Postmaster, Please return
Undeliverable labels to:
Country Life in BC
36 Dale Road
Enderby, BC V0E 1V4
CANADA POSTES
POST CANADA
Postage paid Port payé
Publications Mail Post-Publications
40012122
Vol. 107 No. 1
The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 JANUARY 2021 | Vol. 107 No. 1
DAIRY
Trade issues, pandemic dog dairy producers 7
PREVIEW
Pacific Ag Show embraces the digital realm 19
TECHNOLOGY
Taking the guesswork out of herd management
29
by PETER MITHAM
SURREY – An insurance
crisis is brewing for farmers
and food processors as
commercial insurers face the
worst market in living
memory.
We’re in the worst
insurance market we’ve seen
in the past 40 years, says
David Bastow, an account
executive with HUB
International in Burnaby. “I
don’t see that changing any
time soon.
Costly payouts and poor
returns on the investments
that fund policies have
contributed to a more
selective approach to lines of
business and specic policies,
says Bastow. For local
nurseries and greenhouses,
that means obtaining
coverage – typically required
in order to safeguard the
assets that secure mortgages
and others loans – has
become more costly.
HUB recommends that
nursery operations plan on a
25% to 35% increase in their
premiums while greenhouses
should budget for even
greater increases.
Specic numbers are hard
to come by.
Rob de Pruis, consumer
and industry relations
director, Western with the
Insurance Bureau of Canada,
says it’s tough to get a handle
on how much premiums for
farm insurance have
increased, given the several
variables unique to each farm
that aect coverage.
However, De Pruis says
Clear skies made for a spectacular view of the full moon rising over the ridge of Mount Cheam in Chilliwack at the end of November. Above-average
precipitation in the Fraser Valley kept local elds green as December approached, while other areas of the province saw the rst storms of winter
descend.
PHOTO / JANIS STARK
Insurance premiums soar
1-888-770-7333
Quality Seeds ... where quality counts!
YOUR BC
SEED SOURCE
See INSURANCE on next page
o
New
year,
new
era
Trade woes
could improve
BURNABY – A new
administration in the US this
month is raising hopes for
fewer trade hassles in the
months ahead.
“I expect more
predictability and more
following the rules, federal
agriculture minister Marie-
Claude Bibeau told farm
media last month regarding
the new US administration.
She had previously
announced that Canada
would not make additional
concessions on market access
in future trade negotiations as
Full moon rising
See US on next page
o
Industry Experts
in Agricultural
& Greenhouse
Irrigation
watertecna.com
Happy
NewYear
from
Langley 1.888.675.7999
Williams Lake 1.855.398.7757
US launches challenge to Canadian dairy tariff rate quotas nfrom page 1
INSURANCE policies come with increased rates, exclusions nfrom page 1
part of an announcement that a
total of $4.3 billion would be
paid to dairy producers by 2024
for concessions granted to the
EU and trading partners around
the Pacic.
However, the pledges came
as US Trade Representative
Robert Lighthizer launched the
rst enforcement action under
CUSMA, the successor to
NAFTA, over the tari rate
quotas (TRQs) under which
Canada grants domestic dairy
processors allocations of 14
types of imported dairy
products.
“Canadas measures violate
its commitments and harm US
dairy farmers and producers,
Lighthizer says. We are
disappointed that Canadas
policies have made this rst
ever enforcement action under
the USMCA necessary to ensure
compliance with the
agreement.
Lighthizer issued a letter
December 9 demanding
consultations with Canada,
threatening to escalate the
matter to a dispute settlement
panel if those consultations are
not successful.
However, the US dairy
industry has yet to take full
advantage of what they’ve got.
During the BC Milk
Marketing Board’s fall producer
meeting on November 25,
board vice-chair Tom
Hoogendoorn reported that
butter and milk powder were
the most common products
arriving from the US, at 22%
and 9.5% of allocations,
respectively. All other
categories saw ll rates of less
than 3%; no US uid milk
entered Canada.
2 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
agriculture has experienced a
much harder market over the
past couple of years. Factors
include exposure to risks
such as extreme weather,
wildre and ood, which tend
to be more signicant in rural
areas where farms operate.
“[Farms] can be impacted
very signicantly by extreme
weather, he explains.
While farmers may look to
the brokers for policies, the
brokers simply broker the
options available from the
major insurers. There are
fewer of these active in the
market, thanks to their
assessments of the risk. The
insurers, in turn, have policies
backed by the reinsurance
companies, which have found
it to tougher to recoup their
losses in recent years as
returns on the investments
that anchor the policies
haven’t kept up.
Therefore, insurers look to
premiums to make up the
shortfall, based on their sense
of the risks a given client
faces. And, with fewer clients
following businesses closures
in the pandemic, theres a
smaller number of clients
over which to spread the
greater insurance costs.
The overall eect is a more
conservative approach from
the reinsurers on down, and
higher premiums.
The insurance industry is
having a lot more discipline
in its underwriting, De Pruis
said. “The commercial
industry is just seeing a lot of
challenges.
A few days after Bastow
delivered his report, insurers
voluntarily agreed to amend
practices with respect to
strata corporations following
an investigation by the BC
Financial Services Authority.
Skyrocketing premiums and
rising deductibles had left
many residential properties
scrambling to secure
adequate coverage, often at
twice the cost for half the
coverage previously enjoyed.
Many would often not
know till the week before
policies renewed what the
terms would be. Often, terms
were oered on a take-it-or-
leave-it basis.
But no such help has been
forthcoming for farm
businesses. During a
question-and-answer session
December 1, BC agriculture
minister Lana Popham elded
a question about rising farm
insurance rates and
addressed crop insurance
instead, noting a recent
federal proposal to change
business risk management
programs.
Meanwhile, the range of
aected businesses is
expanding.
BC Association of Abattoirs
executive director Nova
Woodbury says the number
of companies writing policies
for her members has been
going down. This year, terms
became tighter and new
exclusions were introduced.
Communicable disease
liability is a common
exclusion since COVID-19
struck, for instance.
One farm abattoir was
denied general processing
liability insurance of $2
million, which is no longer
being covered by 90% of
underwriters. However,
without general processing
liability insurance, the insurer
wouldn’t provide general
coverage, either.
The farm eventually
obtained all the needed
pieces but the cost was
thousands of dollars more
than what it paid a year ago.
With producer margins being
squeezed across the board,
the extra costs are a kick in
the teeth.
“I'm sure it's going to
happen to the other ag
products – farms and
processors, says Woodbury,
who notes that the premiums
for her own, relatively simple
farm increased by a small
amount but came with more
exclusions.
Just when producers want
peace of mind, the insurance
that helps provide it is being
pared back.
“It was a hard market prior
to COVID, and it’s made it
worse and were going into
uncharted territory over the
next year about how long this
is going to last, says Bastow.
“Insurance going forward is
going to be a bit of a
challenge.
“I guess their distribution
channels aren’t really set up
yet to bring all their product
in, Hoogendoorn speculated.
Dairy Farmers of Canada,
which objected to
implementation of CUSMA on
July 1 before the end of the
last dairy year, dismissed the
move as mere politics.
(Lighthizer is a political
appointee; president-elect Joe
Biden has nominated
Katherine Tai to be his successor
in the new administration.
TRQ allocations by the
federal government are
consistent with the terms of
the agreement, says DFC CEO
Jacques Lefebvre. Anyone
who reads the text of CUSMA
would see this, but the
outgoing administration may
feel that, by taking this
approach, it will endear itself
with family-owned dairy farms
in the US.
Other products have also
been in the crosshairs of the
outgoing administration.
Raspberries, blueberries and
greenhouse vegetables have
all been the target of sabre-
rattling. Southern US
blueberry growers formed a
new lobbying alliance on
December 16 to address the
question of imports; while
Peru and Mexico were the
targets, rather than Canada,
the pressure on producers in
Canada is clear.
Hoogendoorn says strong
domestic support is
producers greatest asset.
When consumers have a
choice, they’ll buy local over
imports.
We do know that the
public really wants Canadian,
domestic milk, he says. Thats
our ace in the hole.
www.tractorparts4sale.ca
ABBOTSFORD, BC
Bus. 604/807-2391
Fax. 604/854-6708 email:
sales@tractorparts4sale.ca
We accept Interact, Visa and Mastercard
YANMAR FX42D 2WD OPEN STATION, 42HP PSHIFT TRANS,
4 SPEED PTO. 2961 HRS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6,500
CLAAS 350T AND 370T PULL TYPE ROTARY RAKES . . . . 4,500 & $6,500
SIP 165G THREE POINT DRUM MOWERS, GD COND. . . . . . . . 2,800 ea
KUHN 1219 SINGLE AXLE MANURE SPREADER WITH GATE . . . . 6,500
DEUTZ FAHR AGROLUX 67 4X4, LOADER, 70HP . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18,000
JOHN DEERE 7000 4 ROW, DRY FERT, MECH MARKERS,
NEW FINGERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,500
JOHN DEERE HD BALE CONVEYOR 40FT ON ADJ FRAME WITH AXLE,
PTO DRIVEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,200
MASCHIO DM 4500
POWER HARROW 14 FT WIDE W/ROLLER,
GOOD CONDITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14,000
MF 265 2WD, CAB, 60 PTO HP, INDUSTRIAL LOADER . . . . . . . . 10,500
GMC CAB OVER 5 TON DIESEL TRUCK WITH
18 FT TYCROP SILAGE BOX, GOOD CONDITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14,000
LOEWEN 9612 VERTICAL MIXER . GOOD CONDITION . . . . . . . 14,000
NEW REPLACEMENT PARTS
for MOST TRACTORS & FARM IMPLEMENTS
GD Repair Ltd
Tractor/Equipment Repair Mobile Service Available
Popham looks
forward to a
new term
The past three years established
a foundation for what’s to come
Grow BC, Feed BC, Buy BC was a pet project of agriculture minister Lana Popham during her rst term in cabinet.
That work will continue, now that food security and safety have been prioritized for her ministry. PHOTO / BCMAFF
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 3
Proudly offering quality farm equipment and
wholesale farm product delivery across BC.
Call, email or visit us online
info@reimersfarmservice.com
855.737.0110
reimersfarmservice.com
Check out our Einbock Tillage
Equipment For Organic Farming
Tine Weeders t3PX$SPQ$VMUJWBUPSTr3PUBSZ)PFT
$BNFSB(VJEBODF4ZTUFN
AND On In Stock
AEROSTAR
Tine Weeders
DELTA Drain Tile Cleaner
*NQSPWFT%SBJOBHFr$POEJUJPOT4PJMr&DPOPNJDBM
3FMJBCMFr-PX.BJOUFOBODFr4BGFBOE1SPWFO
SPECIAL PRICING On In Stock
by PETER MITHAM
VICTORIA – A new year and
a new mandate stretches
before BC agriculture minister
Lana Popham, who is starting
her second term in cabinet.
While her expectations have
been tempered by
experience, her ambitions for
agriculture in BC remain high.
“It was only three years but
I feel we put in a good
foundation to be able to
move more quickly on the
issues that we want to get
done, she told Country Life in
BC in early December. “I feel
we’ve got an excellent
mandate, and the foundation
that we’ve built will allow us
to get it done.
The mandate letter
outlining expectations for her
ministry – rechristened
Agriculture, Food and
Fisheries, last used in the early
2000s – prioritizes food
security and safety in the
shadow of the COVID-19
pandemic as well as
expansion of the Grow BC,
Feed BC and Buy BC
programs that were a
hallmark of her rst term.
But it also emphasizes food
security in partnership with
other ministries, including
those responsible for
education, social
development and poverty
reduction. The role of
technology in achieving
greater food security, an
outcome of last years food
security task force report, is
also at the fore in the form of
a regenerative agriculture
network.
The importance of
technology in helping farmers
do what they do better was
part of what made the rst
funding announcement of
her new term so exciting for
her. She was the rst minister
to hit the ground, allocating
$800,000 for a small farm
acceleration pilot program.
While many small business
accelerator programs oer
coaching and support
services, this one provides
matching funding for
infrastructure investments.
We really haven’t seen
that before, she says.
But if the program covers
existing technology, its
what’s under development
that will be a focus of her
work with Jobs, Economic
Recovery and Innovation
minister Ravi Kahlon to create
a regenerative agriculture
network.
A former organic farmer,
Popham says the concept of
“regenerative agriculture
wasn’t taken seriously for a
long time. But that’s changed
as criticism of conventional
agricultures role in climate
change has mounted. Now,
the idea has been embraced
by the agrifood sector with
the aim of claiming the moral
high ground.
“In the past two years
things have really changed,
she says. “One of the reasons
is because it allows for
agriculture to be a solution to
climate change rather than
just have ngers pointed at
agriculture as part of the
problem.
Of the 150-plus agritech
companies in the province,
Popham calls out Vancouver-
based Terramera Inc. for its
technology designed to
reduce pesticide use and its
more recent bid to promote
carbon sequestration. These
are tools that make
agriculture a more
sustainable pursuit, and
projects that engage local
farms to achieve knowledge
transfer and establish the
kind of network the province
envisions.
“People think agritech is for
large scale, but it’s actually for
small, medium and large, says
Popham. “[Terramera] are
setting up their agritech
research network on farms in
BC, and we feel we have some
space there to set up a
regenerative agriculture
network at the same time,
because they are actually very
complementary of one
another.
Popham took ak last year
over a food security task force
recommendation that 28,500
acres be set aside within the
Agricultural Land Reserve for
agritech uses but her
mandate letter directs her to
“position our province as an
agri-tech leader, while
protecting farmland in the
ALR.
Criticisms are likely to
persist, however, with several
items from her rst term yet
to resolve.
Small-scale meat producers
across the province have yet
to see signicant change in
slaughter capacity, a gap in
the provinces food security
that expanded during the
pandemic. Many facilities are
booked through next spring
and beyond. Yet another
consultation last fall on what
needs to be done left many
producers frustrated; some
have threatened to shut
down.
Popham says expanded
slaughter capacity is a high
priority, and says the transfer
of authority for meat
inspections to her ministry
from health last summer was
critical.
“Now that we have
authority, we can make
changes, she says. We’re
going to move as fast as we
can because I would like to
see the improvements before
the next season. I won’t be
able to build a bunch of
slaughterhouses, but we can
change regulations.
Secondary on-farm
housing is another
contentious issue triggered
by legislative initiatives in her
rst term that have yet to be
resolved. A grandfathering
period for manufactured
secondary homes on
properties in the ALR expires
July 31. Many landowners
want clarity about whats
coming; some have been in
limbo since February 2019
thanks to rule changes and
confusion over their
interpretation.
While the pandemic has
increased public support for
agriculture, many smaller
farmers have yet to feel the
love from the province. Once
a small farmer herself,
Popham shares their
impatience while recognizing
that government moves
slowly.
“I’m not going to say it’s
going to be easier, I just think
I know how to do it better
now. I understand the process
better, she says. “Now we just
have to get the legislative
work done.
Advertising is accepted on the condition that in the event of a typographical
error, that portion of the advertising space occupied by the erroneous item,
together with reasonable allowance for signature will not be charged, but the
balance of the advertisement will be paid for at the applicable rate. In the
event of a typographical error which advertises goods or services at a wrong
price, such goods or services need not be sold at the advertised price.
Advertising is an offer to sell, and may be withdrawn at any time. All
advertising is accepted subject to publisher’s approval.
All of Country Life in British Columbia’s content is covered by Canadian
copyright law.
Opinions expressed in signed articles are those of the writer and not
necessarily those of Country Life in British Columbia.
Letters are welcome, though they may be edited in the interest of brevity
before publication.
All errors brought to our attention will be corrected.
36 Dale Road, Enderby BC V0E 1V4 . Publication Mail Agreement: 0399159 . GST Reg. No. 86878 7375 . Subscriptions: $2/issue . $18.90/year . $33.60/2 years . $37.80/3 years incl GST
The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915
Vol.107 No. 1 . JANUARY 2021
Published monthly by Country Life 2000 Ltd.
www.countrylifeinbc.com
Publisher Cathy Glover
604-328-3814 . publisher@countrylifeinbc.com
Editor Emeritus David Schmidt
Associate Editor Peter Mitham
news@countrylifeinbc.com
Advertising Sales & Marketing Cathy Glover
sales@countrylifeinbc.com
Production Designer Tina Rezansoff
Roll up your sleeve, PW!
New openings
BC agriculture is one of the most diverse in the country, with more than 200
farm products harvested here. The province is also home to some of the largest
and smallest farms in the country. Theres also diversity of ownership, from
Dutch dairymen to Punjabi fruit growers, Asian market gardeners and
Indigenous harvesters and ranchers. Gender diversity is also present, with BC
home to a greater percentage of female farm operators than other regions.
But diversity is often best praised in the abstract. Specics, like those listed
above, risk limiting what it can be. Diversity is also profoundly local, diering
from community to community and sector to sector. While the acronym BIPOC
– Black, Indigenous, people of colour – has been shorthand for the kind of
diversity valued in central Canada and the US, the mandate letters sent to the
new cabinet in Victoria rearranged the letters as IBPOC. Diversity in BC begins
by establishing proper relations with the province’s Indigenous peoples who
welcomed everyone else.
Welcoming something new doesn’t work without a recognition of common
ambitions, however.
Supply managed groups struggled last year to meet diverse local demand
within a national quota system, an experience that forced them to recognize
how the national system is much bigger than any one provincial market. We’ve
got to make sure we stay united as provinces in a national system, because
that’s the backbone of what we’re doing, remarked one chicken grower in
October. We can’t become fragmented and disband.
Similarly, recent federal initiatives have focused on supporting women and
youth in agriculture. (With some of the oldest farmers in Canada, BC's
demographic diversity could benefit from additional younger farmers.) Policies
can help, but as new entrant Vicki Brisson told participants in the Advancing
Women in Agriculture conference this fall, welcoming and retaining diversity
hinges on a collaborative approach rather than seeing outside groups or even
each other as competitors.
Being exible enough to accommodate others doesn’t mean being silent
about our own issues. Dicult conversations may be needed to ensure
everyone understands each other and is on the same page. Succession
planners will tell you how often a lack of transparency makes welcoming a new
generation into the family business more of a challenge than it needs to be.
The same principle holds true when we welcome people from dierent
backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. Understanding what they bring to
Its the turn of the year, when trees throw noon-
day shadows more than twice their height across
the elds, and farmers and ranchers from Saanich to
Cecil Lake
might
nd time
to reect
on the
year past
and the
one to
come.
COVID-19 will be the dening event of 2020 for
nearly all of us. A year ago, many among us were
looking forward to kicking tires and seeing old
friends at the Pacic Agriculture Show in
Abbotsford. We will be attending the 2021 show
virtually [www.agricultureshow.net]. It won’t be the
same, but if we’ve learned anything on our farm in
the past year, it’s that dierent isn’t necessarily a bad
thing. The virtual show might be just the ticket for a
ranch family in Fraser Lake, who couldn’t consider
leaving home in the dead of winter to attend in
person, to participate.
COVID aside, 2020 was a year of mixed blessings
on our farm. A warm May and cool, wet June was
ideal for the grass elds we overseeded and yields
were up by 30%. The pumpkins got o to a slow
start in June but most of them made up for lost
time over the summer and were ready for the
Halloween u-pickers in October. We didn’t start
irrigating until July, but we grappled with the lack of
meat-packing capacity all year. As the old saying
goes: All-in-all, we done okay.
But the best thing to come out of 2020 on our
farm is the success of a crop we hadn’t tried before:
new farmers. The seed for this venture showed up in
the fall of 2019, newly arrived in the community to a
part-time job teaching school and looking for a spot
to park her camper van, hopefully in exchange for
helping on the farm. We met Anna and agreed to
trade a camping spot for housekeeping in the horse
and donkey stalls. Anna turned out to be down-to-
earth, dependable, inquisitive and eager to learn.
During afternoon chores in the barn one day,
Anna admitted to a keen interest in gardening and
having spent time the previous summer working on
a small farm. I said if she was truly keen, perhaps we
should nd her a spot to try it out on her own. She
said thanks, but she already had plans for the
summer. Neither of us realized it then, but a seed
was planted. Weeks later, Anna said she had been
thinking about what I said and wondered if I was
serious. Voila, the seed was sprouted.
Within days she was asking details regarding how
much space, greenhouse use, how much was it
going to cost, and would it be okay if her boyfriend
came to help? We oered half an acre, included the
greenhouse, tools, irrigation, compost, any tractor
work and accommodation, in exchange for a family-
sized share of the vegetables and occasional help
on the rest of the farm. Seeds were ordered.
A year has passed, and a crop of new farmers has
sprouted and taken root. We are looking forward to
seeing them grow in 2021. It has been a win-win for
all concerned. We have land, water, an under-used
greenhouse and equipment: an opportunity that
was going unrealized, and would still be if it weren’t
for Annas and Evans enthusiasm, commitment and
industry. Though they are growing on a very small
part of it, they have made the whole farm a better
place.
This is not a scenario we hadn’t considered
before. But there always seemed to be too many
concerning what-ifs to contemplate. Now the only
question is what if they weren’t here? We would
miss the help, and all the vegetables, but most of all
we would miss them. I think deep down we
recognize our younger selves in Anna and Evan. The
same passion and determination to farm and the
same joy to be doing it. Who wouldn’t want to see
that happen?
Bob Collins raises beef cattle and grows produce on
his farm in the Alberni Valley.
The Back Forty
BOB COLLINS
the table, and how we can help them nd a place is necessary if we want
agriculture to benet from new perspectives.
The good news is we’ll often nd that new entrants, newcomers – even new
years – have the same hopes and ambitions we had when we were new. With
another 12 months ahead of us, how will we make room for what’s to come,
perhaps things we haven’t yet imagined are possible?
New farmers are a crop worth growing
4 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
We acknowledge the
financial support of the
Government of Canada.
Let’s get real about mental wellness on the farm
Personal tragedy becomes a lifeline of hope as tough conversations become mainstream
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 5
Nearly a year into the
COVID-19 pandemic, the
agriculture industry continues
to demonstrate resilience and
reliability. Its on my 2021
agenda to continue to talk
about this achievement
publicly to continue to
educate those outside
agriculture, but I’m also
marking the beginning of a
new year celebrating the
growing normalization of
talking openly about mental
health within agriculture.
Like many of you, this fall I
attended agricultural
conferences and meetings
online. Its not the same as
meeting in-person, which I
love, but these gatherings
enable me to continue
sharing stories with you in
Country Life in BC. A number of
the events contained a mental
wellness component. Anxiety,
depression and even suicide
within the agriculture
community are being talked
about openly. Heres an
example.
As a board member of the
BC Farm Writers Association
and its representative to the
Canadian Farm Writers
Federation, I participated in an
online reside chat last month
with federal agriculture
minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.
My question: what is her
message is to those who
target the beef sector for its
contributions to climate
change?
One of the rst things she
said was, “I worry about the
mental health of those in the
meat sector. She went on to
say farmers are essential to
society and that she wants to
put more emphasis on
building increased public
pride and trust in Canadian
farmers across sectors. She
mentioned producers strong
dedication to their work, to
sustaining the land as well as
their commitment to
continuous improvement and
technology adoption. It wasn’t
exactly the direct answer I was
hoping for, but that was
secondary.
Hearing an agriculture
minister use the words
“mental health in a
conversation with about 40
agricultural journalists and
writers made me smile. Why?
Because the topic is personal.
January 10, 2021 marks 26
years since my dad died by
suicide. On dad’s side of my
family, mental unwellness –
depression – goes back
several generations. Although
dad, who I loved dearly, never
farmed, he was raised in a
farming community in
Saskatchewan. His father took
up grain farming
when he retired
from operating
the towns general
store.
Getting
through my grief
involved
attending a group called
Survivors of Suicide. It was for
people like me whod lost
someone in this very dierent
way. My mom and I hated why
we needed this group, but it
was a godsend. We weren’t
alone. Others had been on a
similar journey.
Although that was 26 years
ago, something struck me
then that still remains. The
facilitator, a most
compassionate woman,
shared suicide statistics. She
strongly believed the number
was underreported. One of
her reasons was the number
of rural deaths that are
classied as accidental. She
mentioned farm accidents, as
well as those who just
happened to drive into a
moving train.
I never researched her
theory, but as a television
reporter at the time, it seemed
plausible to me. While society
acknowledged pressures on
producers, the impact of
those pressures on mental
health was rarely if ever
discussed. Anxiety, depression
and suicide weren’t part of
mainstream conversation.
Since then, whenever
someone openly acknowledges
or speaks the words “mental
wellness or “mental health, I
consider it a big win. Talking
openly about an issue is the
rst sign of positive change.
The Advancing Women in
Agriculture conference last
month, with about 700
registrants, also featured two
mental health testimonial
sessions.
A mother and daughter
spoke about learning to live
with the youngers on-going
anxiety saying “those facing
physical exhaustion or mental
health challenges don’t often
hold up an ‘I need help sign.
One tip oered was for the
person struggling to start
using a set phrase such as,
Thats all I have for you today,
to indicate their emotional or
mental exhaustion to others.
In all my years, Id never heard
this before. Its great advice.
Additionally, conference
speakers suggested
journaling, taking time each
day to note moments of
gratitude or joy, and using
apps like Headspace, Calm,
Happify, Breathe and
Lifeworks to aid mental
wellness. Keynote speaker
Michelle Cederberg said
agricultural women know how
to get sh*t done” but too
often say “I haven’t even had
time to pee. She told the
audience that statement
shouldn’t be a sign of
achievement but rather a
Viewpoint
by MYRNA STARK LEADER
Downtown Realty
4007 - 32nd Street, Vernon, BC V1T 5P2
1-800-434-9122 www.royallegpage.ca
PAT DUGGAN
Personal Real Estate Corporation
Royal LePage Downtown Realty Ltd.
Farm | Ranch | Residential
Bus: 250/545-5371 (24 hr)
Cell: 250/308-0938
patduggan@royallepage.ca
www.OkLandBuyers.ca
Build your dream home! 44 acres of irrigated property ready for your new home, orchard,
cattle or crops. Mostly usable land with shop. All perimeter and cross fenced ready for
your ideas. Great valley views from all sides. MLS®10204233 $1,395,000
Downtown Realty
4007 - 32nd Street, Vernon, BC V1T 5P2
1-800-434-9122 www.royallepage.ca
PAT DUGGAN
Personal Real Estate Corporation
Royal LePage Downtown Realty Ltd.
Farm | Ranch | Residential
Bus: 250/545-5371 (24 hr)
Cell: 250/308-0938
patduggan@royallepage.ca
2437 SALMON VALLEY RD. SALMON ARM
www.OkLandBuyers.ca
“Farmers helping farmers with their real estate needs”
Custom-built home w/million dollar view on private 16 acres. Farm Status with 2+ acres of
berries, grapes, fruit trees, plus 2-bed modular home, 24X32 shop, 12X32 attached
lean-to. 30 min. from Armstrong, Salmon Arm & Vernon. MLS® 10220386. $1,050,000
physical and mental health
warning. Another speaker
shared his attempted suicide
story. The big positive in this is
how it inspires and gives
courage to others to share
their journey and ask for help.
While I’ve never attempted
self-harm, there’ve been times
where the thought crossed
my mind, always in the midst
of one of my bouts of
depression. I’ve had a few, in
my 20s and following the
birth of one of my kids in my
30s. I like to say I’ve carried on
the family illness. Luckily, I
found a medication that
works. And now I’m also able
to notice when I’m not feeling
myself and take action.
Each time I share my
experience, most people
share their own direct or
closely-related experience
right back. In talking openly, I
always hope the negative
stigma associated with mental
health is destroyed. The illness
doesn’t discriminate by
commodity, income level, age,
nationality or sex.
So, if at the beginning of
this new year, when everyday
farming pressures are coupled
with the pressures of living in
a pandemic, if you aren’t
feeling yourself, be brave. Tell
someone. You‘re not weak,
crazy, or seeking attention.
Most of all, you are not alone.
And if you see someone
who is not themselves, have
the courage to say, “I’ve
noticed you don’t seem like
yourself lately. I care about
you. Are you thinking about
hurting yourself?”
You won’t be giving them a
suggestion. You’ll be creating
an opening that could be
their lifeline.
Mowers
KuhnNorthAmerica.com
Visit your local British Columbia KUHN dealer today!
INVEST IN QUALITY
®
www.kuhn.com
Matsqui Ag-Repair
Abbotsford
Northline Equipment
Pouce Coupe
Huber Farm Equipment
Prince George
Smithers
Northline Equipment, Ltd.
Dawson Creek
THE MOST COMPLETE HAY LINE
Cut
Dry
Harvest
Save time, money and improve hay quality with KUHN.
THE HAY AND FORAGE TOOL SPECIALISTS
Mower Conditioners Mergers Rotary Rakes Wheel Rakes Tedders
Harvesting high-quality hay and forage is the focus of KUHN's hay tool innovation. Our commitment is to help you
gain a maximum return on investment by providing products known for performance, reliability, and longevity.
6 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
The McHale C460 is a trailed machine with the
capacity to carry and blow or feed out two 4FT
round bales of hay, straw, silage or haylage.
The McHale C460 is the ideal machine for
the farmer who wishes to bed their sheds
with straw and feed out bales of hay,
haylage or silage.
Also available:
C470: able to feed two 5FT bales
C490: able to feed out three 5FT bales
Call us today for your demo!
Matsqui
ag Repair
Sales, Service & Parts
est. 1989
@matsquiagrepair
Call today to demo any of our
McHale models today!
www.matsquiagrepair.com
34856 Harris Rd, Abbotsford BC V3G 1R7
604-826-3281
MCHALE C460
TRAILED SILAGE FEEDER AND BLOWER
Trade issues,
pandemic dog
dairy producers
2020 taught producers the
importance of being responsive
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 7
Insurance products and services are provided through Assante Estate and Insurance Services Inc. Please visit
www.assante.com/legal.jsp or contact Assante at 1-800-268-3200 for information with respect to important
legal and regulatory disclosures relating to this notice.
Financial planning
for farm families
Farm transition coaching
Customized portfolio strategy
Retirement income planning
Driediger Wealth Planning
Mark Driediger, CFP, FEA, Senior Wealth Advisor
Brent Driediger, BAA, CPA, CMA, CFP, Wealth Advisor
www.DriedigerWealthPlanning.com | 604.859.4890
Assante Financial Management Ltd.
by PETER MITHAM
BURNABY – BC milk
producers gathered for the
fall producer meeting of the
BC Milk Marketing Board on
November 25, part of a three-
hour videoconference that
allowed them to look back at
the year that was and forward
to what might be in store in
2021.
The event was a virtual
alternative to the annual dairy
conference that typically takes
place in downtown Vancouver
the same week.
“Its been a year, BCMMB
vice-chair Tom Hoogendoorn
told producers. A
tremendous amount of
uncertainty, a tremendous
amount of crazy things
happened.
CUSMA bookended the
debut of the pandemic, and
was the focus of
Hoogendoorns comments,
who seemed more condent
of the industrys ability to
weather the pandemic than
the potential inux of product
from the US.
The whole of 2019 we
spent working on trying to
mitigate the eects for the
Canadian dairy industry [of
CUSMA], he said. The biggest
thing that happened for us
immediately was the
elimination of Class 7 and the
cap on the powder export.
The elimination of Class 7
meant that all dairy products
had to be priced on end-use,
reducing the blend price
producers are paid. To soften
the blow, a new pooling
arrangement was struck in
January 2020 creating a
national pool (P10), replacing
the former P4 (Western) and
P5 (Eastern) pools.
“[This] meant a price
haircut to the tune of about
$60 million to the West,
explained Hoogendoorn.
But a subsequent
comparison of production
costs by the Canadian Dairy
Commission discovered that
the production costs in the
former P4 bloc was $1.19 per
hectolitre higher than in P5.
CDC rejected an appeal that
would have factored the
higher costs into pool
payments, and instead oered
a payment of $40 million over
three years, Hoogendoorn
reported, “to ease the pain a
little bit.
However, producers are
warned that pricing volatility
will increase as part of the
new pool structure.
Moreover, while the
implementation of CUSMA on
July 1 has had a minimal
impact on BC producers to
date, it will be a growing
challenge as market access
increases through mid-2026.
On milk alone, 50,500
tonnes of US product will be
allowed to ow north by
2026. While the majority will
go north to processors rather
than for retail sale,
Hoogendoorn drove the point
home for producers.
“If you take how many litres
your farm produces in a year
and gure out how many
farm sizes will be lost of
market access to CUSMA
because of this deal, it’s
astounding, he said, hoping
consumers will step up and
buy domestic milk. “Hopefully,
the domestic market
increases in Canada and we
can still grow our farms.
Even without that support,
producers face higher per-
unit production costs as their
share of the market shrinks.
And this is on top of costs
that are already higher than in
the rest of Canada.
With the higher cost in the
West, the less milk we ship or
the less milk we can produce,
it just increases our cost per
unit, he said. “Its worrisome,
but we will get through it and
we’ll all work together.
Producers have already
shown themselves up to the
challenge through COVID-19.
“Its amazing when you
look at how the processors
and the milk boards and the
CDC across the country
worked well together to use
all the milk that was produced
by the farmers, get it into the
processing facilities, and the
consumers really stepped up
to the plate, said
Hoogendoorn.
Reviewing industrys
response to COVID-19, board
member David Janssens
praised producer eorts to
meet the initial surge in
demand, producing a record
2.3 million litres of milk in a
single day, then retrenching
as foodservice demand
disappeared. For several
weeks, producers dumped
150,000 litres of cream (or 15
million litres of milk) into
manure pits and digesters as
the industry pivoted towards
a new and uncertain normal.
We want to thank the
producers who did respond
to the call and help us control
production in this uncertain
time, Janssens said.
The dumping ended by the
end of May and stability
seemed to be returning. By
October, orders were rising
and producers received three
incentive days. But utilization
was just 38%, primarily
exercised through butterfat, a
move that wasn’t entirely
helpful.
What the year-end holidays
and new year would bring
was beyond telling, Janssens
said, but the year did teach
producers the importance of
being responsive to shifts in
and between the foodservice
and retail channels. While
overall market demand didn’t
shift, where consumption
happened did.
The growth in retail was
not due to total increased
dairy consumption, he said.
“Rather it was a shift in the
[foodservice] trade, more
people eating at home. And
also with the border crossing
[restrictions], it probably had
an eect on cross-border
shopping.
Competition from plant-
based beverages also
continued to increase rising,
with demand for plant-based
dairy alternatives rising 16%
during the pandemic to
account for 8.7% of total dairy
milk sales.
They are becoming a
source of competition and we
have to continue to invest in
our education, nutrition and
research to demonstrate the
power of dairy, said Janssens.
Most of all, he said
communication is key to
weathering future challenges.
“Never let a bad event go
to waste. You always want to
take some lessons from it, he
quipped. “I think the lesson
we’ve learned is that
communication is key among
all those in the supply chain.
As a result of Farm Show cancellations we are oering 10% -15% discounts.
Call 877.966.3546 or visit www.agritraction.com
25 Year Anniversary | Patented Traction Milling
Producers, processors and yes, even the cows, kept the milk owing during an unprecedented year. FILE PHOTO
8 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
Dairy associations pull through challenging year
Finances in good shape despite pandemic as 2021 holds promise
by PETER MITHAM
BURNABY – The annual general
meetings of the provinces three key
dairy groups took place via
videoconference on November 25,
closing out a year that was
remarkable for significant shifts in
domestic and international markets.
It marked a trial-by-fire for
newcomer Jeremy Dunn, who
became executive director of the BC
Dairy Association in October 2019 but
soon found himself navigating the
challenges of the COVID-19
pandemic.
To say that this has been an
interesting year is an
understatement, he said in his report
to association members. This year
has been characterized by change,
and I’m incredibly proud of how our
team at BCDA has adapted and
adjusted and continued to find ways
to serve dairy producers in a way that
benefits the industry.
Indeed, the association is pursuing 35 different
initiatives on behalf of producers covering topics
from on-farm trespass to water access and nutrient
management as well as trade and policy issues.
“Hes been an absolute rock for us, BCDA chair
Holger Schwictenberg remarked of Dunns
performance in his first year.
Dunn told producers that hes working to ensure
the association continues to advocate for them for
the duration of the pandemic and afterwards.
As the pandemic continues to unfold, BC Dairy
will engage with both provincial and federal
governments to support dairy farmers in
producing food for citizens across Canada, he says.
The years twists and turns reduced activities at
the BC Dairy Industry Development Council, which
ended the year in a healthy financial position.
This resulted in levies being left untouched for
the coming fiscal year. Treasurer John Kerkhoven
noted that of the council’s $12 million budget, $7.5
million is allocated to nutrition and education
programs, $1.4 million to services that benefit
producers and $157,000 to research. The council
maintains $5.2 million in assets.
Kerkhoven represents BC producers
on the board of Dairy Innovation West
(DIW), which is managing the new milk
concentration plant in Lacombe on
behalf of producers in Western Canada.
The plant addresses the elimination of
Class 7 milk under CUSMA, which took
effect July 1.
The council wasn’t the only one of the
three organizations to enjoy financial
health this year.
BC Milk Marketing Board treasurer
Jeremy Wiebe reported that milk
revenues increased by $15 million. While
this was a little less than expected due
to quota restrictions as a result of
COVID-19, producer payments increased
by $12 million.
While the board approved a 2%
increase in transportation rates for the
coming year, Wiebe said rates remain
competitive.
“It really hasn’t changed much over
the past seven years, he reported. “If
anything, its come down.
Tom Hoogendoorn and Jeremy Wiebe
were re-elected to the board for three-year terms.
Deroche producer Paul Schmidt’s election bid was
unsuccessful.
Schmidt, who joined the industry in 2011
through the graduated entry program, was
encouraged to continue to seek opportunities to
serve.
Meanwhile, Stan Van Keulen, who stepped off
the BCDA board this year, will be honoured for his
long service to industry (including as a founding
member of the BC Dairy Association) when in-
person producer meetings resume.
Making money. Milk revenues increased this year by $15 million. PHOTO / MYRNA STARK LEADER
CLAAS 860 SP FORAGE HARVESTER
12.5’ PICKUP & 6 ROW CORNHEAD
$93,700
CLAAS 970 SP FORAGE HARVESTER
10’ PICKUP & 10 ROW CORNHEAD
CALL FOR MORE DETAILS/PRICING
CLAAS 4000
4-ROTOR RAKE
CALL FOR DETAILS
FENDT 930
MFD CAB TRACTOR
FRONT HITCH & PTO
CALL FOR DETAILS
X 2
FENDT 930
MFD CAB TRACTOR
CALL FOR DETAILS
JD 8295R MFD CAB TRACTOR
WITH DUALS
$279,000
MERLO TELEHANDLER MF 40.7CS
$134,900
NH BB340 LARGE SQUARE BALER
CALL FOR DETAILS
NH 900 PT FORAGE HARVESTER
WITH GRASS PICK UP
$5,400
Pre-owned Tractors
& Equipment
We cut everything, except corners.
SOLD!
SOLD!
See you at the Pacific Ag Show Virtual Edition!
www.caliberequipment.ca
STORE HOURS MONDAY-FRIDAY, 8-5
SATURDAYS CLOSED ‘TIL SPRING
604-864-2273
34511 VYE ROAD ABBOTSFORD
Mark, Holger and Philip Schwictenberg are back in the barn now that both boys have recovered from COVID-19.
The dairy went into lockdown after Mark tested positive in early November. PHOTO / RONDA PAYNE
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 9
Dairy producer offers first-hand
advice after sons test positive
Second wave of
pandemic hits
close to home
This year has looked a little different,
but our wishes for you remain the
same: peace, happiness and time
with those who matter most.
Happy Holidays
from your FCC team.
DREAM. GROW. THRIVE.
www.tubeline.ca 1.888.856.6613
@TubelineMFG
Find us on
BALEWRAPPERSSPREADERSSILAGE BLADES BALE PROCESSORS
Wrap up your
savings with low rate financing.
Visit us online for program details.
by PETER MITHAM
AGASSIZ – While foreign
workers were the focus of
concerns during the rst wave
of the COVID-19 pandemic,
the second wave has brought
the risks of the disease home
to local farms.
Millennium Pacic
Greenhouses Ltd. in Delta and
a mink farm in the Fraser
Valley were among those hit
by outbreaks in December.
Both sectors were free of the
disease during its rst wave in
BC, though mink farms in
Denmark were depopulated
following an outbreak and
potential transmission
between mink and humans
this summer. Greenhouses in
Ontario were the site of
signicant outbreaks
involving foreign workers this
summer.
But the risk posed by the
disease, which turned a year
old November 17, recently hit
close to home for Holger
Schwictenberg, a dairy farmer
in Agassiz.
Schwictenbergs youngest
son, Mark, age 16, tested
positive for the disease in
early November, resulting in
Schwictenberg self-isolating
for two weeks. Schwictenberg
did not test positive for the
virus but Mark's brother Philip
did. The point of infection is
unknown.
The rst indication was
symptoms, easily confused
with a cold, prior to a father-
son hockey game.
“Saturday morning he had
a headache and a runny nose
and I said, We cant do this,
says Schwictenberg. We had
him tested on Saturday, and
on Monday morning –
positive.
The farm had a basic
COVID-19 protocol, drafted in
accordance with AgSafe BC
directives, but the safety plan
took on fresh importance
when the positive test results
came back.
We’ve been very careful,
but it ramped up once we
had it here, he says. “Its a hell
of a learning curve – who you
can be in touch with, who
you’re going to talk with to
make sure youre on side, and
everything you can do to
prevent it from spreading.
Sanitation stations and
masks provided external
protection, but keeping the
milking herd of 160 cows
going was tough given that
Schwictenberg was in
isolation and most of the
farms workers were told to
stay home.
“I did not set foot in the
barn for two weeks, says
Schwictenberg. We had four
part-timers who come by and
help with stu. They were
immediately asked not to
come anymore. We had one
full-time employee, Tara, who
we can’t do without. She was
in the barn by herself, so
between herself and my sister,
whos a vet, we managed to
keep things going.
Service calls were another
matter.
Keeping everyone safe
The BC Milk Marketing
Board had stipulated since
the beginning of the
pandemic that no one
approach the milk truck
driver, and in Schwictenberg’s
case that was unlikely.
Were lucky there – he
shows up at 11:30 at night, so
theres nobody out in the
barn anyways, he says. Any
visitors, we say don’t bother –
the nutritionist, and we even,
for the rst time in 25 years,
cancelled our herd health.
The cattle were another
matter. While milking
continued, so did other
natural processes. Alta
Genetics delivered semen
supplies, but in full personal
protective equipment.
Sticking to the written
protocol was important for
on-farm accountability and
made for straight-forward
communications with AgSafe
BC and the Fraser Health
Authority. It helped keep
people on the farm as well as
visitors safe.
“You can’t expect everyone
else to do it, says
Schwictenberg. “If we took
that attitude, it’s not fair to
the people in your
community and other people
you work with. If you have it,
play by the rules that
[provincial health ocer] Dr.
[Bonnie] Henry set out. She’s
an expert, I’m not. That’s how
we roll here.
While the rst doses of a
vaccine against COVID-19
began to be administered in
mid-December, the earliest
the general public is expected
to be treated is this summer.
That means everyone,
including farmers, will need to
be on guard against the virus
for the foreseeable future.
“No ones immune, says
Schwictenberg. “It can
happen to anybody.
10 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
Weather conditions continued to plague BC’s grain producers this fall. FILE PHOTO
Grain producers
mark one of their
worst harvests
Weather issues force association
to pull back on research plots
by PETER MITHAM
DAWSON CREEK – While
the grain and oilseeds sector
in northern BC largely
escaped negative impacts
from COVID-19, adverse
weather conditions made for
their own share of challenges.
The is the rst time I’ve
had three harvests in a 12-
month period, remarked Fort
St. John producer Larry Kantz
in his president’s report to
the BC Grain Producers
Association on December 3.
“[There were] denitely
challenging times coming out
of 2019 and into 2020.
While the 2019 season was
shaping up to deliver a
decent crop, autumn rains
prevented the grain from
drying out on the stalk and
kept farmers from entering
the elds. A large portion of
the crop was swathed for
recovery in spring,
amounting to a second
harvest. The third harvest at
the end of this past summer
was one of the worst in the
region.
“Incredible damage to the
properties and the elds. You
name it, it was happening,
Kantz told the meeting.
Conditions were so poor
that the association scaled
back research activities to a
single trial site in Fort St.
John, halting activities at the
research site in Dawson
Creek. Even then, half the
trials got mowed down on
account of extreme wetness
and data that wasn’t worth
using.
Small victories
But there were small
victories. The association’s
fee-for-service research
projects went forward, and
the results are now in the
hands of producers.
On the production side, BC
Ministry of Agriculture
regional agrologist Lori
Vickers stepped up to help
obtain permits for the
regions producers to burn
the residue of the 2019 crop
in the eld.
The province also allocated
money for a dryer program as
part of funds to help the
province recover from the
economic eects of COVID-
19. Despite a short timeline,
three producers submitted
applications by the deadline
of December 2. According to
the BC Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Fisheries, $112,000
was awarded. Kantz would
like to see funding for grain
dryers renewed in the
government’s next budget.
Were hoping it will be
rolled into more of a
permanent program come
spring, where we have a year
to work on it, he says.
Another success was
upgrades to the BC Peace
Agri Weather Network,
courtesy of Andy Nadler of
Peak Hydromet Solutions in
Campbell River.
“Hes got things up and
running for us really well
again, says Kantz.You can
get the data again and it’s
accurate and it’s working the
way it should be.
During a presentation
following the business
portion of the meeting,
Nadler outlined planned
upgrades for the system.
These include a more
intuitive interface and user
experience. He also wants the
site to deliver regular weather
updates and alerts to
producers, something it
doesn’t do right now.
Providing climate normals
to put current data in context
is also planned. Nadler also
wants the site to provide
information on frost risk
through the season. Tying
growing degree days, already
available, to crop stage is also
planned, an improvement
that will help producers
predict crop development.
The successes demonstrate
the ability of even a relatively
small segment of the BC
agriculture sector to take
steps to improve its lot.
However, its status on the
national stage remains minor.
This was driven home
when Cereals Canada and the
Canadian International Grains
Institute merged. This
resulted in a new tiered
membership structure that,
because of the small size of
the BC sector, would have left
the province as a non-voting
member.
“BC is relatively small in the
grain industry in Canada, so
we ended up down at a level
4, which means we were
there but we didn’t have a
voice, explains Kantz. We
weren’t going to sign on as a
member, because youre not
a true a member then
without a vote.
The association instead
opted to remit its
membership fee, supporting
the organizations work on
behalf of the sector.
“Cigi and Cereals Canada
do incredibly valuable work
for the grain industry, so we
felt that was worth it, says
Kantz, who hopes Cereals
Canada will re-examine the
new membership structure.
BC is not the only region
left without a vote. Atlantic
Canada also lost its vote in
the new tiered system.
Grain producers typically
hold their AGM during the
summer but COVID-19
restrictions prevented an in-
person meeting at the time.
The association hoped the
pandemic would abate and
allow a regular meeting to
occur later in the year, but
the surge in cases at the end
of the summer nixed that
idea and the meeting was
held via videoconference
instead. Approximately 15
people attended.
Farm and Rural
Residential
Properties
in the Peace
Country are
our specialty
Anne H. Clayton
MBA, AACI P App, RI
Appraiser
Judi Leeming
BHE, AIC Candidate
Appraiser
250.782.1088
info@aspengrovepropertyservices.ca
www.aspengrovepropertyservices.ca
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 11
Oliver grape grower Hans Buchler says the province's decision to license groundwater use to crop unfairly limits
his management and diversication options. PHOTO / TOM WALKER
THE INVESTMENT AGRICULTURE FOUNDATION
OF BC IS AN INDUSTRY LED, NOT FOR PROFIT
SOCIETY THAT CREATES FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
TO SUPPORT A THRIVING BC AGRICULTURE AND
AGRI-FOOD SECTOR THROUGH THE EFFECTIVE
DELIVERY OF PROGRAMS.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Looking for a way to make a dierence in the BC agriculture
and agri-food industry?
The Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAF) Board of
Directors is looking to recruit talented, energetic, industry
leaders who are passionate about helping to build a competitive,
sustainable and resilient agriculture and agri-food sector in
British Columbia.
We are currently looking for a total of two (2) Directors, one from
each the following sectors:
1. Livestock
2. Tree Fruit & Grapes
For the full job description, visit iafbc.ca/director.
If you are interested in joining the IAF Board
of Directors, please visit iafbc.ca/director
for more details. Please note, submissions
are due by February 12, 2021.
DETAILS:
iafbc.ca/director
drainage is
our specialty
VALLEY FARM DRAINAGE
31205 DEWDNEY TRUNK RD, MISSION • Fax 604-462-7215
604-462-7213 • www.valleyfarmdrainage.com
Proudly supporting Canadian industry
using Canadian product
LASER EQUIPPED & GPS CONTROLLED
TRENCHED AND TRENCHLESS APPLICATIONS
SUPPLIERS OF CANADIAN MADE BIG O DRAINAGE
by TOM WALKER
OLIVER – When Hans
Buchler and his wife bought
the land for their 18 acres of
vineyard almost 40 years ago,
one of the attractions was the
water.
There is a good well on the
property, which was
important, he says. When I
talked to the district of Oliver,
they told me it would be
dicult and expensive to
pump water up here, and
there still isn’t a purveyor
connection up to this bench.
The bench sits north of
Oliver in the shadow of
McIntyre Blu. The sandy soil
supports grape vines for
Covert Farms, Andrew Peller
Ltd. and Okanagan Crush Pad.
Buchlers own vines are
nestled in small pockets
among rocky clis. When you
notice the dry grasses and the
antelope and rabbit brush
popping up between the
rocks, it is hard to imagine
cultivating any crop without
water. Indeed, the surface
water rights on the property
extend back to 1898.
But in order to tap
groundwater under the new
licensing regime the province
introduced in 2016, Buchler
has to specify the crop he
intends to irrigate. He feels
that backs him into a corner.
When I began discussing
my application with
FrontCounter, I was told that
my licence has to be tied to
the crop that I currently grow,
my grapes, he says.
He feels this ignores the
historic uses of the property,
which in the past has
supported livestock, forage
and vegetable production. By
licensing to crop, as the
practice is known, he says
FrontCounterBC is unfairly
constraining him.
Wine is a luxury item, he
says. With the realities of
climate change and food
security, we may need this
land for growing vegetables.
I’ve had livestock here in the
past and have even grown
forage.
Je Nitychoruk, senior
water stewardship ocer for
Okanagan-Shuswap with the
BC Ministry of Forests, Lands,
Natural Resource Operations
and Rural Development, says
groundwater allocations are
tied to crop under section 30
of the Water Sustainability Act.
“If we were to issue a
license that was designed for
maximum allocation for
forage, regardless of what was
being grown, we would be
setting people up for non-
compliance of section 30, he
says.
Buchler led his licence
application three and a half
years ago, in June 2017. The
water use calculator the
province provides applicants
directed him to seek a licence
for an annual allocation of
42,400 cubic metres for each
of his two parcels. But that’s
less than half the allocation he
would need if he was growing
apples.
FrontCounterBC says
applicants can simply apply
for a new groundwater licence
if they change crops, but
Buchler says it’s an expensive
undertaking. Given the
provinces duty to consult
other stakeholders, he worries
there wouldn’t be enough
water to spare if he went back
and asked for more.
The amount of proof you
would have to provide
through environmental
assessments and aquifer
assessments would make it
pretty much impossible for
most farmers, he says. You
are talking tens if not
hundreds of thousands of
dollars to have that type of
assessment performed.
Buchler believes that his
surface water source, Park Rill
Creek, is already over-allocated.
“I expect that I would be
told that there was no more
water volume available, he
says. “In very dry summers in
the past, we have nearly run
out of water.
He also worries that a new
license would jeopardize his
rst-in-time/rst-in-right status.
Changing viticultural
practices may also aect water
demand. The growing
adoption of organic practices
in the Okanagan and
Similkameen could see
greater extractions to enhance
cover crops and control
emerging challenges such as
red blotch virus.There are
several studies that are
showing that doubling the
amount of water for diseased
vines helps control the virus
for a time, says Buchler.
Watering is cheaper than
pulling up and replanting an
Grower takes issue with groundwater limits
Intended use governs water licences
entire vineyard with virus-free
stock and waiting the three
years before the vines are in
full production. But the new
groundwater regime isn’t
exible enough to
accommodate such shifts, he
contends.
The people at FLNRORD
who are administering the
water licensing program seem
to be completely out of touch
with the needs of the farming
community, he says. They
have told us that our
traditional water rights can be
grandfathered in, which in my
mind means that I would get
to keep the volume of water
that I now have.
But that was never the
intention of the legislation
says Mike Wei, a consultant
who was the provinces
technical expert during
development of the Water
Sustainability Act and the
Groundwater Protection
Regulation.
“Grandfathering is not a
term found in the legislation,
and sta are discouraged from
using the word in explaining
the licensing process to
applicants, he says.
Buchler could appeal, but
there is a catch.
They have told me that I
can appeal the allotment in
my license, but of course I
have to get the license rst.
With les from Peter Mitham
12 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
Dustin
Stadnyk
CPA, CA
Chris
Henderson
CPA, CA
Nathalie
Merrill
CPA, CMA
TOLL FREE 1-888-818-FARM | www.farmtax.ca
Expert 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 Program
ARMSTRONG 250-546-8665 | LUMBY 250-547-2118 | ENDERBY 250-838-7337
View over 100 listings of farm properties at
www.bcfarmandranch.com
BC FARM & RANCH
REALTY CORP.
Buying or Selling
a Farm or Acreage?
GORD HOUWELING
Cell: 604/793-8660
GREG WALTON
Cell: 604/864-1610
Toll free 1-888-852-AGRI
Call BC’s First and Only
Real Estate Office committed
100% to Agriculture!
v BC Farm Business Advisory Services Consultant
v Farm Debt Mediation Consultant
v Meat Labeling Consultant
Phone: 604-858-1715 Cell: 604-302-4033
Fax: 604-858-9815 email: marlene.reams
@
gmail.com
CONFIDENTIALITY GUARANTEED
Jack Reams P.Ag. Agri-Consulting
PROFESSIONAL
SERVICES
CALL FOR AN ESTIMATE
LARRY
604.209.5523
TROY
604.209.5524
TRI-WAY
FARMS
LASER LEVELLING LTD.
IMPROVED
DRAINAGE
UNIFORM
GERMINATION
UNIFORM
IRRIGATION
FAST,
ACCURATE
SURVEYING
INCREASE
CROP
YIELDS
We service all of
Southern BC
Known as root louse, grape phylloxera has been discovered on the leaves of grape vines on Vancouver Island,
prompting growers and CFIA to lock down plant movement to prevent spread. FILE PHOTO
by RONDA PAYNE
DUNCAN – An unwelcome
guest has been discovered in
vineyards on Vancouver
Island.
Telltale galls on the leaves
of vines in the Cowichan
Valley and on the Saanich
Peninsula this summer tipped
o growers to grape
phylloxera, also known as root
louse.
Wineries are uncertain how
long the aphid-like pest has
been present on the island or
the degree of risk it poses to
local growers.
“Oregon has phylloxera and
nobody talks about it;
Washington has phylloxera
and nobody talks about it,
says Bailey Williamson,
winemaker at Blue Grouse
Estate Winery in Duncan and
a former director of the Wine
Islands Grape Growers
Association who helped
spearhead recognition of the
Cowichan Valley as its own
sub-appellation.
The discovery was
conrmed by the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency and
BC Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Fisheries (BCMAFF)
in September. While there
have been occasional
detections in the Okanagan,
Vancouver Island was
previously free from the
insect.
“Its native to eastern North
America and it has travelled
around the world into major
grape growing regions, says
provincial entomologist Tracy
Hueppelsheuser.
While the pest spends time
above and below ground, it’s
best known for the damage it
does to vine roots.
How phylloxera made its
way to Vancouver Island is
unknown, though infested
rootstock is one possible
source.
“Nobody wants to point
ngers or create any kind of
hysteria, says Williamson.
We’ve decided not to move
plant material around until we
have a better handle on it. We
don’t know how long its been
here.
CFIA stops plant movement
CFIA issues a notice
prohibiting movement of
plant materials from aected
vineyards. The prohibition
does not prevent the harvest
or removal of fruit. Many
growers on Vancouver Island
have implemented bleach
Grape phylloxera found on Vancouver Island
Island growers act quickly to
prevent the pest’s spread
footbaths for workers
entering and leaving
vineyards to limit the spread
of the pest.
Vancouver Island growers
will be unable to rely on
winter weather to control the
pest, something that has
helped limit populations in
the Okanagan.
It is unknown how
widespread the pest is on
Vancouver Island. The
province is conducting
surveys and hopes to have a
better idea later this year.
Williamson says additional
information from BCMAFF will
help growers move beyond
their existing protocols.
Wed rather work from a
position of knowledge than
fear, he says
Once the pest establishes
in a region, growers typically
shift from planting own-
rooted vines to grafting vines
onto phylloxera-resistant
rootstock.
“You may have phylloxera
in your vineyard, but if you
have resistant rootstock, then
the plants won’t get
impacted, explains
Hueppelsheuser.
She also recommends
growers buy clean plants. The
Canadian Grapevine
Certication Network is
developing a protocol to give
growers condence that the
plants theyre receiving are
clean and free of disease.
The fact that phylloxera is
only aecting the leaves of
local vines has Williamson
hoping that phylloxera may
not be impacting roots.
“It has so many dierent
stages of its lifecycle. It’s
indiscriminate; it moves
around, he says. As a group,
what we’re trying to do is to
identify where it is, keep the
protocols tight and make sure
no one is moving materials,
and then make a push that
any new plantings done will
be on new rootstock.
“Phylloxera is not the end
of the world, says Williamson.
“But you have to know it’s
there and be prepared to
monitor and mitigate it. A lot
of questions need to be
answered. We as a region
need to try to educate
people. And then just keep an
eye on it.
While phylloxera can kill
vines, it does so slowly.
Hueppelsheuser notes that
weak or declining areas of a
vineyard may indicate the
presence of phylloxera. The
pest takes several years to kill
vines, providing an
opportunity for identication
and action. Growers who
suspect phylloxera should
contact her to conrm the
pest’s presence.
YOUR
Helping You
Helping You
cou
countr
ylifeinbc.com
ylifeinbc.com
FARM NEWS UPDATES
countrylifeinbc.com
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 13
Brian Mennell and Linda Edwards shared 30 years together, growing organic fruit and helping others do likewise.
Edwards passed away November 13 at 77 after a career spent supporting the tree fruit sector. SUBMITTED PHOTO
by JUDIE STEEVES
CAWSTON – A
Similkameen entomologist
will long be remembered for
inspiring hardcore
conventional tree fruit
growers to spray laundry
soap on their pear trees
instead of chemicals to
combat pear psylla
infestations.
Linda Edwards died
suddenly at the age of 77 on
November 13 with her
partner of 30 years, Brian
Mennell, by her side.
A grower of organic
Ambrosia apples in Cawston,
Mennell says one of Edwards
biggest projects involved
changing growers’ habits
from using conventional
pesticides – which were
proving ineective – against
the devastating pear psylla
pest, to searching out and
encouraging benecial
insects in the orchard to do
the job instead.
“She stressed that the
whole natural system in the
orchard needed to be
encouraged to help control
the pest. She would be out
there at 6 a.m. teaching
growers to look for predators,
commented Mennell.
Retired provincial
entomologist Hugh Philip
says it was one of her major
contributions to the industry.
“Pear growers were
unarmed because
conventional chemicals were
no longer working to control
the pest, he remembers.
Within a year, there was a
miraculous change. Instead of
black leaves and sooty mold
in the trees, there were green
orchards and unblemished
leaves. The change led some
growers to continue on
toward certication as
organic growers. It was a
major demonstration of how
you can work with benecials
to control pests in
agriculture.
Although the concept of
Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) was not new, Edwards
and Philip worked with
growers looking for new non-
chemical controls for tree
fruit pests. They employed
tactics such as pest
monitoring and using care to
avoid destroying pest
predators in the orchard.
Even weeds can provide
forage for benecial orchard
insects.
“Linda made her mark early
on in her pest management
consulting practice (it was a
novel career at the time, even
for men) by persuading pear
growers to spray laundry
detergent on their pears
instead of pesticides. This was
a gutsy thing for guy farmers
to buy into, being used to
using strong chemicals as the
answer, and risking their crop
if it didn’t work, says Christine
Dendy, former president of
the BC Cherry Association.
“For a brash woman to
advise generations of old fruit
growers to take a dierent
path was a gamble and heads
were turned, but gradually,
they adopted integrated pest
management techniques. She
was tenacious and great at
pulling research projects
together.
Mennell notes that
Edwards came to entomology
rather late in life, receiving
her masters degree in that
specialty from UBC at the age
of 36. However, she was
fascinated by bugs as a
youngster growing up on a
farm in Saskatchewan.
He says there were many
chapters in her life, from an
early career in sociology in
Saskatoon working for
government to work in
Vancouver as a community
development worker; then in
Kelowna working at
Okanagan College before she
decided to pursue her
interest in agriculture.
Research and searching
out grants to fund research
marked her lifes work,
including eorts to control
the peach borer and support
for the Okanagan-Kootenay
Sterile Insect Release
program to combat the
codling moth pest in apples.
“She mentored many,
comments Mennell, who adds
that just 35 acres of organic
orchards existed in the
Similkameen in 1991, when
Edwards was just beginning
to consult with growers.
Today, the valley has 1,000
acres in organic production.
She mentored a host of
researchers and
entomologists, and just
before her death she
completed an update of the
Organic Tree Fruit
Management production
guide.
“She had a massive impact
on the tree fruit industry, he
adds, and she was a big
promoter of Ambrosia, an
apple discovered by Wilf
(Brians brother) and Sally
Mennell as a chance seedling
in their Cawston orchard.
Bruce Curry, chairman of
the New Variety Development
Council which promotes the
Ambrosia apple, says Edwards
was the organic sector
representative for many years
and was very articulate and a
real asset on the council.
“She even had an impact
on conventional growers.
Today, the harsher chemicals
are gone, replaced with more
environmentally friendly
products – products that are
more targeted instead of
broad spectrum insecticides,
he notes.
Edwards' successor on the
council has not been named.
Pioneering entomologist remembered
Linda Edwards championed IPM
among fruit growers
After a challenging year, in
which we all worked together,
the BC Fruit Growers’
Association extends warm
holiday wishes for the
New Year to all members
and friends of the
tree fruit industry of BC.
BC Fruit Growers’
Association
1.800.619.9022
www.bcfga.com
The Lakeside Country
Inn on Kamloops Lake
Custom 3 Bedroom
Home on 8.2 Acres
t#MBDLXBUFS3E
t1SJWBUF)PVTFT5JUMFT
t/FX.PEVMBS3BODIFS
t)BZ'JFME#BSO4IPQ
Quesnel, BC $898,000
Call/Txt Freddy 604.997.5398
Horse Lovers Dream
on 63 Acres with Hay
Call 604.491.1060
www.theBestDealsinBC.com
Selling BC’s Lifestyle Properties
info@thebestdealsinbc.c om
tGFFUPG4BOEZ#FBDI
t%XFMMJOHTHVFTUTVJUFT
t1SJWBUFCBMDPOJFTQBUJPT
t8FMMCVJMUJOGSBTUSVDUVSF
Savona, BC $1,989,000
Call/Txt Freddy 604.997.5398
tTRGU#ESN$BCJO
t"DSFTMBLFBDSPTTSPBE
t8PPETUPWFFMFDUSJDJUZ
tZS3FOFXFE(PW-FBTF
70 Mile House, BC $155,800
Call/Txt Linda 604.997.5399
2 Bdrm Cabin across
road from Green Lake
tTRGU-PHIPNF
tCFECBUILJUDIFOT
t"DSFTFTUBCMJTIFEUSBJMT
t#BSO
NJOTUP%FLBMBLF
Lone Butte, BC $1,250,000
Call/Txt Freddy 604.997.5398
tTRGU$BCJOTMFFQT
t"MM*OWFOUPSZ*ODMVEFE
t"DSFT(PW-FBTF-BOE
t%PDL&BTZ#PBU"DDFTT
Mahood Lake, BC
$274,000
Call/Txt Freddy 604.997.5398
Waterfront Cabin
on Mahood Lake
tTRGUTUPSFZT
t(SBOJUF#JSDI,JUDIFO
t3FBMIBSEXPPEøPPST
tUJUMFTHSBWFMSFTFSWJPS
Chetwynd, BC $589,000
Call/Txt Linda 604.997.5399
Nature & Privacy at
Beaver Guest Ranch
14 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
IF IT’S WORTH IT TO YOU, IT’S WORTH IT TO US.
Contact our agribusiness specialists by email at
agribusiness@firstwestcu.ca
WHEN SUCCESS IS
MEASURED IN ACRES
AND NOT HOURS
Keeping it Simple
®
Divisions of First West Credit Union
Bank. Borrow. Insure. Invest.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 15
Lorraine and John Buchanan of Parry Bay Sheep Farm own just two of the 1,000 acres they manage on southern
Vancouver Island. It’s the most economical way to get onto land, they say. PHOTO / BARBARA JOHNSTONE GRIMMER
Leasing farmland
a vital strategy
for farmers
Land-matching initiative builds
on strong foundation
by BARBARA JOHNSTONE
GRIMMER
METCHOSIN – While the
province has been keen to
support land-matching to
help new farmers launch their
operations, leasing farmland is
a long-standing practice in BC
that’s been vital to many farm
businesses.
Recent research by the
provincial governments
Behavioural Insights Group
underlined the importance of
land leases to agriculture,
stating that it’s commonplace
for BC landowners to lease
unused farmland to farmers.
John and Lorraine
Buchanan of Parry Bay Sheep
Farm in Metchosin on
southern Vancouver Island
only own two acres, yet they
are one of the biggest
operations on Vancouver
Island.
We lease all of the land we
farm, says Buchanan. The
land ranges from two to 200
acres for about 1,000 acres in
total.
Parry Bay has 30 pastures
and croplands spread over a
large geographic area, from
Central Saanich to Metchosin.
The Buchanans grow barley,
wheat, oats, kale and turnips,
as well as hay and pasture for
their large ock of sheep.
“In the mostly suburban
areas where we farm, it is the
most economical way to get
onto the land, explains
Buchanan. We have had no
issues in the 40 years that we
have been farming with this
arrangement.
Economical
Bill Zylmans of W & A Farms
in Richmond agrees with that
observation.
“Of the 400 acres that we
are farming, we own 70 of
that, says Zylmans. The costs
are much less to lease
compared to buying in an
area that has become quite
urban.
Zylmans calls himself the
“biggest dirt farmer in
Richmond, based on the
number of cultivated acres
that he farms, outside of the
regions blueberry and
cranberry farms.
He leases a range of parcel
sizes. As a seed potato farmer,
he is happy if he can rent six
to 12-acre parcels for the
dierent seed potato varieties
he grows. He has a long-term
lease for 200 acres from the
Vancouver Fraser Port
Authority, along with leases
from non-farmers and other
farmers.
“I lease from older farmers
who want to see their land
farmed, says Zylmans. “One of
the farms that I lease is from a
widow whose husband
passed away. It is a win-win for
people who want their land
farmed and looked after, and
they can receive a property
tax reduction.
Zylmans also subleases to
other farmers for rotational
purposes. It introduces
diversity into the cropping
system, which in turn benets
the land.
One thing that Zylmans
stresses is the importance of
good-quality land.
We have the [Agricultural
Land Reserve] which provides
great protection to good land.
We can’t aord to farm
marginal land anymore. It has
to be top-notch, says
Zylmans, a former vice-chair
of the Agricultural Land
Commissions South Coast
panel. They aren’t making any
more farmland.
Zylmans says that it’s more
cost-eective to keep good
quality farmland in good
shape. It no longer pays to put
in infrastructure
improvements and extra
inputs to upgrade marginal
land. However, lower quality
farmland can host
greenhouse operations and
other uses that don’t require
highly productive soil.
Long-term leases preferred
He prefers long-term leases
that give him the condence
to make investments and
manage the land with a view
to its long-term quality. A
short-term lease doesn’t oer
the same incentive.
“I like to see a ve to 10-
year timeframe with a rst-
refusal option to purchase so
that I can put money in and
do necessary work like
cleaning ditches, fertilizing or
enhancing the land, says
COMMITTED TO AGRICULTURE in the FRASER VALLEY & VANCOUVER ISLAND
rollinsmachinery.com
TRACTORS
CASE 35B 4WD, ROPS [CNS755] ........................................... 13,000
FENDT 308 LSA ROPS, LOADER, 4WD, 5,500 HRS [U40042] ... 28,750
JD 5100 MH, HIGH CLEARANCE, 3 REMOTES [CNS757] .......... 70,000
NH BOOMER 33 ROPS, LOADER, 4WD, TURF TIRES [U32032] . 20,950
NH 8560 4WD, 6,250 HRS [U32312] .................................... 59,900
TS135A 4WD, 6060 HRS, CAB, SUSP, PWR SHIFT TRANS [U32120] 42,900
QUALITY USED EQUIPMENT
AERWAY 11’ TRAILER, AERATOR, NICE CONDITION [U40045] .... 9,000
DION F41 HARVESTER, CORN, GRASS, GOOD CONDITION [U32476] 81,250
FRONTIER 12’ DISC, TANDEM 21” FRONT NOTCH,
21” REAR SMOOTH [U32343] ................................................ 7,900
GEHL 3250 SQ BALER, S/N20743, CRANK BALE TENSION,78” PU, 1/4 TURN
BALE CHUTE, GOOD CONDITION, SHED-STORED [U32407] ............... 7,900
KOMATSU LOADER BACKHOE, 7100 HRS, 4 POST, ROPS,
4WD [U40043] .................................................................... 19,500
KUHN PRO 150 MANURE SPREADER, VERTICAL BEATERS,
GOOD CONDITION [U32236] ................................................ 36,600
MCHALE FUSION VARIO 2017, 14,000 BALES [U32135] .......... 99,000
NH 258 RAKE 260, HITCH [U32143] ........................................ 4,950
NH FP240 GRASS-CORN-CROP PRO, TANDEM AXLE [U32193] . 32,500
NH 1044 BALE WAGON [U32420] ............................................ 7,000
NH 7550 DISC MOWER 13’ - PIN HITCH [U32358] ................... 16,900
NH C232 TRACK SKIDSTEER, DEMO SPECIAL, 500 HRS,
GOOD CONDITION [N31179] .................................................. 61,000
NH TV145 BI-DIRECTIONAL TRACTOR, FRONT MOUNT TIGER BOOM
MOWER, GOOD CONDITION [U16916] ................................... 60,000
TAARUP 4036 DISC MOWER, REBUILT CUTTERBAR [U32093] ... 14,500
CHILLIWACK •
1.800.242.9737 .
44725 Yale Road West • 604.792.1301
LANGLEY •
1.800.665.9060 |.
21869 - 56th Avenue • 604.533.0048
CHEMANIUS • 1.250.246.1203 . 3306 Smiley Road
KELOWNA • 250.765.8266 . #201 - 150 Campion Street
See LEASES on next page
o
The Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research (CHASR) at the University
of Saskatchewan is conducting a survey of Small-scale Pig Producers to
better understand how you access information, veterinary care for your pigs
and challenges that exist and how access to information and veterinary
care could be made easier.
In order to complete the survey you must have had
at least one pig on your property within the last 12
months. All completed surveys are eligible to win.
The survey can be lled out at:
https://ca1se.vox c o.com/SE/90/[SmallScaleS wineFarms]/
Bill Zylmans has leases for over 300 acres of farmland in Richmond. Even the smaller six-to 12-acre parcels are
worthwhile for his seed potato crops. FILE PHOTO
LEASES nfrom page 15
16 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
Zylmans. “Farmers are the best
stewards of the land.
The BC Land Matching
Program managed by the
Young Agrarians provides a
new spin on the old practice
of leasing land, providing a
customized service to help
match those looking for
farmland to rent with
landowners who are
interested in leasing part – or
all – of their land for farm use.
The program launched in
Metro Vancouver in 2016, and
matching began in 2017.
With support from the
province, the program
expanded across BC in 2018.
Young Agrarians now has ve
trained land-matchers in BC
covering Vancouver Island
and Gulf Islands, Metro
Vancouver and the Fraser
Valley, the Okanagan-
Thompson, Columbia Basin
and Central and Northern BC.
The team oers a range of
support services, lease forms
and materials and recently
released a “BC Transition Tool
Kit to help with non-family
land transfers.
To date, just under 600
people have registered for the
program: 334 land-seekers
and 264 landowners. Early in
the COVID-19 pandemic
enquiries for land from land-
seekers doubled but this has
since levelled o, says Darcy
Smith, BC Land Program
Manager at Young Agrarians.
At the same time, there has
been a slight decline in
landowner enquiries.
“I would say that theres a
wide variety of people
participating in the BCLMP for
both land seekers and
landholders – folks of all ages,
production types,
backgrounds, etc. – where the
unifying thread is a focus on
building resilient food systems
and providing opportunities
to farmers to grow viable farm
businesses, explains Smith.
The program recently made
its 100th match. For the 81
land matches with statistics
available from the BC Ministry
of Agriculture, Food and
Fisheries, 4,653 acres are
being leased for farming
through the program.
Tenure documented
Statistics Canadas Census
of Agriculture, which is set to
take place this May, records
land tenure. The last census in
2016 reported 17,528 farms in
BC covering a total of 6.4
million acres. Nearly half of
this acreage was owned, with
the rest leased from
governments, non-farmers,
other farmers, or rented under
other arrangements such as
crop-sharing.
BC Assessment reports
11,138 farm properties on the
2021 tax roll, of which 869,382
acres are leased. This does not
reect area leased from one
farmer to another for cover
crop rotations or other
arrangements. It also doesn’t
reect properties being
farmed but not holding farm
class status. It is also not
indicative of the total number
of leases in the province, as a
farm can have more than one
tenant.
FOLLOW US
LIKE US
@countrylifeinbc
OLLOW US
TRACTOR
TIME
VICTORIA
4377C Metchosin Rd.
250.474.3301
30 minutes from Victoria
and 15 minutes from
Highway#1 in Metchosin.
PREMIUM
TRUCK
PRINCE GEORGE
1015 Great Street
250.563.0696
WILLIAMS LAKE
4600 Collier Place
250.398.7411
HANDLERS
EQUIPMENT
ABBOTSFORD
339 Sumas Way
604.850.3601
HOUSTON
2990 Highway Crescent
250.845.3333
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 17
by RONDA PAYNE
ABBOTSFORD – The
strawberry blossom weevil
(Anthonomus rubi) captured
the attention of raspberry
growers during the annual
general meeting of the
Raspberry Industry
Development Council, held
via videoconference
November 17.
The Canadian Food
Inspection Agency conrmed
the presence of the pest in
the Fraser Valley in early
September, following surveys
by the BC Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and
Fisheries this summer. The
pest was detected in wild and
low-spray raspberries,
strawberries and blackberries.
However, Carolyn Teasdale,
berry specialist with the
ministry, says the presence of
parasitic wasps associated
with the weevil may indicate
that it’s been here for years.
We know it’s widespread
throughout the Fraser Valley,
she says.
How it arrived is unknown.
A major pest in Europe, the
weevil is sometimes confused
with botrytis, a fungus.
This weevil is quite
dierent from the root
weevils that you are familiar
with, Teasdale says. The
adult weevils are about 3 mm
long. They lay their eggs in
the ower buds at the pre-
bloom stage and then those
ower buds don’t develop
into fruit.
The weevil can also y,
something most weevils can’t
do.
Pheromone traps, visual
inspection of bushes, and
beating trays (to catch
weevils while shaking canes)
are techniques for discovery.
Pre-bloom sprays and those
used to control spotted wing
drosophila are the
recommended control
strategies.
Those who suspect the
weevil’s presence in their
plantings should contact
provincial entomologist Tracy
Hueppelsheuser.
Variety update
Growers also received an
update on berry breeding
activities from Michael
Dossett of the Agassiz
Research and Development
Centre. The meeting’s deferral
from its usual spring date was
a chance to discuss results
from not only the 2019
season but also 2020, though
results from this year are still
being analyzed.
The program continues to
prioritize machine
harvestability and root rot
resistance in new selections.
Winter damage and poor fruit
quality saw 200 selections
eliminated from the program
in 2019, while 4,700 new
plantings were completed.
We got rid of a lot of
things, made some room, he
says. We add a lot of
selections each year.
Among the trial varieties
evaluated in 2019, 10-79-33
continues to perform well
and has exceeded Chemainus
yields per acre since data
collection started in 2017. BC
10-84-9 is a larger berry than
Chemainus and has had a
comparable yield since 2017.
Another trial berry looking
good for fresh markets is
10-71-27.
“It was the highest yielder
in 2020, he says.
A recent selection, 1653.7,
has rm berries and non-
sagging laterals despite the
20 to 30 berries on each,
while 1855.11 produces
heavy berries that result in
saggy laterals. However, the
latter has good qualities for
the fresh market and will be
used in crosses.
“Growers are telling us that
yield is important obviously.
They are also telling us that
earliness is important, says
Dossett. All the data we have
shows that earliness and yield
are negatively correlated.
We’re picking this all apart …
to make progress on both of
these traits simultaneously.
Restrictions associated
with COVID-19 limited access
to research elds, resulting in
later planting of this years
4,600 seedlings. Genetics
testing and mapping of traits
was on hold due to the lack
of lab access, but work will
resume this spring.
Dossett urges growers to
participate in a project
funded by the Abbotsford
Community Foundation grant
last year that will build an
economic model assigning
values to dierent raspberry
traits.
To build these economic
models … we need input
from growers about
management practices and
costs, he says. All this
information is going to be
kept anonymous.
Raspberry research
director Eric Gerbrandt notes
the research team responded
quickly to mitigate any
challenges due to COVID-19
restrictions.
The main pipeline of the
[breeding] program is making
Raspberry growers tackle new pest challenge
Growers briefed on trade challenges, opportunities with new varieties at AGM
crosses, planting out
seedlings and evaluating
them, he says. Thats the
portion of the program that
we really focused on
maintaining this year.
A new project,
“Development of Molecular
Diagnostics for Plant-Parasitic
Nematodes in BC, led by
Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada research scientist
Tom Forge will develop a lab
method for detecting
nematodes in soil and root
samples. This work will
resume in 2021 after being
halted by COVID-19
restrictions.
Sales up
RIDC chair James Bergen
says u-pick operations saw
sales increase and fresh
market sales were also up.
However, berries originally
destined for IQF were
downgraded in quality due to
signicant rain events. Many
growers were disappointed
with 2020 production, which
is set to come in below the
11.8 million pounds
harvested in 2019.
The lower yields come as
the US International Trade
Commission is investigating
the impact imports of foreign
raspberries have on growers
in Washington.
We will be submitting a
letter to the USITC shortly to
outline that BC raspberry
growers face many of the
same challenges and
competitive disadvantage as
our counterparts to the
south, Bergen says.
RIDC will also be
contacting CFIA regarding
Chinese raspberries sold in
Canada as “Product of Chile”
in 2020 and what will be
done to prevent similar
incidents.
RIDC ended 2019 with a
net surplus, with some of the
money destined for research
and development activities
unspent. The 2020 budget
anticipated a decit, but the
pandemic will likely leave a
small surplus.
Amrit Brar, Arvin Neger,
Jordan Alamwala and Dave
Maljaars were acclaimed to
the board. Neger assumes the
position vacated by Paul
Sidhu.
www.masseyferguson.us
We’ve invested heavily in the future, and the new Massey Ferguson
®
6700 Series tractors are unlike any
mid-range we’ve ever built. They’re engineered from the ground up, then tested in the harshest conditions
around the world, for more power, versatility and long-lasting operation. These machines are purpose-built to
provide unmatched lift capacity and the power to pull heavier implements through the toughest jobs, with the
next-level comfort of our deluxe cab and features. Come demo the 6700 Series today, and don’t be surprised
if this ends up being the last tractor you ever buy.
IT’S THE MOST POWERFUL
HEAVYWEIGHT IN ITS CLASS.
Quality Pre-Owned Tractors & Equipment
VAN DER WAL EQUIPMENT
(1989)
LTD.
23390 RIVER ROAD, MAPLE RIDGE, BC V2W 1B6
604/463-3681 | vanderwaleq.com
BOBCAT 5600 TOOL CARRIER . . . . 32,000
FARMKING RB10FK WHEEL RAKE . 7,500
FELLA 800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,500
FORD 6610 CAB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,500
JCB 409 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47,000
JD 3720 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . COMING
JD 5525 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37,500
KUHN FC313 MOWER TG . . . . . 20,000
KUHN 4 BOT ROLLOVER PLOW . . . . 19,900
K’LAND AB85 4 BOT PLOWS 11,000 ea
KUBOTA BX2200 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,500
KVERNELAND 4032 MOWER . . 16,000
MASCHIO B205 ROTOTILLER . . . 9,000
MF 1754 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . COMING
MF 1523 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,000
MF 6616 4WD LDR . . . . . . . . . . . .95,000
NEW HOLLAND TM150 . . . . . . . 47,000
NEW HOLLAND TS 115 . . . . . . . 25,000
NEW HOLLAND 195 SPREADER 20,000
SUNFLOWER 7232 23’ HARROW 17,500
TYCROP HIGH DUMP 16’ . . . . . . . 9,500
YOUR
Helping You
Helping You
WEEKLY
FARM
NEWS
UPDATES
cou
countr
ylifeinbc.com
countrylifeinbc.com
Sign up for
FREE today.
bc.com
co
m
co
m
bc.co
18 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
TOLL FREE: 1-877-553-3373 WWW.PRAIRIECOASTEQUIPMENT.COM
PRINCE GEORGE 250-561-4260 | KAMLOOPS 250-573-4412 | KELOWNA 250-765-9765 | CHILLIWACK 604-792-1516 | NANAIMO 778-441-3210
Save $10,000 on 5100GN, 5R Series, 5M Series and 6E Series Tractors. Save $14,000 on 6M Series Tractors. Offer valid until January 31, 2021. Some restrictions may apply. See dealer for details.
$14,000
SAVE
PLUS 0% FINANCING
$10,000
SAVE
PLUS 0% FINANCING
6M SERIES TRACTOR 5100GN TRACTOR
5R OR 5M SERIES
TRACTOR
6E SERIES TRACTOR
Province comes through with replant money
Raspberry replant program will help growers transition to new varieties
by RONDA PAYNE
ABBOTSFORD – A long-awaited
raspberry replant program kicked o
BC agriculture minister Lana Pophams
second term in cabinet.
The raspberry sector requested the
program during meetings with
agriculture minister Lana Popham
during Ag Days in Victoria in 2019.
Orchardists and hazelnut growers
enjoy similar programs.
Popham announced $90,000 in
funding for the program December 1
as part of a suite of announcements
designed to help growers recover
from the impacts of COVID-19. The
program will see $72,000 contributed
by industry for a total value of
$162,000.
We hope that this program is the
rst step towards revitalizing the BC
raspberry industry, says James
Bergen, chair of the Raspberry
Industry Development Council, which
will administer the program.
Provincial funding will cover $9,000
worth of administrative costs as well
as the direct costs of replanting.
Growers will receive up to $1.50 per
plug and up to $1 per bare-root plant to a maximum of $3,300 per acre, says
Carolyn Teasedale, berry industry specialist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Fisheries. Growers are eligible for funding covering up to 10 acres
each. Varieties must be intended for either the fresh or IQF markets.
“I’m glad that we’re getting some assistance in trying to rejuvenate the
raspberry industry in BC, says Arvin Neger of Mukhtiar Growers and a director
of the Raspberry Industry Development Council, which will administer the
program. “Its nice to see some light in that industry instead of seeing
raspberries being pulled out and
planted in other crops.
Planting new varieties is
important to renew elds with old
varieties like Meeker while also
ensuring BC raspberries continue to
be seen as having world-leading
quality.
The future of protability in our
industry is not picking fruit into a
drum, says Michael Dossett, berry
breeder with the Agassiz Research
and Development Centre. The stu
that were trying to select to move
forward in the program is the stu
that’s going to have the quality that
it doesn’t just end up in a drum.
The timeline for the program is
tight, however. The deadline for
applications is January 11 and
planting must complete by March 31.
The tight timeline means
growers who have already ordered
new raspberry stock will be the
programs main beneciaries.
However, if uptake is strong
enough, the program could be
extended.
“It really allows us to do this pilot
and set it up for the budget
process, Popham told Country Life in BC. “Its not massive amounts of money,
but it’s not insignicant. So we’ll see how that goes.
Growers echoed Pophams optimism.
“Its in its infancy stages so we’ll see where it goes, says Paul Sidhu of RPR
Farms in Abbotsford. “You gotta start somewhere.
The program will support renewal of at least 25 acres. BC growers tended
2,694 acres of raspberries in 2019.
With les from Peter Mitham
The province has committed $90,000 for a raspberry replant initiative. It’s a good rst start, say
growers, who will contribute another $72,000 for the program. FILE PHOTO
Pacific Ag Show embraces the digital realm
It will be a different experience for exhibitors and trade show guests as the Pacic Agriculture Show transitions to
a virtual format this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. FILE PHOTO
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 19
by PETER MITHAM
ABBOTSFORD – Despite the
challenges agricultural fairs
and events faced during the
COVID-19 pandemic, many
found ways to bring people
together and ll the need
farmers and communities
everywhere have to stay
connected, up to date, and in
touch with the latest trends
and one another.
This month, on January 28-
30, the Pacic Agriculture
Show will aim to do the same
as it brings together suppliers
in a wholly digital trade show
alongside the short course
organized each year by the
Lower Mainland Horticultural
Improvement Association.
The online platform will
add a new dimension to the
show, says organizer Jim
Shepard, one born out of
necessity this year but in
keeping with the constant
evolution of the provinces
agriculture sector.
“I’m trying to get
something started here, he
says. “It forces us to get into
the digital world, which is
good for the long term.
The decision to go digital
was made for him when
provincial health ocer Dr.
Bonnie Henry made clear that
trade shows and large events
were o the table in BC until a
vaccine against COVID-19 is
widely available. Shepard
began considering his
options, and reviewed several
conference platforms until
discovering Pheedloop, a
platform developed at the
University of Toronto.
Organizers of the Washington
Small Fruit Conference and
Lynden Ag Show in Lynden,
Washington had selected it for
their event, and the ease of
use made it perfect for the
much larger event in
Abbotsford.
“Its well suited for
incorporating the short
course, he says. “It lends itself
very nicely to this format.
Working together with the
LMHIA as well as the BC
Agriculture Council, which will
be a partner in this years
event, Shepard began drafting
plans for transitioning the full
range of events that take
place the week of the PAS
each year to an online format.
The annual gala which
typically kicks o the show
will take place on the
platform, as will a streamlined
version of the short course
with two concurrent streams
each day instead of four. The
trade show will operate in a
third stream, allowing short
course participants to interact
via chat or streaming video
with exhibitors.
“Its going to be a neat
thing, he said. They can
connect with anyone in the
booth. Its all going to be
there.
Even, he says, the ever-
popular Aldor Acres petting
zoo.
While the chance to meet
suppliers in a single place will
oer convenience to attendees,
Shepard says exhibitors will be
able to quantify the return on
their investment easily
because they’ll know who
visited their booth, and
whether those visits
converted into business. While
people might not be kicking
tires, they’ll be interacting,
something that’s taken extra
eort to arrange during the
pandemic thanks to business
closures, social distancing and
safety protocols.
“Don’t compare it a trade
show, says Shepard. “Compare
it to not having to drive
around to see a dozen
customers.
There is no charge to
browse the trade show or
other public elements of this
years show. People simply
need to register using the
code “pas2021” at
[www.agricultureshow.net].
Best of all, unlike past years,
this years event will remain
live after the exhibitors have
left the building (as it were).
The conference platform will
remain available for a year,
allowing visitors to view
exhibitors and reach out
through the site. Short course
presentations will also be
available for a year following
the event, complementing the
current archive of
proceedings typically posted a
few weeks after the event
ends. The sessions will be
oered via the Zoom app
embedded within the
platform and the video will be
available for review
immediately afterwards.
This is setting us up for
success in the future, says
Shepard.
Popular trade show will be virtual
alongside short course, gala
20 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
19TH ANNUAL BC AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY GALA 2021
FEATURING KEYNOTE SPEAKER:
AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY
BC
REX MURPHY
Canadians are treated to Rex’s Saturday column in
the
National Post
and previously enjoyed his weekly
commentary on CBCs
The National.
The one and
only Rex Murphy is a trusted face and voice across
Canadian media. His intellect and biting humour strike
through the heart of profound political and social
issues. His endearing style brings forth a sarcastic
intellect and deep insight into issues aecting
individuals and businesses.
GALA
ALSO FEATURING:
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Government of Canada
The Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
Province of British Columbia
AWARDS CEREMONY:
Scotiabank Champion Award
Outstanding Teacher Award (Presented by BC Agriculture in the Classroom)
BCAC Leadership Award
SILENT AUCTION (Proceeds donated to BC Agriculture in the Classroom)
Champion SponsorBrought to you by:
Pre-register at: bcac.ca
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 21
This years short course will be narrowed
down to two concurrent streams from four.
Presentations will begin at 8am each day,
and wrap up shortly after 5pm. The webinar
format will allow participants to interact
directly with presenters, similar to the in-
person course. Questions that go
unanswered may be addressed later.
Registration for this years short course
will be online only, with an early-bird
deadline of January 12. The regular
registration fee is unchanged from last year
at $100 for the rst person from each farm
or organization and a discounted rate for
each additional person. Further details and
registration is through the LMHIA page on
the PAS site [www.agricultureshow.net].
Participants will register with their e-mail
address, and receive a unique access code
which they’ll use to access sessions.
Recertication credits will be oered to
eligible growers.
Sessions can be attended via any
Internet-enabled device, so long as a
decent Internet connection is available. All
sessions will be recorded and available for
viewing over the course of the event,
enabling participants to catch-up with
presentations they miss. Generous breaks in
the middle of the day will allow attendees
to rest their eyes, network with trade show
exhibitors and have lunch.
Registration fees not only support the
course, but also the researchers whose
work each year is shared over the course of
the event.
A review of LMHIA activities, including
research projects the association funds as
well as administers funding for on behalf of
member organizations, will be shared at the
associations annual general meeting on
Friday afternoon.
Short course continues to
educate growers
First out of the gate is a
raspberry and strawberry
session on Thursday
morning, headlined by
strawberry blossom
weevil, a new pest of
strawberries and
raspberries making itself felt
in BC. Michelle Franklin of
Agassiz Research and
Development Centre and
provincial entomologist Tracy
Hueppelsheuser of the BC
Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Fisheries will discuss the
biology, monitoring and
management
recommendations for the
weevil.
What growers should
consider with respect to
producing strawberries in
tabletop systems and
raspberries in substrate will
follow. The latter will see Joey
Boudreault and Valerie
Bernier-English of Ferme
Onésime Pouliot Inc. in
Quebec speak from the
experience growing long-
cane raspberries in Quebec,
with an emphasis on the
economic and agronomic
considerations.
The raspberry-strawberry
session will conclude with the
market outlook for red
raspberries, delivered by Ben
Klootwyk of Pacic Coast
Fruit Products in Abbotsford.
A general session for all
berry groups dominates one
of the two concurrent short-
course streams on Friday.
Practical information growers
across the three key berry
groups can use will be
delivered in two, two-hour
blocks. Pesticides dominate
the morning presentations,
while farm management is
the theme of the afternoon.
The session begins with
Jasn Deveau of the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Aairs discussing
sprayer calibration to make
the most eective use of
pesticides.
Weeds will be the focus of
Ken Sapsford of the BC
Ministry of Agriculture in
Kelowna, who will discuss
strategies for managing some
of the more resilient invaders
into local berry elds. A velvet
Berries, berries
and more berries
st is an apt metaphor for the
approach Andony
Melathopoulos of
Oregon State University
in Corvallis, Oregon,
recommends with
respect to insect
control. His focus is how
to go hard on pests
while protecting
pollinators, a key concern of
growers and consumers
given the high prole such
issues have had in recent
years.
Caroline Bedard of the BC
Ministry of Agriculture will
help growers sort through
the options available to them
with an update on pest
management tools that have
recently been registered and
products that are expected
for 2021. Pest applicator
recertication credits will be
oered to eligible growers
who participate in the
morning sessions.
How to improve berry eld
management will be the
focus of the Friday afternoon
presentations, which lead o
with Eric Gerbrandt of Sky
Blue Horticulture in
Chilliwack discussing the
economic value of alternative
crop inputs for blueberry and
raspberry producers. “Do
humic acids, kelp extracts,
high P fertilizers and
phosphites improve
protability?” he asks. He’ll
share the results of multi-year
replicated eld trials that will
give growers insights.
Oregon researcher David
Bryla of the USDA Agricultural
Research Service has
addressed local growers
before on irrigation
management. He’ll return this
year to discuss the benets of
pulsed irrigation for
raspberries and blueberries.
Given concerns about hive
health among local
beekeepers and the
producers they support,
Andony Melathopoulos will
return to the virtual podium
with tips on how
understanding the hive mind
of the honeybee can lead to
more eective pollination.
Growers will receive insights
Berries have been at the heart of the growers’
short course from the beginning, and it’s
no surprise that they feature all three days
of this year’s event.
Preview
by PETER MITHAM
Please turn to next page
o
2021
HORTICULTURE GROWERS’
SHORT COURSE
VIRTUAL EDITION
Cfn\iDX`ecXe[
?fik`ZlckliXc
@dgifm\d\ek
8jjfZ`Xk`fe
AXelXip
)/$*'
?dfWhjd[hi^_fm_j^j^[
FWY_ÓY7]h_Ykbjkh[I^em
K?LIJ;8P
IXjgY\ii`\jJkiXnY\ii`\j=`\c[M\^\kXYc\&GfkXkf
>i\\e_flj\?fgj?Xq\celkj
8^i`ZlckliXcNXk\iDXeX^\d\ekCXYfli
=I@;8P
=Xid9lj`e\jjDXeX^\d\ekB\pefk\8[[i\jj
8cc9\ii`\j:XeeXY`jGfkXkf\jFi^Xe`Z
J8KLI;8P
9cl\Y\ii`\jFi^Xe`Z;`i\Zk=XidDXib\kj
:XeeXY`j=cfi`Zlckli\M\^\kXYc\
I<>@JKI8K@FEFEC@E<8K
nnn%X^i`Zlckli\j_fn%e\k
Ph: 604-857-0318 | growers@agricultureshow.net
Innovate. Grow. Prosper.
22 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
www.rollinsmachinery.com
info@rollinsmachinery.com
FOR BAGGED or
BULK ORDERS
Darren Jansen Owner
604.794.3701
organicfeeds@gmail.com
www.canadianorganicfeeds.com
Certified by Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd.
Closed controlled systems
are relatively new to berry
producers, but Lower
Mainland vegetable growers
have been using them for
years in the form of
greenhouses. Whether in soil-
based, hydroponic or
container systems,
greenhouse production will
lead o the presentations for
vegetable producers. The rst
presentation, at 8am on
Thursday morning, will
foreground the advantage of
this years online course
platform. Suthaparan
Aruppillai of Norwegian
University of Life Sciences in
Ås, Norway, will beam in to
discuss the potential of
optical radiation in the
management of powdery
mildews in greenhouse
vegetables.
Protecting plants is one
thing, but protecting the
workers who care for them is
another. This hit home for
many growers during the
COVID-19 pandemic, and
Wendy Bennett of AgSafe BC
will discuss the importance of
a safety culture. Continuing
on with the management tips,
Peter Chapman of consulting
rm SKU Food in Hammond
Plains, Nova Scotia will
encourage growers to adapt
their practices to satisfy
retailers and consumers in a
world coloured by COVID-19.
Concurrent with the
Thursday morning
greenhouse session, potato
and eld vegetable growers
will be briefed on disease
issues. The recent decision to
cancel the registration of
chlorpyrifos threatens to have
signicant ramications for
many growers, potentially
ending the BC rutabaga
industry. Provincial pesticide
specialist Ken Sapsford will
help growers navigate the
tide of information
concerning pesticide
re-evaluations, summarizing
decisions of note.
Wim van Herk of the
Agassiz Research and
Development Centre will oer
hope to growers struggling
with wireworm in the wake of
the cancellation of
chlorpyrifos with his
discussion of broanilide, the
new kid on the block.
“Research shows that this one
is a winner for potatoes, he
says, and he’ll discuss this and
other emerging tools,
including pheromones for
controlling adult click beetles.
The national research
program of federal research
scientists Rick Peters of
Charlottetown and Rishi
Burlakoti of Agassiz is helping
develop and rene
management tools for late
blight, and includes work with
home gardeners to ensure
the management of non-
commercial plots doesn’t
blight the production of
commercial potatoes.
The forward-looking
session will be rounded out
by Renee Prasad of the
University of the Fraser Valley
in Chilliwack, who will dig into
the integrated pest
management toolbox.
into colony behaviour,
helping them see the world
from the bees perspective in
order to make them full
partners in the production
process.
Fridays berry sessions
close with a return to the
topic of pesticides and insect
management with Arlan Benn
of ES Cropconsult Ltd. in
Delta. He’ll share the results
of a recent eld trial that
screened insecticides against
adult weevils.
Blueberry thrill
Blueberries rank as the
biggest berry crop in the
province, with an annual
harvest of close to 200 million
pounds. Theyre also the
provinces third-most
lucrative food export in the
province, with $273.4 million
shipped abroad in 2019,
primarily to the US.
With plenty of older
varieties in the eld, new
cultivar opportunities and
future breeding prospects for
better fresh market quality is
a topic that’s always in
season.
It will be the focus of
Michael Dossett of BC Berry
Cultivar Development Corp.
in Agassiz and Eric Gerbrandt
of Sky Blue Horticulture in
Chilliwack on Saturday
morning. The dynamic duo
will discuss how promising
new blueberry cultivars from
BC’s homegrown breeding
program will help growers
address global competition
for high-quality, fresh market
blueberries in the fresh
market.
Of course, great
cultivars need great care,
and long-time
presenter Bernadine
Strik of Oregon State
University will return
to the short course via
videoconference to
update growers on key
considerations for
pruning to ensure
sustained yields and optimal
fruit quality. Strategies for
better fruit quality will also be
the subject of Grant
McMillan’s summary of recent
research on the use of
reective tarps in Fraser
Valley berry elds. The tarps
have delivered benets to
orchardists in the Okanagan,
and McMillan’s work is
showing how they can
benet berry growers, too.
A midday hiatus in the
blueberry presentations on
Saturday will allow growers to
stretch their legs before
returning to hear Strik discuss
fertility management. She’ll
discuss the best timing,
frequency and application
method for fertilizers, helping
growers view nutrient
management from the plant’s
perspective. Knowing when
to use fertilizer, and how
much a plant really wants, is
key to maximizing returns
and minimizing costs in an
environment where margins
are under constant pressure.
Saturday closes with an
update on management
techniques for spotted wing
drosophila with Jana Lee of
the USDA Agricultural
Research Service in Corvallis,
Oregon.
Green shoots on the vegetable front
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 23
Financing
the future of
agriculture.
At BMO, we know that farming is more than just
a business – its a way of life.
And as a longstanding supporter of the BC farming
community, we’ve been committed to agriculture
since we began working with farmers in 1817.
A handle on the markets
Two concurrent sessions on
Saturday morning will help
vegetable growers and
producers who market their
products direct to consumer
better understand market
opportunities.
Renee Prasad of the
University of the Fraser Valley
in Chilliwack will discuss how
to undertake trials and
evaluate the potential for new
crops based on her
experience with sweet potato,
eggplant and bitter melon.
Grant McMillan of
Integrated Crop Management
Services in Abbotsford will
show the potential of
cooperative variety trials in
evaluating the market
potential of new varieties
based on his experience with
sweet corn and beans. The
session concludes with a
panel discussion of the many
varieties available to
producers from suppliers
including West Coast Seeds,
Stokes Seeds, Osborne Seeds
and Norseco Seeds.
But what to do with the
crop after selecting the ones
that grow well? The direct
farm marketing session, also
taking place Saturday
morning, will share lessons
from 2020 on engaging with
the market. A panel will
present the personal
experiences of Tom Davison of
Davison Orchards Country
Village in Vernon, Katie Leek of
Emma Lea Farms in Ladner
and Dave Semmelink of
Ag Innovation Day
Global perspective on spuds
Going online meant this
years short course would be
able to deliver a world of
content to growers, giving
them access to presenters
who wouldn’t normally
attend.
Potato growers will be
among those beneting
most.
Their session on Friday
morning will feature no local
expertise. Instead, the line-up
will be headlined by Walter
Hernández of El Parquet
Papas, an integrated
producer of seed and table
potatoes as well as a potato
processor in Argentina.
The success of El Parquet
Papas has stemmed from a
philosophy of continuous
improvement that embraces
innovation, including a
gradual conversion from
traditional types of irrigation
to drip technology.
Hernández will show how the
company has applied
technology to reap several
advantages.
Hernández presentation
will be followed by three
researchers, who will share
recent projects aimed at
managing production and
storage issues.
Lydia Tymon of
Washington State University
in Mt. Vernon, Washington,
will draw a bead on
Colletotrichum coccodes, the
fungus that causes black dot.
Black dot continues to be a
challenge to manage because
the fungus can infect its hosts
without causing symptoms.
Xiu-Qing Li of the federal
research station in
Fredericton will focus on the
risks posed by climate
change and management of
heat and other
environmental stresses.
Rick Peters of the federal
Charlottetown Research and
Development Centre will
discuss storage management
practices that can reduce or
minimize disease issues in
stored potatoes.
Please turn to next page
o
The involvement of the BC Agriculture Council as an
organizing partner in this years Pacic Agriculture Show
means the annual gala dinner that usually precedes the
show will be part and parcel of the program this year.
Just like every other element of the program, it will take
place online.
The festivities will kick o January 28 at 5:30pm
following the rst day of seminars. While guests will have
to provide their own dinner and drinks, the event will
feature the popular, interactive silent auction raising
funds for the BC Agriculture in the Classroom
Foundation. Fortunately, recent years have seen bidding
take place via tablets, meaning this year’s virtual format
promises little change to attendees.
Presentations will feature the usual array of luminaries
include BCAC president Stan Vander Waal, agriculture
minister Lana Popham, and keynote speaker Rex Murphy,
a well-known commentator on national issues.
The event will also include presentation of the BC
Agriculture Council Leadership Award, BC Agriculture in
the Classrooms Outstanding Teacher Award and the
Scotiabank Champion Award.
The proceedings are scheduled to last an hour, and
participation is free. Those interested simply need to
register using the code “pas2021” at
[www.agricultureshow.net].
Gala closes out opening day
Rex Murphy to deliver keynote
The sixth year of the popular Ag
Innovation Day will be walking the talk, as
all presentations and exhibits go online as a
public component of the Pacic Agriculture
Show.
Host Mike Manion of Agrisco Supplies
Corp. says the Friday afternoon event will
feature two panel discussions as well as a
chance to meet and mingle with
approximately 20 agritech startups.
The two panels will focus on robotics and
the eect of COVID-19 on innovation and
development. Speakers include Selena Basi,
assistant deputy minister with the BC
Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and
Innovation, who will provide details on the
$3 million agritech grant program the
province launched in mid December.
Applications for grants of up to $500,000
will be accepted until February 12,
meaning the presentations will
provide applicants some last-
minute inspiration for how the
grants can help them.
Companies showcasing their
technology include Salmon Arm-based
Techbrew, which is commercializing a
robotic mushroom harvester that won the
provinces agritech innovation challenge in
2019; Neupeak Robotics of Vancouver,
which is designing a robotic strawberry
harvester and Point3 Biotech Corp. of
Toronto, which is researching the best
manure recipe for natural gas production at
the Bakerview EcoDairy in Abbotsford.
There is no charge to attend Ag
Innovation Day or to browse the exhibitors.
Attendees simply need to
register using the
code “pas2021”
at [www.
agriculture
show.
net].
24 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
MNP is a proud sponsor of the 2021 Pacific Ag Show: Virtual Edition.
We look forward to connecting with you there virtually this year.
Your farm has hundreds of moving parts – each as important as the next.
With an eye for detail and personalized approach, trust MNP’s agriculture
specialists to provide the accounting, consulting and tax advice you need.
Trust
family neighbours wisdom intuition dreams
MNP.ca
Despite the challenges facing the cannabis sector,
growers continue to seek fresh knowledge to help them
produce a better bud. This years third iteration of the
popular CannaTech West conference will take the form of
two-hour afternoon sessions on Friday and Saturday that
give growers the latest information on this emerging crop.
On Friday, agrologist Av Singh of Greenstar Plant
Products in Wolfville, Nova Scotia will discuss pre- and
post-harvest practices to reduce microbial loads that
ensure top-quality cannabis passes the stringent tests set
for government-regulated cannabis. The cleanliness of
product is also the focus of Anoo Solomons review of
standard operating procedures (SOPs) and good
production practices for eective pest control in both
indoor and outdoor cannabis production. Solomons
perspective from his work with CannaProtect IPM
Solutions will complement that of Amanda Brown from
BioBest Canada Ltd., who will review the results of
research on the use of predators against cannabis aphid
(Phorodon cannabis).
Simon Fraser University researcher Zamir Punja will
review new and emerging pathogens and diseases that
threaten the cannabis sector, helping producers stay
ahead of potential contaminants that threaten quality.
Quality assurance is the focus of the rst presentation in
the Saturday afternoon sessions. Liam Polsky of records
management company Elevated Signals Inc. reviews the
tools and systems available to help producers stay on top
of quality-control protocols and measures. His
presentation will be followed by Thamy Sriskandakumar of
Ocion Water Sciences in Surrey, who will discuss measures
producers can take to ensure high-quality irrigation water
and appropriate crop nutrition.
Since individual cannabis plants will take up nutrients in
dierent ways, it pays to know what you’re growing. Ryan
Lee of Chemovar Genetics on Vancouver Island will
provide an overview of cannabis plant genetics that give
growers the low-down on what’s available.
Registration is included with the growers’ short course.
Details are located at [www.agricultureshow.net].
CannaTech West returns
Lentelus Farms in Courtenay.
Their experiences will lead
into a presentation by retail
consultant Peter Chapman of
SKU Food in Nova Scotia, who
will share innovations and
solutions for producers and
direct marketers to help them
succeed in this new
environment. Chapmans
emphasis will be practical
ideas that producers can
implement in anticipation of
the 2021 season.
Going with the flow
Theres one year left until
the provinces deadline to
register existing wells and
obtain a groundwater licence.
But water comes in all forms,
and presentations on
Thursday will oer plenty to
absorb.
Matt Osler, an senior
project engineer with the city
of Surrey, will update growers
on the Surrey Coastal Flood
Adaptation Strategy. The
initiative includes several
major projects designed to
address agricultural needs,
and Osler will ll in growers
on their progress.
Surface water will be the
focus of Jacquelyn Shrimer of
the BC Ministry of Forests,
Natural Resource Operations
and Rural Development. She’ll
discuss stream ow
monitoring in the Fraser
Valley, and how this can give
growers a better
understanding of hydrometric
drought and low ows in the
region.
Two sessions will dig into
groundwater. FLNORDs water
authorization team, consisting
of Maria Nguyen, Kumar K C
and Danielle Loranger, will
give an overview of the
application process and
deadline for existing
groundwater users. The trio
will also discuss the practical
implications of groundwater
rights and licences on
businesses. Growers applying
for a groundwater licence will
nd the BC Agriculture Water
Calculator a useful tool. Ted
van der Gulik of the
Partnership for Water
Sustainability in BC will
explain how the tool can help
them develop and justify
allocation requests.
Hops, hazelnuts & flowers
One of the strengths of the
horticultural growers short
course is its diversity. This year
is no dierent, with
concurrent sessions on
Thursday afternoon dedicated
to the production of hops and
hazelnuts.
Beer is nothing without
well-tended hops, and two
speakers from Oregon will
share their tips for keeping
the hop crop in tip-top shape.
Anne Iskra of Marion Ag.
Services in St. Paul will share
her ndings on the inuence
of nitrogen fertilization rate
and timing on cone quality
and nitrate accumulation in
cones while David Gent of
Oregon State University will
discuss best management
practices for powdery mildew,
including the potential of
mildew-resistant varieties.
With some growers also
diversifying into hop drying to
ensure maximum freshness,
Thomas Shellhammer, also of
Oregon State University, will
discuss how kilning
temperatures inuence the
brewing quality of major
aroma cultivars.
Meanwhile, in the hazelnut
stream, Steve Hope of Fraser
Valley Hazelnuts in Chilliwack
will update growers on BC
hazelnut production and
processing activities in recent
years and provide an outlook
on market trends in the year
ahead. Complementing his
presentation, Spanish
hazelnut grower Pere Arbones
Aurich will oer a
international perspective.
Spain is the 10th-largest
hazelnut producing country in
the world, and Aurich will
provide a perspective on how
Please see next page
o
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 25
Silagrow.com
1.800.663.6022 | office@silagrow.com
Mulch Film
Landscaping
Fabrics
Shade Nets
Bale Wraps
Bunker Covers
Silage Bags
Tw i n e
Net Wraps
Hay Tarps
Forage &
Grain Seed
Vis
Greenhouse
Ground Cover
Greenhouse
Films
Protection
Nets
SALMON ARM 5121 - 46 Ave S.E.
SURREY 112-18860 24 Ave
(PU & Delivery Only)
Serving all of BC
global trends are playing out
in Spain.
The nal hour will present a
research update from Oregon
as well as information on
emerging pests and diseases
impacting Fraser Valley
growers, including brown
marmorated stink bug (BMSB).
On Saturday afternoon,
oriculture has its time to
shine. The initial two
presentations will discuss pest
and nutrient management.
Sarah Jandricic of the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Aairs will join from
Vineland with the latest on
thrips management in
ornamental crops. She’ll
discuss both chemical
controls and biocontrol
measures. Then, from across
Lake Ontario, Neil Mattson of
Cornell University in Ithaca,
NY will oer tips for
successfully transitioning
between liquid versus
controlled-release fertilizers
with a view to helping
growers save money.
Pest management will also
be the focus of provincial
entomologist Tracy
Hueppelsheuser, who will give
growers the latest on the ght
against Japanese Beetle.
The ongoing eects of
COVID-19 will be the focus of
a presentation by Chilliwack
grower Brian Minter, who will
highlight challenges and
some of the innovative
solutions the oriculture
industry can adopt to take
advantage of market trends in
2021.
Organic makes an impact
The morning sessions on
Friday and Saturday will focus
on organic production, which
continues to see growth in BC.
The focus of the Friday
sessions will be soil health,
while Saturday will discuss
innovations in the sector.
Two presenters from the US
kick o Fridays presentations.
Eric Brennan of the USDA in
Salinas, California will present
the ndings of long-term
research in to the eects of
cover crops and compost on
yields, weeds, soil health and
the balance of inputs applied
to the soil in organic
vegetable systems. Doug
Collins of Washington State
University in Puyallup will
discuss the advantages of
reduced tillage strategies as
demonstrated by three
projects focused on vegetable
production.
Friday morning will close
with a change of pace, as
Jean-Martin Fortier, an organic
market gardener in St-
Armand, Quebec discusses
how to run a protable
farming operation on just 1.5
acres, and make a living at the
same time.
The session will be a good
segue to sessions the
following morning that focus
on innovation in the organic
sector. Saturday begins with a
presentation by Mike Bomford
and Andy Smith on the sliding
high tunnels installed at
Kwantlen Polytechnic
Universitys farm on
Richmond’s Garden City
Lands. They’ll also discuss the
use of composted mushroom
manure to build soil health
and vitality, the focus of
student research that
investigated it as an
alternative amendment for
fertility, soil building, and
weed management.
Wisconsin horticulturist
Sam Oschwald Tilton will
continue the discussion of
weed management with his
extremely satisfying” use of
machines. He’ll share steps to
improve mechanical weed
control and introduce growers
to some of his favourite
modern weeding tools.
Its not just cultural and
mechanical elements of
farming that are subject to
innovation. Keremeos-based
consulant Rochelle Eisen will
provide an overview of
changes to the Canadian
Organic Standards and how
they impact growers.
Taking care of business
While most growers hate
oce work, many realize
theyre not just farming crops
but also paper. Riding herd on
the host of documents theyre
required to le to keep their
businesses running will be the
focus of management
sessions on Thursday and
Friday.
Thursday afternoon, right
before the BC Agriculture
Council gala, Veronica
Moreno, program manager
with the Western Agriculture
Labour Initiative, will tell
growers the dierence
between the Seasonal
Agricultural Worker Program
(SAWP) and the agricultural
stream of the Temporary
Foreign Worker (TFW)
program, and why the latter
might be more appealing this
year.
Jennifer Wright of the
Canadian Agricultural Human
Resource Council in Ottawa
will share recommendations
designed to help farmers
secure top-notch domestic
workers and improve
retention through eective
communications. Her
presentation will be followed
by the practical experience of
local grower Stan Vander Waal
of Rainbow Greenhouses Inc.
in Chilliwack. He’ll describe
how Rainbow Greenhouses
has successfully recruited and
retained both local and
foreign workers.
The labour session will end
with Claire Tamang of
Carcajou Fruit Co. explaining
how the Summerland cherry
grower pivoted its workforce
into the new world of safety
measures as the COVID-19
pandemic hit home.
With the pandemic
showing no signs of ending,
and widespread vaccination
still months away, Friday
morning’s farm business
management session will oer
two hours of insights into
what the year ahead might
hold.
Craig Klemmer, principal
agricultural economist with
Farm Credit Canada in Regina
will discuss the economic
outlook for BC horticulture in
the wake of the pandemic.
He’ll be followed by the
keynote presentation by
Manitoba business coaches
Kelly Dobson and Elaine
Froese. The pep-talk for
executives will inspire farm
entrepreneurs to see adversity
as an opportunity for growth.
The presentation will discuss
practical, leading-edge
strategies to build resiliency
and leadership eectiveness
that help people face
challenges head-on and move
forward.
Despite the heroic eorts to take the
Pacic Agriculture Show and growers short
course online, some events opted to take a
year o and focus on preparing for 2022.
The BC Dairy Expo, together with the
popular dairy self-tour, is a case in point.
“Dairy Expo farm tours are postponed
until 2022, in light of COVID-19 public
health recommendations, said Christine
Terpsma, communications manager with
the BC Dairy Association.
While farmers will miss the networking
and luncheon that usually accompanies the
BC Dairy Expo, a loss that follows on the
virtual meeting that replaced annual
general meetings at the end of November,
the hiatus will make next years gatherings
that much more welcome.
Similarly, the Islands Agriculture Show,
typically held a week after the Pacic
Agriculture Show at the beginning of
February, has been postponed until
February 4-5, 2022.
A smaller show, it nevertheless provides
an important point of connection for
Vancouver Island growers from its central
location at the Cowichan Exhibition in
Duncan.
The show must go on – next year
YOUR
Helping YouHelping You
coucountrylifeinbc.comylifeinbc.com
FARM NEWS UPDATES
countrylifeinbc.com
26 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
© 2020 CNH Industrial America LLC. All rights reserved. New Holland is a trademark registered in the United States and many other countries, owned by or licensed to CNH Industrial N.V., its subsidiaries or affiliates.
Ultra-narrow and powerful, T4F/T4V vineyard and orchard tractors are one of the
only specialty tractors on the market that are DEF-free for lower ownership costs.
Add in a best-in-class 600-hour service interval on their turbocharged four-cylinder
engines, and you’ve got tractors that go where others can’t and save you money
doing it.
Get your hands on one of these easy-to-own, DEF-free T4F/T4V narrow tractors
before the new 2021 models arrive. Stop in today or visit newholland.com to
learn more.
DEFinitely easier to own.
ARMSTRONG HORNBY EQUIPMENT ACP 250-546-3033
CHILLIWACK ROLLINS MACHINERY LTD 604-792-1301
CHEMAINUS ROLLINS MACHINERY LTD 250-246-1203
FORT ST JOHN BUTLER FARM EQUIPMENT LTD 250-785-1800
KELOWNA ROLLINS MACHINERY LTD 250-765-8266
LANGLEY ROLLINS MACHINERY LTD 604-533-0048
WILLIAMS LAKE GRASSLAND EQUIPMENT LTD 250-392-4024
VANDERHOOF GRASSLAND EQUIPMENT LTD 250-567-4446
COMMITTED TO AGRICULTURE in the FRASER VALLEY
CHILLIWACK: 44725 YALE RD WEST
604-792-1301 | rollinsmachinery.com
Strong demand for beef positions it to fuel the economic recovery from COVID-19. PHOTO / TOM WALKER
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 27
by TOM WALKER
CALGARY – While most
people were glad to bid adieu
to 2020, ranchers were able to
look back with gratitude on a
challenging year.
There were some real wins
for the industry, says Bob
Lowe, president of the
Canadian Cattlemens
Association, told stakeholders
in an online update on
December 10.
Lowe related that in
Septembers throne speech,
the federal government
recognized ranchers for
playing an important role in
the ght against climate
change. He says thats a nod
to a changing attitudes
among Canadians towards
farmers.
“Consumer awareness
really came to the forefront
during COVID, says Lowe.
They want to know where
their food comes from. And
we have been able to tell our
story, that we have a safe and
reliable food source here in in
Canada.
CCA executive vice-
president Dennis Laycraft
pointed to important moves
with respect to Business Risk
Management programs
(BRMs) that emerged from the
federal-provincial-territorial
ministers’ conference on
November 27.
Federal agriculture minister
Marie-Claude Bibeau has
proposed removing the
reference margin limit for
AgriStability and increasing
the compensation rate from
70% to 80%. The moves follow
similar, unilateral steps by BC.
Laycraft calls the federal
proposal “signicant changes
for the industry.
“For cow-calf operators and
smaller backgrounding and
feeding operations these are
changes that will have
considerable benets to our
industry, says Laycraft. The
minister also signaled that she
is prepared to consider other
program enhancements. We
will continue to advocate on
the breadth of
recommendations we have
put forward, including the
trigger and removal of the
caps on payments.
However, the changes
hinge on funding agreements
with the provinces, something
discussed at the December 10
premiers meeting.
The provinces are not
being supportive in paying
for improvements, warned
Michel Daigle, chair of the
National Cattle Feeders
Association.
Laycraft agrees.
“I would ask producers to
talk to their MLAs to get the
provinces on board with the
feds and accept the changes
to AgriStability, says Laycraft.
“Nothing will change unless
the provinces align with the
federal government.
Laycraft also reected on
the dierence in emphasis for
the industry over the last nine
months.
We are really seeing the
results of the focus that was
put into resilience in our
business, he says. “I don’t
think that in late May we
would have thought our
partners in the processing
industry would be handling
10,000 animals above last
year, this week.
The momentum needs to
be maintained in the coming
months.
We have requested that
frontline food workers,
whether they be in plants, or
in retail or food service
outlets, get priority in
vaccination schedules as
essential workers, says
Laycraft.
On the export front,
Laycraft expects both the
value and the volume of beef
exports to be on par with last
year by year-end,
notwithstanding summer
shutdowns in processing
capacity. A provisional
agreement will ensure UK
access for Canadian beef
following Brexit, while talks
continue towards a nal trade
agreement.
We are also seeing CP-TPP
countries taking more
product as well, says Laycraft,
referring to Pacic Rim
trading partners party to a
free trade agreement in that
region.
But the US remains the key
destination for Canadian beef
exports, accounting for 75%
of beef exports as well as all
live cattle shipments.
We expect that the new
US administration will
certainly be taking a dierent
direction and we are working
closely with them, says
Laycraft.
Calf prices this fall have left
Brian Perillat, manager and
senior analyst with market
analysis rm Canfax in
Calgary, scratching his head.
We keep seeing reasons
for caution, Perillat says.
“Feedlots are losing about
$250 an animal, feed prices
have risen, the Canadian
dollar has risen, but calf prices
in particular, have been
resilient. They are close to a
year ago in the $215 to $220
range for a 550-weight
animal.
But theres a need for more
shackle space and less cattle
in feedlots, Perillat adds. He
says the capacity situation has
impacted the prices for fed
cattle, which have ranged
between $132 to $138 a
hundredweight through the
last 25 weeks.
“I have seen fed cattle
touch $140 this week. Thats
moving in the right direction,
but still disappointing overall,
he says.
The next three to four
months will be a tough slog,
but Perillat is optimistic.
We are pointing to less
cattle on feed and more space
as we work through these
bigger cattle numbers and
high feed costs, he says. And
beef demand has been very
strong, both domestically and
for export.
Optimism follows
on the heels of
2020’s challenges
Policy changes, price moves
offer hope
BC ANGUS BULLS
IN 2020
5HANKYOUFOR#UYING
www.bcangus.ca
Our Best Wishes for
a Happy New Year
Jim Moon President 250.567.9762 z Carley Henniger Secretary 250.571.3475
Producer Check-o
Supports Beef
Industry Projects.
www.cattlefund.net
1.877.688.2333
www.cattlefund.net
1.877.688.2333
28 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
by RONDA PAYNE
COURTENAY – Cattle farmers are
increasingly seeing themselves as grass
farmers but at Beaver Meadow Farms in
Courtenay, owner Edgar Smith and his
family also see themselves as solar
farmers.
Smith farms about 700 acres at an
operation his grandparents started in
the 1950s. Beaver Meadow has raised
organic grass-fed beef for decades on
land that’s a mix of forage and forest. He
recently shared the story of its transition
during a video tour Vancouver
advocacy group Farm Folk/City Folk
hosted on November 18.
When my grandparents came here,
this was a natural meadow and it was
grazed by elk and deer, he says. “Over
the decades our family has more or less
carried on the natural processes that
were here when our family arrived.
The meadow grasses convert sunlight into sugar
and Smiths cattle convert the sugars into protein.
All the energy is converted in the rumen of the
cow, he says. “Its a natural process that’s occurred in
all parts of the world for millions and millions of
years.
To assist this age-old process, Smith has
experimented with dierent forage grasses over the
years to nd those that will do best under local
conditions and enable him to feed his cattle for 10
to 11 months a year. Rotational grazing allows the
animals to move around the farm, eat the grass
quite evenly and replenish the soil. Smith says they
grow a thicker coat than cattle that live in barns.
Smith employs moveable electric fences to create
2.5-acre paddocks that enclose the herd as they
move around the farm. The grass rests about 80 days
between grazing, harvesting sunlight that the herd
will convert into protein.
We decide every day how much the cattle need
and we give it to them. This is a very low-stress
lifestyle for cattle when they’re outside in the
sunshine and fresh air and eating natural grass and
pastures, Smith says. They feel very safe when they
are in a group.
Smith currently has about 300 head (mostly
Angus crosses), but he has raised as many as 700
and as few as 200. Herd size is driven by the health
of the soil, but he aims for about one animal per
acre.
A retired professional agrologist, Smith is
constantly testing new ways of doing
things.
We don’t do it by formula. We do it by
watching the health of the soil and the
plants, he says. “I do soil testing. What I’m
generally looking for is how many
bacteria are in a gram of soil. Bacteria and
arthropods and soil predators.
While none of the soils on the farm are
short of nutrients, Smith wants to make
sure there are enough microorganisms in
the soils to keep them healthy.
Smiths cattle are constantly depositing
manure and urine as they graze, which
provides fresh organic material. Since the
cattle tend to be smaller than
conventional beef cattle, their hooves
work in the nutrients without compacting
the soil like larger animals.
To protect the soil during the wet
months of winter, Smith separates the
herd in two before sending them into
separate barns. In the barns, they receive grass-
based silage to ensure they are 100% grass-fed year
round.
They have been selected through generations of
eating grass to live on nothing but grass, he says.
Thats how we are hoping to be able to deal with
any changes in the climate over the next decades. If
we can get all of our ruminants out of the feedlots
and back onto the grasslands, people will be
healthier, the planet will be healthier.
Smith makes use of about 15 dierent types of
grasses including legumes, clovers, herbs, plantains
and chicory.
While Smith says this type of farming is a lot lower
stress for the cattle, it also reduces stress for the
farmer.
Rotational grazing improves soil health
Cattle work in harmony with the natural environment
FILE PHOTO
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 29
Taking the
guesswork out of
herd management
Artificial intelligence may
power the ultimate ranch hand
Feb 27, 2021 : 26th Annual
Pine Bu琀e Ranch Hereford Sale, Kamloops
April 10, 2021 : 46th Annual
Vanderhoof All Breeds Bull Sale
April 15 & 16, 2021: 84th Annual
Williams Lake Bull Show & Sale
BCHA Secretary
Jan
ic
ice Tapp
2
50
50-6
99
99-6
466
466
BCHA President
J
oh
ohn Lew
is
is
2
50
50-2
18
18-2
53
537
British Columbia
H
av
e
y
ou
h
e
r
d
?
V
BP
+
Train
in
g
W
ork
s
h
ops
or W
e
bin
ars
ar
e
Fr
e
e
!
Looking to learn more
about how to raise
healthy beef cattle?
O
p
e
n to
pro
duce
rs o
f
all
size
s!
fre
e
to
all be
e
f
pr
o
duce
r
s
in bc!
by BARBARA JOHNSTONE
GRIMMER
VANCOUVER – OneCup AI
is a Vancouver-based articial
intelligence (AI) company
that was inspired by a
ranching familys idea for
better livestock identication
and management using
technology. In just a year, the
agritech start-up has
developed and led a patent
on an AI ranch hand capable
of monitoring cattle and
other livestock around the
clock using a “facial
recognition system to
identify individual animals.
OneCup CEO Mokah
Shmigelsky grew up in
Alberta with a family
background in ranching. She
saw the challenges ranchers
and farmers must deal with
every day.
“RFID tags have no benet
to most producers, says
Shmigelsky. ”They are
expensive, need readers or
must be read manually. There
is no time nor desire to do
so.
Shmigelsky and her family
saw a need for aordable,
accurate animal identication
with less need for livestock
handling, which can reduce
handling stress and
dangerous situations. Soon,
the cup of coee by the
campre where the idea was
formed symbolized the
company’s beginning.
Shmigelskys husband
Georey applied his masters
degree in computer science,
with a specialization in AI and
deep learning, to the task at
hand. He soon had a
computer designed that
learned how to pick out
individual animals by
dierentiating between body
parts in a process called
annotation, using Black
Angus cattle as its training
ground. The prototype was
named BETSY, short for
Bovine Expert Tracking and
Surveillance.
The next step was to
partner with Olds College in
Alberta to create a large
cattle annotation dataset to
train BETSY.
BETSY “learns” by looking
at thousands of pictures to
recognize what makes each
animal unique. BETSY is a
small computer linking up to
30 cameras. Dierent types of
cameras can select dierent
features. An RGB-IR camera
uses infrared to see at night
for identication. A thermal
camera can detect body
temperature from the eye, or
inammation at a specic
location. A 3D Lidar camera
can estimate weight or detect
respiration.
The data can be uploaded
through an online portal,
allowing data to be accessed
by a computer or mobile
device.
The potential as a
management tool is being
explored at various beta test
sites and academic
institutions. Cameras are
located where animals tend
to congregate. BETSY can
detect calving and estrus
behaviour and an alert can be
sent to the producers phone.
The computer has also been
able to determine if an animal
has been missing for a period
of time and sends an alert to
the rancher.
Predators and other wild
species can also be identied
by the computer through
machine learning.
When we can show a
producer how BETSY can
benet their operation, they
get excited, says Shmigelsky.
“Even the most skeptical.
Extensive testing
Since the company
launched in January, OneCup
is testing BETSY at 15 beta
sites in Saskatchewan and
Alberta, including cow-calf
operations, feedlots, elk and
bison ranches and three
academic institutions.
The company has also
started a project with the
Canadian Sheep Federation
which began with Barb
Ydenberg, a CSF director and
president of the BC Sheep
Federation. The partnership
began as a “happy
coincidence, according to
Shmigelsky, who had a team
head over to Ydenbergs farm
in Langley for a video session
with the sheep ock. This
developed into a national
project with CSF to further
the development of “facial
recognition in sheep, with the
Tech startup OneCup AI visited Barb Ydenberg’s farm in Langley to start gathering images so their software could
learn to identify sheep the same way it has been programmed to identify cattle. SUBMITTED PHOTO
See TOP on next page
o
Serving and Supporting the
Community Together
PROVINCIALLY INSPECTED ABATTOIR B.C. #34
ALL SIZES
MARKET
GOATS &
LAMBS
604.465.4752
(Ext 105)
FAX 604.465.4744
ashiq@meadowvalleymeats.com
30 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
34511 Vye Road
Abbotsford, BC V2S 8J7
604-864-2273
www.caliberequipment.ca
See us at the
Pacific Ag Show Virtual Edition!
Food allergies are a serious
problem. According to Health
Canada, about six percent of
young children and 3% to 4%
of adults are aected by food
allergies while in the US, 7%
of children and 2% of adults
suer from the condition.
They can cost billions of
dollars in health care not to
mention time lost at work and
school. And they can be
deadly.
Allergic reactions can be
triggered by a wide range of
foods, including
peanuts, tree nuts, milk,
eggs, sh, shellsh, soy,
wheat and other basic
foods or food
ingredients. COVID-19
threatens to further
complicate the lives of
those with food allergies,
thanks to warnings that they
should avoid the Pzer
vaccine countries began
rolling out in December.
At the University of
Arizona, plant sciences
professor Eliot Herman, who
is allergic to dairy products,
has spent his career studying
not only why plants trigger
allergic reactions but ways to
reduce their threat. He is a
member of the Crop Science
Society of America and
recently presented his work at
the virtual 2020 ASA-CSSA
annual meeting.
There are three primary
ways to approach food
allergies, says Herman. The
rst is medical attention and
treatment with a number of
ongoing approaches. The
second is simple avoidance.
The third is to x foods, which
is not so much medical but in
the hands of agricultural
scientists and the food
industry.
Herman has focused on
soybeans. Soybean allergies
particularly aect infants and
children and, because
soybean protein and oils are
used in many food products,
soybean can be hard to avoid.
Problem protein
Early in his research with
USDA, Hermans work led to
the discovery of the soybean
protein responsible for most
soybean allergies. That
research led to the need to
understand why this protein
is so aggravating, which is still
not fully known, and how to
x it. It is highly conserved in
the plant and present in all
but one line of soybeans in
the entire US collection.
“It is present in wild
relatives, he says. “I had a
paper years ago with a plant
pathologist that proposed it
was a defense protein against
a plant disease, which would
make sense. It is possible it is
a disease not extant in
domesticated soybeans but
rather something that
infested wild soybeans before
they were domesticated a few
thousand years ago.
At rst, working with the
company DuPont, Hermans
research team used genetic
engineering to produce a
new line of soybean. But
there was a demand for a
non-GMO soybean without
the allergenic protein.
“I have had two successful
projects to remove this
protein, he says. “In the rst
instance we used biotech.
This used new technology at
the time to suppress the
allergen and was entirely
successful. But it was
conated with all the
controversies about biotech
and simply could not be
commercialized. We retooled
and, working with a plant
breeder, we assayed the
entire USDA national soybean
collection and found one line
Highly sensitive pigs help solve soybean allergies
Non-GMO solutions sought to make human food safer
Research
by MARGARET EVANS
lacking the allergen. This was
then stacked into a prototype
soybean line with other traits.
This is entirely a product of
plant breeding, not biotech.
The work created a new
soybean line with reduced
allergic sensitivity, and it
looked good in eld tests. But
it needed animal testing
which led him to working
with the swine research
group at Purdue University.
“It has been known for
decades that piglets can have
an adverse reaction to
soybean much like a human
infant, he says. This limits the
use of soybean in piglets until
they are about 45 days of age,
when they outgrow soy
intolerance. The ability to
feed soybean earlier is of
economic advantage with
150 million piglets per year in
the US. To produce a test
animal, I worked with a group
led by Allen Schinckel at
Purdue who is a swine
breeder. He selected and
inbred the most sensitive
piglets to produce a piglet
model specically mimicking
the human neonate allergy.
We are now testing the low-
allergen soybean on the
highly sensitive swine to see if
this will mitigate the potential
allergic response for piglet
feed and potentially provide a
low-allergen source of
soybean for the food industry
that is not biotech in origin.
The hypersensitive pigs
can now be used to test if the
low-allergen soybeans are
safe enough for allergic
individuals. In addition, a low-
allergen soybean could be
fed to pigs to safeguard their
own allergic response,
making the new
hypoallergenic, non-GMO
soybean valuable for both
people and animals.
The big bottom-line
question is, can we x our
food with respect to allergens
and make it better?” he asked.
This is the question I am
working on with the swine
research group. If we can
prove it with the piglet
model, then maybe we will
have a good position to
advocate xing food.
goal to identify animals using
cell phones which could be
integrated into a traceability
system.
Ydenberg is excited at the
added potential for the new
technology.
“I am very interested in
being part of the trial and
encourage others to
participate, says Ydenberg. “I
have a barn camera right
now, and I could see value in
using this technology to send
me an alert to my phone
when a ewe is lambing. I can
also see value for predation
and disease management.
OneCup nished in the top
10 in the international TESCO
AgTech competition this fall,
in a eld of 170 new
technologies. OneCup
expects to ocially launch
BETSY at the end of the rst
quarter in 2021 and will be
commercially available
shortly after launch.
TOP 10 nfrom page 29
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 31
Agricultural Grade Products - Made in the U.S.A.
Contact your local Nelson Irrigation dealer today!
THE ORIGINAL
BIG GUN®
TWIG® Wireless Automation Systems
(Approved for Canada)
Rotator® Sprinklers for Center Pivots
Rotator® Sprinklers for Field & Orchard Crops
Irrigation Control Valves
NEW HANGING
SPRINKLER SOLVES
PROBLEMS FOR
ORGANIC GROWERS
15-50 PSI
8.5-75 GPH
9-16’ RAD.
Introducing the S7 Spinner - a new Nelson innovation designed to combat
rising energy and labor costs. The S7’s modular design allows quick and easy
nozzle exchange - and the Quick Clean (QC) technology reduces irrigator
hours — simply turn, flush and reconnect. Special insect protection helps
prevent plugging or stalling. Find out more at WWW.NELSONIRRIGATION.COM
by MYRNA STARK LEADER
ABBOTSFORD – Bill Awmack never
farmed, but that didn’t stop him from
becoming a trusted resource to
farmers across BC on all things related
to seed and forage.
In recognition of his standing in
the industry, Awmack – who retired in
December – became the rst BC
recipient of the Canadian Forage and
Grassland Associations Leadership
award.
In his plus-30-year career, the
agrologist has worked with and
provided extension services to
hundreds of BC farmers. But he would
never have ranked himself in the
same category as the other eight
recipients of the award.
“I’ve never considered that I did an
awful lot of leadership, says Awmack,
with characteristic humility from the
home oce where he runs
Abbotsford-based Quality Seeds West.
“I've worked with the BC Forage
Council for probably 15 years as a
treasurer and a director. As such, you
sort of push projects in certain
directions. I was there helping. Thats
really what it was, says Awmack.
Awmack grew up near Cranbrook
on a hobby farm where his parents
had cattle. His dad was the district
agriculturalist until moving to Victoria
to oversee community pastures for
the BC Ministry of Agriculture.
In 1974, Awmack graduated from
UBC with a degree in agricultural
economics. He initially worked in
mining, making enough money for a
trip to Europe with his wife. Not one
for oce work, he joined Continental
Grain in Vancouver on his return as a
domestic and overseas grain trader.
A transfer to Winnipeg with
Continental saw him work with eld
reps to contract growing acres of
mustard seed, buckwheat, coriander
and other specialty crops. He bought
product on the open market and
arranged cleaning and shipping to
customers. He did similar trading of
crops like peas, lentils, buckwheat and
sunowers, shipping to domestic and
oshore customers as marketing
manager in the seeds and special
crops department at Manitoba Pool
Elevators.
Wanting to get back to BC,
Awmack worked for a succession of
companies before launching Quality
Seeds West, a partnership with dairy
producer Ari Ekstein of Ontario-based
Quality Seeds Ltd., in 2003.
BC Forage Council general
manager Serena Black says the
council nominated Awmack for the
leadership award in recognition of his
long-standing support of the sector.
Awmack joined the BC Forage
Council at its launch in 1998 and
easily gained peoples trust. This
enabled him to shepherd valuable
information and support producers
and the new generation of forage-
Bill Awmack honoured with leadership award
Seed isn’t glamorous but it’s the foundation for everything else, says long-time seed rep
A xture at farm trade shows around the province, seed rep Bill Awmack has retired. FILE PHOTO
See AWMACK on next page
o
AWMACK shuns the moniker of “expert” nfrom page 31
32 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
ABBOTSFORD
1-888-283-3276
VERNON
1-800-551-6411
GIVE YOURSELF THE
AVE NUE
Farmers know the importance of each generation building on the last. The
introduction of the Fendt 700 Gen Six grows on the Fendt legacy by bringing
precision agriculture solutions to a whole new level.
SOLUTIONS
SOLUTIONS
focused agrologists in BC.
“Bill has been an enormous resource for me, says
Black, who’s been with the council for three years.
There’s no question too small for him to take time
to give me background. He regularly contributes to
our newsletter and is a sponsor of the council itself.
Indeed, he just sent me three boxes of valuable
information on past variety trials that we are
looking at how to capture and archive.
An understanding
In addition to working with farmers, Awmack
also worked on forestry reclamation projects
providing seed and advice, although he shuns the
moniker of expert. He says being raised on a farm
and around farmers much of his life was helpful in
his career. So were jobs which enabled him to
travel much of BC working directly with farmers.
“I understood some of their problems and what
they were doing and how they're doing it. That's
helped me all the way through. I was able to build
relationships, says Awmack, adding his perspective
could often be the seed industrys voice in farming
discussions while still understanding farmers’
points of view.
When the provincial government moved away
from providing agriculture extension services at the
beginning of the 2000s – a move he still disagrees
with – it created a need for organizations like the
forage council to help with research and
knowledge transfer. Since forage is perennial, there
are fewer dollars put into the crop, including less
research funding and emphasis, particularly since
private companies don’t benet from annual seed
sales.
“Its just not as sexy, he says.
Yet as the climate shifts, quality forages are
gaining importance. Twenty years ago, tall fescue,
one of his personal favourites, wouldn’t grow in
parts of BC due to its lack of winter hardiness.
Today, its grown much more broadly. Farmers are
adapting, but change isn’t easy.
“In the forage business, there's a big ‘we’ve never
done it that way type of attitude, he says. “Lots of
young farmers do what their fathers did before, so
it's a real mind shift for younger guys to use things
like tall fescue as opposed to more orchard grass or
others.
However, some producers are willing to try new
plants, particularly those that see themselves as
quality forage producers. Rather than
understanding themselves as simply a beef or dairy
producer, they recognize that what they grow and
feed to their animals is fundamental to the quality
of the nal product, he says.
Awmack praises farmers as some of the best land
stewards.
Theyre going to be living on their land for 20 or
30 years or 100 years. Its not a get-rich quick thing
so they're not going to screw things up for
themselves or screw it up for other people, either,
he says. “It's the get-rich-quick people who are in
and out of agriculture; they're the ones causing
problems.
Most of his work has been in the Cariboo, South
Okanagan-Boundary country and on Vancouver
Island. But anywhere he goes, treating others like
you want to be treated is his guiding principle.
“If you give farmers the straight goods, hopefully,
they're going to come back and they're going to
work with you, he says. “Farmers can spot a story
real fast. If you screw them once, they'll never come
back. That's just the way it is. You can't hard-sell a
farmer. They have to
make up their own
mind and will come
back to you when
theyre ready.
As for his hopes for
agricultures future, hed
like the government to
get back into the
business of extension.
He says theres more
knowledge now than
ever about seed and
growing. While
acknowledging it might
be easier to nd
information online, he believes government-
employed representatives help ensure things like
trial outcomes and information is unbiased.
Thats the type of information farmers need, he
says, adding there’s room for farmers to advocate
for themselves, but many are too busy farming or
trying to survive to do so.
Awmack will stick around BC, but he isn’t sure
what’s next. Stepping back from agriculture seems
likely, however. One is either involved and on top of
the industry or theyre not, he maintains.
Those who come after will do well to build
relationships, he advises. Even though producers
have the Internet and can buy online, people still
like to get information from people.
“If you have the relationship, it doesn't matter
what company you're with, people remember you,
he says. “It's important stu.
“Farmers can spot a story real fast. If you screw
them once, they'll never come back. That's just the
way it is. You can't hard-sell a farmer. They have
to make up their own mind and will come back to
you when they’re ready.”
BILL AWMACK, P.Ag.
The solar panels on top of ‘Sparky’ do double duty providing shade and power to this 1950s Massey Harris Pacer now equipped with an electric
motor. Sparky’s no chump – she can pull a loaded bale wagon, says Drew Gailius, who masterminded the conversion. SUBMITTED PHOTO
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 33
MFG A VARIETY OF ATTACHMENTS INCLUDING: BRUSH MULCHERS | ROTARY BRUSH CUTTERS
STUMP GRINDERS | PTO GENERATORS | AUGER DRIVES | TRENCHERS | DRAINAGE PLOWS | TREE SAWS & SHEARS
TREE SPADES | BOOM MOWERS | TREE PULLERS | FELLER BUNCHERS | EXCAVATOR ADAPTERS | SCREW SPLITTERS
sales@baumalight.com | BAUMALIGHT.COM
Dale Howe 403-462-1975 | dale@baumalight.com
by JACKIE PEARASE
CRESTON – Full Circle Farm
owners Drew and Joanne
Gailius so love how well their
electric tractor works, they
gave it a name.
Drew built Sparky 10 years
ago to see if he could create a
solar powered electric tractor
from a 1950s Massey Harris
Pacer that started as a “bucket
of parts.
When I rst decided to
make it, it was more or less a
trial balloon. I just thought,
let’s see what we can do, he
says.
Switching out the 20
horsepower gas engine for a
10 hp electric motor running
o eight six-volt lead acid
batteries fed by solar panels
was tricky but his background
in engineering, machining
and welding gave him a head
start.
It still took him about a year
to complete the project while
also working with his wife on
their 40-acre certied organic
mixed farm in Creston.
The couple works hard to
tread lightly on the earth by
incorporating regenerative
agricultural practices and
renewable energy sources
while reducing their use of
fossil fuels.
The solar-electric tractor ts
so nicely with their
agricultural vision that it has
replaced their diesel tractor
for many farm chores
including cultivating,
spreading manure, cutting
wood, raking and hauling.
“It can pull surprisingly
heavy loads like 100 bales of
alfalfa on the wagons, and we
have some hills. Its surprised
us, adds Joanne.
The tractor can do about
an hours hard work like
discing but retains a charge
for up to three hours for light
work.
Drew says the electric
engine provides excellent
starting torque, is a reliable
starter, quiet and does not
emit smoke or exhaust.
The solar panels have the
added bonus of providing
shade while the ability to go
extremely slow is attractive to
organic and vegetable
producers wanting precision
planting and weeding.
Drew has adapted
equipment to t the small
tractor and most of the farm
tools now run on electric
power.
“Its a very useable tool and
now we have so many
implements to put on to it …
we really get by with the little
electric so often, Drew says.
In fact, Sparky served them
well during a recent three-day
power outage, keeping food
frozen and machines
operating.
The tractor runs on the
same batteries installed a
decade ago and Drew, a
heavy-duty mechanic by
trade, says it has been virtually
maintenance-free.
The tractor is a true
workhorse but the couple has
not done a cost-benet
analysis.
The nancial truth is
building Sparky took a lot of
nancial commitment and
Drew’s skill and shop and
equipment, Joanne notes.
“People ask us if it was
worthwhile to do it;
nancially, ‘I don’t know is the
answer to that.
Reducing fossil fuel reliance
Organic carrot farmers
Paddy Doherty and Elaine
Spearing of West Enderby
Farm in the North Okanagan
also see their electric tractor
as an on-farm tool to help
reduce their reliance on fossil
fuels.
Doherty retrotted an
engineless Allis-Chalmers
Model G tractor to electric in a
few weeks during the
pandemic lockdown in April.
With the engine located in
the back, these favourites with
vegetable growers are ideal
for retrotting, using kits
available for the electrical and
mechanical aspects.
“I had three of these
tractors and I knew, because
of YouTube, that this was a
thing that you could do,
Doherty says. The only way I
could do it is because there is
a kit you can buy. Otherwise,
even with that, theres a limit
to my mechanical abilities.
He installed the electric
motor and hooked up eight
six-volt lead acid batteries,
added a 100-pound
counterweight to the front of
the tractor and he was o
Farmers put electric tractors to the test
Solar-battery,
retrofit and
ready-made
See TRACTOR on next page
o
TRACTOR conversion comes at a steep price nfrom page 33
34 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
Marketing British Columbia to the World
®
www.landquest.com
Toll Free 1-866-558-LAND
(
5263
)
“The Source” for Oceanfront, Lakefront, Islands, Ranches, Resorts & Land in BC
®
BEAVER CREEK RANCH
ANAHIM LAKE, BC
ESCAPE TO YOUR CABIN IN THE WOODS
WITH COWICHAN LAKEFRONT ACCESS
CHILCOTIN WILDERNESS
CATTLE RANCH
WISTARIA CATTLE RANCH
OOTSA LAKE
ELEGANT LAKEFRONT RESIDENCE
ALONG THE BANKS OF LAC LA HACHE
SULPHUROUS LAKE WATERFRONT LOT
NEAR 100 MILE HOUSE, BC
PRIVATE ISLAND OCEANFRONT
SIDNEY ISLAND
GULF ISLAND WATERFRONT ACREAGE
GALIANO ISLAND
COUNTRY HOME ON ACREAGE WITH
LARGE SHOP - RURAL DAWSON CREEK
MANN CREEK RANCH
CLINTON, BC
28 deeded acres with 320 acre Crown
grain tenure off-grid ranch north of Anahim
Lake overlooking the Dean River. 3,000 ft
2
unnished, off-grid home, large shop and
barn. Produces approximately 60 tons of hay,
available grazing tenure. Endless outdoor
opportunity! $299,000
Completed to lock-up stage only, so interior
room arrangement & nishing is to your own
taste. 1,000+ ft
2
of main, & auxiliary guest bdrm
cabins, on sloping lot above the lake, 4 km
of paved road past Youbou, near Pine Point
Campground. Beautiful beachfront for swimming
or boating. No services connected. $299,999
Saddle Mountain Ranch 1,457 acres, 9
titles, former buffalo ranch, 2 homesteads,
including a super comfortable off-grid home
with solar power at the edge of wilderness in
stunning mountain setting. Ideal for families
who like adventure, self-sufficiency and
privacy. Priced right $1,595,000
Fantastic opportunity for some ranchers to get
started or add to existing operations. This 900
acre homestead offers a home, outbuildings,
awesome hay production, grazing, timber
and an 800 AUM range permit. It also has
two quarter sections on a great shing lake,
and borders a private 8 acre lake. $800,000
Lac La Hache, BC. Stunning lakefront home
at the north end of Lac La Hache. 3,136 ft
2
residence is the perfect option for a family or
anyone looking for a serene getaway. An open
oor plan and large windows bathe the interior
with sunlight, providing picture perfect views
out onto the lake. $799,000
Diamond in the rough best describes this
gently southeast sloping, nicely treed almost
half acre lot with 105 feet of lake frontage.
Just park your motor home or trailer, go shing
and start enjoying this recreational paradise
with beautiful views. Roughed-in driveway off
paved Mahood Lake Road. $250,000
One of a kind private island with airstrip &
easy boat access from Vancouver Island to
a sheltered dock. Miles of sandy beaches,
400 acres of precious conservancy lands,
managed forest, freshwater ponds, orchard
& a fulltime caretaker. Ultimate privacy &
spectacular views. NOW FROM $235,000
Beachcombing, shing, and hunting getaway
with abundant blacktail deer 1.5 hours from
Vancouver. Waterfront acreage with 545 ft of
low bank waterfront and big views on Georgia
Straight. 4.94 acres of peace and quiet, walking
distance Dionisio Provincial Park. House and
cottage permitted. $749,000
2,190 ft
2
home with inground pool on 158
picturesque acres. Ideally set up for a hobby farm
with a nice mix of forest, open pasture (fenced
& cross fenced), year-round creek & spring fed
soft water to house. Large dream shop ideal
for business operation with man cave above.
Located 40 km S of Dawson Creek. $685,000
Sprawling 280 acre creekfront estate.
Stunning views of Marble Mountains.
75 acres of hay land with 63 acres under pivot
irrigation. Water licenses. 3,470 ft
2
log home.
Indoor riding arena, heated shop, equipment
storage. Additional 70 acre agricultural lease.
Fenced & cross fenced. $1,839,900
RICH OSBORNE 604-664-7633
Personal Real Estate Corporation
rich
@
landquest.com
LYLE BRAITHWAITE CCIM
1-877-701-7888
lyle
@
landquest.com
FAWN GUNDERSON 250-982-2314
Personal Real Estate Corporation
fawn
@
landquest.com
JOHN ARMSTRONG 250-307-2100
john
@
landquest.com
COLE WESTERSUND 604-360-0793
CHASE WESTERSUND 778-927-6634
MARTIN SCHERRER 250-706-9462
martin
@
landquest.com
LandQuest
®
Realty Corp Cariboo
DAVE COCHLAN 604-319-1500
dave
@
landquest.com
DAVE SIMONE 250-539-8733
DS
@
landquest.com
MATT CAMERON 250-200-1199
matt
@
landquest.com
SAM HODSON 604-694-7623
Personal Real Estate Corporation
sam
@
landquest.com
cultivating carrots with it this spring.
Already the owner of an electric
forklift, Doherty has wanted an
electric tractor for many years.
He loves its quiet operation and
ease of use, even if driving without a
clutch is taking some getting used to.
He says it makes sense as an
organic grower but the cost was
steep at about $9,000, even with a
used tractor as the starting point.
“If you were going to do
something, I would suggest it would
make more sense to build a tractor.
Don’t retrot a tractor, build it from
scratch, he adds.
Carbon tax inevitable
Vincent Burkholder took over
Peter and Ray Murrays 40-year-old
corn farm in Chase last year after
working there for 12 seasons as a
teen.
He now operates Burkholders’
Corn Farm with his brother Lewis.
Burkholder thinks replacing his
50 hp diesel row crop tractor with an
electric version would be eective at
reducing his farms carbon footprint.
When the tractor gets used a lot,
it starts to make some sense. Some of the more
pressing reasons people are getting into it are the
zero emissions, he adds, noting that he expects a
carbon tax for agriculture is inevitable.
Burkholder worked briey as an engineer testing
new electric vehicle products before choosing
farming over the oce.
He wants to seek out government grant funding
to purchase an electric tractor, provide
demonstrations to other producers, and put
together a case study for using the equipment on
vegetable farms.
A slow down on production of the equipment
altered Burkholders’ plan from 2021 to 2022 but he
remains focused on the benets of the advancing
technology for producers.
Step in the right direction
Director of climate crisis policy and action Darren
Qualman with the National Farmers Union says the
use of electric and solar energy is a step in the right
direction toward reducing greenhouse gas
emissions from agriculture.
The sooner that we cease to consume fossil-fuel
machinery, the sooner we can move to low-emission
farm power, he says. “If we can
reduce input use, we have the
opportunity to not only reduce
emissions but maybe raise that farm
income and go from keeping ve
cents out of every dollar to maybe
start to move back to when farmers
were keeping 30 to 40 cents.
He says the NFU and Farmers for
Climate Solutions are pushing hard
to see more research and
development investment in
low-emission machinery.
Changing battery technology has
everyone waiting to see what wins
out.
Two at the forefront now are
hydrogen or battery-electric, says
Qualman. Were trying to gure out
which of those two is likely to
prevail. We think that the trucking
sector is largely going to answer that
question. Whichever way the
trucking industry goes, that will
probably be replicated in the
agricultural machinery sector.
Drew also waits for new battery
technology that might triple his
power output but he is content with
what Sparky can do.
What I think it proves is what electrics on a farm
could do. If it works for us, I’m sure it’s scaleable to a
lot of farms, he says.
With things working so well, Sparky will likely
have more to do on the farm soon.
“How we harvest our grain has become a real
focus. So we’ve been looking for an old All-Crop
harvester combine that Sparky would be able to
manage and then we’ll be able to retire our diesel
powered swather and John Deere combine. We can
pass them along to another organic farmer, says
Joanne.
Paddy Doherty demonstrates the ease of operating his retrotted electric tractor at West
Enderby Farm in the North Okanagan. PHOTO / JACKIE PEARASE
Kootenay farm
advisors resume
field days
Knowledge, connections key to
Kootenay program
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 35
Proudly certifying
Producers and Processors
within BC and Alberta.
FVOPA provides year round certification
services compliant with the Canadian
Organic Standards (CAN/CGSB) and
in accordance with the BC Certified
Organic ISO 17065 recognized program.
Products may be sold Canada-wide and
in international markets. FVOPA ensures an
efficient, professional certification process
for all farm, processing and handling
operations. Inspectors are lOlA trained
and qualified making FVOPA a leading
Certification Agency.
Message 604-607-1655
Email: admin@fvopa.ca
www.fvopa.ca
Phone 604-789-7586
P.O. Box 18591
Delta, BC V4K 4V7
Phone: 778-434-3070
PO Box 19052 Email: admin@fvopa.ca
Delta, BC V4L2P8 www.fvopa.ca
FVOPA delivers year-round certication services
to all regions of Canada, in compliance with the
Canadian Organic Standards, the BC Certied
Organic Accreditation Equivalent Program, and
ISO 17065. Products may bear the Canada Or-
ganic logo and be marketed Canada-wide and
internationally. FVOPA provides procient
certication services for all types of Producers,
Processors, Packers and Distributors. FVOPA is
a self-sustaining, proactive, leading edge
Certication Agency.
Proudly certifying
Producers and Processors
across Canada
by TOM WALKER
CRESTON – Kootenay
producers enjoyed a full slate
of workshops this year as
Kootenay & Boundary Farm
Advisors resumed
programming this fall after
halting activities in May.
We actually saw a rush for
support, says KBFA program
coordinator Rachael Roussin.
“People were really thirsty for
knowledge.
She says KBFA found it was
still able to bring people
together safely for outdoor
eld days once the initial
period of hunkering down
was over and information
about available pandemic
support programs had been
distributed.
“I think people felt safe and
it gave them a sense of
normalcy and connection
with the ag community, she
says.
All told, the KBFA hosted
16 events in 2020, kicking o
with a two-day grazing
school with Steve Kenyon in
January and wrapping up
with a virtual vegetable
storage workshop with
Hermann and Louise Bruns at
Wild Flight Farm in early
December conducted via
smartphone.
Soil health was a popular
topic with four events that
culminated October 5 with
Wayne Blashill’s presentation
“Digging Deep into Soil
Knowledge” in Rock Creek.
We were really able to talk
production and soils and
better understand those
excellent Rock Creek
chernozem soils that are
predominant in the
Okanagan and Boundary
area, says Roussin.
Seed cleaning and seed
production in October
allowed KBFA to host Farm
Folk/City Folk at events in
Argenta, Winlaw and Grand
Forks.
“David Catzel with the BC
Seed Program brought in and
demoed a mobile seed
cleaner, says Roussin. “People
really appreciated the hands-
on learning opportunity. We
did clean a lot of seed.
This was the second year
of on-farm research into
orchard mulching to improve
soil moisture at Don and
Susan Low’s Quiet Valley
Farms in Creston. A eld day
at the end of August shared
the results and discussed
irrigation techniques.
We had a lot of tree fruit
producers out talking about
optimising irrigation
practices, says Roussin.
The BC Cattlemens
Associations targeted grazing
project was featured in a eld
day in Cranbrook.
There was such rich
discussion about how the
agricultural community can
work in collaboration with
our municipalities to make
our communities safer and
potentially increase the areas
that grazing can take place
for ranchers, Roussin notes.
“For so long the urban-
agriculture divide seems to
be getting greater and this is
agriculture supporting
community goals and a
chance to get agriculture in
the spotlight.
Another positive outcome
of the season was the
adoption of technology for
some events.
We found out that farmers
can really Zoom, says
Roussin. “I’m not sure that
they wanted to let us know
that before.
Molly Thurston, a tree fruit
specialist with Pearl
Agriculture Consulting,
delivered two presentations
via Zoom on nutrient
management and pest
management for small
orchards.
But the most exciting use
of videoconferencing
technology for Roussin was
the virtual eld day with
veteran organic farmers
YOUR
Helping You
WEEKLY
FARM
NEWS
UPDATES
countrylifeinbc.com
Sign up for
FREE today.
YOUR
p
ing
You
p
ing
p
g
p
ping You
c
.co
m
Sign
up
for
USED EQUIPMENT
FELLA TH680D HYDRO 6 BASKET TEDDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000
N/H FP230 27P GRASS HEAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17,500
CLAAS VOLTO 1050 8 BASKET TEDDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,500
KV 9469S VARIO, 2014, RAKE, 1 OR 2 ROWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18,500
NH 1033 BALE WAGON, 105 BALES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000
USED TRACTORS
KUBOTA T2380 2017, 48” DECK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,500
KUBOTA BX2360 2010, 1,900HRS, TRAC/MWR . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,750
DEUTZ TTV 6130.4 2014, 1,760 HRS, LDR, FRONT 3PT/PTO . . . . 97,000
NEW INVENTORY:
*NEW MODEL- JBS MISP1436 IN THE YARD*
KUBOTA RAKES • TEDDERS • MOWERS • POWER HARROWS . . . . CALL
JBS VMEC1636 VERT. SPREADER, SAWDUST & SAND THROWERS,
KUBOTA K-HAUL TRAILERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOW IN STOCK
CONSTRUCTION
KUB SSV65, 2018, CAB, A/C, H-PATTERN,2 SPEED, 150 HRS . . . . 47,000
KUB SVL75-2 2016, ROPS, 1,700HRS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53,500
KUB KX121-3 2006, 3,800HRS, 2 BKTS, THUMB, STEEL . . . . . . . . CALL
KUB KX018 2019, 25HRS, CAB, 2 BLTS, THUMB, RUBBER . . . . . . . CALL
ISLAND TRACTOR & SUPPLY LTD.
DUNCAN 1-888-795-1755
NORTH ISLAND TRACTOR
COURTENAY 1-866-501-0801
www.islandtractors.com
Happy
New Year!
Soil scientist Wayne Blashill dug deep to show farmers the different types of soil below their grasslands as
part of a Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors eld day at Rock Creek in October. SUBMITTED PHOTO
we have a video that people
can watch.
Renewed COVID-19
restrictions this fall did put a
slight damper on the nal
eld tour of the new
greenhouse at Salix and
Sedge Farm in Salmo.
We were inside the
greenhouse, so we limited
the tour to 12 people and we
were all wearing masks,
Roussin explains. “But with
the small number of
participants who were
interested in commercial
greenhouse production they
were able to ask and get
answers to their in-depth
questions.
Despite the challenges the
year presented, Roussin
believes KBFA was still able to
fulll its mandate.
We have been able to
bring people together in a
safe and supportive outdoor
environment within their own
community, and grow their
knowledge, she says.
Hermann and Louise Bruns of
Wild Flight Farm in Mara.
We had wanted to
connect with the Bruns for
some time now, says Roussin.
“But the logistics of getting
over to the Okanagan,
particularly this year, got in
the way.
Smart phone technology
provided a solution.
“Hermann just walked
around his farm and
broadcast live video with his
cell phone, talking about
mechanization and showing
us tools for cultivating market
vegetables, says Roussin. “It
was so clear, and being live,
people were able to ask
questions, just like a live tour.
That same technology
allowed Bruns to present the
nal virtual eld day of the
year on winter crop storage in
early December.
The smart phone was a
real eye-opener. I don’t know
if I ever would have tried that
technology without the
pandemic, Roussin
acknowledges. “I just pressed
record on my Zoom and now
36 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
*Cannot be combined with any other offer. Offer based on the purchase of eligible equipment defined in promotional program. Additional fees may apply. Pricing, payments and models may vary by dealer. Customers must take delivery prior
to the end of the program period. Some customers will not qualify. Some restrictions apply. Financing subject to credit approval. Offer available on new equipment only. Pricing and rebates in CAD dollars. Prior purchases are not eligible. 6 Year
Warranty for Non-Commercial, residential use only. 6 Year Warranty applies to CS, CK10, DK10 and NX model KIOTI tractors and must be purchased and registered between September 1, 2016 – June 30, 2020. Offer valid only at participating
Dealers. Offer subject to change without notice. See your dealer for details. © 2020 Daedong-Canada, Inc. Kioti Canada.
Timberstar Tractor
Vernon B.C. 250-545-5441
Harbour City Equipment
Duncan B.C. 778-422-3376
Matsqui Ag Repair
Abbotsford B.C. 604-826-3281
Northern Acreage Supply
Prince George B.C. 250-596-2273
0
%
Financing
CASH
Back Offers
Unlimited
Hour
Powertrain Warranty
Rangeland Equipment Ltd
Cranbrook B.C. 250-426-0600
KLO Middle School student farmers Riley Gayford, Arsh Rifan and Kaydence Aubin show off some of the produce grown in the school’s new
container farm. The farm was gifted to the school by President’s Choice Children’s Charity. PHOTO / KLO MIDDLE SCHOOL
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 37
v
4200W Model Shown
DESIGNED
FOR HARSH CONDITIONS
34” high mouldboard
Spring trip on cutting edge
Bucket edge mount or Qtach available
Replaceable, reversible steel cutting
edge
Replaceable, reversible rubber cutting
edge (OPTIONAL)
Skid shoes optional
36” deep fixed endplates
Available in 10’ 12’ 14’ widths
2 Year Commercial Warranty
Max Operating Weight 25,000 LB.
Spring trip on cutting edge
34” high mouldboard
Lateral float
Two angle cylinders
Hydraulic 35º angle either direction
Replaceable, reversible steel cutting edge
Replaceable, reversible rubber cutting
edge (OPTIONAL)
Skid shoes
Cross-over relief valve protection
Heavy duty construction
Available in 9’ 10’ 12’ 14’ widths
2 Year Commercial Warranty
Max Operating Weight 25,000 LB.
1.866.567.4162 www.hlasnow.com
by MYRNA STARK LEADER
KELOWNA – The newest
container farm in BC is at
Kelownas KLO Middle School.
Since mid-November, a 40-
foot shipping container just
outside the school’s front
doors has produced lettuce,
kale and bok choy. The next
crop will include basil, thyme
and oregano.
“Right now, we’re only
growing about one-sixth
capacity but the farm could
produce 525 lettuce plants
every harvest, says Karla
Lockwood, a Grade 9 math
and science educator.
This farm hits on the
Grade 9 science curriculum
of scientific method –
starting with a question,
developing a hypothesis,
identifying variables,
gathering data, analyzing it
and reporting it. That's all the
competencies, says
Lockwood. “From a content
standpoint, we teach nutrient
cycles, the nitrogen,
phosphorus and carbon
cycles, which is exactly what
a modular farm does. It's an
automated version of
nutrient cycling.
Raised in Kelowna,
Lockwood watered plants at
Lake Country Greenhouses in
Winfield during high school
and part of university. Her
second teaching job was in
Summerland, where the
school also had a small
outdoor greenhouse.
The container farm at KLO
is much bigger since nearly
every school subject across
Grades 7-9 can be linked to
the farm. Food classes, career
education, math, physical
education around healthy
food choices, English and
French classes where
students can write about the
project and even technical
education, where students
might design and build an
entry area where students
can prepare themselves to
enter the farm.
KLO’s farm is the second
pilot project Presidents
Choice Childrens Charity has
funded. The first is at a school
in La Loche, Saskatchewan.
The charity helps combat
child hunger by raising and
distributing about $16
million annually. Funds come
from donations by Loblaws
customers, employees and
suppliers, as well as direct
fundraising. The charity is the
largest charitable funder of
school meal programs across
Canada.
Were focused on tackling
childhood hunger, food
access and food-based
education, but also
innovation, which led us to
offering container farms as a
way to grow food year-round
in the north, our first pilot
project site, explains the
charitys executive director
Lisa Battistelli.
KLO’s principal Ashley
Ragoonaden learned of the
La Loche project when his
son and the son of Peter
Boyd, owner of the
Independent store in
Kelowna, were playing soccer.
Boyd mentioned La Loche to
Ragoonaden, who sought
more information through
the charity and spearheaded
KLO’s grant application. He
also won approval for the
project from the local school
district.
“I’ve seen schools with
little gardens, but this was
dierent, says Ragoonaden.
“My teaching team are really
working on our environmental
stewardship and sustainability.
The farm connected
Kelowna school embraces new container farm
Microgreens
project promises
many teaching
moments
Serving the Okanagan
and Fraser Valley
We’ve been proudly family owned and operated since
opening in 1976. And with two blending plants, we’re one
of BC’s largest distributors of granular, liquid and
foliar fertilizers. Our buying power and proximity to the
Fraser Valley makes us the logical choice for truckload shipments.
OKANAGAN FERTILIZER LTD
1-800-361-4600 or 250-838-6414
See FARMING on next page
o
RENEW
your
Subscription
Don’t
forget to
R
E
Su
b
scrip
f
or
g
FARMING now part of curriculum nfrom page 37
38 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
As a day o goes, it wasn’t bad. It failed to attain
languid hibernation-style status, due mainly to the
presence of an eight-year old but, as I always say, don’t
make it a goal if you
can’t achieve it. I was
obliged to run the child
all morning to render
him docile enough to
prefer reading over
rampaging in the
afternoon. An energetic
hike, a bonre of big branches and strenuous play
involving damming a ditch did the trick. I spent a couple
of peaceful hours sitting in a chair. Inside.
I hold the very reasonable expectation of stringing
together a few of these days o in the coming weeks of
winter. It is a delightful prospect, sensibly tempered with
a hard-learned lesson: it’s easy to get behind in farming
during impulsively restful times. I was once advised to do
a farming job every day. An outside one. Not an easy
indoor one. Website redesign absolutely does not count.
Right. Today’s topic is customer service. That’s hardly a
farming topic, you cry. To which I say, show me a farmer
who does not need to engage with a customer to sell the
crop and I’ll show you a problem with the food system.
Alternatively, we could talk about jobs that have to be
done out in the winter rain, but the weather is currently
atrocious, and I would prefer not to think about it.
Returning to customer service. My customer service
skills, honed over years in the food service industry, were
approximately the only skills I possessed that were useful
to the farm business when I returned as an adult. Also, I
was able to manage inventory and understand the
importance of a good signage program.
I have farming friends who, when their kids returned to
the farm as adults, required that they arrive with tens of
thousands to invest and a business plan justifying their
existence. Thank goodness I did not face this situation. A
s
it turned out, customer service skills were useful: our farm
would not be doing very well if I was no good at selling
food to people.
I digress. I am struggling with a particular issue and
thought by reecting on the topic, I might hit upon a
solution to my problem. I have heard from a customer
that the Red French Fingerling sometimes taste bitter
when boiled. First of all, why are they boiling them? These
are for roasting and I do it all the time. They are excellent.
Second of all, bitter potatoes are usually green potatoes.
Are the French Fingerling turning green easily? Tough to
tell with their deep red skins.
We don’t prefer to grow varieties that are good cooked
only one way, or that require careful handling. Its too
hard to control what customers do with them. An
exception has been made for the Kennebec variety. They
are for making fries. I assumed they were a gimmick,
given the number of mainstream restaurants that have
advertised their Kennebec fries. However, we nally grew
them and fried them and they are indeed top-shelf fryers.
The best ever, perhaps.
Ugly, though, and very susceptible to turning green.
Their ugliness might be a result of being grown in an
organic system. Some varieties are like that. Yukon Gold,
for example, can be very meagre producers in our elds.
Perhaps they were intended to be used with chemical
fertilizers for best yields.
The Kennebec, like the French Fingerling, are not at all
meagre and produce a ton of tubers under a veritable
hedge of vines. The Kennebec sign at market says: We
admit these are ugly, but they are the best for fries.
And suddenly my problem is solved. Its all about
signage. The French Fingerling sign now reads: Not for
storage – Roast these tonight!
I’ll have to investigate this potential easy greening
problem, though. We can’t have that.
Anna Helmer farms with her family and misses farming
with her friends.
immediately to those ideas.
Battistelli says KLO was
approved for several reasons:
the potential to interest urban
students in new farming
methods and innovation, the
possibility of using produce
to feed kids and families, and
KLO’s intention to work with
Kelowna Secondary School
and Okanagan College, both
across the street.
But KLO’s commitment to
develop a Grade 9 credit
course rooted in the farm was
the clincher.
We recognize the limited
capacity of all teachers to
create new curriculum and/or
lesson plans related to the
farm and appreciate KLO’s
commitment to sharing the
content they create, says
Battistelli.
The charity fully funded
the unit and equipment,
transportation, set up and
three years of 24-hour
support, technical as well as
servicing costs and supplies
such as seed. The grant is
worth approximately
$250,000 so far.
In addition, the school’s
parent advisory council
committed $50,000 towards
site prep.
KLO chose the Canadian-
made Growcer brand
container system. The
Ottawa-based company was
founded three years ago by
Corey Ellis and Alida Burke,
who wanted a customizable
plug-and-play hydroponic
food-growing system
northern communities could
use to grow healthy food and
help them become more self-
sucient. The farm’s
hydroponic system doesn’t
require soil.
Lockwood says the
students shes had working in
the farm at this early stage
are highly engaged. The farm
has also piqued the curiosity
of others.
The farm is an amazing
way to grow food really
quickly and eciently.
Instead of taking up a lot of
at ground, we grow the
plants in shelves so that
there's more food growing at
once, says Grade 8 student
Arsh Rifan. The automatic
water chemical control is a
very handy piece of
equipment because we don't
have to test the water every
day. The hydroponic farm is
the future of farm
agriculture.
“Its a pretty amazing gift,
says Tamara Knott of Bright
Greens Canada when she
learned about KLO’s farm. “I
hope the students will
understand what they’ve
been gifted.
Knott and her husband
Bruce have been producing
greens in converted shipping
containers in Central Saanich
since 2016. She and two farm
helpers grow about 70-80
pounds of fresh produce each
week in two containers,
located on a property within
the Agricultural Land Reserve.
About 70% is marketed to
direct to consumers and 30%
to restaurants.
Knott sees KLOs farm as a
great student learning
opportunity. Her experience
with Bright Greens has taught
her the need for strong
scheduling and recording of
farm data and procedures.
She believes having a system
to transfer knowledge
between teachers and
students working in the farm
will be critical as things can
be accidently overlooked. A
way to share knowledge
between those working
inside the farm is also
important.
Lockwood and her
colleagues are employing two
apps to help coordinate farm
operations. Growlink
monitors the farms system
while Artemis AG helps
schedule harvesting, cleaning
and other chores.
We can set up
independent users and as
farm tasks are done
individuals can identify what
they’ve completed, make
notes and even post pictures
as documentation, says
Lockwood.
The farm has been a bright
spot for the school in a year
dominated by COVID-19.
Future opportunities include
using produce in cooking
classes and the school lunch
program as well as working
with Presidents Choice
Childrens Charity to address
challenges like creating
enough fridge space for the
harvested produce.
We are working hard to
create a culture of learning,
not just one course … it's
about building an
environment where, you
know, everybody is involved,
it becomes part of our fabric,
says Ragoonaden.
Farm Story
by ANNA HELMER
Winter is a
good time to
problem-solve
40 | JANUARY 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
Breaking the good (and not so good) news
When we left o last time,
Kenneths lawyer was trying
unsuccessfully to convince him
that anything but a 50/50 split
in a divorce settlement was
risky business. Meanwhile, his
mother was negotiating a new
living arrangement with Newt
Pullamn. Rural Redemption,
Part 130, continues.
Newt broke out laughing
when Susan asked if they
could get a puppy.
“I suppose so, he said. Are
you saying youre not
interested in staying unless
theres a pup in the deal?”
“I’ve wanted a dog for
years. Kingston forbid it and it
seems like theres a place here
for a dog now that Rockys
gone.
There’s a vacant position
in the dog department
alright, said Newt. “You sure
you want to take on a pup?”
“In for a penny, in for a
pound, said Susan.
“Something old, something
new. Are you ready for us?”
Absolutely. It might seem
like we’re a little quick o the
mark, but at this stage of the
game theres no point in
marking time is there?”
Susan bent down and
kissed him.
“Let’s keep it to ourselves
until Ashley and Christopher
go home.
vvv
The quarantine was set to
end at the end of the week.
Deborah was planning for
Susan and the kids to come
home on Saturday morning.
Kenneth sent her a terse text
message saying he would be
home on Sunday, and he
wanted time to speak
to her privately.
Deborah called
Susan on Friday
morning and said the
quarantine was pretty
much over and
wondered if Susan
would drop by because she
had something important to
talk to her about. Susan
agreed and said she had
important news, too.
An hour later, they were
sitting in Deborah kitchen.
Susan could sense Deborahs
unease and asked what was
up?
“Kenneth is coming home
on Sunday morning and we
have something serious to
discuss so I was wondering if
you would mind staying at
Newt’s with the kids until
Monday, if you havent worn
out your welcome.
“Far from that, actually,
said Susan. “In fact, thats kind
of what my news is about. I’ll
be staying with Mr. Pullman.
We’ve got room here; you
don’t have to stay at Newt’s.
“Not at Newt’s…with Newt.
It took Deborah several
seconds to connect the dots.
“Oh, my goodness. Susan!
Ashley said you were causing
a bit of a stir with the
menfolk. Does Newt even
know what hit him?”
“It was his idea.
“So, it’s serious then?”
Apparently so. We’re
getting a puppy.
Deborah rose and gave
Susan a hug.
What wonderful, totally
unexpected news!”
Tears welled in Deborahs
eyes as she sat down. She
wiped them away with her
ngertips.
There’s no easy way to tell
you this: Kenneth and I are
getting a divorce.
“Mutual?” asked Susan.
“My idea, said Deborah “I
can’t go on like this.
They were still talking
about it a half hour later when
the Ashley walked in the back
door.
“Hi. Mr. Pullman said the
quarantine was over and
Grandma was here having
coee. What are you two
yakking about?”
Susan and Deborah looked
at one another, then Deborah
turned to Ashley.
“Come and sit-down
sweetie. Grandma and I have
something to tell you.
Susan told her about her
new living arrangement.
“No way!” said Ashley. “I’m
not surprised. You were such
a total fox in that red dress!
Ashley gave Susan a big
hug and spotted Deborahs
weepy eyes.
Whats wrong, Mom?”
“I have some less happy
news, I’m afraid.
“Youre not sick are you?”
“Nothing like that. Your
father and I are getting a
divorce.
Mother and daughter
stared at each other for
several seconds while the
news sunk in for Ashley.
“Does it have anything to
do with that Janice lady
where he works?”
“You mean his secretary?”
asked Deborah.
“Secretary or whatever,
said Ashley. The one he was
talking to on the phone at
Grandmas the last time we
were there for Christmas.
“How do you know he was
talking to her on the phone?”
Ashley explained how she
had overheard the
conversation from the
hallway, and how the hotel
from Tono had called to
conrm his reservation when
they got home, and she told
Daddy how sweet it was for
him to be taking Deborah for
a surprise New Years getaway,
and didn’t it seem odd the
reservation was for the fancy
hotel, but they ended up
staying at a bed and
breakfast?
Deborah said that would
explain the coincidence of
Janice staying at the fancy
hotel and being at the New
Years Eve party and she
wished she had her phone
number.
That shouldn’t be a
problem, said Ashley as she
walked to the kitchen phone.
“She called and left a message
for Daddy while you were
away. Her numbers right here
on the call display. She wrote
it on a memo pad and
handed it to Deborah. Has
anyone told Chris yet?”
Deborah shook her head.
“I’ll tell him then, said
Ashley.
Deborah looked uncertain.
“Don’t worry, Mom. Chris
and I are chill.
vvv
Ashley found her brother in
Newt’s barn.
“Looking at more cows,
Chris?”
“No. Looking at heifers. Mr.
Pullman says he wants to AI
some of the best ones and he
wants to know which ones I
think they should be.
Ah, cool. I was just over
talking to Mom and Grandma.
We’re not going back until
Monday night.
“I thought we were going
home tomorrow.
“No, there’s some stu
happening rst.
What kind of stu?” asked
Christopher, as he compared
heifers.
Well, Grandma’s staying
here to live with Mr.
Pullman…
Whaaaat?”
“Yeah, shes moving in with
him.
“Go, Grandma! That should
get everyone talking. I’ll bet
that old newspaper lady will
be all over it.
“Maybe. Mom and Dad are
getting a divorce, too, said
Ashley.
“No way!”
“Yes way. You can’t be too
surprised. You know he treats
her like crap, right?”
“I wouldn’t call it that. They
don’t talk that much but Dad
doesn’t talk that much to any
of us. Maybe hes just quiet.
“Do you remember the last
time Daddy gave Mom a
kiss?”
“I don’t think I remember
him ever giving her a kiss.
“My point exactly, said
Ashley.
That doesn’t mean
anything.
“Really? How long has it
been since you kissed Lisa?”
Thats not the same.
“Yeah, it sort of is, Chris.
And besides that, it looks like
Daddys had a girlfriend from
where he works. He’s coming
home Sunday, so we’ll
probably nd out all about it
then.
to be continued ...
Woodshed
Chronicles
by BOB COLLINS
YOUR
Helping You
Helping You
WEEKLY
FARM
NEWS
UPDATES
Sign up
for FREE.
cou
countrylifeinbc.comylifeinbc.com
K
L
Y
M
S
ATES
E.
KuhnNorthAmerica.com
Visit your local British Columbia Livestock dealer today!
INVEST IN QUALITY
®
www.kuhn.com
Matsqui Ag-Repair
Abbotsford
Country Tractor
Kamloops
Country Tractor
Armstrong
VT 100 SERIES GII VERTICAL MAXX
®
Twin-Auger Mixers
320 - 1,10 0 cu. ft. mixing capacities
truck, trailer and stationary models
Rugged front and side conveyors
for reliable service and long life
Front, side and rear discharge
options offer maximum versatility
Advanced auger design for superior
feed movement and auger clean off
Efficient mixing chamber
promotes a fast, complete mix
FAST
,
COMPLETE MIXING AND PROCESSING
Financial advisor Sherry Watty says women need to continue to educate themselves and not let anyone tell
them they can’t do something. They need to follow their passion, she says. PHOTO / SUBMITTED
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JANUARY 2021 | 39
Monitor TSUM on farmwest to schedule
manure and fertilizer application!
by MYRNA STARK LEADER
CALGARY – More than
75,000 farm operators in
Canada are women – about a
third of all farm operators in
the country – but theyre
seldom speakers at farm
leadership conferences and
relatively few attend such
events.
“It became apparent there
was a strong need for women
in every sector to hear and
learn from the experience of
successful women, says Iris
Meck, owner of Iris Meck
Communications in Calgary.
Six years ago, after
bringing a group of farm
women together, Meck
launched the Advancing
Women in Agriculture
conferences to help grow
leadership skills among farm
women. Eleven conferences
later, shes still targeting
women engaged in activities
from farming to nance and
food processing.
This years event, held
online November 24 and 25
in partnership with Glacier
Farm Media, attracted more
than 700 registrants. Speakers
ranged from young women
relatively new to agriculture
to successful entrepreneurs
from across Canada, Australia
and the UK.
While theres no shortage
of issues facing women in the
industry, from lack of rural
childcare to challenges
accessing nancing, a
persistent issue is the barriers
they face even as they take
on leadership positions in
family businesses.
Sherry Watty, a nancial
advisor and owner of Watty
Insurance Services Ltd. in
Abbotsford, discovered that
rst-hand when she relocated
her oce from northern
Alberta in 2017. A male
colleague told her, You know
Sherry, Abbotsford is a
community where women
don’t sell farm insurance.
Although she didn’t believe
the comment was ill-
intended, it was o-putting.
She became determined to
prove him wrong.
The rst day on the job I
had seven new team
members and felt like a sh
out of water. I sat in my oce
and told myself, ‘Sherry
you’ve got this, says Watty.
She studied dairy
terminology so she would
know how to work with local
farmers in her new
community, and paid farmers
visits. She asked questions
and soaked up the answers.
She leveraged the knowledge
to oer to re-examine
farmers’ current policies from
a risk management
perspective. The approach
helped her stand out. Soon, in
the community she was
hearing, “Hey, I’ve heard
about you, spoken in a
positive light.
Watty encourages women
to continue to educate
themselves and not let
anyone tell them they can’t
do something and to follow
their passion.
Taking a stand
Cherie Copithorne-Barnes,
CEO of CL Ranches Ltd. near
Cochrane, Alberta,
encouraged women to stand
up for what they believe and
address misperceptions of
agriculture and agricultural
practi