grounds, grape pomace and beet pulp. As the business ramped up, Bauman gravitated to mycology and product innovation with Born focused on the finance and marketing side. They discuss ideas and handle strategy together. Circular Harvest currently offers four types of gourmet mushroom kits: three oyster mushrooms and lion’s mane. Each kit can produce up to three harvests. Afterwards, the substrate can be spread in gardens to enrich the soil and close the loops in Born and Bauman’s circular farming model. Their top goal at present is finding a durable, reusable option to replace the plastic grow bags Quality Pre-Owned Tractors & EquipmentAGOC ALLIS 6690 W/LDR . . . . . 23,000 ANDEX 773 RAKE . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,500 BOBCAT T110 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37,500 CAT 301.8C EXCAVATOR . . . . . . 26,500 DITCH WITCH 3500 . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,500 FELLA SM320 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CALL JAYLOR MIXER WAGON . . . . . . . . 13,500 JCB 409 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47,000 KUHN FC313 MOWER TG . . . . . 20,000 KUBOTA BX2200 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,500 KVERNELAND 4032 MOWER . . 16,000 MASSEY FERGUSON 1523 . . . . . . 8,500 TYCROP HIGH DUMP 16’ . . . . . . . 9,500 WACKER NEUSON WL60T . . . . . .CALL WACKER NEUSON 750T . . . . . . . 62,500
38 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCMUSHROOM sales nfrom page 37MANUFACTURING A VARIETY OF ATTACHMENTS INCLUDING BRUSH MULCHERS | ROTARY BRUSH CUTTERS | PTO GENERATORS | AUGER DRIVESDRAINAGE PLOWS | TREE SPADES | TREE SAWS & SHEARS | BOOM MOWERS | TREE PULLERSFELLER BUNCHERS | EXCAVATOR ADAPTERS | SCREW SPLITTERS | TRENCHERS | STUMP GRINDERSBAUMALIGHT.COMAdair Sales & Marketing Company Inc. 306-773-0996 | email@example.com in the kits, which inevitably get thrown away. Since their official launch in September, sales have grown steadily. They’ve sold 1,000 kits, with roughly 75% of their sales through retail stores in Abbotsford and on Vancouver Island. The remainder are online, where the kits sell for $30 each. Both still hold down part-time jobs, devoting about 20 hours a week to the start-up. Born and Bauman are also working on plans to expand their Circular Harvest brand beyond mushrooms in the future. “Here in Abbotsford, there Mushroom exports take top spot Mushrooms topped the list of BC agricultural exports in 2020, knocking blueberries out of the top spot. Blueberry exports decreased 13.7% versus 2019 to $236.2 million in 2020, according to Statistics Canada, while mushroom exports shot up 8.2% to $248.6 million. Moreover, mushroom exports nearly doubled in value versus 2015. BC produces about 40% of all mushrooms grown in Canada. White and brown agaricus mushrooms account for most of the 56,000 tonnes produced in BC annually, and the bulk of this is grown by two large-scale commercial growers. Highline Mushrooms, headquartered in Ontario, operates six farms in the Fraser Valley and Aldergrove’s Champs Fresh Farms Inc., is part of Pennsylvania-based South Mill Champs Group. Mike Pimlott of Champs and Lewis Macleod of South Mill Champs kicked o the mushroom session at the Pacic Agriculture Show with an overview of agaricus mushroom production in BC and touched on some of their bigger operational challenges and market opportunities. South Mill acquired Champs in 2018, becoming one of the largest growers in North America with a total production of 50,000 tonnes a year. The crop moves through a network of distribution centres in major cities around North America. Specialty mushrooms can fetch prices far above agaricus, especially in export markets like Japan, and while agaricus makes up the lion’s share of the volume produced, there has been an explosion in the number of specialty mushroom growers over the last 20 years. Speciality mushrooms accounted for just 4% of production in 1997 to 81% by 2017. The scale of production varies dramatically as well. In 2017, the average agaricus business sold 2.1 million kilograms of mushrooms and recorded $9.6 million in sales, while the average specialty mushroom business sold 26,000 kilograms of mushrooms and recorded $297,077 in sales. Despite the meteoric growth in the sector, there hasn’t been a provincially based mushroom growers association since the Mushroom Growers Society collapsed in 2020, and the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food does not have a dedicated mushroom specialist. —Sandra Tretickis such an amazing collaborative community,” says Born. “I think that it could be better used to eliminate waste by all of these companies working together.” Thom O’Dell of Nature Tech Nursery in Merville rounded out the session. Nature Tech is a major supplier of hazelnut trees but also grows mushroom spawn. O’Dell is an affiliate mycologist with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. O’Dell sees enormous growth potential for the BC mushroom industry. “Several hundred [mushrooms] in BC are edible. They are prime candidates for domestication,” he says. “There is still a lot of work to do on strain improvement, selection and breeding.” Food isn’t the only area where O’Dell sees potential. He highlighted some of the new trends, including fungal materials and biofabrication such as mushroom-based leather and packaging materials, medicinal applications, functional foods including mushroom powders and extracts, myco-remediation to clean contaminated soil and the growth in therapeutic uses of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) to treat addictions and anxiety. But with 30-plus years as a scientist behind him, O’Dell is cautious when it comes to the hype around mushrooms. “How are you going to distinguish the crap from the not-crap?” he asks. “There’s a huge amount of hype, [but also] a huge amount of potential.” It’s been more than two years since the Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association hosted a live mycology session in tandem with the Pacic Agriculture Show in Abbotsford. After a hiatus last year, they made the switch to a hybrid format this year. Despite these changes, attendance was comparable even though more than half of the mushroom audience chose the online option. Bauman was fueled by the opportunity to make connections with more fungites. “It’s so exciting to see how passionate everyone in the mushroom industry is about mushrooms,” he says. “There’s a huge amount of hype, [but also] a huge amount of potential.” THOM O’DELL, NATURE TECH NURSERY
Not only did Adam Degenstein of Armstrong have the best looking team at the Chilliwack Plowing Match, April 2, but he was denitely the best dressed plowman in the event! DAVID SCHMIDTCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 39Chilliwack plowing match marks its centennialTurnout was strong though participation is decliningwww.hlaattachments.com 1-866-567-4162 • Independent grapples for clamping of awkward loads• Tine and grapple tips are AR400 material• Compact models available• 1-1/4” shaft diameter• 2-1/2” spacing between tines• Points are 5/8” thick, 400 Brinell high strength steel• Compact models available• Grapple clamps on to any Class II fork frame with walk through guard Grapple shown mounted on HD55 pallet fork.BRUSH GRAPPLESINGLE ARM LOG GRAPPLESTONE FORKKeynote Speaker: Chris Koch - “If I Can....”Chris Koch doesn’t let limitations or obstacles stand in his way. Despite being born without arms and legs, Koch grew up like any other small-town kid — playing road hockey, causing mischief at school, and helping out on his family farm. Today, Koch is a motivational speaker who inspires his audiences to continually challenge themselves and build the life they dream of. An avid traveler, marathoner, and farmer, Koch’s presentation reects his full life. He loves spreading the message of, “If I Can…what’s stopping others from doing the same?”Vancouver Island’s Largest Agriculture Trade Show of the YearShowcasing the latest and most innovative equipment and technology for the Agriculture industry. Conference Sessions - “Thriving in a Climate of Change” - www.iashow.caDUNCAN, BC • WWW.IASHOW.CA • 250-748-0822 • COWEX@SHAW.CAJULY 6 & 7, 2022DAVID SCHMIDT CHILLIWACK – The Chilliwack Plowing Society was hoping for a good crowd for its 100th anniversary plowing match, April 2. What they got was beyond belief as well over 1,000 people stormed onto Greendale Acres (formerly the Chilliwack Corn Maze) to watch over a dozen tractor and horse plowmen demonstrate the ancient art. “We were completely thrilled by both the number of spectators and the weather,” Chilliwack Plowing Society president Francis Sache says. Although the forecast had predicted heavy rain, the rain held off, allowing for a most enjoyable day for both the spectators and the audience. Sache had an extra reason to be thrilled with the day as he won the reversible plow class and will once again represent BC in the Canadian championships being held in Manitoba in early May. Joining him in Manitoba will be Mike Strotman of Salmon Arm, who won the championship conventional class. Although Chilliwack hosted unofficial matches during the past two years to keep their 100-year streak alive, the last two Canadian championship matches were cancelled due to COVID-19. “This will be our first Canadian championship since 2019,” Sache notes. If there was a damper to the match, it is the fact that the number of competitors continues to shrink. Although there were nine competitors in the antique tractor class (won by Brent Holcik of Chilliwack) and four in the horse class (won by Phil Rogers of Lillooet), there were only six competitors in the championship classes. That was less than the number which participated in the politician class. Politicians compete Seven local mayors, councillors, MLAs and MPs competed in that fun event, with Chilliwack-Hope Conservative MP Mark Strahl declared the winner. “We’ve been fighting this decline for several years as our competitors are getting too busy or too old,” Sache says. He encourages anyone interested in trying their hand at the sport to contact him. “We have plows and tractors available so they can try it out for a year or two before they buy their own equipment,” he says. Helping you grow your business.Helpingrowbus
40 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCThousands of BC farmers and ranchers turn to Country Life in BC every month to nd out what (and who!) is making news in BC agriculture and how it may affect their farms and agri-businesses! CREDIT CARD # _________________________________________________________________ EXP _____________ CVV __________ o NEW o RENEWAL | o ONE YEAR ($18.90) oT WO YEARS ($33.60) o THREE YEARS ($37.80) Your Name ______________________________________________________________________________ Farm Name _____________________________________________________________________________ City ______________________________________ Postal Code __________________________________ Phone _____________________ Email ______________________________________________________ MAIL TO: 36 DALE RD, ENDERBY, BC V0E 1V4 subscriptions@ countrylifeinbc.com Kenneth’s encounter with nature goes sidewaysWhen we left o last time, Ashley and her father no sooner had reached the blu when Kenneth laid into her about how disappointed he was with her relationship with “Cowboy Clayton.” Ashley red back with both barrels. Rural Redemption, Part 146, continues. Ashley’s outburst briey silenced Kenneth. She rose before he had time to gather his thoughts. “Let’s take some of Grandma’s advice and quit while we’re ahead, Daddy.” “I’m not nished yet,” said Kenneth. “I am.” Ashley started walking back to the house. Duchess watched her go, then eyed Kenneth suspiciously and briey weighed her options before she galloped o after her. Kenneth sat stewing in his own bile for another 15 minutes. He rose and started o on the trail that headed along the fenceline and would take him directly back to Newt’s. He followed along the fence until it disappeared under a mound of windfallen trees. He oundered into the tangle and snagged his pantleg on a hidden strand of barbed wire. He pitched headlong into the branches and brambles as the wire parted his pantleg from kneecap to ankle and traced its trajectory into the skin over his shin bone. Kenneth was overwhelmed by a ood of sensations, nearly all of them painful. He was unable to nd any handhold or footing that would provide him enough purchase to stand. The furrow in his shin was throbbing and every movement served to tighten the branches’ woody embrace. He began silently cursing his assailants roundly and saved his cruelest denunciation for the blackberry spines that were needling his esh from all quarters. Eventually, he cursed himself out and tried calling for help. None was forthcoming. He started feeling sorry for himself. In all probability, no one was even going to miss him and, even if they did, he doubted any of them would bother to come looking for him. His thoughts then moved on to the victim phase where fate and indierence had conspired to cast him into the cruel clutches of nature. Lastly came reality and though he was loathe to admit it, perhaps he had just tripped and fallen down. One way or the other, the only way he was going to be the hero of this particular tragedy was to get back on his feet. He managed it by pushing with his forearms and rolling over sideways three times. The blackberry vines were reluctant to see him go and punctured him aectionately. Kenneth stood and took stock of himself. Torn pants, torn shirt, wire-cut and vine scratched and oozing bits of blood from stem to stern. He regained the trail and limped toward home. Twenty minutes later, it dawned on Kenneth that something was amiss. The trail had disappeared, he hadn’t seen the fence since he fell down, his feet were sinking deeper into the mud by the minute and surely by now he should have come to one of Newt’s elds. There did seem to be a hole in the trees just ahead and if he pushed on a few yards more, he might be able to get his bearings. Wait a minute. Wasn’t there an app for just this sort of thing? Kenneth reached for his cell phone; it wasn’t there anymore. He patted himself down just to make sure, but it wasn’t there, all right. He plunged forward. Now he was walking in standing water. He arrived at the clearing in water six inches deep. The clearing looked like a small lake. There were bullrushes all around the edge and a pile of sticks in the open water in the middle. Another step ahead and the water was up to his knees, and his feet were stuck fast. For the second time in less than an hour, he was calling for help. vvv A quarter of a mile north of the beaver pond, Lorne and May Davis were drinking coee on their deck. Their dog Oscar who was asleep at Lorne’s feet sat up suddenly and stared into the woods. He growled menacingly then started to bark. “What’s set him o do you suppose?” asked May. “I dunno; maybe something down in the swamp.” Oscar was now standing with his hackles up. “A racoon maybe?” said May. “Do you think I should put the hens in?” “I wouldn’t worry about the hens just yet. It’s probably nothing but I’ll take Oscar for a bit of a run and we’ll check it out. “I thought you were going over to help spruce things up at the hall?” “We’ll be half-way there when we get to the swamp. You can meet us at the hall for the hot dogs at noon,” said Lorne. vvv Junkyard Frank’s graduation picnic was o to a slow start at the community hall. A group of the same old faces who always turned out for workbees was gathered near the balleld backstop drinking coee Lois sent from the store and sizing up the work at hand. Hap Fitzpatrick was planning to run his brush cutter over the outeld and Clay and Ashley were planning to tackle the weeds and grass around the bleachers. The Vincents – Jimmy and Old Jimmy – had a ladder and some staples so they could take up some of the slack in the chain link screen on the backstop. They could hear Oscar in the distance. Clay stopped and listened intently. “Did you hear that?” “That’s just old Oscar. He’s probably got wind of a racoon eyeing up one of May’s hens,” said Jimmy. “Not that,” said Clay. “It sounded like someone calling for help.” “From where?” asked Jimmy. “I don’t hear anything.” “From the bush across the road.” “There’s nothing back there but Lorne’s beaver swamp,” said Jimmy “I hear it, too,” said Ashley. “I’m not about to argue with two sets of young ears. Maybe we should head over that way just in case.” Both Vincents, Clay and Ashley and Frank headed toward Lorne Davis’ swamp. Jimmy led the way with a 50-foot length of Search and Rescue rope coiled over his shoulder. They could hear Oscar getting closer as they went. By the time they were halfway there, Oscar was in full and furious cry straight ahead of them. Jimmy’s cell phone rang. It was Lorne Davis. “Hey, Jimmy. Sorry to call your re number like this but I’ve got a bit of trouble here.” “What’s up, Lorne? You need a re truck?” “Nothing’s burning, Jimmy. Some idiot’s hiked out into the middle of the beaver- pond and it looks like he’s stuck. Oscars around there raising hell with him right now.” Jimmy told Lorne there was help already on the way and they weren’t more than ve minutes out. When the call ended, he turned to rest of the rescuers and told them Lorne said there was some idiot stuck in the beaver pond and they just needed to head for Oscar to nd him. Old Jimmy wondered what particular kind of idiot was it that would wander o into the bush and hike out into the middle of a mud-bottom beaver pond. Young Jimmy told him they were about to nd out. Junkyard Frank sent Harriet Murray a text message and said there was goings-on at the community hall she wouldn’t want to miss. Oscar barely took notice of the rescue party when they arrived. He was beside himself at the water’s edge, barking wildly. Jimmy guessed if they could translate for Oscar he was probably saying: “LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! THERE’S AN IDIOT IN THE POND! LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! Ashley stared at Kenneth in disbelief. “That’s not an idiot. That’s my father.” “Henderson?” said Old Jimmy. “You mean to say that there is Kenny Henderson?” Ashley nodded. “Well then,” he said. “I suppose with all due respect we’d better just say he’s ambidextrous and leave it at that.” Ashley looked puzzled. “How so?” she asked. “On the one hand he’s your father, but on the other hand, I’m stickin’ with idiot.” ... to be continuedWoodshed Chronicles by BOB COLLINSwww.countrylifeinbc.com/subscribe
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 41A report released earlier this year wasn’t able to pinpoint the reason why consumers may nd butter harder to spread. FILEYOURHelping YouWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATEScountrylifeinbc.comYOURHelping YouHelpingpingplinYoulHHping YoeWSfeinbc.comResearch shows lack of data on butter hardnessPlenty of variables highlight areas for future researchA storm erupted last year when a Globe and Mail article raised questions among consumers about the consistency of butter and whether animal feed supplements such as palm oil by-products fed to dairy cows have caused butter to become harder in texture. In response, Dairy Farmers of Canada established an expert working group in spring 2021 to explore consumers’ concerns. The group released its report in January. The 13-member group conducted not only a comprehensive review of the literature but also an assessment, compilation and statistical analysis of the fatty acid composition of raw milk and analysis of blocks of retail butter from across Canada. “The working group looked at many factors that can possibly influence butter spreadability, and identified a number of them,” said working group chair Daniel Lefebvre. “However, there was not enough data, and no published information, to determine if butter was harder in 2021 compared to previous years.” Lefebvre said that milk fat is one of the most complex natural fats, containing about 400 fatty acids each with a different name. “People generally understand there is a difference between saturated fats, unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, but most people do not realize there are hundreds of different fatty acids for each of the ‘saturated’ and ‘unsaturated’ categories,” he said. Cows naturally produce these fatty acids, including palmitic acid, regardless of what they eat. Variations are expected due to a variety of factors such as breed, age, stage of lactation, as well as diet. But these fatty acids are derived from the traditional feed of dairy cows – hay, silage, pasture grass and cereal grains – and the cow makes palmitic acid naturally in her udder. “Palmitic acid is the name by which the fatty acid 2hexadecanoic acid is commonly known,” he said. “It is a chain of 16 carbon atoms saturated with hydrogen atoms with no double bonds, hence the nomenclature C16:0. Although the name implies a connection with palm oil where it was first discovered, palmitic acid is present in just about any fat or oil and in general is the most common one.” This includes milk or butter where it is the predominant fatty acid, accounting for a third of all fatty acids in milk fat. The working group also stated in its report that this survey demonstrates many other milk fatty acids are also associated positively or negatively with the percentage of solid fat in butter at room temperature and can also impact its firmness. Given the widely variable climate and growing conditions across Canada, dairy cows’ diets depend on multiple inputs. Feed is based on crops grown in specific regions. Regional growing conditions such as drought, heat or rain will affect the quality and quantity of forage, market prices of supplements and availability of by-products. In addition, herd management conditions can influence milk production such as production levels and feeding systems. “Cow diets, including which supplements are used, change between farms and [change] from year to year,” he said. “There is not enough documentation of the diets used by dairy farms across the country to know if feed or feed supplements have changed over the years. Dairy farmers work with ruminant nutrition experts on a regular basis to analyze the nutritional value of their crops, and these experts advise on supplements of minerals, vitamins or other needed nutrients so cows’ diets are optimized to meet their nutritional needs for health and production. More specifically, palm-derived supplements have been approved by Canada’s stringent regulatory system.” The working group analyzed 40 different bricks of butter from across Canada and, as expected, there was variability in both the content of palmitic acid and the hardness measured. The report stated that, with respect to processing, the literature review indicated that cream handling, storage temperature and churning are key factors that affect the rheological (flow) properties of final products, including the firmness and texture of butter. However, there was not one clear defining factor for butter hardness and the group could not come to a determination that feed influences butter production and/or hardness. One positive outcome of the study was that, while the working group identified data that already exists, they identified gaps in data that still need to be filled. They recommended continuation of milk fatty acid studies across the country and over time to further amass valuable knowledge and understand factors that contribute to its variations. Research by MARGARET EVANS
42 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCThis crustless quiche is a good start to any morning – or afternoon! JUDIE STEEVESBrunch for special people on special daysThe cook for Mother’s Day is frequently not the most experienced one in the household, but there’s always lots of love that goes into the meal. And that’s one of the most important ingredients of all. The act of preparing something to eat for someone you care for is really why home cooking is so revered. The result of adding that one important ingredient is a success in the kitchen, all on its own. Add some simple but fresh ingredients and you’ve surely got a winner. There are lots of recipes for simply-made dishes which are just as yummy as those that are much more complicated to prepare. For instance, when it comes to breakfast, making scrambled eggs is really pretty easy but serve them up in a different form for a bit of fun. Eggs made up like a quiche and cooked individually are easy to serve if you have a bunch for brunch, too. Jude’s Kitchen JUDIE STEEVESThat’s something that often happens on the Victoria Day long weekend, as families get together or friends come to visit. When I serve a ham dinner, I like to freeze some of the bits of ham that are left over, to mince up and use in muffins or scrambled eggs, quiches or creamed ham dinners. These muffins are a favourite around our house, with family and visitors equally, and muffins make a great addition to the breakfast or brunch buffet table. They can even be made up ahead of time and frozen, ready to be thawed and served or perhaps heated gently in the oven before they hit the table. Fresh slices of fruit or vegetables are always a crowd-pleaser and they can be arranged attractively on the buffet too. I think anything you can prepare ahead of time is a bonus so you get to enjoy the company of the friends and family you’re cooking a meal for. Breakfast is an important meal to start off everyone’s day, so try to include as much nutrition in it as you can, including a hit of protein. Both these recipes are also great to take on the road, whether that’s a trip, a hike or just a picnic. Enjoy May outdoors with the longer days and warmer weather. These savoury muns make a great breakfast, brunch, snack or accompaniment to a bowl of soup for supper. They’re convenient and nutritional additions to a hike or a picnic. 1 1/2 c. (375 ml) our 1/2 c. (125 ml) whole wheat our 4 tsp. (20 ml) baking powder 1 tbsp. (15 ml) brown sugar 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) salt 1/3 c. (75 ml) minced ham • Preheat oven to 425° F. • Use a whisk to combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. • Cut cheese into small dice, mince ham and nely mince green onion and mix in. • In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and oil. • Lightly spray mun cups with oil or grease them. • Combine wet and dry ingredients, but don’t over-beat. • Divide batter amongst mun cups. • Bake for about 20 minutes. • Makes 12. CHEESE MUFFINS WITH GREEN & HAM SPECKSThese individual eggs-in-a cup are perfect for serving a group at breakfast, or to take to Mom on Mother’s Day for a special breakfast in bed. This recipe can be halved or doubled or tripled, depending on how many you need to feed. 1 medium potato 1/2 small onion 2 c. (500 ml) fresh spinach leaves 1/4 c. (60 ml) minced ham Drizzle of oil • Preheat oven to 375° F. • Grate potato and mince onion. Chop spinach nely and mince ham. • Add a drizzle of oil to a medium-sized frypan over medium heat and sauté the grated potato and minced onion. When softened, add the minced ham and chopped spinach, stirring until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat. • Meanwhile, beat eggs in a separate bowl and add grated cheese, reserving a spoonful to garnish the eggs. Add salt and pepper, to taste. • Add the potato mixture and beat together. • Spray a bit of oil into six or eight mun cups and divide the egg mixture amongst them. (Don’t ll the cups to the very top or the mixture may run over while they cook.) • Sprinkle a grating of reserved cheese on each. • Cook in a preheated oven for15-20 minutes, or until the eggs are set and not runny. • Makes 6-8. ONESIE CRUSTLESS QUICHE6 eggs 1/4 c. (60 ml) grated Swiss cheese salt & pepper, to taste spritz of oil 1 c. (250 ml) aged cheddar 1 large green onion, optional 2 eggs 1 c. (250 ml) skim milk 3 tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil Get crackin’ and treat Mom to a tasty yet easy-to-prepare breakfast on Mother’s Day
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC MAY 2022 | 43TRACTORS/EQUIPMENTREAL ESTATEFOR SALE FOR SALEHAYSEEDBERRIESFor Tissue Culture Derived Plants of New Varieties of Haskaps, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Saskatoon Berries and Sour Cherries, Please Contact:DISEASE FREE PLANTING STOCK OF NEW BERRY CROPS 4290 Wallace Hill Road, Kelowna, BC, V1W 4B6info@agriforestbiotech.com250.764.2224www.agriforestbiotech.com NEW POLYETHYLENE TANKS of all shapes & sizes for septic and water storage. Ideal for irrigation, hydropon-ics, washdown, lazy wells, rain water, truck box, fertizilizer mixing & spray-ing. Call 1-800-661-4473 for closest distributor. Manufactured in Delta by Premier Plastics premierplastics.com Feeders & Panels that maintain their value!ROUND BALE FEEDERS BIG SQUARE BALE FEEDERS FENCE PANELS CATTLE & HORSE FEEDERSHEAVY DUTY OIL FIELD PIPE CRADLE FEEDERS. Single big square or 2 round bales Outside measurement is 8 feet x 12 feet Silage bunk feeders For product pictures, check out Double Delichte Stables on Facebook Dan 250/308-9218 Coldstream DON GILOWSKI 250-260-0828 Royal LePage Downtown Realty Ltd BUYING OR SELLING OKANAGAN FARM, RANCH OR ACREAGE? COURTENAY HEREFORDS. Cattle for Sale: yearling bulls and bred heifers. John 250/334-3252 or Johnny 250-218-2537.PYESTERDAY’S TRADITION - TODAY’S TECHNOLOGYMANAGERS Phil Brown 250-293-6857 Catherine Brown 250-293-6858 firstname.lastname@example.org www.coppercreekranch.com PRINCETON, BC Raising registered polled & horned Herefords & F1s. BREEDING BULLS FOR SALE.RAVEN HILL MEADOWS: Coneygeers bloodlines - call for seedstock. 250-722-1882. NanaimoLIVESTOCKLIVESTOCKIt’s the top linethat makes the Bottom LineBC SHORTHORN ASSOCIATION Scott Fraser, President Bob Merkley, BC Director 250-709-4443 604-607-7733DeBOER’S USED TRACTORS & EQUIPMENT GRINDROD, BCUSED JD TRACTORS 60-100 HP JD 1830 W/LDR 16,000 JD 4230 CAB, 3PT 15,000 JD 6420 CAB 4WD LDR 70,000 JD 7200 4WD OPEN STATION PWR QUAD TRANSMISSION CALL JD 1630 W/LDR 16,000 JD 3155 4WD W/CAB 45,000 ROME 8’ heavy duty disc 2,500 OLIVER 12’ disc 3,750 ED DEBOER 250/838-7362 cell 250/833-6699 CURT DEBOER 250/838-9612 cell 250/804-61471-888-770-7333LOWLINE semen for sale (registered bull). Silverhills Lowlines 250-547-6465 email@example.comPurebred BLACK ANGUS cow/calf pairs born in October Bull now with cows, down sizing 12 pairs to go Call Ian @ 604-316-3517 or firstname.lastname@example.org Shadynook LowlinesImprove your efciency and moderate the size of your cows with top quality Lowlines 2-year-old bulls and yearling bulls and heifers available Enderby, BC 250-833-0491 email@example.comCUSTOM BALING 3x4 BIG SQUARES SILAGE BALING/WRAPPING ED DEBOER 250/833-6699 CURT DEBOER 250/804-6147EDVENTURE HAY SALES ENDERBYcouADVERTISING THAT WORKS!Pacifc Forage Bag Supply Ltd.www.pacificforagebag.comCall 604.319.0376FOR SALE in Osoyoos: 2 electronic cherry PACKING LINES, 1 apple pack-ing line, harvest bins, and other as-sorted packinghouse equipment. Please contact Tony for more details 250-498-7705WANTEDAvailable now, 4- 1/4 mile Used VALLEY, ZIMMATIC, T.L. PIVOTS, 3- Used 1,000 ft, 1,250 ft Hose reels, 10,000 ft 12 in 8,000ft 10 in HDPE, Steel pipe in all sizes used. Dealer for Pierce Pivots, T.L Pivots, lease your new or used pivot, Hose reels, RM, Idrio, diesel pumps, centrifugal, sub-mersible, freq drives, pump stations, 30 years experience. Talk to Brock! 250 319 3044ALFALFA SEED FOR SALE Tap root blend for hay and pasture. North Okanagan produced. Common #2, $125 for 44 lb bag. Larry 306-580-3002, ArmstrongGOING CONCERN POULTRY FARM or QUOTA I'm interested in purchasing broiler, layer, or egg hatching operation. Must be located in BC. Manny 250-689-4119 OLD GROWTH CEDAR RAILS Antique 12' old growth cedar fence rails $1000 plus GST/100 rails Call Max 604 858 4913FARM EQUIPMENT and PARTS • ROLLOVER PLOWS 3 and 4 BTM, in-furrow, and on-land, $3750 to $6750 • FORD and OLIVER Semi Mount Plows, 5 or 4 BTM, $1600 each. • HD BREAKING PLOW, 1Big BTM on wheels, $3,600 • HD V-SPADE Root Cutter on wheels, 1 ripper spade, $2800. • CO-OP 26’ CULTIVATOR, drawbar pull, HYD fold, $6500. • CRUST-BUSTER, 24’ drawbar pull, S-Tines and Harrows, $4,600. • 2 NEW CULTIVATORS, 5’ and 6’, S-Tines, 3PH, $650 each. • JOHN DEERE CULTIVATOR, Row-Crop 4 row, $1000. • CULTIVATOR DUCK FEET TIPS, New and Used, bigger sizes. • NORTHWEST ROTOTILLER, Straw-berry/Row Crop 2 row, $2500. • IH SIDE DRESSER, Granular fertilizer, Cultivator, 4 row, $1800. • RIDGE MULCHER TD 2000, hyd drive, draw-bar pull, near new, $5500. • CROP SPRAYERS, Truck, Trailer and 3PH models, 150 to 850 Gal, Call for details. • JIFFY and CRAWFORD HYDUMPS, 14’, $2900 and $5900. • FEEDER HAY, 400 -16’x18’ bales, $7 each • GRAIN BINS, small to medium sizes, $700 and up. • LEWIS CATTLE OILERS, Offers. • TRUCK RIMS or TIRES, many sizes,. • PICKUP BOXES, New and Used long boxes, Dually or Single wheel. • OLDER TRUCKS and Parts. Call Jim’s cell for hard to nd items 604-556-8579 NH 995 self-propelled combine w/pick-up head; HESSTON self-propelled swather, 10 ft cutting bar, Wisconsin engine; JD 7330 4W w/duals, 4155 hrs; full set of weights; JD 6115D 2WD, 1140 hrs; JD 5115M 4WD, ldr, 2400 hrs; MF 5460 4WD, ldr, 5500 hrs; NH 570 baler; MASCHIO rototiller, 120”; KVERNELAND 3 bottom rollover plow. More info, call Bill 604-220-4903LIQUID FERTILISER Cheaper than wholesale Perfect for large or small farms GROW MICRO BLOOM CALMAG BIG BLOOM Price per 24 liters or pallet MARTIN @ 604 722 3392Carrie Nicholson PREC* 250-614-6766 DISCOVER PRINCE GEORGE PRINCE GEORGE & AREA SUBDIVISION LOTS: PARADISE ESTATES: R2628217; R2628221; R2629299 and more lots available in this subdivision. GLADTIDING ESTATES: R2598853; R2598860; R2599054 and more lots available in this subdivision. SALMON VALLEY 370 acres; 3 titles. 150 ac cleared, MLS R2675843 $599,000 VIVIAN LK RESORT 144 acres, 55 campsites, 5 bed/3 bath main home MLS R2668437 $2,700,000 STUNNING MTN RESORT on 82.25 acres, 17 chalets, 50 camps. MLS C8040948 $4,850,000 CATTLE RANCH 1,280 acres; 5 bed/3 bath home. Fenced, outbuild-ings; MLS R2677116 $2,750,000 CONCRETE BUSINESS Robson Val-ley, MLSC8040939, $759,000 PARADISE IN THE VALLEY 192 acre private estate, custom home, out-buildings to die for. MLS R2658619 $1,599,999 LOG HOME custom built, 30 fenced acres, 50x50 shop, MLS R2648543 $1,245,000 PRIVATE OASIS steps from Fran-cois Lk, 5.1 acres, 2 homes, MLS R2654629 R199,900 SAXTON LAKE ROAD: R2610535 R2610527; R2610554 and more lots available in this area. CRANBROOK HILL 77 acres w/dev potential minutes from UNBC. MLS R2640598 $1,500,000 HART HWY 54.95 acres. MLS R2640583. $750,000. CLOSE TO THE LAKE 8.3 acres. MLS R2610880 $295,000 74 ACRES w/ 20,000 sq ft bldg., 40 acres cultivated. MLS C8041167 $1,700,000 ESCAPE the city. Two lots in Willow River, 22,500 sq ft. MLS R2591708, $28,900 69+ ACRES ON RIVER Approx 50 acres in hay. River, road access. MLS R2569334 $785,000 55 ACRES Dev potential close to airport. MLS R2435958, $544,900 TREED LOT on edge of the Fraser. MLS R2622560 $250,000 160 ACRES waiting for ideas. MLS R2622568 $ 229,900 2 LOTS IN ONE PKG! 3.55 acres residential Quesnel R2657274 $289,000 2 ACRES SALMON VALLEY 3 bed/2 bath mobile, RV storage, gh, MLS R2642918 $409,000 80 ACRES/TIMBER VALUE Zoning allows ag, housing, forestry & more. MLS R2665497 $495,000 15 MINUTES TO PG ~58 acres with timber value. Mostly flat lot with lots of potential. MLS R2665474, $395,000 HWY FRONTAGE 190 acres w/exc potential for subdivision/commercial ventures. MLS R2660646 $799,000 WRIGHT CR RD 195 acres undisturbed bare land. M LS R2655719 $699,000ZcXjj`Ô\[j7Zflekipc`]\`eYZ%ZfdfiZXcc1-'+%*)/%*/(+C@E<8;J1),nfi[jfic\jj#d`e`dld(*gclj>JK#\XZ_X[[`k`feXcnfi[`j%),;@JGC8P8;J1),gclj>JKg\iZfclde`eZ_M[WYY[fjcW`ehYh[Z_jYWhZi$JUNE DEADLINE MAY 21
44 | MAY 2022 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCkubota.ca | 1521 Sumas Way, Box 369Abbotsford, BC V2T 6Z6(604) 864-9568avenuemachinery.caAVE010From growing crops to raising livestock — the farm business is a 24/7 business. That’s why Kubota equipment is built to work as hard as you do. Right now, you can save on Kubota tractors, implements and attachments at our Bring in Spring event. Factor in, dedicated customer support — and you'll keep making the most of your job, day in and day out.kubota.ca |GET IT DONE AND THEN SOME.THIS SPRING,1521 Sumas Way, Box 369Abbotsford, BC V2T 6Z6(604) 864-9568avenuemachinery.caAVE010kubota.ca | 1521 Sumas Way, Box 369Abbotsford, BC V2T 6Z6(604) 864-9568AVE010OLIVER GERARD’S EQUIPMENT LTD 250/498-2524 PRINCE GEORGE HUBER EQUIPMENT 250/560-5431 SMITHERS HUBER EQUIPMENT 250/847-3610 VERNON AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 250/545-3355 ABBOTSFORD AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 604/864-2665 COURTENAY NORTH ISLAND TRACTOR 250/334-0801 CRESTON KEMLEE EQUIPMENT LTD 250/428-2254 DAWSON CREEK DOUGLAS LAKE EQUIPMENT 250/782-5281 DUNCAN ISLAND TRACTOR & SUPPLY LTD 250/746-1755 KAMLOOPS DOUGLAS LAKE EQUIPMENT 250/851-2044 KELOWNA AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 250/769-8700 PROUD PARTNER OF