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JUNE 2019

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Vol. 105 No. 6
The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 JUNE 2019 | Vol. 105 No. 6
PORK
Johnston’s Packers targeted by activists
7
BERRY
Berry growers get long-awaited funding boost
9
ABATTOIR
Changes to slaughter rules taking too long
19
by PETER MITHAM
VERNON – Okanagan
farmland outstrips the rest of
Canada in average price per
acre, according to the 2018
farmland values report from
Farm Credit Canada.
The report says the
average price of farmland in
the region rose 6.4% to
$97,903 an acre in 2018.
“[The] Okanagan region
saw substantial demand,
even for smaller parcels, it
states, noting that vineyard
development was a key driver
as wineries continued to seek
fruit to support growing
sales.
The tree fruit sector
continued to be a signicant
part of Okanagan agriculture
but played a lesser role in the
land market in 2018, the
report adds.
However, local brokers say
orchardists continue to be
active, driving up the price of
irrigated land typically used
for forage.
“Orchards are moving into
the north Okanagan, pushing
… forage land up to orchard
land values as you see in the
south, central Okanagan, says
Pat Duggan, a former dairy
farmer now an agent with
Royal LePage Downtown
Realty Ltd. in Vernon.
Traditionally, if you have
irrigated land at $13,000 to
$15,000 per acre, and then
the orchard people come in,
theyre willing to pay $20,000
to $25,000 an acre, so that
puts pressure on forage
producers.
By the same token, FCC
reports that the maximum
asking price for property in
the Okanagan fell in 2018,
by PETER MITHAM
ABBOTSFORD – BC SPCA is
declining to press charges
against an Abbotsford hog
farm targeted by animal
rights activists.
Representatives of the
association, which is
responsible under the
provinces Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act to
investigate complaints and
enforce laws related to animal
welfare, visited the farm in
Hog
farm
won’t
face
charges
Police ask
farmers to be
vigilant
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FIRST CUT! Jared de Dood of Sunninghill Holsteins made short work of a hay eld in Enderby on the May long weekend. The month
started with record-breaking heat across much of the province, increasing the forest re risk to high for much of the South Coast and
Central Interior. A return to more seasonal and wetter conditions by mid-month was a welcomed relief for farmers, ranchers and the BC
Wildre Service.
[CATHY GLOVER PHOTO]
Okanagan drives land values
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early May and found no
grounds for charges.
We utilized the code of
practice for hog farming, and
have determined at this point
that we will not be
proceeding with any charges
against Excelsior Hog Farm,
says Shawn Eccles, senior
manager, cruelty
investigations, with the BC
SPCA.
The visit occurred more
than a week after People for
the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA) provided a
video to CTV allegedly
documenting instances of
inhumane conditions at the
farm. An initial visit was
pre-empted, Eccles said, by a
protest at the farm on
April 28 that saw more than
50 activists invade the farms
barns and more than 100
gather outside.
We had made
arrangements to attend the
farm with appropriate
individuals that had training
or experience in hog farms
and a protest occurred,
explains Eccles. We assessed
what we saw on the date that
we were on the farm, and at
this point there is no
evidence to warrant a
charge.
The activists’ intervention
prevented the prompt
investigation of the
complaint by the proper
authorities, and the fact that
the person who shot the
video never stepped forward
to back up the evidence left
investigators with no grounds
for pursuing the matter.
We can’t attest to the
veracity of the video, says
Eccles. As a policing agency,
[we] have to rely on evidence
… that I have either through
eyewitness testimony – which
I don’t have – or physical
evidence.
However, some members
of industry are criticizing BC
SPCAs handling of the
matter, saying it didn’t act
fast enough, or clear the air
when it nally determined
there were no grounds for
pursuing charges.
The video followed a
break-and-enter at Excelsior
dropping from $166,900 an
acre in 2017 to $148,800 an
acre last year.
By contrast, top sale prices
in the Lower Mainland
increased to a whopping
$218,900 an acre in 2018, up
from $162,700 an acre in
2017.
This has prompted many
farmers to reconsider where
they buy, and how they
manage their operations.
Theyre moving out to
cheaper real estate that has
irrigation, says Duggan. “If
you can nd good parcels of
irrigated farmland, they don’t
seem to stay on the market
for very long.
Gord Houweling of BC
Farm & Ranch Realty Corp. in
Abbotsford agrees.
We see folks that will
move up to Salmon Arm,
Enderby, he says. Theyre
looking for hay land, ranch
land, heifer-raising facilities,
within a maximum of four
hours of the home farm.
Often, they’re looking to
reorganize the farm to make
the most of location and land
values. Dairy farmers in the
Lower Mainland, for instance,
will locate milking herds in
the region close to
processing plants, while other
elements of the operation –
forage production and heifers
– will take place in the
Interior.
“It only makes economical
sense to make the home farm
produce the milk and get the
young stock o the farm so
they’ve got room for more
milk cows. And that’s what
were seeing, says Houweling,
noting that the new
Agricultural Environmental
Management Code of
Practice is one more incentive
for growers to split up
operations.
Houweling also has listings
on Vancouver Island, but he
says the market is slow. The
low sale volumes didn’t stop
land values from
appreciating, says FCC, as
buyers seeking refuge from
the high cost of properties in
the Lower Mainland came
calling. The region logged the
biggest gain in value of
anywhere in Canada, with an
acre of farmland rising 21.7%
to an average of $50,858 an
acre.
Farm sales increase
Sales of farm properties
rose 57% in 2018, according
to data from the BC Ministry
of Finance.
A total of 1,547 farm
properties changed hands in
2018, up from 987 in 2017.
Sales were concentrated in
the Northern Rockies-Peace,
Fraser Valley and Metro
Vancouver regional districts.
The three regions accounted
for just 40% of all sales, while
the other 60% were
distributed among the
province's remaining 24
regions. The majority of these
saw 50 farm sales or fewer in
2018, with just 10 seeing 51
sales or more.
Columbia-Shuswap,
Cowichan Valley and Central
Okanagan regions saw sales
increase by more than 200%.
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in late March during which
surveillance cameras were
installed. Those cameras were
removed, and Abbotsford
police are investigating.
The force’s
communications ocer,
Sergeant Judy Bird, said the
two incidents are subject to
separate investigations. Bird
said evidence is being
collected to see if there are
grounds for prosecuting
those responsible for either
incident.
The latest incident saw
police identify and secure
contact information for 50
protestors. Just one arrest
was made, but the individual,
Amy Soranno of Okanagan
Animal Save, was released
pending a court appearance.
“Our investigation
continues, and we will be
looking at charges for the
protestors with respect to
break-and-enter and
mischief, Bird said of the
protest.
While farm invasions are
rare in Canada, Bird said the
protest is a reminder that
such incidents are possible.
She encourages farmers to
report suspicious activity on
their properties to police.
“I don’t recall us having
anything like this in
Abbotsford before, she said.
This puts an extra reminder
on us that this has the
potential to happen again in
the Fraser Valley.
We generate tax ecient o-farm income to ease
the income crunch when farms transition.
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For more coverage on
this issue, see Tom Walker’s
story, Johnstons Packers
targeted by activists, on
page 7.
JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
3
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NOVACAT 3507 T
Minister defends
Bill 15 changes
Opposition maintains new law
will erode farmers rights
by PETER MITHAM
VICTORIA – Provincial
legislation that will centralize
governance of the
Agricultural Land Reserve
inched a step closer to
passage as this edition of
Country Life in BC went to
press.
Bill 15 passed second
reading in the legislature on
May 16, supported by votes
from all 44 government MLAs
and opposed by 40
opposition MLAs.
Opposition members
absent for the vote included
Tracy Redies of Surrey-White
Rock and Abbotsford West
MLA Mike de Jong, who was
among the louder voices
speaking out against the bill.
The last MLA to speak
against the bill was Peace
River South MLA Mike Bernier,
who emphasized that the
changes would make it
harder for farmers to manage
their properties.
“Its another heavy-handed
approach, where the minister
and this government are
imposing a top-down view,
from Victoria on how people
should be running their
farming operations and how
they should be expected to
manage the agricultural
sector, he said. We don't
want to see agricultural land
sitting there stagnant
because people give up.
Bernier said the
government’s support of
farmland needs to be
complemented by support
for farmers. Centralizing
control over farmland by
eliminating the existing
system of regional panels and
shutting landowners out of
the exclusion process takes
more than it gives, he argued.
“If the minister and this
government really want to be
helping the agricultural
industry, they need to ensure
that there are policies and
supports to allow the farmers
to actually be on the land, to
look for opportunities to
make extra income, Bernier
said.
Concerns dismissed
Agriculture minister Lana
Popham dismissed the
concerns, accusing
opposition MLAs of an
ongoing campaign of
misinformation. She said the
reality was that the legislation
would ght speculation and
producers who saw more
prot “farming ll than
farming agricultural products.
The legislation is only
“logical, she told the
legislature, adding, You can't
just protect the farmland; you
also have to bring in policies
that support farming.
These are improvements
to protect the Agricultural
Land Reserve, along with
what we're doing to
encourage farming, she said,
without giving MLAs any
examples.
Opposition MLAs spent six
weeks speaking against the
bill, which the government
aims to pass by the time the
house adjourns for the
summer on May 30. While the
BC Liberals acknowledged
that they couldn’t stop the
bill from becoming law,
thanks to their minority
position in the house, they
hope the nal text will be
amended in committee.
Those debates take place
after this issue goes to press.
BC Liberal leader Andrew
Wilkinson has pledged to
repeal BC NDP changes to
legislation governing the ALR
if his party forms the next
provincial government. The
next general election in the
province is scheduled for
October 16, 2021.
1-866-820-7603 | BAUMALIGHT.COM
Dale Howe | (403) 462-1975 | dale@baumalight.com
MFG A VARIETY OF ATTACHMENTS
BRUSH MULCHERS | BOOM MOWERS
STUMP GRINDERS | TREE SAWS & SHEARS
TREE SPADES | ROTARY BRUSH CUTTERS
AUGER DRIVES | TRENCHERS
DRAINAGE PLOWS | PTO GENERATORS
Where’s the beef?
BC Liberal agriculture critic Ian Paton looks on as BC Cattlemen's Association president Larry Garrett,
who ranches in Vanderhoof, speaks at BC Beef Day at the legislature on May 14. BC agriculture minister
Lana Popham helped serve fresh-cooked meat wearing her Buy BC apron. BC ranchers produced close
to 180 million pounds of beef in 2017 worth nearly $236 million. The industry would like to see greater
local processing capacity, rather than having to ship animals to Alberta for slaughter.
[BC MINISTRY OF
AGRICULTURE PHOTO]
Farmers, not just farmland, need revitalization
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 2019
4
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The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915
Vol.105 No.6 . JUNE 2019
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D’oh! PW
“Peace, order and good government” may well be the words fundamental
to Canadas national character. We say sorry at the drop of a hat, devoutly
anxious that we might somehow have disturbed the peace and order of our
neighbours. Our laws and regulations dene what we can and can’t do,
especially in matters regarding freedom of speech; unlike the US, where the
onus is on the defamed party to prove injury, Canadas laws regarding libel
and defamation favour plaintis, encouraging individuals to respect others.
But farmers, who the province is set to exclude from the denition of
persons for the purposes of land exclusions under Bill 15 (set to pass shortly
after this issue goes to press), are in danger of losing their protection from
defamation.
The recent decision of Crown prosecutors to drop charges against an
animal rights activist who entered an Ontario hog farm because they didn’t
think the case would result in a conviction – even though the activist herself
admitted to the act and had video footage of what she had done – could well
embolden activists there, as well as in BC.
Its already happening, in fact. Two years ago, undercover footage of
livestock mistreatment by sta at a Chilliwack chicken catching business
grabbed headlines. But the province’s privacy commissioner told the business
it couldn’t equip sta with body cameras to monitor animal handling
practices. Video surveillance should only be used as a last resort, the
commissioner said.
It wasn’t true for activists then, and it wasn’t true this spring when cameras
were installed at a hog farm in Abbotsford, resulting in footage that triggered
an invasion of the farm by protestors at the end of April and a cybertattack
that compromised the business of the packinghouse it supplies. Police are
investigating the break-and-enter that led to the footage, but the BC SPCA
notes that the footage is hardly grounds for convicting some of lming it.
Even someone claiming to have shot the video isn’t enough; there must be
proof that the suspect actually installed the cameras.
While the BC SPCA has found no evidence the farm mistreated its animals,
the defamatory footage will live on because, it seems, no one can be held
accountable for releasing it. It’s one more instance where farmers have lost
their rights under the law.
There was neither peace nor order when activists descended on the BC
No peace, no order
Bill 15, the Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act 2019, is poised to
become law. When it does, BC agriculture minister Lana Popham will have
fullled the rst item on the list of agriculture-specic directives in the mandate
letter she received when she
became minister in July 2017.
Minister Popham appears to
have all of her ducks smartly in a
row: appropriate
recommendations from the
independent advisory committee
appointed last year to recommend
ways to revitalize the ALR and ALC;
support from within the farm community, including the BC Agriculture Council;
and the ever-claimed, and always alluded-to, backing of 95% of the public. Even
the membership of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, not
generally known for welcoming government regulation, voted 56% in favour of
imposing stricter regulations on the use of farmland in the ALR when
questioned in an internal survey that simplied the issue to a choice between
protecting food supply or allowing residential development.
There has been some pushback.
BC Liberal MLAs are framing Bill 15 as an attack on the property rights of
farmers and ranchers, several farmers institutes are voicing concern and there is
plenty of sceptical resignation among the rank and le that make agriculture
happen. There is little chance any of this will alter the outcome.
There will be a lot of tub-thumping from the moral high ground when the
bill nally passes, and salvation proclaimed for BC farmland. I have no quarrel
with the premise, but as my Granddad used to say: theres two sides to every
story and two answers to every question.
Let’s look at the other side of this story: farmers and ranchers.
Sure, 95% of the population support farmland preservation. Health care and
education probably enjoy the same level of support, but what good is a
hospital without doctors or nurses? What good is a school without teachers?
Hospitals and schools are only buildings until doctors, nurses and teachers turn
them into places where health care and education actually happen.
Similarly, its ranchers and farmers who turn the ALR into agriculture. Among
them are the resigned sceptics who understand the value of their land but balk
at the possibility of having another stone piled on the ever-increasing load of
red tape and regulation they shoulder. They have watched the ALR saving
farmland for 45 years but have seen agriculture fading away. They worry about
where the regulatory hammer might fall if a growing bureaucracy starts playing
Whac-A-Mole to enforce compliance. They understand the necessity of
diversied income – ideally generated on site – to making agriculture happen.
Premier John Horgans mandate letter to Minister Popham outlined several
priorities, both general and specic to agriculture. Among them was “build a
strong, sustainable, innovative economy that works for everyone” and create
good-paying jobs in every corner of the province, and ensure people from
every background have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
BC has some of the lowest farm incomes in Canada. To be sustainable, farms
need money for investment and to support the families who turn the ALR into
agriculture. At the very least, they should be permitted and encouraged to
identify and pursue innovative opportunities that allow them to achieve the
premiers stated objectives.
Perhaps the time is right for Minister Popham to consider striking an
independent advisory committee for revitalizing agriculture in BC.
Bob Collins raises beef cattle and grows produce on his farm in the Alberni
Valley.
The Back Forty
BOB COLLINS
hog farm at the end of April, and no one seems sorry for the inconvenience
caused the farm or the rest of the supply chain. Good governance demands
more, especially in a province where industry codes of practice for livestock
are, as of this month, part of provincial statutes that also include right-to-farm
legislation.
We all want to protect livestock. Who will protect farmers?
JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
5
ALR restrictions make commuting a fact of life
Housing options for new farmers can build connections with the land
One of the many benets
we see from protecting food
lands within our communities
is the opportunity to build a
sustainable food system. But
the noble pursuit of farmland
protection itself must, like all
things, abide by the triple
bottom line of sustainability.
The need for economic and
environmental sustainability
is obvious, ensuring that
farms don’t deplete their
nancial or natural resources;
but the third tenet is harder
to grasp: social sustainability.
Yet if the BC Ministry of
Agriculture and the
Agricultural Land Commission
want to see land preserved
for farming actually farmed,
they will have to take social
sustainability into account.
A poignant example of this
challenge is the limitations Bill
52, passed last fall, placed on
housing options, prohibiting
second homes of any kind
except through application to
the ALC. Bill 15, introduced
this winter, will add the
opportunity for regulations
that limit where houses can
be sited. For new farmers in
particular, this has serious
implications.
For those prospective
farmers who can’t aord to
buy land independently (and
what young person can
anywhere in what was called
Zone 1?), they have a few
options. Some combine
savings with friends or
extended family, but as
anyone who has started a
business with a friend or
family member knows, such
arrangements require a high
degree of
compatibility and
trust, and a
forfeiture of
autonomy.
This becomes
less attractive,
however, when
only one residence plus a
suite is permitted. Assuming
the relationship is resilient
enough to survive daily
proximity, they'll have to
agree on who lives in the
basement – for example, the
adult children who could use
more space for their own
children, or the retired
parents who actually fronted
the bulk of the money?
Leasing not new
Recognizing that even the
imperfect solution of pooling
savings is out of reach for
many young farmers, the
province is working to
address access to land
through leasing. Farms have
operated on leased land since
time immemorial, and it is
already a common land
tenure, but I would hazard to
guess that the majority of
todays established leases are
held by neighbouring farmers
who already have a home.
This is not the situation for
people new to the industry.
While there are some lucky
opportunities in BC for new
farmers to lease land with
accommodations, this is not
the status quo, and
understandably so when
landowners want to stay on
site, but new farmers who are
leasing can no longer (legally)
expect to install a mobile
home, or even a camper, as a
second residence.
Theoretically, a landowner
may still apply to the ALC for
a second, “non-adhering
residential use, but their
general position seems to be
that the risk of abuse is too
high to actually use this
option since there is currently
no assurance that the farming
won’t end and the housing
remain.
If new farmers can’t nd
on-farm housing, they are
pushed into the residential
rental market. Across Zone 1,
this is as elusive and
unaordable as any other
kind of real estate, most likely
outside the ALR and therefore
at a distance from the farm.
With residential rents in BC
averaging $1,248 a month last
year, and gas hovering
between $1.30 and $1.70 a
litre across the province,
commuting to the farm
becomes an expensive, time-
consuming fact of life for
many young farmers if they
can’t live on the properties
they care for.
Surely it is not too much for
a new farmer to ask to live
near their animals or on the
land they work? Of course,
there is the practical necessity
of responding to
emergencies. But there is also
a knowledge that new
farmers only acquire when
they can see their land in all
hours and all weathers, and
can connect with their
experienced farming
neighbours.
There are also less tangible
– more social – benets, to
living on ones land. Farming
is typically a dicult and all-
consuming job. The least that
someone can expect, when
they sacrice a reliable
income and commit seven
days a week to this work, is to
experience the advantages of
rural life – the chance to wake
up to familiar birdsongs, to
get the morning chores done
before breakfast, and to see a
sunset from the window and
not a neighbours wall.
When so many challenges
already lie in their paths,
removing these benets from
the equation may
well cause the
next generation
of prospective
farmers to ask –
why bother?
When we restrict
the ability of
farmers to live on
and enjoy the
land, we may
succeed at
preserving
farmland, but not farming.
Ava Reeve coordinates the
Small Farm Network in Langley,
a recent project to connect and
support mixed farms in all
aspects of their sustainability.
Find them on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/groups/lang
leysmallfarmnetwork.
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CHILLIWACK – Bonnie
Windsor is assistant plant
manager at Johnstons
Packers Ltd., the largest
provincially inspected
slaughterhouse in BC. The
business has been processing
hogs in Chilliwack since 1937,
making it one of the
provinces oldest plants, too.
Windsor is bright,
articulate, hardworking and
has a raucous sense of
humour. She could be
working in any number of
businesses, but she happens
to work for a slaughterhouse.
This put her on the front lines
of an eort by animal rights
activists to shut down a local
hog farm – and the rest of the
BC hog industry – at the end
of April.
“I didn’t sign up for this,
Windsor told the BC
Association of Abattoirs in
Chase on April 27, ve days
after the PETA (People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals)
released a video to CTV
purporting to show pigs
living in squalor at Excelsior
Hog Farm in Abbotsford. “But
I sure think I earned a black
belt in PETA over the last four
days. You learn quick.
The video shocked
Windsor and the rest of the
sta at Johnstons.
We were as horried as
anyone else, she says. That is
not what Johnstons stands
for, but we asked, ‘Is this
real?’
Conversations with the
Binnendyk family, which runs
the farm, conrmed that the
video was taken at night and
concentrated on the hospital
pen, an area where sick or
injured animals are taken for
treatment. The family also
believes some of the footage
was shot elsewhere and
edited into the video.
We were named as the
packer that the producer
ships to, so I gured we might
be next, says Windsor says.
Cyberattack
The craziness began April
23, the morning after the CTV
broadcast. Within a two-hour
period, Windsor received
more than 2,500 emails, many
with the same subject line.
“I was trying to sift through
and nd any legitimate mail
from customers, says
Windsor. “But I just couldn’t.
Empyrion Technologies
Inc., which provides IT
services to Johnstons, froze
its account.
Then the activists found
her cell number.
“I quickly learned not to
answer it, she deadpans. “I
froze. I didn’t know what to
do. … Id already been awake
all the rst night.
She spoke with the BC Pork
Producers Association and
poultry producers she knew
who had been targeted by
activists in the past. They all
said the same thing: “Keep
your head down, don’t
respond, hide.
Johnston’s Packers targeted by activists
Bonnie Windsor recounts how
protesters turned on packinghouse
and how she chose to fight back
Bonnie Windsor admits she was tongue-tied when media started calling her after animal activists targeted
a hog farm that supplies Johnston’s Packers. Her rst inclination, after consulting others, was to not
respond but then she realized if she didn’t tell her side of the story, others would. [BC PORK PHOTO]
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 20198
DEATH threats nfrom page 7
The presumption of innocence is a key
strength of Canadas justice system. It
requires prosecutors to build a case that has
a fair chance of success before laying
charges against suspects.
However, it also means people can do
things that may never be successfully
prosecuted. This is often the case with
animal welfare activists, which often harass
and invade legitimate businesses with
impunity. Charges against an activist in
Ontario, for example, were recently
dropped because the court felt prosecutors
had little chance of success.
Here in BC, police are working to build a
case against activists who targeted Excelsior
Hog Farm in Abbotsford this spring. But the
cyberattack against Johnston’s Packers Ltd.
in Chilliwack is likely to go unpunished.
According to Johnstons assistant plant
manager Bonnie Windsor, the RCMP have
closed the le, saying they lack the training
to investigate the matter. Moreover, the
organization responsible for the attack is
based in England, outside its jurisdiction.
Tom Walker
Then she spoke to the
Binnendyks, who changed her
mind.
“You can’t imagine what
those farmers went through,
says Windsor. There were
death threats to the family
and people coming up and
knocking on their door.
But they told her the
harassment wasn’t going to
force them to take their farm
sign down. She admired their
attitude.
“[Ray Binnendyk] said, We
are a second-generation farm
family. We are proud to feed
the people of this province
and we have nothing to hide,
she recalls.
By the second day, she had
found the courage to craft a
response.
“I started to realize that we
can’t ght with PETA but we
can ght against them by
making sure our customers
[have] the right information,
she says.
Thursday, three days after
the CTV broadcast, things got
worse. Windsor received more
than 10,000 emails that
morning, crippling portions of
Johnstons computer system
for several hours.
Empyrion helped get the
system back in operation and
Windsor started to respond to
emails from upset customers.
“PETA was telling our story
for us and we needed to start
telling it ourselves, she says.
“It took me more than an hour
to write my rst letter. I
composed what I thought
would sound okay even if
they put it on the news.
The toll on the company
has been signicant. It has lost
just one customer – a grocer
who doesn’t believe
Johnstons has done anything
wrong but wants to avoid the
controversy – but the
emotional toll has been huge.
Johnstons can press
charges for the cyberattack –
a conviction carries a minimum
ne of $100,000 – but it would
cost it time and legal fees.
“I prefer to spend my time
doing positive things, says
Windsor, who says she has
already suered enough.
Three nights without
sleep, it aects your health. All
the hate messages. You start
to question your ability to
make decisions.
Beef up security
The message she left with
abattoir association members
was a warning of the greater
risks livestock producers and
processors face, and the need
to beef up security.
“I hope if I have convinced
you of anything, I have
convinced you to get security
cameras for your plant, she
says. And we all need
emergency response plans.
Perhaps we can draw up a
master template together.
She thinks media training
would help, too.
“I’ve taken some but when
they phone you up for a
comment, you are pretty lost,
she says. “I had no idea what
to say. … I think we can do a
better job of telling our story.
I’m certainly not going to
keep my head down. I am
going to make this industry
stronger.
When is a crime not a crime?
Animal rights activists showed up by the busload at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford, April 28, and refused
to leave until media was provided access to the barns. [THE CANADIAN PRESS/PHOTOGRAPHER]
VICTORIA – Children can
continue to help on their
familys farm.
We are moving the
minimum age from 12 years
to 16 years, BC labour
minister Harry Bains said April
29, announcing a host of
amendments to the
Employment Standards Act.
A submission by the BC
Agriculture Council to the
province during consultations
regarding the BC legislation
pointed out that Alberta’s
controversial youth
employment rules do not
apply on farms and ranches.
Bains conrmed this isn’t
the intent of the new BC rules,
which specically target paid
employment.
They can still work to help
out the household chores or
work on their family farm, he
said. “[Its] the employer-
employee relationship we’re
talking about.
—Peter Mitham
Child
labour
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9
Join us as we host a gathering of global blueberry industry leaders for
A WORLD CLASS BLUEBERRY SUMMIT
June 24-26 in Richmond
Sunday, June 23 VIP Reception
June 24 Farm to Table bus tour showcasing BC’s vibrant blueberry industry
June 25 Opening Ceremony, Speakers, Trade Show, Gala
June 26 Keynote Speaker futurist Jim Bottemly, breakout sessions
www.ibo-summit-2019.com
June 24-26, 2019
info@bcblueberry.com
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7551 Westminster Hwy
Richmond, BC V6X 1A3, Canada
Berry growers get long-awaited funding boost
CAP cash will support variety
development, research
by PETER MITHAM
ABBOTSFORD – BC berry
growers are celebrating the
ocial announcement of
renewed funding for breeders
seeking to develop new
varieties of strawberries,
raspberries and blueberries.
The new funding will
support researchers working
to improve berry genetics to
the tune of $200,000 a year
over ve years, or $1 million.
Administered by the Lower
Mainland Horticulture
Improvement Association
(LMHIA), the funding will
support the development of
superior berry varieties suited
to BC.
The program is expected
to lead to improved crops,
higher fruit quality and
increased pest and disease
resistance, the federal and
provincial governments said
in a press release on May 11.
The funding is being made
available through the
Canadian Agricultural
Partnership, the successor to
the Growing Forward 2
program that ended March
31, 2018. LMHIA had applied
for about $2.5 million in
federal and provincial
funding for the period 2018-
2022, but ocial conrmation
of continued support for the
berry breeding program was
months coming.
We have been running a
barebones program the past
year using our own
resources, LMHIA director
David Mutz of Berry Haven
Farms Ltd. in Abbotsford told
the associations annual
general meeting in January.
“Its very dicult to budget
when you don’t know when
you are going to get funding
and what the ratio of industry
to government funding will
be.
Mutz did not respond to a
request for comment on the
funding announcement.
However, the investment is a
vote of condence in the
future of an industry that
faces signicant competition
from imports and high input
costs relative to other
growing regions.
LMHIA began coordinating
berry breeding in BC in 2013,
taking over from Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada.
Variety development
doesn’t oer quick answers,
let alone a silver bullet for the
industry.
The release in 2009 of
Nisga’a, a new early
strawberry, has not stopped
the decline of the sector,
which faces tough
competition from California
and Mexico. Shops in
Vancouver were selling three
pounds of California
strawberries for $5 last
month, while processing
strawberries from Mexico
land at 80 cents a pound.
Two new raspberries
released the same year, Ukee
and Rudyberry, continue to
await successors. But many
growers, especially after this
winters February cold snap,
are looking at other
opportunities. Blueberries,
which face their own
challenges, have been the
most popular alternative for
growers.
“Once it’s been changed to
blueberries, it’s unlikely to go
back to raspberries, said
Raspberry Industry
Development Council chair
James Bergen at the council’s
annual general meeting in
March.
Abundant blueberries
Blueberries are the
provinces most abundant
berry, and most lucrative fruit
export. BC was home to more
than 600 blueberry growers
in 2017, versus 100 raspberry
growers and 50 strawberry
growers. The farmgate value
of blueberries that year was
$136 million, versus $20
million for raspberries and
just $6.4 million for
strawberries, most of which
are for the fresh market.
However, the value of
blueberries shipped abroad
was $222 million, making it
the provinces fourth-largest
agrifood export. Research is
helping enhance shipping
protocols, but work towards
new varieties is slow.
Were still between a rock
and a hard place, researcher
Eric Gerbrandt of Sky Blue
Horticulture Ltd. in Chilliwack
told growers attending the
Pacic Agriculture Show in
January. Theres no clear
outliers.
Related funding
The funding for berry
breeding complements $11.5
million in federal funding
announced in March for
horticulture research
coordinated by the Canadian
Horticultural Council. Also
delivered under the Canadian
Agricultural Partnership, the
funding will be matched by
$6.5 million in contributions
from industry.
According to the ocial
announcement, the research
will assist in the development
of “new technologies and
practices for better pest and
disease management, post-
harvest storage and handling
as well as “new crop varieties
to keep our growers
protable and competitive.
Berry research in BC is getting a $1 million inux of cash over ve years from the federal and provincial
governments. The announcement came just as berry season was about to get underway. [MAAN FARMS PHOTO]
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201910
by DAVID SCHMIDT
ABBOTSFORD – Just as
producers face more and
more restrictions on the
antibiotics they can use, they
may have a
new weapon to
ght at least
one major
poultry
disease.
At the BC
Poultry
Symposium in
Abbotsford,
May 15, Dr.
Trevor Lank of
MicroSintesis in
Charlottetown,
PEI, introduced
local poultry
producers to
proteobiotics –
a new type of molecule made
of 4-8 amino acids produced
by probiotics. Unlike
prebiotics, probiotics or
antibiotics, these new
molecules do not actually
attack pathogens. Instead,
they interfere with the
devices pathogens use to
communicate with each other
and thereby reduce the rate
of infections.
MicroSintesis won last
years University of Guelph
innovation award for its
proteobiotics and has
received Canadian Food
Inspection Agency approval
for their use in swine and
poultry production.
“Proteobiotics don’t need a
prescription.
They are safe
and available
for use in
organic and
RWA (raised
without
antibiotics)
programs, Lank
stated.
He said
proteobiotics
have reduced
severe diarrhea
in pigs by 89%
and reduced E.
coli shedding.
In small lab
tests, broilers fed 12 mg of
proteobiotics/kg of feed per
day for days 12-28 showed a
15% decrease in necrotic
enteritis (NE) lesions and a
34% decrease in mortalities.
Average pen weight
increased 5% and litter scores
improved 20%.
“Since the proteobiotics
don’t kill pathogens, the
pathogens don’t develop
resistance to them, Lack said.
He said MicroSintesis has a
system to produce
Proteobiotics reduce poultry, swine infections
proteobiotics which can be
delivered through the water
supply as long as the water is
treated with chlorine rather
than hydrogen peroxide.
Were now trying to
commercialize their use and
replicate our lab results in
commercial swine herds and
poultry ocks, Lack told
producers, saying it cost them
three to four cents per bird to
feed proteobiotics for 10 to
20 days.
Antibiotics banned
Finding new weapons to
ght disease is crucial as the
industry moves away from the
preventative use of
antibiotics.
We expect 15-20% of
Canadian broiler farms could
see increased incidence of NE
and coccidiosis” as a result of
the withdrawal of Category I,
II and III antibiotics, says
Zoetis Canada technical
services veterinarian Babek
Sanei.
While antibiotic use is
being restricted to prevent
buildup of resistance, Sanei
worries that may cause more
problems than it solves. He
points out Europe, which
banned preventative use of
antibiotics in poultry in 2008,
is now nding an increase in
bacterial enteritis.
That could result in more
salmonella going to
processors which is a big
issue in BC, Sanei said. “I’m
worried there could be more
food poisoning if we withdraw
all in-feed antibiotics.
Noting antibiotics can still
be used for treatment, he
suggested producers with a
high-risk for NE sacrice a few
birds to determine if they
have subclinical NE.
“If your veterinarian can
nd subclinical NE, you can
start treatment and reduce
mortality.
He reported on a recent
research study which showed
that mortality in challenged”
ocks dropped from 17% to
just 3.33% if treatment was
begun when NE was still in
the subclinical stage.
Sanei notes that once all
Category I, II and III antibiotics
are banned, producers will
only have Avilamycin
available to them which could
result in a buildup of
resistance to it.
“I think industry still needs
more transitional time to
adjust, he says, calling for
Category III drugs to continue
to be allowed in broilers
during the critical age for
coccidiosis (around 26 to 28
days) of age so they can be
alternated with Avilamycin.
Europe is using ionophores
to compensate for the loss of
antibiotics, says Dr. Eric Parent
of the University of Montreal.
It is not helping as 75% of
ocks are experiencing either
NE or non-specic enteritis.
Parent thinks this may be
because producers don’t
know how to use them. He
noted a recent study showed
no dierence between ocks
fed ionophores from start to
nish to those treated with
both ionophores and
chemicals.
The Sweet Pickins Farm is a 39.45-acre mixed use farm. Main
crop is blueberries with a small herd of Black Angus cattle; plus,
board horses. The store (open during blueberry season), selling
blueberries, pies, jam, and some fruits and vegetables. Products
Vegetables - Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, Garlic, Pumpkins,
Zucchini /Berries - Blackberries, Blueberries/Fruit -apples, Crab
Apples, Plums, Rhubarb /Meat - Beef /Specialty Items - Baked
Goods, Jams & Jellies, Soaps/ Compost & Fertilizer - Manure/
Store sells: Fresh and Frozen Blueberries, Fresh picked
seasonal Vegetables, Fresh and Dried Garlic, Summer and Fall
Apples, Free range Eggs, Rhubarb, Blueberry and other Fruit
Pies, Homemade Jams and Chutneys. Out buildings; Store/Shop
30X20, Covered Patio 20x8, Walk-in-Cooler 7X11, Garage 25x28,
Freezer Room 18x9,Caretaker 12x20, Barn 70x40, Equipment
Garage/Horse Stalls 52x41, workshop/Wood shop/Horse Stalls/
Garage 70x40,farm hand accommodation
45x12. This is a great multifamily purchase.
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Sweet Pickins Farm
Sweet Pickins Farm – 39.45 acre mixed use
farm. Blueberries, Black Angus cattle; horse
boarding. Seasonal store features
blueberries, pies, jam, fruits and vegetables.
Outbuildings: 30x20 store/shop; 20x8
covered patio, 7x11 walk-in-cooler, 25x28
garage, 18x9 freezer room, 70x40 barn,
52x41 equipment garage/horse stalls, 70x40
workshop/wood shop/horse stalls/garage.
Accommodations: 1930 Country
Farmhouse, 12x20 caretaker, 45x12 farm
hand. This is a great multi-family purchase.
Prescription-free molecule could
provide options to antibiotics
Proteobiotics have been shown to reduce necrotic enteritis lesions in poultry and severe diarrhea in pigs
and could be as easy to administer as adding it to a water source. [FILE PHOTO]
TREVOR LANK
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JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
11
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ABBOTSFORDThe volatile
nature of natural gas prices
this past winter has taken its
toll on the greenhouse industry
in BC and growers are looking
for solutions to a problem that
won’t disappear anytime soon.
"There's not enough
capacity in the pipeline, and
this year we skated through
because a couple of industries
that are under construction
have pre-bought their pipeline
space," says BC Greenhouse
Growers Association executive
director Linda Delli Santi,
adding that the unused
capacity was luckily sold back
to those who needed it. "But,
when [the industries under
construction] are fully
operational, there won't be
room in that pipeline for gas
that's not pre-bought. So, this
is going to be the new norm."
An explosion last October
in one of two natural gas
pipelines that supply
southwest BC caused the
historically reliable price of
natural gas to uctuate wildly.
Greenhouse growers
experienced natural gas prices
10 times the normal rate for
February and March this year,
which destroyed this season’s
prots for much of the
industry.
"I have a member who
normally pays $38,000 for
natural gas in February. He
paid $750,000 [this February].
That's not sustainable, says
Delli Santi. “I have another one
who paid $1.2 million in
February. I mean, what do you
want to pay for peppers next
year?"
People who locked in a
price for natural gas with
Fortis fared better than those
who stuck to the spot market.
Few understand the
unorthodox prices and the
fallout better than Vander
Meulen Greenhouses Inc.
owner Armand Vander
Meulen, who is buying on the
spot market this year.
This current winter season
scenario sucked up all the
prot. It's as simple as that, he
says.
His greenhouses gas
payments averaged $28 per
gigajoule in February and
$35/GJ in March, up from the
normal rate of around $3/GJ.
This included one weekend in
late February where he was
stuck paying a record high of
around $200/GJ.
For Vander Meulen, the
only way out of what looks
like a rocky future for
greenhouse-grown vegetables
in BC is more pipeline capacity.
“Our population growth is
increasing and our businesses
that require natural gas are
increasing, so we're all trying
to share from the same pipe
and it's not viable, he says.
Greenhouses in BC rely on
natural gas because it is
cleaner and less expensive
than other fuels. Alternatives
such as woodchips or diesel
are costly, and neither burn
cleanly enough to allow
greenhouses to vent carbon
dioxide emissions back into
their facilities. Without the
CO2 from the natural gas
boilers, plants grow more
slowly, further cutting into
prots.
Natural gas prices are now
the second-biggest risk factor
after skilled labour shortages
for Calais Farms Ltd. in
Abbotsford. Farm manager
Jacob Kerkho says the farm
was able to mitigate its losses
this year by locking in a price
with Fortis in October.
"Thankfully, we've been
spared from catastrophic scal
loss this year [because of how]
we managed our gas
contracts," he says.
But theres no telling whats
going to happen in the future.
Kerkhos concern is there
won’t be enough gas to fund
further expansion. Pending
approval from Fortis, Calais
Farms will be adding nine
acres to its greenhouse and
building a packing facility this
year, but it might be the last
time it does so.
“If [Fortis] cannot guarantee
us a healthy supply of gas, we
are not going to continue
expanding, Kerkho says. We
cannot take that risk.
Its now at the point where
contingency plans are being
formulated for an uncertain
future.
We're managing our gas
exposure by managing our
procurement of gas and our
pricing of gas, and we are
relying on Fortis to help us
ensure we don't have too
many interruptions, he says. “If
we start to see that we are
curtailed, we are going to
have to alter our planting
dates so that we don't have
too many more February 2019s.
Looking for the lesson in all
of this, Delli Santi hopes this
years pricing challenges will
help BC greenhouse growers
make the right decisions with
gas purchasing in coming
years.
“Based on historical
information the decisions
were not wrong, but because
this year was so dierent from
history, the decisions they
made weren't right, she says.
At least it opened our eyes to
the fact that this was a train
wreck waiting to happen."
Greenhouse
growth stymied
by gas prices
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A wicked wind storm blew through Abbotsford in late April, soon after Bloom, the Abbotsford Tulip
Festival, started welcoming guests. Gusts bent some tulip varieties nearly 90° but most recovered,
says festival founder Alexis Warmerdam, above, and the elds were able to stay open until after
Mother’s Day.
[RONDA PAYNE PHOTO]
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201912
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AGASSIZ – Cover crops
have long been hailed for
their benets to farmers, but
which cover crop to plant is
less cut-and-dried. On April
17, Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada hosted a eld day at
the Agassiz research farm to
show several cover crop
options with a particular focus
on relay cropping.
Relay cropping is when a
main crop, such as corn, is
planted and once established,
a cover crop is planted in the
same eld. Planting soon after
the rst crop is established
allows the cover crop to grow
and mature well before winter.
This gives it a head start that
allows it to generate more
nutrients.
By growing together, the
two crops make the eld more
productive, reducing the need
to source forage elsewhere.
Whats old is new again.
We’re in the renaissance of
cover cropping, says AAFC
research biologist Gary
Telford, who explains that
cover crops help elds be
more productive. “You can
have a lousy corn crop but a
good cover crop.
The trials in Agassiz saw
winter wheat and dierent
types of Italian ryegrass
planted alongside corn. The
amount of seed, planting
method, time of planting and
irrigation practices were all
tested. The trials aimed to see
which varieties worked best
with the corn and which was
the most disease-resistant.
The cover crops were
planted last summer when the
corn had put forth three, then
six leaves.
We didn’t see any disease
dierence at all, says Telford.
There were no real diseases
this year.
The cover crop seemed to
do better in the plots where
there was no irrigation, but
Telford surmises this was due
to the corn leaves wilting and
more sun reaching the cover
crop. However, overall
tonnage was better in the
plots with irrigation. Yields
were lower this spring due to
the late winter, he suspects,
but the cover crop still
delivered a respectable 3.5 to
four tonnes per hectare.
There is an environmental
benet [to cover cropping]
besides being a double crop
for the farm, says Telford.
There’s soil protection and
more capture of residual
nutrients. There’s less reliance
on adding nutrients from
elsewhere.
Cover crops also improve
the yield for subsequent
crops, help to control weeds,
and may help control pests
and disease, improve soil
quality and address moisture
loss. Some cover crops can
also compete with the main
crop for water, however, and
may attract new pests and
diseases.
Fall rye is the best choice if
the intent is solely to reduce
erosion.
In the cover cropping trials,
tetraploid Italian rye grass
varieties were the clear
winners when planted among
six-leaf corn. Corn should be
seeded late April to early May
and the rye should be planted
between rows at a rate of 25
to 30 kg per hectare. Seed
drilling at one to two
centimeters in depth was the
best seeding method.
Germination typically
happens within four days.
Italian ryegrass is
vulnerable to glyphosate
sprays. Foliar herbicide
applications should occur at
least two days before planting
or immediately after seeding.
“Now that we have
Roundup Ready corn, [weed]
management control is much
easier, he adds.
In a relay cropping system,
corn should be harvested in
mid-September, about two
weeks earlier than usual, so
the cover crop benets from
the fall sun. This simple
management shift can
increase the fall growth by up
to 30%.
In addition to relay
cropping, the eld day also
looked at a wide range of
cover crop options including
mixes to increase nutrient
value. Gerry De Groot of Dairy
Crop Solutions Inc. in
Chilliwack said cereal grains
looked best to him for dairy
nutrition.
There are a lot more
dierent varieties that most
community farmers aren’t able
to get, he says. We’re looking
for disease resistance,
nutrition, winter hardiness,
yield potential. Cereals and
ryegrass – they seem to have
survived better.
He added that crops
planted earlier also fared
better.
“Farmers can get what
looks good to them without
trying it themselves, says
De Groot.
Telford said mustards,
clovers and vetch plantings
didn’t fare well during the
February cold snap, but he will
continue to research mixes to
identify the best options.
Were trying to nd out if
we can mix clovers in with
cereals to protect them from
weather, he says.
Increase farm
productivity with
cover crops
Researchers are working to find
the right mix
TOUCHY-FEELY. Gerry De Groot takes a close-up look at one of the cover crop trials being undertaken at
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agassiz research farm. [RONDA PAYNE PHOTO]
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201914
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Water fees not evenly distributed among users
A rancher in Charlie Lake is
questioning why farmers must
pay to access groundwater
when short-term use of
groundwater is exempt.
Mark Meiers of MT Ranch
near Fort St. John notes that
the provinces Water
Sustainability Act allows users
to apply for a short-term
permit free of charge. Such
permits grant the holders a
right to divert or use water
from a stream or an aquifer for
a term not exceeding 24
months.
Such permits allow the oil
and gas sector to access
millions of gallons of water
free of charge, Meiers
contends, something the
average farmer for whom
working the land is a way of
life can’t do. Indeed, owners of
existing wells who register
with the province are liable for
fees on extractions back to
2016, when the Water
Sustainability Act took eect.
Meiers draws water for his
livestock, and after registering
his wells and
seeking licences, he
was stuck with a bill
for $729.85.
Anyone that is
procrastinating on
registering their
water use, be
warned, he says. “You will be
charged retroactively to 2016
even if you wait 10 years to
register.
Meiers’ concerns
underscore the ongoing
issues landowners have with
the provinces eorts to
introduce a rst-in-time/rst-
in-right water management
regime in BC. Diculties have
dogged the registration and
licensing process since 2016,
prompting the government to
extend the deadline for
registering existing wells at no
cost three times. The latest
deadline for obtaining a
licence at no cost is March 1,
2022.
However, fees on water use
will be owing from February
29, 2016.
Sta with the BC Ministry
for Forests, Lands, Natural
Resource Operations and
Rural Development conrmed
that basis for Meiers concern.
The Oil and Gas
Commission has the authority
to issue use approvals under
section 10 of the Oil and Gas
Activities Act when the use is
associated with Oil and Gas
Activities Act permit, it told
Country Life in BC. “Holders of
these permits are exempt
from fees and rentals under
the Water Sustainability Act.
Ministry sta noted that the
fees oil and gas companies
pay are higher than for other
uses, including agriculture.
Moreover, ministry sta
typically recommend that oil
and gas companies obtain a
licence if they plan to draw
heavily from a single source,
or for repeated two-year
terms.
“Since the Oil and Gas
Commission received
authority to grant water
licences in 2014, the
proportion of water used by
oil and gas companies under
licences has consistently
increased while the
proportion under short term
approvals has
correspondingly decreased,
sta said. The majority of the
water used for oil and gas
purposes in each year since
2012 has been sourced from
water licences.
Peter Mitham
BC Tree Fruits
prepares to
relocate
BC Tree Fruits Co-operative
found a new executive team,
and soon it will have a new
home.
The co-op expected to
close on the purchase of 85
acres at 3330 Old Vernon
Road in the Ellison area of
Kelowna by the end of May, in
tandem with the sale of its
property in Penticton.
This purchase signals our
commitment to the industry,
our growers, our sta and the
Ag Briefs
EDITED BY PETER MITHAM
valley, and will give us the
ability to compete on a global
scale moving forward, said
co-op CEO Todd McMyn in a
statement.
McMyn was appointed CEO
at the beginning of April, an
appointment announced
alongside that of new CFO
Ross Dwhytie. The two senior
positions had been vacant
since November.
During the search for new
executives, co-op president
Jeet Dukhia told Country Life
in BC that a number of
restructuring initiatives were
underway in order to secure
money for an automated
plant in the north Okanagan.
The reorganization, Dukhia
added, could include the
purchase of a new property
on Kelownas outskirts. A
decision was expected by this
summer.
We should be on the
outskirts of the city where
land is cheap, he said at the
time. We are looking to the
next 50 years.
The property on Old
Vernon Road should t the
bill.
“[It] will see a consolidation
of all of the cooperatives
northern facilities, the co-op
says. “[It] will house state-of-
the-art apple, cherry, pear and
soft fruit packing line(s) as
well as oce space and the
cider operations and a
destination cidery.
A timeline for the project
hasn’t been set. Government
approvals for construction
have yet to be obtained for
the site, which may require an
exclusion from the
Agricultural Land Reserve. A
co-op representative was not
immediately available to
conrm this, but the purchase
announcement said the co-op
“will be working closely with
all levels of government” to
make the facility a reality.
Cost is also a factor. A
competitiveness study last
year said government funding
could be dicult to secure. Six
years ago, renewal of co-op
facilities was estimated at $40
million. Construction cost
increases in the intervening
years will likely make the cost
of the current project much
higher.
With annual sales of close
to $130 million, the grower-
owned co-op has been
diversifying its business in
recent years. While it has long
supplied inputs to orchardists
through its subsidiary,
Growers Supply Co., it also
produces Broken Ladder hard
cider. Most recently, in April, it
launched a new line of fruit-
based alcoholic beverages
under the M.O. Fruitsecco
brand.
Peter Mitham
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JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
15
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
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Customized portfolio strategy
Retirement income planning
Driediger Wealth Planning
Mark Driediger, CFP, FEA, Senior Wealth Advisor
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by BARBARA JOHNSTONE
GRIMMER
VICTORIA – The Capital
Regional District is exploring
the potential of establishing a
food and farmland trust.
CRD recently received a
regional foodlands access
feasibility study prepared for
the district by Upland
Agricultural Consulting Ltd.
The study contains several
recommendations to address
farmland access.
CRD’s board voted April 10
to ask district sta to ask
member municipalities if
theyre in favour of operating
a foodlands trust in
partnership with a non-prot
organization, as well as
determine if any municipal
lands could be made available
for inclusion.
Metchosin mayor John
Ranns, the only farmer on the
CRD board, has spoken out
against the proposal, based
on personal experience and
the farm community's
feedback.
"The report is unrealistic for
farming in this area, and the
presumption that this is the
only way to achieve food
security is false," he says. "This
is another example of an
urban solution to a rural
problem.
Ranns supports the CRD
holding land and leasing it to
farmers, but he says the
proposed trust will unfairly
compete with existing
farmers. He is not in support
of a two-tiered system that
creates a "CRD bureaucracy
for farming" enabling "certain
selected people" to have their
inputs paid for by the
taxpayer.
"The CRD needs to explore
other options," he says.
Some directors agreed with
Ranns, adding that a full
survey of available land has
yet to be done. Should
municipal support not be
forthcoming, CRD has left the
door open to a subregional
trust.
The Capital Region Food
and Agriculture Initiatives
Roundtable (CRFAIR) has
actively lobbied in support of
the trust, which was the focus
of a 2015 report CRFAIR
produced exploring farm and
foodlands access.
CRD requested feedback
from municipalities by May 31.
Farmland trust
explored for Island
New owner, same faces
by JACKIE PEARASE
ARMSTRONG – Its business
as usual despite a change in
ownership and name for
Noble Tractor and Equipment
Ltd.
On March 15, Langley-
based Gill Group of
Companies purchased both
Armstrong and Kamloops
locations and rebranded the
business as Country Tractor.
Jack and Carol Noble
started the business 55 years
ago to serve the BC Interior
and today their children hold
administrative positions,
including general manager
Gordon Noble, parts manager
Jeanne Noble Harter and
operations manager Brenda
Noble. A third generation of
Nobles is also part of team.
The new owners have
retained all sta and
management and the
business continues to oer
the same products and
services as before.
“Nothing’s changed. Its the
same people doing the same
business, notes Gordon
Noble.
He says the opportunity to
sell came and a deal was
made at a time when the
siblings have started to
discuss their own retirement
options.
He is condent the new
owners have the farming
experience, youth,
determination and resources
to carry the business tradition
forward into the future.
Country Tractor oers
experienced, trained heavy
duty service technicians,
parts specialists and sales
representatives to meet the
unique equipment needs of
farmers and ranchers in the
BC Interior.
4-H members from across the province stopped at BC Tree Fruits in Kelowna during their six-day
Agri-Career Quest tour through the Fraser Valley and Thompson Okanagan, May 6-11. The program
exposes senior 4-H members to career opportunities in agriculture.
[MYRNA STARK LEADER PHOTO]
Fruitful experience
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201916
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by JUDIE STEEVES
KELOWNA – Unusual and intense spells of
heat and cold are having an impact on tree
fruits as well as other agricultural crops in BC.
Growers are concerned that there may be
some damage to this years crop of apricots
from the long spell of extremely cold weather
in February, although the damage could also
have been caused by cold spring weather when
the early-blooming cots needed good
pollination.
BC Fruit Growers Association president
Pinder Dhaliwal says because apricots are
among the rst tree fruits to bloom in spring,
they can be subject to damage from spring
frost.
Both they and cherries are particularly
vulnerable to cold weather during bloom.
Cold weather also tends to keep the bees
from ying, as does windy weather. Both
occurred during bloom this spring with
potentially signicant impacts on pollination.
As a result, he expects there could be a short
crop of apricots this year. However, he isn’t
seeing damage to either peaches or nectarines,
which are more reliable and hardier than even
cherries when it comes to spring frost,
tolerating temperatures down to -2° C.
Cherry blossoms have only hours in which
the blossoms need to be pollinated, so good
weather is important during that short window
of time, he explained.
Apple blossoms, on the other hand, popped
open during “awesome weather to the point
that Dhaliwal notes growers will have to stay on top
of their thinning program this season in order to
keep fruit size up.
Apples look nice, he reports.
The next concern for growers will be extreme
summer heat which can stress the trees and damage
the skin of the fruit with sunscald.
As well, trees can shut down in extreme heat.
When that happens, the trees pull water and
calcium out of the apples as the tree goes into
survival mode. When the tree gets water again,
that goes into the fruit but without the calcium,
which is important to help the fruit store well
over winter, Dhaliwal explains.
Unfortunately, its one of those deciencies
you can’t see, he adds.
The past three years have all resulted in some
extreme heat spells which have caused
problems with fruit quality, he notes.
Rain and hail are also summer concerns that
can cause fruit damage.
Dhaliwal grows apples, cherries, peaches and
nectarines on 12 acres in the Oliver area, in
addition to nine acres on the family farm.
Frost damage on cherries
Early indications are that the cherry crop may
be down because of frost damage in some areas
of the valley, reports Sukhpaul Bal, president of
the BC Cherry Association. However, he’s
optimistic that it won’t be too light.
Cherry blossoms are vulnerable to cold
temperatures – just -1°C can cause some
damage – and he believes there was frost
damage in some areas of the valley. He isn’t
seeing any permanent damage from the cold
winter weather in February, although he admits
that farmers in colder locations may see some
damage to this years crop.
“I hope it’s at least an average crop, but the
weather changes are having an impact on the
lives of farmers, he comments.
The past two years, crops suered from extreme
summer heat waves, he notes.
Fruit growers cautiously optimistic on bloom set
Apple trees blossomed in ideal conditions; soft fruits, cherries affected by winter, frost
BC Cherry Association president Sukhpaul Bal is hopeful growers
will have at least an “average” crop this season. JUDIE STEEVES PHOTO
JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
17
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by TOM WALKER
KELOWNA – If you talk with
Pearl Beckett and Gary
Schnierer for only a few
moments, you quickly
recognize their enthusiasm.
They love living on an orchard
in southeast Kelowna. They
love the Okanagan climate,
and they love the challenge of
growing top-grade apples.
All those things came
together for them this spring
when they were awarded the
annual Golden Apple award,
co-sponsored by the BC Fruit
Growers Association and BC
Tree Fruits Cooperative.
“You always have to be
changing and moving
forward, says Beckett.
And indeed, that is what
they have done.
When Garys family bought
the orchard in 1986, the trees
were 30 feet apart at a density
of 50 trees per acre. There
were McIntosh, Spartan, and
Golden and Red Delicious. The
big trees were hard to prune,
the apples had to be picked
several times because the
light did not penetrate to
ripen them evenly and returns
were poor.
Thats a sharp contrast to
todays super-spindle
plantings. The narrow trees
are two feet apart with 10-foot
row spacing that allows a
density of more than 2,000
trees an acre. There’s still a few
Macs and Spartans, but the
bulk of production is split
between Ambrosia, Gala and
Honeycrisp.
We started to replant
about 25 years ago when
Pearl joined me, recalls
Schnierer.
Galas were rst, then
Ambrosia, but the Honeycrisps
are the orchard’s pride.
We did a test plot seven
years ago to see if they would
be suitable to our site, explains
Beckett. They did well so we
went to a full three acres.
The Honeycrisps live up to
their challenging reputation.
They are a very dicult
apple to grow, says Schnierer.
We have to hand-thin them.
Thinning sprays don’t work.
And I have to spray them with
calcium twice a week or they
will get bitter pit.
Still, the challenges make
them his favourite apple to
grow.
They also like to grow big
and we have to thin them in
August or they will push
against each other, he says.
“But the consumer likes the
bigger apples.
Beckett speaks to the
technical details.
We do soil tests and leaf
and stem analysis, she
explains. And we are always
monitoring the pH.
She points out that they
have sandy soil that doesn’t
hold on to nutrients, so they
must be constantly
replenishing.
Schnierer says irrigation is
his biggest challenge. With a
variety of slopes and aspects,
he tailors his irrigation to
eight dierent zones and uses
water probes to ensure he
neither under nor overwaters.
We are always trying to
nail down what the tree
needs, says Beckett, noting
that every variety has dierent
requirements.
The science is huge, adds
Schnierer. “You really have to
target the prime size and
colour and harvest time that
the market wants for that
particular fruit.
For the last several years,
the couple have measured
fruit size with calipers and
logged the results through to
harvest.
“If you are getting to the
end of July and your size
doesn’t look like it is going to
be what it needs to be, you
have to go in there and thin
again, explains Schnierer. “It is
better to have fewer apples of
a bigger size than lots of
smaller ones.
But that care has been
rewarded.
We were able to get nearly
$1 a pound for our Honeycrisps
at the co-op, says Schnierer.
“Eighty percent were Extra
Fancy 1 with an average size
of 72 [8.7 cm. in circumference].
Beckett and Schnierer say
they are able to handle most
of the orchard duties for their
12 acres themselves. A couple
of students assist with
thinning in June and July as
well as picking in the fall.
“If you take the time to
show the kids what you want,
work with them for a while,
and check in a couple of times
during the day, they get to
know what you are expecting,
says Beckett.
She has appreciated the
support of the co-ops eld
services sta.
“You have someone you
can run things by and ask
what you need to be doing
dierent, she says.
The new plantings have
been crucial to their business
success. Even with really good
fruit, the returns on the Macs,
Spartans and Galas just aren’t
there.
The Honeycrisp certainly
tipped the scale for us to win
this award, says Beckett,
explaining that returns from
the apple were equal to
returns from every other
variety in the orchard put
together.
The Golden Apple award is
a validation that by being
innovative and using the tools
that are available to you, you
can get to where you want to
be, she says.
Honeycrisp key to
success for Golden
Apple winners
Returns outweigh others combined
Attention to detail is one of several reasons Pearl Beckett and Gary Schnierer were presented with the BC
Fruit Growers Association/BC Tree Fruits Golden Apple award earlier this year. [TOM WALKER PHOTO]
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JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
19
BCHA Secretary
Janice Tapp
250-699-6466
BCHA President
John Lewis
250-218-2537
bchereford.ca
by TOM WALKER
CHASE – Its been a year of
waiting for the meat
processing industry in BC,
which has yet to see any
movement on some of its key
issues.
A year ago, optimism
abounded when the BC
Association of Abattoirs met
for its annual general
meeting.
The provincial government
was wrapping up a survey of
class D and E abattoir
licensees and the health
authorities that regulate
them. The legislatures Select
Standing Committee on
Agriculture, Fish and Food
had just announced a study
of meat processing in BC.
Both the abattoirs
association and the Small-
Scale Meat Producers
Association expected the
consultations would begin to
resolve the issues of licensing,
inspection, processing
capacity and stang that
plague the industry.
But so far it has all been for
nought. When abattoir
operators held their annual
general meeting at the end of
April, the frustration was
palpable.
These issues have been
the focus of our associations
strategic plan for four years,
says the associations
executive director, Nova
Woodbury. We have been in
meetings every year. We
spent all last spring on the
consultations.
With so much time spent,
and so little accomplished,
Woodbury says patience is
wearing thin.
There is so much to do,
she says. There are a lot of
angry people out there right
now.
Opposition agriculture
critic Ian Paton delivered the
meeting’s opening remarks.
Paton was a member of the
select standing committee,
but he didn’t have any good
news.
"We did this report but we
haven’t heard anything," he
said.
The standing committee
heard what Paton calls some
horror stories.
We heard from D and E
operators who haven’t had a
visit from their regional health
authority in over a year, he
says. That is not good
enough. If a kid gets sick from
some uninspected meat
bought at a farmers market,
that will bring down the
whole industry.
"I don't see anything in the
new budget for increased
inspection, he adds. We will
be asking the government a
lot of questions about meat
processing.
Consultation recapped
Gavin Last, executive
director of the food safety
and inspection branch at the
BC Ministry of Agriculture,
recapped the consultation on
D and E licences and the
select standing committee’s
21 recommendations.
But he didn’t have any
specic responses to either
report.
We are trying to deliver
improvements that will
balance local capacity with
competitiveness and enhance
food safety and animal
welfare, but there has been
no formal response from the
government as yet, he said.
Last says his branch is
taking action in areas where
they don’t need to wait.
We have developed and
are delivering food safety and
animal welfare workshops for
rural producers and regional
health ocers, and we are
increasing food safety training
for food processors, he notes.
Rules against illegal
slaughter facilities continue to
be enforced.
The emphasis has been
around preventing unlawful
slaughter, he says. We have
been meeting with industry
and community organizations
and the BC Muslim
Association to promote
compliance.
Muslim demand for halal
(ritually clean) meat products
is a particular concern at the
end of the fasting period
known as Ramadan, which
ends this year on June 4.
The halal meat supply in
the Lower Mainland becomes
quite an issue around the
time of Eid, says Last. That is
when a lot of the unlawful
slaughter happens.
One new E licence is
certied halal which will help
increase supply, Last notes.
The province is also
working with local
government to address illegal
slaughter.
We were able to shut
down three unlawful
slaughter operators as a result
of bylaw enforcement, he
reported.
Agricultural oversight
Tristan Banwell of the
Small-Scale Meat Producers
Association asked Last if D
and E licences might be
brought under the agriculture
ministrys oversight, as are A
and B licences.
There has certainly been
lots of discussion, says Last.
That is denitely one of the
biggest questions.
Where does the drive to
get that done need to come
from, Banwell asked,
impatient for change. “Is it the
Ministry of Agriculture or
does it need to be at a
political level?”
“It involves coordination
between Ministry of
Agriculture, Ministry of Health
and the regional health
authorities, Last explains.
Agriculture has the legislative
authority over slaughter in
Changes to
slaughter rules
taking too long
Abattoir operators frustrated by
government’s lack of action
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GOING! GOING! SOLD! Wilf and Al Smith, Wayne Pincott and Wayne Jordan keep a watchful eye on
bidders at BC Livestock’s equipment consignment sale in Williams Lake, May 4. The sale attracted well
over 1,500 people and had two auction trucks running simultaneously.
[LIZ TWAN PHOTO]
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
• JUNE
2019
20
the province. We delegated
that to the health authorities
for the class D and Es.
Richard Yntema of Valley
Wide Meats in Enderby asked
who was monitoring the
compliance of the animal unit
allowances for D and E
licences.
“It is ultimately the regional
health authorities, says Last,
but noted that the process is
driven by complaints rather
than compliance audits.
“So no complaints, no
enforcement, said Yntema,
with audible frustration.
Last said he wasn’t
defending the current system,
simply explaining it, and said
he hoped change would be
forthcoming.
We denitely heard
through the select standing
committee that more
resources need to be directed
towards this, he told the
meeting.
by TOM WALKER
CHASE – BC Association of
Abattoir members were
treated to workshops on
marketing and waste at their
annual general meeting in
Chase at the end of April.
Sysco is looking for local
meat producers, category
specialist Rick Dolman told
the group.
We have changed the
philosophy at Sysco. We are
aiming to be the local food
service in BC, he explains.
“Customers want local, they
want to know your story, they
want grass-nished, they
want free range. They want to
know if it was a happy animal,
did it have a good life?”
Chilliwack pork processor
Johnstons Packers was the
rst BC meat company Sysco
approached.
When I rst started with
the company we had no fresh
pork, he says. “It all came in
frozen from Maple Leaf.
Today, the company works
with Meadow Valley Meats, 63
Acres of Chilliwack and Hank’s
Grass Fed Beef of Abbotsford.
We are trying to show our
customers that we are not just
a big box company, says
Dolman.
The BC Eat Drink Local
campaign and the BC
Restaurant and Food Services
Association are part of the
push, says Dolman.
“Its not just the chefs and
the owners, it’s the customers;
they want to know where
their food has come from, he
says. “Healthcare is the
biggest growing part of our
business. … Health care wants
25% local now and some
facilities have the ability to
look at a higher-end product.
He adds that the Asian
market in the Lower Mainland
is also growing and is a
market for specialty cuts such
as tongue and oal.
Dolman says Sysco, which
supplies restaurants,
healthcare and lodging
facilities as well as work
camps and resorts, is looking
to grow its list of local
products.
“Our customers want your
Local meat demand creating opportunities
Big buyers are getting on board with regional purchasing
COMPLAINT-driven nfrom pg 27
brand, but they are also
looking for the convenience
of it all coming on one truck.
he says. “How can we work
with you?”
Dolman told Country Life in
BC that the new grind plant
that Sysco has built in the
Lower Mainland is not using
BC beef at this time.
“Sysco has a policy that all
of their ground [beef] has to
come from a federally
inspected plant and it is
sourced from Cargill, he says.
Disposal of the waste from a meat
processing operation is both costly and
logistically demanding. On-site composting
is practiced by several processors in BC, but
it is challenging to build and operate a pit.
Ecodrum, a commercial in-vessel
composter with a big appetite for abattoir
waste, is one option available to abattoir
operators.
Produced by Tri-Form Poly Inc. of
Manitoba, it features a roto-molded drum
containing ns that ensures the regular
turnover of contents.
Tri-Form CEO Matt Epp explains that the
device can reduce a whole chicken carcass
to top-quality compost in 14 days and break
down abattoir waste in just seven days. The
process breaks down most bones, too.
“Your waste can go in while it is still
warm, says Epp. “You add a bucket of
shavings, the electric motor turns the drum
and the ns inside ensure even decomposition.
Composting brings the internal
temperature up to 140°C to 150°C, Epp
explains.
Kamloops area rancher Paul Devick says
he is very curious about the Ecodrum.
“It would denitely ease the time and the
process we are using now, says Devick, who
recently opened a Class A abattoir and
currently uses an outdoor slab composting
site which has to be continually monitored
and managed manually.
We just went with a slab and concrete
blocks to build our bin as we don’t have the
precipitation issues that a coastal site would
have, he says. We plan to continue
composting. … We have enough hay and
pasture land that we can use all of it [to
spread compost]. This is something we will
denitely look at.
Tom Walker
Compost in 14 days
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
9:00 a.m. at the Pacic Gateway Airport Hotel
500 Cessna Dr. Richmond, B.C.
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING
The 26th Annual Meeting of the
Cattle Industry
Development Council
Meeting Agenda:
Annual Report from Chair
Update from National Check-o Agency
Auditors’ Report & Financial Statements
t$BUUMF*OEVTUSZ%FWFMPQNFOU$PVODJM
t#FFG$BUUMF*OEVTUSZ%FWFMPQNFOU'VOE
Association Reports
t#$"TTPDJBUJPOPG$BUUMF'FFEFST
t#$#SFFEFST'FFEFST"TTPDJBUJPO
t#$$BUUMFNFO
,
s Association
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0XOFSTIJQ*EFOUJöDBUJPO*OD3FQPSU
Other Business
Please RSVP by email: checko@cattlefund.net
CIDC www.cattlefund.net
#4 -10145 Dallas Drive, Kamloops, B.C. V2C 6T4 Phone 250.573.3611
JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
21
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by TOM WALKER
HEFFLEY CREEK – Taking
the bull by the horns is
something the Devick family
has been doing since 1906.
That’s when it rst built a
ranch and began running
cattle in the Heey-Louis
Creek area north of Kamloops.
It often takes an
independent business person
to step up and ll a need in
the market. While the lack of
meat processing capacity has
been a topic of concern in BC
for a number of years, the
Devick brothers and ve of
their sons have quietly gone
ahead and built a Class A
abattoir at their ranch.
We have been doing beef
sales for the last 15 to 20
years, says Paul Devick, who
gave a presentation on
building a Class A abattoir at
the annual general meeting of
the BC Association of
Abattoirs in April. We run
about 850 cow-calf pairs a
year and we also have a
feedlot and have been
fattening our own cattle.
A family meeting in
February 2017 calved the idea
for the slaughterhouse.
The meat business has
been pretty good for us
selling to neighbours and
friends, notes Devick. With
our own plant, we would have
everything in-house from gate
to plate, eliminate the
middleman and improve our
bottom line along the way. We
decided to move forward with
the abattoir.
Although the family wasn’t
experienced in abattoir
construction, it contracted
Dave Charchuck and Sandra
Vanderbyl to guide them and
talked a lot with veteran
Kamloops butcher Ron Keeley.
The rst step was to work
with BC Ministry of
Agriculture sta and develop
strategies related to
marketing, business
development, risk
management and labour
management.
This was a very helpful
exercise to see if we should
carry forward, says Devick.
We spent a lot of time talking
and considering the ups and
downs, and it still looked
positive.
They determined that half
the plant would be for their
own cattle. It would need to
process about 12 to 15
animals daily for an annual
capacity of 1,500 to 1,600
animals. The coolers would be
able to hold about 70 whole
beef carcasses, or 140 sides.
We made a oor plan, says
Devick. We had a limit of
6,000 square feet and it took
probably 10 dierent plans
before we got the
[processing] ows right.
He says they also
developed HACCP (Hazard
Analysis and Critical Control
Points) and standard
operating procedures.
Deciding what type of
building to construct was
where the fun began,
continues Devick.
We looked at a stick-frame
and we looked at concrete, he
recalls. “In the end we went
with SIP [structural insulated
panels].
Permits and licences were
required before a shovel
could be put in the ground.
This is a very important
step to be taken care of rst,
he emphasizes.
The licences included one
for water extractions, a water
treatment permit, zoning and
building permits, an abattoir
licence, a licence to construct
a compost system for waste
disposal, a sewage disposal
permit and, of course, a
business licence.
The family acted as their
own general contractor and
picked trades they could work
alongside, which saved
money.
“Challenging but worth it,
says Devick. “But check out
your contractors. We had a
range from very good to one
guy who was smoking a joint
on his lunch break.
Ranch equipment was used
to move earth and prep the
site.
“Make sure you get a
geotech survey for your site,
cautions Devick, who said the
one he got agged the need
to remove truckloads of clay
before construction began.
Other challenges included
starting construction in
September 2017 and having
to work through the winter,
something he doesn’t advise.
A mix of old and new
equipment means that not
everything works with the
same ease.
On the plus side, labour has
not been an issue.
We feel we are quite lucky
with the Kamloops labour
base; we have been able to
nd good help, he says. We
have one worker who has
completed the Thompson
Rivers University meat-cutting
program and we have another
one coming from the
program next month.
Devick says the ranch is
now able to manage animals
all the way from breeding to
the butchers block, making
them better able to satisfy
customers. This hasn’t
stopped them from buying
Ranch takes
pasture to plate
at face value
Devick Ranch builds Class A
abattoir to meet consumer demand
PROBLEM SOLVING Frustrated by how the lack of meat processing capacity in the province was preventing
expansion of direct meat sales to their customers, the Devick family built a Class A abattoir on their ranch
near Kamloops. [ANITA DEVICK PHOTO]
See LEARNING on next page o
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FORD 8700 CAB, 2WD, DUALS, MULTI-POWER, 10,000 HRS [U32063] . 6,000
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W/PACOMATIC [U32066] ...................................................... 18,250
MASCHIO TILLER L105 GOOD CONDITION (U32004) .....................1,950
MF 1372 DISC MOWER [U32052] ......................................... 16,900
NH 195 MANURE SPREADER [U32033] .................................... 14,750
NH STACK CRUISER 1049 1979; GAS; GOOD COND; (CNS720) 17,500
NH 1012 BALE WAGON W/UNLOAD, 55 BALES [CNS711] ...........5,900
NH FP240; GOOD CONDITION, 2005, TANDEM AXLE; HI DUMP HOSES;
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE
2019
22
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LEARNING curve nfrom pg 21
It used to be regarded as
the simple life. Not so much
anymore. Agriculture, be it
farming or ranching, in this
day and age seems to harvest
a plethora of issues to fret and
worry over. In fact, the
business seems to get more
complicated and paper-
bound with each passing
year.
Back in the day, it was a
career choice for
those who loved the
land, the outdoors,
had an anity for
growing things or
raising livestock, and
generally eschewed
the sedentary
lifestyle that comes
with sitting behind a desk to
make a living.
Well, the good old days are
long gone. Now more than
ever, agricultural producers
who haven't kept up with
modern technology
(computer skills) are severely
disadvantaged. It is an insult
to our senior producers who
have survived years in a
tough industry to be
considered simple because
they lack computer know-
how.
One of the latest
challenges has range use
plans going digital; the new
Water Sustainability Act
requires producer well
registrations, also mostly a
digital process that was not
even close to simple.
Recently, the BC labour
minister announced that "kids
under 16 can keep earning
pocket money." Farm families
breathed a sigh of relief. If
they cannot work as youth on
a farm, how will the next
generation learn agricultural
skills or develop an
appreciation for the industry?
Bull sales
The bull sales are over for
the season and from my
perspective, there seemed to
be a lot of bulls on oer. It
bears repeating it was a
season where supply
outstripped demand. At
Williams Lake, 121 Angus
bulls were catalogued, just
over 100 showed up and only
62 were sold; the customers
were just not there. The
Angus average was $3,873;
the Hereford average was
$3,613 on 38 head.
The prices and no sales
Technology has
its challenges
Not everyone is computer literate
Market
Musings
by LIZ TWAN
CRITICAL EYE: Judges Ian and Leanna Mitchell ponder their options during the Williams Lake Bull Show, April
17. Sealin Creek Ranch led the champion Angus; 3-D-L Farm had the top Hereford yearling while Little Fort
Herefords and Sunnybrae Farm took junior and senior two-year-old Hereford championships respectively. The
Mitchells’ named Little Fort’s junior champion, lot 164, the grand champion Hereford. [LIZ TWAN PHOTO]
See LACK on next page o
animals to meet demand,
however.
“It is a challenge having
animals available all year
round and we do buy some in
the summer months, he says.
A 900-pound calf going
into their feedlot takes about
three months to reach a 1,200
to 1,300 lb. slaughter weight.
The animals are usually
spoken for when they enter
the yard, part of the ranchs
marketing program.
After their rst kill in
August last year, they were
right into the fall run.
“Its been a big learning
curve but I think it is working
well, Devick says. “For the
future, we are planning to
move towards more value-
added when we get the
smoker and the sausage
kitchen up and running. We
have also looked at the
possibility of doing a pet food
line to try to reduce our waste
and improve our bottom line.
Devick says one of the keys
to the successful start was
being able to talk to other
plant operators in the
province about how to make
things work.
“Its great to have the
support of your business
associates and this
association. They sure helped
us a lot, he said, gratefully.
JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
23
LACK of demand affects bull sales nfrom page 22
BC Agriculture Council (BCAC) is assisting the Province of BC with
communicating the key changes related to AEMCoP. Please look for
this ad in the coming issues of Country Life in BC for updates.
Setbacks are required from drinking water sources, watercourses and property boundaries and apply to
everyone; however, distance depends on the agricultural activity. For example, temporary field storage and
permanent storage structures, agricultural composting and confined livestock and poultry areas need to be at
least 30 metres from drinking water sources.
Records need to be kept for at least 5 years and submitted within 5 days if requested by government.
Records must be kept for:
Using an incinerator or when using biomass as a fuel for a boiler or heater;
Maintenance of earthen manure lagoons;
Temporary field storage and outdoor composting piles;
Application of nutrient sources to land or crops;
Nutrient Management Plans;
Distribution of agricultural by-products when keeping five or more animal units;
Burial and incineration of mortalities, solid waste or semi-solid waste.
AGRICULTURAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
CODE OF PRACTICE (AEMCoP)
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:
www.gov.bc.ca/Agricultural-Environmental-Management
NEW RULES ABOUT PROPERTY BOUNDARY SETBACKS AND RECORD KEEPING ARE NOW IN EFFECT
Neil Turner’s best string of Sunnybrae bulls was awarded Get of Sire champions and the Gung Loy Jim
Memorial trophy during the Williams Lake Bull Show, April 17. [LIZ TWAN PHOTO]
made for some unhappy
sellers, but the numbers were
not without precedent. In
2013, the Angus average was
$3,210 on 57 head; the
Hereford average was $3,060
on 37 head. Compare that to
2016 when Angus averaged
$4,835 on 71 head and 42
head of Hereford bulls $5,894.
The numbers indicate that
bull sale prices are subject to
unpredictable market sale
prices.
No doubt, there will be
producers who nd they are
short of bull power as turnout
day looms. With a few phone
calls, that issue can likely be
remedied as there are still
bulls available from several
breeders.
Heres a recap of a few of
the Cariboo-based bull sales
we haven’t reported on yet
this spring:
Northern Alliance Bull
Sale [Poplar Meadows Angus,
Red Moon Angus, Maberly
Angus & Blast Angus] March 23
Black Angus: Lot 538, PM
Natural Law 128'18 sold to
Lazy A Ranch, Sexsmith, AB,
for $10,000; Lot 505, PM Ten X
11'18, sold to Dragon View
Angus, Quesnel, for $9,500
Red Angus: Lot 582, Red
Moon Final Verdict 21F, sold
to Carmella Farms,
Vanderhoof, for $4,900; Lot
594, Red Moon Fair Play 19F,
Hartland Ranch, Prince
George, for $4,800.
Volume buyers: Douglas
Lake Cattle Co. (10 bulls) &
Cody Herr (9 bulls)
Sale average: $4,410
Vanderhoof All Breeds
Bull Sale April 13
Hereford: Valley Creek
Ranch, lot 12, $6,000;
Copper T Ranch, lot 10,
$5,750; Richardson Ranch, lot
6, $5,500
Charolais: Southside
Charolais, lot 14, $5,800; TK
Cattle Co., lot 15, $4,750
Simmental: Crosby Cattle
Co., lot 28, $6,100; LA Ranch,
lot 21, $4,900; 3M Simmentals,
lot 24, $4,800; Lorne Webster,
lot 27, $4,400
Black Angus: Coyote View
Ranch (Bailey Cail), lot 71 (2-
year-old) $5750; KN Farms, lot
58, $4,700; Coyote View
Ranch, lot 72, $3,900
Red Angus: North 40 Red
Angus, lot 70, $8,250; Henkel
Creek Angus, lot 49, $6,000;
Matt's Red Angus, lots 70/74,
$4,750 ea; Meints Cattle Co,
lot 42A, $3,750
Williams Lake Bull Sale
April 18
Angus: Todd Marchant/Pam
McGuinness, lot 98,
Schochaneetqua 867 F, $7,750
sold to Dan Hamblin, Big
Lake; Sealin Creek Ranch, lot
24s, $7,500 sold to Gang
Ranch; Barry Teagle, lot 30,
BBT Heads Up 11F, $7,250
sold to Gang Ranch; Sealin
Creek Ranch, lot 23, Sealin
Creek Heads Up 47F, $7,000
sold to Sutton Ranch, 150
Mile House
Gelbvieh: Barry & Robin
Mader, lot 123, BRM New
Heights 835F, $4,900 to Ken
Barnes/Joanne Holness,
Pritchard
Charolais: TK Cattle Co., lot
129, TKCC Exemption 16E
(two-year-old), $5,700 to
Semlin Valley Ranch,
Abbotsford
Shorthorn: Spady Farms, lot
131, Nimmo Reid Fonzie 7F,
$3,000
Hereford: Little Fort
Herefords (JBLC Holding Inc.),
Lot 159, LFH Zam 15Z 15E,
$7,750 to Lois & Cli Hinsche,
141 Mile Ranch; Little Fort
Herefords, lot 165, LFH Script
29Z 111E, $6,300 to Fred
Bowers, Kamloops;
106 bulls total averaged
$3,817.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE
2019
24
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 2019 25
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by TOM WALKER
OLIVER – Inderjit Sandhu
tried selling his vegetables
retail for a while but he didn’t
like it.
We had a farm stand, says
Sandhu, owner with his wife
Harvinder of S&G Farms Ltd.
in Oliver.
“But we had to hire and
train sta to run it, and we
had the wholesale trucks
coming and going and there
wasn’t that much prot.
They planted some
cherries, but they didn’t work
out too well either, so after
seven years, they pulled them
out. Now they stick to
wholesaling the vegetables
that have been the mainstay
of the farm since the Sandhus
emigrated from India in 1992.
We worked in orchards
and then leased land in
Osoyoos when we rst came
over, he says.
They now own 32 acres
and lease another 18 of river-
bottom land just north of
Oliver.
The soil is very good here,
he says, adding that there is a
high water table that supplies
on-farm wells.
Heat lovers
The farm concentrates on
heat-loving summer crops
such as tomatoes, eggplant,
zucchini, pattipan squash and
melons. But their specialty is
peppers.
We grow the more
common bell peppers,
Sandhu explains. “But also
serrano, Anaheim, banana,
green Thai, and Ring of Fire.
Lower Mainland
greenhouses produce many
of the crops, but Sandhu says
nothing matches the avour
eld production delivers.
S&G has 2.5 acres of hoop
houses to get the plants
growing a month earlier than
conditions otherwise allow.
The houses ensure steady
temperature conditions
during the spring. This allows
S&G to start selling cabbages,
zucchini and tomatoes in
June.
The dry hot weather here
is very good for vegetables,
he says.
Early cash
The cabbages provide early
cash and are an important
part of his rotations, but they
don’t give him much return.
“Not at 50 cents a pound,
he says. “I need to be selling
vegetables at over a dollar a
pound to make money.
Pest pressure is minimal.
Aphids are his biggest
concern, but giving his plants
a good start in the
greenhouse gives them a
ghting chance.
When you start with a
healthy plant, it has a much
better chance to grow well,
Sandhu says.
Promoting soil health by
planting fall rye and limiting
the use of chemicals – hes
stopped using Roundup, for
example – is also important.
Oliver veggie grower prefers wholesale
Thrifty’s, Sysco deliver fair returns
for effort S&G Farms puts into
growing top-quality produce
See VARIETY on next page o
Inderjit Sandhu gets a jump on the season by starting seedlings in 2.5 acres of hoop houses. By June, he’s
able to deliver fresh cabbage, zucchini and tomatoes to his wholesale customers. [TOM WALKER PHOTO]
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201926
MR-43-120 (1.43” X 393’)
MR-58-140 (2” X 460’)
MRR-58-200 (2” X 660’)
STOCKING PRODUCTS
He says he
would grow fewer
crops, but needs
the variety for his
rotations.
“I am nding
that I can use less
land but be more
precise in my
growing and
actually have a
higher gross
return, Sandhu
says.
S&G’s biggest
input cost, as it is
for every farm, is
labour. His eld
crew includes 15
Mexican workers
under the Seasonal
Agricultural Worker
Program and a
dozen locals work
in the
packinghouse.
We have had a
lot of the same
workers for many
years and they
know our system,
he says. All of our
picking is done by
hand. … We Brix
test our tomatoes
to be sure they are
picked at the
maximum
sweetness.
The
packinghouse has
washing, packing
and cold storage.
The farm logo is on
all boxes and they do some
small tray packs as well.
Tomatoes go to Thriftys in a
single-layer box, so they are
not damaged along the way,
Sandhu says.
Convenience
Sandhu says he enjoys the
convenience of a wholesaler’s
truck showing up to the
packinghouse a couple of
times a week. Thriftys is the
single biggest customer,
taking up to 60% of what the
farm grows. Sysco is second,
taking about 20%.
“Sysco approached us
about 10 years ago. They are
interested in local foods and
they are supplying the
hospitals, says Sandhu. “You
have to meet their
requirements for CanadaGAP
and liability insurance, but
that is the same with all the
distributors.
Sysco has occasionally
visited the farm as part of a
customer appreciation day.
We show how we grow
and pack our vegetables and
they have chefs who cook
and serve them, says Sandhu.
The appreciation is
something that pleases
Sandhu, and is integral to the
farms relationship with
Thriftys, which it has supplied
for seven years.
Now part of Sobeys Inc.,
Thriftys features S&G in its
advertising as a local partner.
In return, Sandhu says S&G
receives a good price that
delivers a fair return for the
eort he puts in to grow a
top-quality product.
We work with them to try
and grow what they would
like, says Sandhu. They really
enjoy the avour of our
heirloom tomatoes.
VARIETY critical for rotation nfrom page 25
S&G Farms employs 15 workers from Mexico through the Seasonal Agricultural
Worker Program. They were planting zucchini outside in mid-May. [S&G FARMS PHOTO]
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 2019 27
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THE PARTS YOU NEED, FOR THE MACHINES YOU LOVE
by MYRNA STARK LEADER
KELOWNA – One of the most
common challenges for producers
outside the supply-managed sectors is
marketing. This winter, Canada’s
second-largest grocer – Nova Scotia-
based Sobeys Inc. – oered BC
growers tips for entering the retail
market.
Sessions in Kelowna, New
Westminster and Victoria attracted 210
producers, processors and
distributors.
Sobeys operates approximately 85
stores in BC under the Sobeys,
Safeway, Thrifty Foods and IGA
banners. It also plans to open 10
locations of its FreshCo discount
brand this year. Its keen to grow its
local product selection, establishing a
30-person national team focused on
local business development. The team
has ve members in BC.
The information session in Kelowna
attracted 30 people who were
encouraged to have a vision for the
future of their own product, which
could range from fresh produce to
processed food and beverages.
Beyond passion, producers need to
know how much product they want to
supply so Sobeys knows what kind of
distribution to expect. Opportunities
range from a single product for a local
market to several in stores across
Canada.
Sobeys is completing a review of
every product its stores carry to
ensure products match consumer
demand. Its vice-president in charge
of eld merchandising, Jana Sobey,
great-grandchild of founder J.W.
Sobey, says it wants to be consumers
destination for local food.
“It is important to have the right
products in the right stores, as a
growing majority
of customers are
telling us that
means local
products,
explains Travis
Shaw, local
development
manager for BC.
“Because we live
in the
communities
[where] we operate, we understand
the social and economic benets that
producing and selling local items
brings.
“No longer are you looked at as
vendors, but as partners, says Sean
Watson, manager of the Vernon
Safeway. “If we grow your business
and our business together, we will
both be sustainable.
Product quality is more important
than quantity right now, Shaw notes.
“Understand your competition,
your packaging, your true cost of
goods, distribution, food safety
certication, he says. “Don’t hesitate
to ask to make sure you get it right
the rst time.
“Its a marathon we’re running, so
taking the time to do it right the rst
time pays, said Sobeys eld
merchandising director for BC Jason
Bater. “Somebody else will take the
shelf space if you don’t do your due
diligence.
Not surprisingly, food safety is a
top priority. Producers are required to
provide evidence of third-party food
safety audits. This past January, the
Safe Food for Canadians Act began
requiring producers demonstrate
preventative control, a recall process
and traceability records.
A second major consideration is
product distribution – how to get the
product to the stores, as well as
payment. Things to think about
include temperature-controlled
delivery, copies of invoices and being
highly organized right down to basics
– like not delivering through the front
of the store.
To make the process easier for local
suppliers, Sobeys has created a new,
simplied item set-up form, dierent
from the one used for national
suppliers. Once producers have the
form, a local item sheet can be
produced to help stores understand a
products unique selling points.
Once the product is
in the store, Sobeys
encourages producers
to go into the store for
the rst three or four
reorders to help
increase sta familiarity
with the product.
Brokers can also be
helpful with sales. In-
store demos and pop-
up shops can also help
raise product awareness.
One grower set up a mobile berry
stand last summer outside one BC
store to promote his fruit. Customers
are more likely to buy a product they
can try.
“I’ve never seen a sales tactic more
successful then a demo, said Sobey.
BC Ministry of Agriculture
marketing consultant Kevin Grout
said as part of the Buy BC program,
producers can access market advisory
services, guides and workshops. In
addition, local products can qualify
for the Buy BC logo.
Grocer offers tips to get a foot in the door
Sobeys says quality is more important than quantity as it looks to expand local products
“Somebody else will take the shelf
space if you don’t do your due
diligence ...”
Jason Bater,
Field merchandising director, Sobeys Inc.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201928
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reenhouse
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by SEAN HITREC
ABBOTSFORD – People of
all ages had an opportunity to
peek underneath the glass
rooftops of several
greenhouses in the Fraser
Valley during BC Greenhouse
Veggie Days in early May.
The event was put on in
conjunction with the BC
Agriculture in the Classroom
Foundation and the BC
Greenhouse Growers
Association.
Cornerstone Christian
School teacher Susan Oliviers
grade 1 class left the tour with
a newfound appreciation for
growing food. Her students
came away with renewed
excitement for their school
garden project where they are
growing peas and pumpkins.
“I like how they had
dierent stations set up for
them, she says. “Its really
good for science and I would
highly recommend other
classrooms go to a place like
this.
Calais Farms Inc. was one of
four greenhouses that
participated. Manager Jacob
Kerkho was an enthusiastic
tour guide for students. He’s
made it his goal to show the
value of greenhouses in BC.
We're attempting to create
awareness in that even
Greenhouse veggie days a hit with school
School tours
aim to teach
and inspire
though we are growing under
glass, the science and the
farming practices around it
are the same if not better
than eld production, he
says. We are able to recycle
and mitigate environmental
pollutants leaving our
greenhouse, and we are able
to maximize our production
per acre.
For Kerkho, it was not
only a time to educate the
public about greenhouses in
BC, but in doing so, he hoped
to expose students to
possible job opportunities in
the future.
“One of my personal
reasons in promoting this
project is I want students
from kindergarten to grade
12 to feel horticulture is a
long-term and excellent
career, he says. “[There are
jobs] in plant science,
mechanical systems,
electronics [and] computer
programming. We've got
careers in multiple disciplines
inside of a greenhouse
environment.
Students from Cornerstone Christian School learn about the natural gas-red system Calais Farms uses to heat water that is pumped throughout
the greenhouse, then recapture the CO2 emissions used to feed growing plants. [SEAN HITREC PHOTO]
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 2019 29
Langley 1.888.675.7999
Williams Lake 1.855.398.7757
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School children, right,
touring Calais Farms during
BC Greenhouse Veggie Days
were encouraged to ll
out a workbook designed to
help them understand how
greenhouses work.
Bottom left, a new generation
of Calais Farm employees
eagerly await the arrival of
students to the open house.
Bottom right, one of several
displays set up throughout the
greenhouse explaining the
complex process of growing
food under glass.
[SEAN HITREC PHOTOS]
children
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201930
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by JACKIE PEARASE
SALMON ARM – BC haskap
growers hope new research
will give their fruit the leg up
it needs to become a
commercially viable crop.
About 50 members of the
BC Haskap Association met in
Salmon Arm on April 6 to hear
about the latest research on
the berry.
“New information came
out, some older myths were
dispelled and theres lots of
potential for the future for this
crop, says BCHA past
president Axel Hvidberg.
Hvidberg is impressed with
the haskap research by
Dalhousie University professor
Vasantha Rupasinghe and,
closer to home, Sky Blue
Horticulture Ltd. owner and
researcher Eric Gerbrandt of
Chilliwack.
“It gives provincial
academia, government reps
the knowledge that haskap is
serious and it’s an
economically viable crop in
this region, says Hvidberg of
the pairs work.
Rupasinghe holds the
Killam chair in functional
foods and nutraceuticals at
Dalhousie and has 15 years
experience researching
avonoids in fruits. He focused
on apples until he became
intrigued by haskap. Now, all
of his grad students are
working on haskap research
projects.
Rupasinghe is interested in
avonoids role in providing
protection against oxidative
stress-related chronic diseases.
He says some haskap varieties
have higher levels of
avonoids compared to other
berries commonly consumed
in Canada.
“I would say if your
benchmark is wild blueberry,
haskap is either equal or
greater. It could be greater up
to two to three times
depending on what kind of
measurements you are doing,
he says.
Haskap is high in Vitamin C
and potassium but it’s
particularly high in avonoids,
especially anthocyanins.
Cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G) is
the predominant anthocyanin
in haskap, so Rupasinghe’s
attention is drawn to it.
According to our work,
almost 80% of anthocyanin (in
haskap) is C3G. That’s the
uniqueness compared to
other berries, he says. With
two spoonfuls of dried haskap
powder, we can reach closer
to the recommended amount
of avonoids that we should
habitually consume every day
to prevent chronic disease like
cancer.
Additional haskap research
shows some positive benets
for lung cancer and diabetes
but more work is required to
provide additional data on its
antioxidant benets.
Rupasinghe says this
research demonstrates the
health benets of the cold-
climate berry, which creates
unique value-added
opportunities, from functional
foods to nutraceuticals.
We are on the spectrum
from value-added food
processing to drug discovery
with this really unique central
molecule called avonoids, he
explains.
He cautioned growers that
C3G is an unstable molecule
so care must be taken with
the heat of pasteurization,
light and temperature during
storage, and drying methods.
(Freeze-drying preserves the
C3G while vacuum-oven
drying destroys 96% of the
C3G.)
“If your nal target is a
health-promoting food
product, you have to pay
attention, he says. “But if it is
beer, wine, gin, I don’t think
you ought to be worried.
Rupasinghe says growers
should select cultivars that
meet specic market needs, a
suggestion Gerbrandts in-
eld research supports.
Gerbrandt has spent seven
years exploring the viability of
haskap as a commercial crop.
Hes part of an eort to breed
cultivars better adapted to
temperate climates while
developing cultivar-specic
management practices.
An ongoing hypothesis
that I’ve had is that there is
variability, complexity, in the
genetics of this crop that will
be usable for making it a more
mainstream crop, he explains.
Widespread uptake of this
crop will require more
growers in temperate areas to
develop a market.
Niche berry
A crop that’s been
domesticated relatively
recently, haskap remains a
niche berry. It will take
multiple generations of
successful breeding, more
research and development of
both a recognized production
system and markets before
growers realize haskap’s full
economic potential.
“You need to have multiple
strategies for how to get this
to consumers so that more
people know about it so it
becomes a common term,
Gerbrandt says.
Haskap requires cross-
pollination from a compatible
cultivar so growers need to
choose varieties wisely and
bloom times should work for
the climate.
“Get varieties that are
going to work for what you
need them to do, says
Gerbrandt. “Really critically
evaluate the features that
those products have to make
sure they have what you
need.
Gerbrandt advocates early
pruning to keep the berries
higher on the bush and
pruning out old wood to
encourage new shoots when
the plant is seven or eight
years old.
With varied opinions as to
when haskap is ideally ripe,
Gerbrandt recommends
harvesting two or three days
after all the berries on the
bush turn blue, saying a berry
with red juice running
through it is overripe.
Haskap research
may help berry
go mainstream
Research will help growers tout
significant health benefits
Every year, members of the Pender Island Farmers’ Institute provide elementary school children with
starter plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and lettuce) and some potato, bean and pea seeds so they
can start a garden of their own, even if it’s just a container on their deck.
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201932
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Attract Pollinators to Your Farm
Agricultural land use
changes can challenge
pollinators and can
sometimes lead to
fragmentation or loss of ideal
foraging habitats. Couple that
with the eects of pesticide
exposure and bees are faced
with considerable stress.
Given how important bees
are as pollinators for both
crops and wild plants, there
has been huge concern about
the impact of pesticides on
bee health, especially
pesticides known as
neonicotinoids, or neonics.
This class of insecticide is
chemically similar to nicotine
and for years they have been
widely used in agriculture.
But more recently, science
researchers have realized how
detrimental these products
are to our insect allies – bee
pollinators.
Neonics have been linked
to a range of studies,
especially research focused
on the reasons for the honey
bee colony collapse disorder
and the loss of birds due to
loss of insect populations.
Now, researchers at
Imperial College London in
the UK have found that
bumblebees exposed
to the neonicotinoid
pesticide called
imidacloprid y only
one-third their normal
distance. This change
in normal endurance
ight behaviour –
distance and duration –
impacts foraging and food
gathering for the nest, could
lead to the ground-nesting
colonies going hungry, and
pollination services being
aected. The study showed
that bees exposed to the
equivalent doses they would
encounter in the eld not
only y shorter distances but
y for less time than those
not exposed.
Less ying time means less
range is covered and the
researchers calculated that
the reduced range where
aected bees forage may be a
huge – up to 80%.
What they did nd, though,
was that exposed bees
seemed to be hyperactive
when initially ying out to
forage and maybe they
literally wore themselves out.
“Neonicotinoids are similar
to nicotine in the way they
stimulate neurons and so a
‘rush or hyperactive burst of
activity does make sense,
says Daniel Kenna, doctoral
student in the Department of
Life Sciences and rst author
of the study. “However, our
results suggest there may be
a cost to this initial rapid
ight, potentially through
increased energy expenditure
or a lack of motivation in the
form of reduced ight
endurance.
The team used an
experimental mill to test the
bumble bees’ ight. The mill
was a spinning device with
long arms connected to
magnets. Each bee had a
small metal disc attached to
its back which, in turn, let the
researchers link it temporarily
to the magnetic arm. As each
bee ew in circles, they could
accurately measure how far
and how fast they ew in a
controlled environment.
Basically, the bees were
tethered to the mill. The bees,
individual workers, were
exposed to imidacloprid at a
concentration they would
encounter in the pollen and
nectar of owers, on foraging
workers and inside social bee
colonies.
“Previous studies from our
group and others have shown
that bee foragers exposed to
neonicotinoid pesticides
bring back less food to the
colony, said lead author
Richard Gill, a senior lecturer
with the Department of Life
Sciences. “Our study on ight
performance under pesticide
exposure provides a potential
mechanism to explain these
ndings.
Given the data from the
experiments, he said that
pesticide-exposed bees may
nd that they do not have the
endurance to reach
previously accessible
resources or, worse, they are
incapable of returning to the
nest after being exposed to
contaminated owers due to
lack of energy.
“Not only could this reduce
the abundance, diversity and
nutritional quality of food
available to a colony aecting
its development, but it could
also limit the pollination
service bees provide.
New measures
The dangers of this class of
pesticide have not gone
unnoticed in Canada. In 2012,
imidacloprid was one of three
neonicotinoids (the other two
being clothianidin and
thiamethoxam) that Health
Canada began to re-evaluate
given the growing concerns
around bee health. In 2014,
they implemented risk
mitigation measures to
protect pollinators from
exposure to neonicotinoid-
contaminated dust of treated
seeds at planting time.
In April 2019, the agency
announced that it will be
cancelling some uses of those
insecticides and changing
other conditions of use such
as restricting the timing of
application. They looked at
hundreds of scientic studies
conducted by manufacturers
as well as scientic research
published in journals. As a
result, they stated in their
press release that
cancellations and new
restrictions will be
implemented over a two- to
three-year period.
The study by Imperial
College London researchers
was published in the journal
Ecology and Evolution.
Margaret Evans is a
freelance writer based in
Chilliwack specializing in
agricultural science.
Bee sensitivity
linked to neonic
pesticides
Neonicotinoid exposure results in
bees flying one-third the distance
Research
by MARGARET EVANS
Research from the UK is showing that bees exposed to neonics via contaminated owers could have
trouble returning to their nests due to a lack of energy. [FILE PHOTO]
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by MYRNA STARK LEADER
LANGLEY – After four decades of growing apples, Jim Rahe
and his wife Mary Ann are closing the gates at Annie’s Orchard
at Langley, one of the few commercial apple orchards in the
Fraser Valley.
The couple moved from Coquitlam to their seven-acre
property in 1979 and started planting apples. Within four
years, they had more than 250 varieties but little idea of what
to do with the fruit. They began selling apples at the farm and
quickly learned that their abundance was a challenge to
manage and sell. Within two years, theyd cut back to just 50
varieties.
“Still too many! But our orchard has been a labour of love,
says Rahe, now 80 and retired from Simon Fraser University
where his work as a biological sciences professor focused on
pest management (but never on apples).
The orchard was where he went to relax until his retirement
in 2004. Then, taking care of the orchard’s 2,500 trees became
a full-time job. By this time, 10 pear varieties had joined the 50
apple varieties.
Rahe says theres a logic to what they grow.
The opportunity at this location wasn’t to compete with
the commodity industry or the Interior, which has lower costs
of production and a better climate, but to take advantage of
the large local population by oering what the commodity
industry cannot, he said.
Annies oers fruit fresh from the tree for at least 90 days,
starting with summer varieties such as Transparent, which
ripens in late July, and continuing through late summer and
fall to winter varieties harvested through late October. The mix
includes a number of what he calls ethnic favourites from
Europe including Bramleys Seedling, Cox Orange Pippin and
JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
33
COME CELEBRATE AT BC’S
LARGEST AGRICULTURE SHOWCASE
FARM COUNTRY
AUGUST 17–SEPTEMBER 2
Come out and experience BC’s remarkably
diverse agriculture industry. Featuring the
crowd favourite Discovery Farm exhibit,
pig racing, BC Dairy Association’s
Dairy Zone, BC Cattlemen’s Beef Zone,
and BC Egg Marketing Board’s
Egg Laying Exhibit, plus a whole barn
full of exciting animal displays.
PACIFIC SPIRIT HORSE SHOW
AUGUST 21–SEPTEMBER 2
Featuring Canadian Horse,
Draft Team and Dressage demonstrations
as well as Junior Amateur Jumping
and Indoor Eventing competitions.
ENTRY DEADLINE: JULY 26, 2019
PNE 4-H FESTIVAL
AUGUST 17–20
O ering over 30 types of project competitions
as well as provincial programs for judging,
speak and show and educational displays.
Travel assistance o ered to clubs outside
of the Fraser Valley through the
BC Youth in Agriculture Foundation.
ENTRY DEADLINE: JUNE 28, 2019
It’s the
of summer
BEST PART
Aug 17
till Sep 2
(closed Aug 19 & 26)
604-252-3581 • agriculture@pne.ca •
Fraser Valley orchardist calling it a day
Annie’s Orchard a legacy of the
Fraser Valley orchard boom
Jim Rahe has spent 40 years tending his Fraser Valley orchard, once home to over more than 250 apple
varieties, most of which are not commercially grown. [RONDA PAYNE PHOTO]
See RARE on next page o
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201934
Belle de Boskoop, as well as
local favourites such as
Gravenstein, King and
Northern Spy. There are also
newer varieties, including
Fuji, Gala, Jonagold,
Honeycrisp and Ambrosia.
“From July through
October, people could come
here and get a freshly picked
apple. As good as apple
storage is, theres nothing
better than one straight o
the tree, he says with a smile.
When you live by a city
with two million people, with
many of them from the UK
and Europe, and they
discover you’ve got those
apples, you can’t buy
advertising like those
customers provide. We had a
unique product, says Rahe,
who sees great qualities in
many varieties, but names
Gravenstein as his favourite.
Gravenstein dates to at
least the 17th century and
has exceptional avour and
texture, but no keeping
quality. Its at its best when
picked and eaten fresh, for
about three weeks a year, he
explains.
Encylopedia of knowledge
Rahe is a living apple
encyclopedia, noting there
are over 7,000 named apple
varieties in the world.
However, he humbly points
to Murray Siemens, Dave
Ormrod and Loren Taves,
three other orchardists in the
Fraser Valley, as having more
expertise.
Rahe says that nearly
25,000 acres of apples were
being grown in the Okanagan
in the 1970s. Today, the
acreage is just 8,000, largely
due to the rise of vineyards.
While there was a short-lived
boom in Fraser Valley apple
production in the late 1980s
and early 1990s, he says
canker soon killed virtually all
of these orchards.
Canker, a fungal disease,
remains the biggest
challenge at Annies Orchard.
With no effective chemical
control, Rahe has always
watched for signs of
infection. Pruning could
control but never eliminate
the fungus. Some areas
eventually became too badly
infected and were pulled out
and replanted in blocks of 10
to 15 rows at once (about a
quarter of the orchard).
We never replanted the
entire orchard at any one
time, but probably the entire
orchard has been replanted
about three times over 35
years, he says.
While that may sound bad,
he notes that commercial
growers in the Okanagan
typically upgrade their trees
on a 10-year cycle to ensure
the competitiveness of their
orchards, often with newer
varieties that deliver
premium prices. The only
thing that’s different with his
orchard is the scale and the
focus on heritage varieties.
Rahe stopped replanting
when he entered his 70s.
Canker exploded, and he
decided to let it have its way.
The orchard is now less then
half the number of
productive trees it had a
decade ago, and he says
theres not a single tree in his
orchard without the disease.
What about the future for
apples?
While canker has been the
biggest challenge hes dealt
with in 40 years of
orcharding, apple scab and
codling moth have also
required active management.
The biggest threat to future
production, however, is
apple maggot.
Since the first detection in
the province in 2006, in the
Fraser Valley, apple maggot
has spread throughout the
Lower Mainland as well as to
Vancouver Island and Prince
George. While the BC
Ministry of Agriculture
recommends several
products to control the pest
in commercial orchards, Rahe
says there are no acceptable,
effective options for low
input growers.
Still, Rahe believes
commercial apple production
in the Fraser Valley is viable
for anyone who loves
orcharding and dealing with
people.
We’ve got about 800
repeat customers, and that
number has been limited by
the size of our orchard rather
than demand, he says.
RARE apple varieties popular with customers nfrom page 33
BLOOMIN’ BEAUTIFUL! Jim Rahe takes a moment to appreciate one of his 50 varieties of apple trees in full
bloom. [CHRISTINE KOCH PHOTO]
DUNCAN – Cowichan
Valley wineries and grape
growers are rallying behind a
proposal to create Vancouver
Island’s rst sub-appellation.
A proposal to designate
the Cowichan Valley a sub-
geographical indication (GI,
or appellation) of the larger
Vancouver Island appellation
was led with the BC Wine
Authority on April 16.
The proposed sub-GI is
350 square kilometres and
includes 14 wineries
representing approximately
150 to 175 acres of vineyard.
The proposal follows the
approval of establishing sub-
GIs for the Naramata Bench
and Skaha Bench.
Williamson said he hopes
an industry plebiscite and
establishment of a sub-GI for
the Cowichan Valley will
complete by the end of this
year.
This would allow local
wineries to label wines made
with local grapes from this
years vintage with the new
designation.
—Peter Mitham
Rally cry
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LAKE COUNTRY – Darcy
Hubscher has one of the most
unique jobs in BC agriculture.
Hubscher grows worms. On
any given day, up to eight
million worms – total herd
weight, 20,000 pounds – are
working away on 10 acres of
farmland at Nurturing Nature
Organics Inc. in Lake Country.
But these worms will never
bait a hook. Rather, theyre
tillers of the soil, turning it
into high-quality worm
castings.
Unlike in nature, the
process takes place above
ground. Soil from a local bog,
harvested in accordance with
sustainable principles, is
brought into the plant and
the herd of African night
crawlers go to work.
“Our worms do a great job
converting our special soil. Its
part of the reason this plant is
located here and one of the
reasons we are successful,
says Hubscher, the operations
production manager.
The soil is screened and
fermented for a number of
days. Then the worms are
added to shallow boxes of the
dirt, which are stacked roof
high. In a few days, they’ve
eaten their way through,
enclosing each dirt granule in
a coating before excreting it.
The worms are screened out
of the castings and given a
fresh box of food.
Hubscher gently plunges
his hand into thousands of
worms, lifting them to show
o the herd on a warm and
humid shop oor that smells
like a good old-fashioned
root cellar. While the process
sounds simple, the worms
metabolism is aected by a
number of factors like
temperature and humidity.
Caring for them is critical to
ensuring they accomplish
two goals – creating quality
castings and bearing healthy
young. He notes that night
crawlers live four to eight
years on average, so good
health also ensures longevity.
There’s a whole science
behind it but basically, my job
is to keep the little guys
happy, says Hubscher.
Because the castings are an
organic product, certied
through OMRI (Organic
Materials Review Institute),
theyre in demand as sales of
organic food (and cannabis)
grows. When mixed with soil
or other growth medium at a
rate of between 7% and 15%,
the castings enhance the soil,
producing better plants. Top-
grade castings – pure worm
manure – receives the best
price. The roughage –
castings mixed with peat – is
sold as a second-tier grade.
The material that accidentally
hits the operations oor is
collected for a third, lower-
quality grade.
Technically, it can’t be
called fertilizer because wed
have to meet certain
regulations that are typically
required for synthetic
products, but our African
night crawlers are producing
the most pure form of
organic matter which helps
plants to ourish, says
Hubscher, who has raised
worms for over 10 years
beginning with worms for
shing bait when he and his
father ran a gas station in the
late 1990s.
After getting out of the
worm business for a few
years, he came back about
ve years ago. Today, he
works with his son Quinn and
a team of ve other full-time
employees. While Nurturing
Nature was started locally by
another Canadian, American
ownership a few years back
enabled the business to
expand, adding room for
more worms.
Hubscher has developed
valuable, specialized
knowledge, especially as
people want to learn to farm
worms for their backyard
gardens. He could sell those
skills, but he’s hesitant to
create market competition.
To my knowledge, we are
producing the best castings
in the world right here in the
Okanagan, says Hubscher. He
proudly explains that the
herd produces 14 yards of
castings a day, or about
15,500 pounds.
Today, markets include
smaller packages of castings
for local customers and
retailers, but most top-grade
product is shipped in 2,000-
pound bulk totes to many
distributors who in turn ship
to numerous wholesalers and
retailers.
Hubscher envisions a
bright future for castings,
particularly as demand for
organic soil amendments
grows at home and abroad.
He sees future markets in
Ontario and Asia. However,
one of the challenges is that
castings are heavy, so of
considerable cost to ship.
“One idea I have for the
future is to make Kelowna, or
this area, a central hub for
shipping products like this
east, he says. We could
reduce some of the trucking
costs and get more product
to markets further away.
Worming his
way to the top
of the heap
Lake Country worm composter
produces 15,500 lbs per day
Darcy Hubscher stands in front of the wooden boxes lled with tiny employees hard at work turning soil
into organic worm castings. [MYRNA STARK LEADER PHOTO]
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201936
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by RONDA PAYNE
ALDERGROVE – Mushrooms
will soon be part of Fraser
Common Farm’s organic
oerings following a
cultivation workshop led by
Bo Del Valle Garcia, founder
of Tangled Roots Nature
Connection, a school for
permaculture and wild skills
on Malcolm Island opposite
Port McNeill.
Attendees of the April 27
workshop inoculated logs
that will yield the earthy crop
for the farm, and also took
one home for themselves.
Its a far cry from
commercial mushroom
bunkers and requires few
material inputs, but Del Valle
Garcia said it’s a way for
growers that oer produce
subscription programs to
include oyster mushrooms
and other varieties. They (Del
Valle Garcias preferred
pronoun) say plenty of
people make an income from
mushrooms this way.
Emily Alexis of Artisan
Farm in Squamish considers
herself new to growing
mushrooms but has
successfully included them in
her community-supported
agriculture (CSA) baskets.
This is my third year, she
says. “I had success with the
garden giant [king stropharia]
mushroom in a wood chips
medium. So I keep putting
fresh wood chips on it every
year and I keep watering it
and it keeps producing every
year.
Now, with a mix of both
cultured mushrooms and
those foraged from the
property, Alexis has enough
for about 15 of the CSA
baskets she sends to 25
people over a 24 to 26 week
program, but for some
customers it’s still not
enough.
They generally ask for
more, she says. “Some
customers have asked if I can
just do a mushroom CSA.
They like some of the
varieties that I bring to them
that they can’t get at the
store.
She notes the shiitake
variety is important for vegan
and vegetarian diets because
it has many of the same
amino acids as meat and a
high Vitamin D content. The
shift to more plant-based
diets promises to boost
mushrooms popularity with
local consumers.
Common varieties
Del Valle Garcia says there
are many ways to grow
mushrooms. Common
varieties for cultivation
include oyster, shiitake, lions
mane, nameko and king
stropharia.
Since mushrooms love
wood, hardwood sawdust is a
common growing medium
but they say straw or coee
grounds can also be
inoculated. This can be done
in wide-mouth one-quart jars
or polyethylene bags.
Ensuring the growing
medium has nutrients to feed
and grow the mushrooms is
essential. They recommend a
mixture of 10 parts sawdust,
two parts oat, rice or wheat
bran, and one part gypsum.
“If you want to inoculate
your garden, king stropharia
is awesome to use, Del Valle
Garcia says. “Make sure theres
not already too much other
fungus growing.
Once the mycelium has
begun to establish in the
growing medium, it can be
transferred to logs or other
growing sources.
Alders are really great for a
lot of mushrooms, notes Del
Valle Garcia.
The ideal log is four to 12
inches in diameter and two to
four feet long. Holes should
be approximately a half-inch
wide and half-inch deep in a
line along the length of the
log.
Start the next line an inch
away from the rst and
stagger the holes. A sterilized
spoon can be used to scoop a
blueberry-sized amount of
mycelium and growing
medium, which is then gently
packed into each hole with a
chopstick. The holes and ends
of each log should be sealed
with bee or soy wax to
prevent other fungus from
accessing the log.
Theres more to getting
mushrooms to grow and fruit
than these basic steps. Alexis
turned to experts like Paul
Stamets of Fungi Perfecti LLC
in Olympia, Washington for
supplies and additional
production information.
“I purchased the
inoculated substrate in bags,
she explains. With those, I
have success growing shiitake
and oyster mushrooms, but
you can also grow reishi and
lions mane and all kinds of
mushrooms in that way.
While she tried putting
inoculated plugs from Fungi
Perfecti into logs, she didn’t
have much success, so turned
to the wood chips solution.
“I think that the shiitake
and the oyster mushrooms
are the easiest, she says.
Mushrooms a viable crop for small growers
Locally grown, unusual varieties
popular in CSAs
David Shortridge, left, carefully burrows a hole in a mushroom starter log as others look on. Alders make
excellent hosts for many mushrooms. [RONDA PAYNE PHOTO]
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201938
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Island 4-H beef show celebrates 25 years
Leaders pull out all the stops to revive long-standing tradition
The Winners Circle
Junior Fitting Jackson
Phillips (Cowichan 4-H Beef )
Intermediate Fitting Layla
Dorko (Abbotsford 4-H Beef )
Senior Fitting Emma
Davidson (Abbotsford 4-H
Beef)
Team Fitting Cowichan 4-H
Beef (Jackson Phillips, Hailey
Martin & Victoria Kovacs)
Junior Showmanship Paisley
Kovacs (Cowichan 4-H Beef )
Intermidiate Showmanship
Layla Dorko (Abbotsford 4-H
Beef)
Senior Showmanship Jean
Macaulay (Saanich Peninsula
Beef & Swine)
Champion Market Steer
Layla Dorko (Abbotsford 4-H
Beef) with Satchmo - Maine X,
978 lbs
Reserve Champion Market
Steer William Martin
(Cowichan 4-H Beef ) with
Mack - Maine X, 1152 lbs
Champion Heifer Jenna
Nielsen (Abbotsford 4-H Beef)
with Diamond Mist -
Simmental X
Reserve Champion Heifer
Jean Macaulay (Saanich
Peninsula Beef & Swine) with
Ruby - Shorthorn X
by AMANDA POELMAN
DUNCAN – The Vancouver
Island 4-H Beef Spring Show
celebrated its silver
anniversary, May 4-5,
welcoming 41 members from
eight clubs on the Island and
Lower Mainland.
Through the course of the
weekend, members enjoyed a
tting demonstration, a full
day of competition, silent and
live auctions, and a delicious
wrap-up dinner followed by
the music stylings of local
band The Porter Brothers.
Judge Katie Songer of
Rocky Mountain House, AB,
competently lined up all the
contenders, providing
excellent reasons and
suggestions to the member
on their projects and
individual skills.
ttt
JUNE 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
39
September long
weekend in Armstrong!
DON’T MISS IT!
Armstrong Interior Provincial
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AT THE IPE
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AUG 28 TO SEPT 1, 2019
JULY 12
...................
4H & Junior Activities
JULY 19
...................
Beef, Dairy, Swine,
Baking & Canning,
Photography,
Fancywork & Sewing,
Hobbies, Wine,
Liqueurs & Beer
JULY 26
...................
Goat, Sheep, Light
Horse
AUGUST 2
...........
Floral, Fruit, Field
& Seed, Honey,
Vegetables, Rabbits &
Poultry
AUGUST 14
.......
Heavy Horse
ENTRY DEADLINES
2019
Facing page, top, Layla Dorko
from Abbotsford 4-H Beef
and her champion market steer is
joined by judge Katie Songer;
Below, Ross Springford presents
the top Hereford Inuence Heifer
award to Ginger Stephenson from
the Comox Valley Calf Club
[JENNIFER BUCK PHOTO].
Bottom left, Songer congratulates
Jean Macaulay from Saanich
Peninsula Beef & Swine on her
reserve champion heifer. Bottom
right, Jersey Craig from
Abbotsford Beef gets a little help
from a senior member.
On this page, Paisley Kovacs
ashes a quick smile while
getting some assistance from
William and Oliver Martin
during the Team Fitting
competition.
Below, George Baird,
a long-time supporter of the
Island 4-H Beef Show, keeps an
eye on the show pen.
AMANDA POELMAN
PHOTOS
IS THANKFUL FOR THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF OUR SPONSORS
Accurate Air
BC Angus Association
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FARMS LTD.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 2019
40
Financing
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When we left o last time,
Lois the storekeeper had put the
brakes on the rumour mill
percolating over the
signicance of a kiss and
embrace between Deborah and
Doug McLeod at the end of the
Spring Musical. Back at home,
Susan was enjoying a morning
coee on the Henderson front
porch when Newt Pullman and
his dog happened by. Rural
Redemption, part 111,
continues ...
Susan glanced over at
Newt and sighed.
“Nothing very exciting to
tell, I’m afraid. It would
probably put you to sleep.
“I’ve had three cups of
coee. Don’t think there’s
much chance I’ll be nodding
o, said Newt. Just shoot for
the highlights and leave out
the sad parts.
“Fair enough, said Susan
thinking that if she omitted all
the unhappy and boring
parts, it wouldn’t take much
time to tell at all.
She spoke fondly of her
childhood and youth, then
matter-of-factly about her
marriage and Kenneths birth
and childhood to the point
when his father took him to
boarding school in Ontario.
The story became truncated
and the telling became
wistful.
“Kenneth met Deborah at
university and they were
married. Then, Ashley and
Christopher were born two
years apart. Kingston retired
from the senate and moved
back from Ottawa and wrote
a book about himself. He died
nearly three years ago.
“I’m sorry, said Newt.
“He was a lot older than
me, said Susan matter-of-
factly. “Now, I’ve sold the
house and here I am.
“So, what’s
next?”
Well, I
want to see a
lot more of
Christopher
and Ashley
before they’re
all grown up, and beyond
that, I don’t have a plan. Just
put one foot in front of the
other and see where it takes
me, I guess.
That kind of sounds like a
plan right there, said Newt.
Susan chuckled.
“Its a pretty simple plan,
wouldn’t you say?”
“Simple plans the best
kind. The more complicated it
gets, the harder it is to make it
work.
“You’re starting to sound
like a philosopher, Mr.
Pullman.
“Hell, no. I learned most of
what I know from making
mistakes, said Newt.
“Not too many, I hope.
“Yeah, probably way too
many, but like old Colonel
Meldrum used to tell us, A
man who can’t make a
mistake can’t make anything.’“
Newt said he supposed he
and Rocky should be on their
way and leave her in peace.
Susan said shed enjoyed
the conservation and said not
to be afraid to stop by for
another cup of coee the
next time he was in the
neighbourhood. Newt said
thanks and he just might take
her up on that.
After he was gone, Susan
tried to remember the last
time shed had a two-hour
conversation with a man.
Newt found her wide smile
and sparkling eyes crowding
into his thoughts all
afternoon.
ttt
By the time Kenneth and
Deborah arrived at the resort,
they were both exhausted
and Deborah had a splitting
headache. She took two
Aspiris and excused herself to
lay down.
After she fell asleep,
Kenneth went to check out
the golf course and nd a
glass of scotch. He woke her
at 7 the next morning.
“C’mon, Deborah. Time to
rise and shine. We’re meeting
someone for breakfast at 8.
Who are we meeting for
breakfast? We don’t know
anyone here, do we?”
Were going to know
someone named Bernie
Wissel pretty soon.
Who is Bernie Whistle?”
“Not Whistle. Wissel, like
Bissel only with a W.
“How is it we are having
breakfast with Mr. Wissel?”
said Deborah.
The pro at the golf course
matched us up. Me and him
have a nine oclock tee time.
“Really? What time will you
be done?”
What? Golf? We might try
to squeeze in two rounds so
we might not be done until
afternoon sometime. I gured
youd want to have some time
to look around and check
things out.
“Sure, sounds like fun, said
Deborah.
When they arrived at the
restaurant, Kenneth told the
hostess he was looking for
Bernie Wissel.
“You must be Mr.
Henderson. Come this way.
The Wissels’ are expecting
you.
As they approached the
table, a balding, heavy-set
man rose to greet them.
“Hey, Kenny, Bernie Wissel.
Its great to meet you. Looks
like a hell of day for a round
or two, eh? You’re going love
this course, especially if youre
a long hitter. Hows your long
game? Sit down, sit down. You
better get some breakfast in
ya if ya want to last all day.
How do you like Tigers
chances at the Masters? I got
500 bucks on him to crack the
top ve.
Bernie nally stopped to
take a breath. He was wearing
a bright red golf shirt and a
pair of camo Bermuda shorts
and looked to be at least ten
years older than Kenneth. He
waved them into their chairs.
Deborah sat next to an
attractive woman with
bleached blonde hair. The
woman glanced from Bernie
to Deborah and rolled her
eyes. They smiled at one
another.
“I’m afraid we started
without you, but I told
Rhonda to keep an eye out
for you. Here she comes now.
She’ll get you xed right up.
“So, are you a betting man
at all, Ken?” asked Bernie as
Rhonda, the waitress, turned
away.
The blonde woman landed
a sharp kick on Bernie’s shin.
“Suerin catsh, Birdie!
What was that for?”
Aren’t you forgetting
something, Bernie?”
Bernie looked at her
blankly as he rubbed his shin.
“Like an introduction?” said
the woman.
“Oh, right! My mistake. Ken,
this is my wife Birdie and she
doesn’t play golf.
“My pleasure, Birdie, said
Kenneth. This is my wife,
Deborah, and she doesn’t play
golf either.
“Real nice to meet you,
said Bernie. What kind of
clubs are you swinging, Ken?”
“Mizunas starting today. I
bought a new set last night.
I’m picking them up this
morning.
“Nice. Theres nothing
wrong with Mizunas. My
buddy back home swears by
them. Course I’ve always used
Calloways, but Tigers
switched over to TaylorMade
and I’ve been thinking about
giving them a try. Holy
mackerel! Look at the time!
We better scoot if we’re going
to pick up those Mizunas of
yours and still make our tee
time, said Bernie, then added
as he walked away, “Birdie,
you take Debra shopping
with you and we’ll all have
dinner together tonight.
Once they were gone,
Birdie turned toward Deborah.
“Goodness, honey, you look
like a doe caught in the
headlights.
“Sorry. I just didn’t know
golf was so … complicated,
guess.
“Oh, golfs not complicated.
Bernies just got a knack of
making it sound that way. It
looks to me like we’re two
peas in a pod here.
“Peas in a pod?”
“Golf widows. Tell me you
didn’t come all the way down
here to go shopping while
your husband and some loud-
mouthed furniture salesman
play golf all day?” said Birdie.
“It wasn’t my idea to come
here at all, said Deborah. And
I sure didn’t come for the
shopping.
Well, you’re here now and
so am I, and I’m betting the
two of us can nd our own
fun. What do you say?”
“Heres to us, said Deborah
as they clinked water glasses.
To be continued ...
Deborah starts her vacation a golf widow
Woodshed
Chronicles
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FARM NEWS
WEEKLY
FARM
NEWS
UPDATES
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 2019 41
by RONDA PAYNE
ABBOTSFORD – When beer-
craving guests sit down in
Field House Brewing’s
Abbotsford tasting room,
patio or beer lawn, they can
also partake in food items
created from locally-grown
ingredients in the on-site
canteen kitchen.
Brewery founder Josh
Vanderheide started Field
House Farms as a side project
to supply the canteen kitchen
and on April 27, he hosted a
lm screening and panel
discussion to tell people
about the farms rst season
while raising awareness of the
importance of local
agriculture.
We don’t think we have it
gured out, but were really
passionate about it, he says.
Produced by Inmist Media
House of Chilliwack, lming of
the short documentary, From
the Field, began in spring
2018 with planting and
tracked the farm through
each stage of the growing
season.
While farm breweries aren’t
unheard of in BC, they aren’t
common either. Others
include Crannóg Ales in
Sorrento, Persephone Brewing
in Gibsons and Pemberton
Valley Beerworks, according to
Rebecca Kneen of Crannóg.
More are in the works, and
Vanderheide is hopeful From
the Field will encourage
others.
Field House Brewing
opened its doors just over
three years ago with a kitchen
that capitalized on locally
grown and crafted food
products like meats, cheeses
and produce. The incredible
avour of local food
prompted Vanderheide to
start farming, growing more
of the food used in the
brewerys canteen.
Well over half our food
menu is from local suppliers,
he explains. We wanted to
say, ‘Lets also have us be part
of this farming community.
Vanderheide went on to
lease three separate acreages
in Abbotsford and Chilliwack
and began growing fruit and
vegetables as well as ve
acres of barley. The barley was
harvested, cleaned, dried and
malted with the hands-on
involvement of both
Vanderheide and brewmaster
Parker Reid.
The beers that are here
tonight [a pilsner and an IPA]
are made from the grains that
were grown last year, he told
the audience. And we’re so
pleased with how the beer
turned out. We went into this
going, We don’t know what
were doing but we’re going
to have fun with it.
He wants people to have a
greater understanding of how
food reaches plates because
agriculture “aects people’s
lives.
Vanderheide believes so
much in the project that he
and his wife Gina sold their
house and bought a ve-acre
farm on Matsqui Flats, which
he refers to as Field House
Farms 2.0. They’ve put 2.5
acres into barley.
The focus of the farm is to
complement things that
already grow here [in the
Fraser Valley], he says. We’re
growing rhubarb because our
kitchen is excited about the
avour and acidity.
Other crops include plums,
pears, apples, licorice, fennel,
haskaps, Chilean guava and
jostaberry. There are beehives,
old-growth trees and more.
The majority of the produce
will nd its way into the Field
House kitchen and be served
at the brewery, but some of it
will add unique avours to its
beers.
Financial support was
essential to making the farm
possible and Vanderheide
credits two partners for the
farms success: the Abbotsford
Community Foundation and
Buy BC.
The Abbotsford
Community Foundation – I
can’t even tell you the value of
that. Without them, we
wouldn’t be farming, he says.
Field House Farms received
$25,000 from the foundation
and Buy BC helped Field
House fund the lm and
launch event.
We started this as an
experiment, notes
Vanderheide. “We kept
following it wherever it led us.
In the lm, he says the plan
is to grow 100% of the
ingredients served at Field
House Brewing and to have
the business become a social
enterprise. He wants to see as
many things as possible
created from scratch.
“Doing good things is a
viable business strategy, he
says in the 13-minute lm. We
want to surprise people with
food. We want to change
peoples minds about food.
A panel discussion after the
lm supported Vanderheide’s
vision for more local food and
more BC-based farm
breweries. Panelists included
Vancouver chefs Juno Kim of
Juno Kim Catering and Kris
Barnholden of the Diamond,
as well as Persephone
Brewing head brewmaster
Anders McKinnon from
Gibsons and Dan
Oostenbrink, owner of
Abbotsford’s Local Harvest
Market.
Kneen says that while
brewing is still in an industrial
mindset, there are plenty of
breweries that want to be
more involved at the farming
level whether it’s being a
brewery farm or growing
relationships with farmers.
There’s denitely more
interest, she says. Were
seeing that with hops; were
seeing that with fruit.
The audience may have
come for the beer, but the
questions and conversation
were about a greater need for
local food and drink.
Josh Vanderheide cradles bottles of Field House Brewing Co.’s beers made with barley grown in the Fraser
Valley during a screening of a new lm, From the Field, documenting his company’s rst year of farming to
supply the Abbotsford-based brewery’s kitchen. [RONDA PAYNE PHOTO]
Brewery’s food
program spawns
farm project
A novice farmer shares lessons
from his first harvest
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JUNE 201942
Celebrate dads!
The spinach, ginger and teriyaki in this makes for a particularly tasty and moist burger, almost like a
slice of meatloaf between the bun halves. Dad will love it.
1 tbsp. (15 ml) nely chopped fresh ginger1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic drizzle of oil
1 lb. (454 g) lean ground beef 1 egg
1/4 c. (60 ml) oat bran 1 tbsp. (15 ml) teriyaki sauce
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) salt 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) pepper
1 c. (500 ml) chopped fresh spinach
• Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
• Finely chop fresh ginger. Chop onion and mince garlic.
• Saute ginger and onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil over medium heat and stir until onion is
translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two longer. Remove from heat and cool.
• Add ground beef to a bowl and beat in the egg, then the remaining ingredients. (You could
substitute dry bread crumbs for the oat bran.) If using fresh spinach, chop it and wilt it rst,
either in the pan with the onions, or separately, in the microwave.
• Add the cooled onion mixture, the chopped, wilted spinach and combine well with the meat.
• Form into patties to t your buns and barbecue or pan-fry until just done.
• Makes 4 or 5 burgers.
If you like Italian dishes, you’ll love this. Even if you aren’t a big fan of Italian food, you’ll love it. With
a green salad on the side, it’s a complete meal. Garlic bread is nice with it too. You could make this
using veal scallops instead of ground chicken patties.
Patties:
1 small onion 1 small garlic clove
1 lb. (454 g) ground chicken 1 egg
1/4 c. (60 g) oat bran or crumbs 2 tsp. (10 ml) fresh basil
1 tsp. (5 ml) dried oregano 1/2 tsp. (3 ml) dried thyme
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) lemon zest salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 -2 c. (375-500 ml) thick tomato sauce
Topping:
1 c. (250 ml) mozzarella cheese 1/4 c. (60 ml) Grana Padano or Romano cheese
fresh basil leaves, to garnish
• Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
• Mince onion and garlic and combine with ground chicken, beaten egg, oat bran or dry bread
crumbs, herbs, spices and lemon zest.
• Form into oval patties and brown in a drizzle of oil in a medium-hot frypan. Do not overcook.
• Make a tomato sauce with onion, garlic, tomatoes, celery, herbs and spices, or use a prepared
one to spread in the bottom of a shallow casserole dish. You may reserve a few spoonfuls to
top the patties with.
• Arrange the chicken patties on top of the sauce and top each with the two cheeses. You may
wish to top each with a spoonful of sauce as well.
• Bake for about a half hour and garnish with fresh basil leaves when serving.
• Makes 4-6 patties.
SPINACH & TERIYAKI BEEF BURGERS
CHICKEN PARMIGIANA
Viva l’Italia! This Chicken Parmigiana is sure to please Dad on his special day! JUDIE STEEVES PHOTO
Fathers Day is a day full of memories for many adults, as well
as being a day for making memories. It doesn’t matter whether
you celebrate the day with your own father, your grandfather,
or your favourite dad – whether hes your husband, brother,
your lover or a friend. Celebrate fatherhood and the
importance of a fatherly gure in the lives of children, young
and old.
Food is a constant
theme in celebrations,
so consider your
favourite dad’s
favourite foods. Beef
has always been top
of the list with the
dads in my life, so heres a terric recipe for a new take on an
old sandwich, the hamburger.
As well, I usually think of hearty tomato sauce when I think
of dad dishes, so heres an updated take on a traditional Italian
dish, Veal Parmigiana, but this time I made it with delicately-
seasoned ground chicken meat.
June must be chock-a-block with wedding anniversaries,
too, since it’s a favoured month for weddings and often the
milestone ones are celebrated with a big family meal or a
gathering of the wedding party several decades later!
As June draws to a close, we’ll be thinking of celebrating
Canada Day, and both these recipes would suit for July 1 as
well. Since tomato sauce is red and chicken is white, you’ve got
the colours of the Canadian ag in the one dish, and the other
is perfect for a celebration centred around the barbecue.
Both can be mostly prepared ahead of time, ready to
complete just before everyone sits down to eat.
I really try to come up with meals for company that don’t
involve a lot of last-minute eort so that I can enjoy the party,
too.
Often its perfectly appropriate to encourage your guests to
contribute an appie, a salad or a dessert, which really lightens
the load on the host and hostess when you’re inviting a crowd
to join you to celebrate an occasion.
So remember to do your prep ahead of time and plan a
meal that allows you to enjoy your guests, whether theyre
family or friends.
Happy Canada Day, anniversary or Fathers Day!
Jude’s Kitchen
JUDIE STEEVES
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