Postmaster, Please return Undeliverable labels to: Country Life in BC 36 Dale Road Enderby, BC V0E 1V4CANADA POSTES POST CANADA Postage paid Port payé Publications Mail Post-Publications 40012122Vol. 106 No. 6The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 JUNE 2020 | Vol. 106 No. 6OYFPoultry and hops a winning combination 9 FLOODSProvincial disaster assistance ‘isn’t working’ 11 MEATRethinking the concept for mobile abattoirs19by PETER MITHAM OTTAWA – Criticisms are mounting over Ottawa’s apparent lack of response to the serious issues farm businesses are facing as a result of COVID-19. Many national livestock groups are saying programs announced to date are too little, too late, while in BC, farm leaders have voiced frustration over what they describe as backtracking. "The government needs to move fast and provide more support for the entire industry to protect Canada's food supply,” said Canadian Federation of Independent Business vice-president of agri-business Marilyn Braun-Pollon in a statement May 22. While a national coalition of farm groups have asked for $2.6 billion to address “impacts which are not eligible under any of the government programs announced to date” nor addressed by federal business risk management programs, federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau’s oce has dismissed the demand as vague. “We are asking CFA (Canadian Federation of Agriculture) to be a bit more up-front about digging into what specically they’re asking for,” ministerial sta told Country Life in BC. Meanwhile, it touted 16 programs in support of agriculture, the value of which hasn’t been pinned down. “It’s a big number,” sta said, noting that the nal calculation will depend on participation. The biggest number by far Kevin Husband of Emma Lea Farms in Delta stands among thousands of strawberry blossoms. This year's crop is around the corner, but he's planning to make sure pickers keep their distance from each other and that the only thing they come away with is a at of berries, not a case of COVID-19. Read more about his plans in our story on page 7. PHOTO / RONDA PAYNE Ottawa comes under fire1-888-770-7333 Quality Seeds ... where quality counts!YOUR BC SEED SOURCESee WAGE on next page oGrowing more with less waterwatertecna.comttttttttIRRIGATION LTD1.888.675.7999 888 6 9999888669999 Diesel & PTO Pumps PVC & Aluminum PipeIrrigation ReelsDRIP IRRIGATIONCentre PivotsBracing for CUSMADemand shifts in pandemic complicate outlookby PETER MITHAM PARKSVILLE – A triple-threat of reduced processing capacity, shifting market demand and implementation of the Canada-US-Mexico trade agreement on July 1 has supply-managed groups on edge. Dairy producers stand to be hit hardest, as the implementation date comes just before the new dairy year begins on August 1. While the federal government originally reassured Dairy Farmers of Canada that implementation would be after August 1, the agreement’s nal ratication See SUPPLY on next page oBlossoming hopes
SUPPLY-managed sectors facing double whammy nfrom page 1WAGE top-up up to province nfrom page 1by the three signatory countries in April triggered a provision that will see it come into force July 1. Dairy Farmers of Canada says by coming into force during the current dairy year, industry will shift rapidly from a period of adjustment to one of signicant losses. The sector will absorb a 40% reduction in exports beginning August 1, with ongoing losses estimated at $330 million per year. “It’s very concerning seeing our marketshare chipped away like this,” says Ray Gourlay of Morningstar Farm in Parksville, whose 50 cows supply milk to his cheese company, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. “This pandemic, if anything, has shown us how fragile our food production and processing supply chains really are. At a point in time when we really should be strengthening our supply chain by creating more localized food processing and production, we’re creating more globalized food processing and importing more.” While adding value to his milk by making cheese adds value to his farm, this spring he’s had to ship uid milk to Island Farms in Victoria. The revenues haven’t made up for lost cheese sales, which have declined 65%. CUSMA isn’t going to make it any easier to make a living. The new trade agreement is creating challenges for other supply-managed sectors, too. Katie Lowe, executive director of the BC Egg Marketing Board, said recent trade deals mean that by the time it’s fully implemented, CUSMA will allow more than 11 million dozen eggs annually to arrive from the US. “With CUSMA coming into aect mid-year, up to 1.7 million dozen eggs could be brought in under the agreement in 2020,” says Lowe. “These imported eggs will displace eggs produced by Canadian egg farmers at a time when we are in a surplus situation as the restaurant and food service sector are not using eggs at the normal levels.” Demand for local eggs remains strong, however. “Nearly 90% of Canadians believe it’s important that the eggs they purchase are produced in Canada,” she says. “COVID-19 has emphasized the preference for local food sources.” BC producers are currently sending about 25,000 dozen eggs a week that would have entered foodservice channels to food banks as the system adjusts. This has avoided the depopulation actions seen in the US. Chicken Farmers of Canada, meanwhile, is focusing on the eects of COVID-19 rather than CUSMA. Unlike dairy producers, the production year for broilers parallels the calendar year, explains CFC communications director Lisa Bishop-Spencer. “[CUSMA] doesn’t make a signicant dierence,” she says. “We have been working to determine how to adjust production levels at the farm to respond to reductions in the ability to process our chickens.” Production was reduced 12.6% for period A-163 (May 10- July 4), she says, “in an eort to address the concerns of our value chain partners as a result of reduced foodservice demand during the pandemic.” Period A-164 (July 5-August 29) will see an 11% reduction in production. 2 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCwww.tractorparts4sale.caABBOTSFORD, BC Bus. 604/807-2391 Fax. 604/854-6708 email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWe accept Interact, Visa and Mastercard MASCHIO DM 4500 POWER HARROW 14 FT WIDE W/ROLLER, GOOD CONDITION .................................................................... $14,000 FORD 7000 2WD OPEN STATION, 83 HP, 540 PTO, ONE OWNER . 7,000 NH 8160 4X4, CAB, 3358 HRS, 100 HP, PS TRANS, 5401000, GOOD CONDITION ...................................................................... 45,000 MF 265 2WD, CAB, 60 PTO HP, INDUSTRIAL LOADER, SPIKE MOUNT, FRONT HYD REMOTE, 2,200 HRS, ONE OWNER ... 9,500 JD 336 SQUARE BALER, SMALL CHAMBER, HYD TENSIONER, ¼ TURN, GOOD CONDITION ......................................................... 6,500 NH 1047 SELF PROP BALE WAGON OPEN STATION, 120 BALE, 6CYL GAS ...................................................................... 9,000 NH 166 HAY INVERTOR, 6FT PICKUP.............................................. 3,800 GMC CAB OVER 5 TON DIESEL TRUCK WITH 18 FT TYCROP SILAGE BOX, GOOD CONDITION ......................... 14,000 LOEWEN 9612 VERTICAL MIXER . 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Reg Ens, executive director of the BC Agriculture Council (which oversees WALI), told Country Life in BC that best estimates indicate that worker arrivals are on par with last year but the current status of workers remained dicult to track, complicating eorts to identify how serious any shortfall is. The latitude local health ocials have shown in interpreting public health regulations has also been a problem. Moreover, funding the federal government promised of $1,500 per foreign worker will not simply be paid to eligible employers as Bibeau originally promised on April 13. Rather, employers must apply for it, and it will only cover costs in excess of those covered by the provinces, and only those specic to the isolation period. “Only the eligible costs incurred and paid by the employer can be claimed,” explains Bibeau’s sta. “This includes salary, but can also include other costs. Cost categories were left very broad to allow employers to claim just about any costs related to the 14-day isolation, thus giving them every opportunity to receive the full $1,500 per worker.” BC, for example, covers accommodation and meals for incoming workers. These are not eligible, but wages would be. Many business risk management programs also rely on provincial contributions, such as AgriRecovery, which the federal government is using to support beef and hog producers unable to sell their animals. It's promised $125 million, including $50 million for cattle producers and an advance of $20 a head for impacted hog producers. But since AgriRecovery is a program funded in partnership with the provinces, it depends on BC pledging its support. Surveys the CFIB has conducted indicate that nearly half of livestock farmers feel the federal program will not be helpful, while 42% say it will assist their businesses. They’re more optimistic than producers in the horticulture sector, where 75% say government relief programs will not make a meaningful dierence. is the $3 billion that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced May 7 to top-up wages for workers in essential sectors. But it was up to the provinces to set the terms. “Our government has clearly recognized that workers in the food supply chain, from the farm to the food store, are all essential – we look forward to seeing the provincial plans soon,” Bibeau said on social media. Her sta soon followed up, noting that BC had yet to announce its plans. “It is up to provinces now to determine whether agriculture counts as essential – some may not,” a note to Country Life in BC said. A query to the BC Ministry of Agriculture was answered by the province’s nance ministry, which said an announcement was coming. When it was made May 19, the plan oered an extra $4 an hour to frontline workers in health and social service occupations. There wasn’t a cent for farm workers. Disenchanted Other federal programs have also left farm groups disenchanted. An arrangement to allow foreign farm workers to enter Canada despite international
ALR complaints rise, investigations on hold Compliance officers seconded to inspect foreign worker housing Complaints of illegal dumping on farmland in the Agricultural Land Reserve continue to outnumber the other indiscretions the Agricultural Land Commission hears about. PHOTO / AGRICULTURAL LAND COMMISSIONby PETER MITHAM BURNABY – Connecting with farmers to understand local issues related to agricultural land is an important part of the Agricultural Land Commission’s work. But restrictions on in-person meetings this spring have changed how commissioners go about their business. “The commissioners had some site visits they would have liked to have done, and they’re nding other ways other than going on site inspections,” explains ALC CEO Kim Grout, noting that the commission simply increased its existing use of online meeting platforms to complete its work. “They’re still getting the work done but anywhere they might have gone out and looked at something, they’ve oered people other meeting alternatives other than physically visiting the property.” However, the province’s need for inspectors to assess housing for temporary foreign workers has seen the commission’s seven compliance and enforcement ocers seconded as part of government’s COVID-19 response. While the commission operates at arm’s length from government, its sta are on the provincial payroll and available to government in the event of emergencies. “ALC is not normally involved in temporary foreign worker housing inspections,” says Grout. “Government was looking for inspectors to do it, and the C&E team are all involved.” Since agriculture is an essential service, they’re making sure farmers have the facilities needed to house workers safely rst and investigating breaches of the land commission’s regulations second. “Our C&E team is only dealing with our own case les when they’re not doing inspections for the provincial government,” says Grout. Complaints up Ironically, the number of complaints increased signicantly as people spent more time at home following the closure of workplaces in March. Grout holds o drawing a direct connection, noting that complaints have in general been on the increase, but the uptick was noticeable. Preliminary gures indicate that complaints and referrals from other government agencies, including local governments, regarding non-compliance increased 48% in the year ended March 31. The total was 381, versus 257 in the previous year. Trends within the complaints remain similar to previous years, despite new rules introduced over the past 18 months as a result of bills 52 and 15. Unauthorized commercial activity and ll remain the two largest sources of complaints and referrals, Grout said, “even though we have all these new ll rules.” Indeed, complaints related to ll increased from 40% of all complaints last year to 42% in the latest scal year. Meanwhile, unauthorized commercial activity accounted for just 36% of complaints, down from 42% last year. Agri-tourism, despite being a hot-button issue in the legislature and grabbing media headlines, represent a fraction of investigations There were four complaints or referrals in the year ended March 31, 2019, driven largely by government, three last year as a result of complaints and there have been none in the current scal year. With respect to decisions, approximately 9% of those rendered last year were related to residential use. Regulations introduced under Bill 52 created a new category of non-adhering residential use, with 104 applications submitted last year. The pace of applications increased as COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 3the year advanced, with 66 decisions rendered. Of these, 46 were approvals and 20 were denied. Grout said the remaining 38 applications came in at the end of the commission’s year and decisions are pending. There have been no changes to regulations governing the ALC or the Agricultural Land Reserve since March 12, when the province announced regulations giving force and eect to some of the changes passed under Bill 15. However, the commission anticipates working with municipalities this summer in the run-up to their becoming the designated channel for requests to remove farmland from the ALR beginning September 30. “We’re contemplating engagement, but in a virtual realm,” says Grout. “We’re focused on just keeping our head above water during the COVID situation but once we get through that, we denitely are interested in envisioning and supporting implementation of what will take place in September.” FAST MOWING, FAST DRYDOWNINVEST IN QUALITY®www.kuhn.comMatsqui Ag-RepairAbbotsfordHuber Farm EquipmentPrince GeorgeNorthline Equipment, Ltd.Dawson CreekCountry TractorArmstrongKamloopsVisit your local British Columbia KUHN Dealer today!FC TC CENTER-PIVOT MOWER CONDITIONERS• Standard drawbar or 2-point Gyrodine® swivel hitch for tight turns• Lubed-for-life Optidisc® cutterbar and Fast-Fit® blades• Finger, rubber roller or steel roller conditioning - adjustable to match any crop• Allows wide spreading to over 90% of cut width for accelerated drydown10’2” - 14’4” working widths
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Publication Mail Agreement: 0399159 . GST Reg. No. 86878 7375 . Subscriptions: $2/issue . $18.90/year . $33.60/2 years . $37.80/3 years incl GSTThe agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 Vol.106 No. 6 . JUNE 2020Published monthly by Country Life 2000 Ltd. www.countrylifeinbc.comPublisher Cathy Glover 604-328-3814 . email@example.com Editor Emeritus David Schmidt Associate Editor Peter Mitham firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Sales & Marketing Cathy Glover email@example.com Production Designer Tina Rezansoff Sum-sum-summertime, PW! Shifting promisesEnglish poet Matthew Francis has an acute summary of the challenges farmers face: “Sun and rain mean something now, / though they aren't sure what.” Sun and rain are key to producing the crops and livestock we all need. The trouble is, we never know exactly what sun and rain will mean to us in any given season, success or failure. Nature’s promises are echoed in a lot of government promises these days. They’re made, but it’s tough to know what they’ll mean. A bold announcement one day is followed by details several days later that cut hope down to size, and payments several months later are even smaller than our hopes. Ottawa’s initial $82 billion response package to the COVID-19 pandemic has been topped up a few times, and the provisions for agriculture haven’t been any exception. But the government has also taken a lot of heat, because national farm groups have asked for at least $2.6 billion to cover the impacts of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the government – at the most generous interpretation – has announced just $502 million in identiable support for the sector and its organizations. The rest depends on producer requests. While producers say government isn’t giving enough, federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said farmers aren’t asking for enough, which makes it hard to get them the funding they need. Meanwhile, several programs are cost-shared with the provinces and she’s pointed the nger at Lana Popham and other agriculture ministers to ante up. Meanwhile, the provinces don’t necessarily do any better. The saga of farmers in Grand Forks is a case in point. Victoria gave them access to its Disaster Financial Assistance program after devastating oods in 2018, but just two of the 16 farmers who applied received support. The cheques totalled just $20,900 despite damages of $12 million. Community Futures Boundary concluded the program as a whole was ineective. While governments are quick to announce programs in response to disaster, being able to quickly access them is equally important. The promises shouldn’t be as changeable as the weather. We know it’s possible because of the 4 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCOf all the human achievements of the past 75 years, the most consequential is the explosive growth of population. (Sorry cablevision, space ight, Internet and Viagra!) The most impressive achievement is surely the global food system that has evolved to feed a population that has tripled in that time. Two hallmarks of the global food system are the huge multinational corporations that control it and the transportation system that makes it work. Through merger and acquisition, control of the food system has concentrated in a handful of corporations. Think ADM, Bunge, Cargill and the like. Throw in a global transportation network and the entire world becomes a common source and a common market. Food becomes a commodity. For much of agriculture, there is a direct link to a single buyer and the system works ne. The rancher in Anahim Lake with 300 cows ships his calves to the auction in Williams Lake or maybe sells them on the Internet to a feedlot aliated with the corporate owner of the facility that will eventually slaughter and process them in an hour and 35 minutes. The rancher has a ready and dependable sale for the calves, but it will often come at the price of a vigorous, competitive marketplace. In theory, the calves don’t have to be sold but really, with a once-a-year payday hanging in the balance, they probably do. At the point of sale, the calves become part of a global commodity for the major players in the food system, subject to competitive valuation and market forces the world over. As farms and ranches have grown bigger, they have increasingly fallen into the embrace of the corporate commodity marketplace. The whims of the market on one side and nature on the other make the whole endeavour like juggling double-edged knives: tricky to do without drawing a little blood now and then. Distinctly local Despite the global nature of the food system, farms and ranches are distinctly local concerns. There are many that lack the scale of production or the location to engage in the global commodity market. Their markets are necessarily local and there is seldom a link to a single buyer. While the rancher in Anahim can move 300 head with one or two transactions, a small producer anywhere in the province might need 300 transactions to sell 10 head. It is the same story for anyone relying on direct-to-consumer sales. Commodity producers play a well-dened role. Once those Anahim calves are sold, the rancher’s part is played and the larger cast in the food system takes over. The rancher can settle his accounts and head home to start the whole performance all over again. The direct marketer will be on stage until the nal act. If he or she has calves to sell, they will have to feed, slaughter/process and sell as well. The slaughter/packing role is highly regulated and, in most instances, must be played by a Class A or B licensed facility. When there is a willing and able facility close by, the part can be played seamlessly and the show can go on. Conversely, distant and insucient capacity can create a pinch-point that can doom the whole enterprise. COVID-19 outbreaks have closed several large packing plants, bringing the same pinch-point to bear on large producers across the country. Barns and feedlots are full, prices are down and a return to full capacity looks fraught with complications. There has been a sudden demand for locally grown and processed meat which has outstripped the supply that can be provided through existing meat processing capacity. The current dilemma has generated calls for more diverse slaughter/processor facilities from across the country. In a July 2019 discussion paper soliciting local government feedback regarding Class D licences, the BC Ministry of Agriculture described one of the overall objectives of provincial meat inspection as “providing sucient exibility to ensure a competitive slaughter industry with capacity for livestock producers of all sizes across BC.” Few producers would disagree. Times of crisis often demand bold re-imagining of the status quo. Let’s hope that the “new normal” we keep hearing about will see the ministry’s objective met. Bob Collins raises beef cattle and grows produce on his farm in the Alberni Valley. The Back Forty BOB COLLINSwidespread praise for the prompt payments made under the Dairy Direct Payment Program last December. The far greater challenges COVID-19 presents deserve a straight-forward response. This is what farmers expected. It doesn’t seem to be what they’ve received. Timing perfect to advance slaughter initiatives
Finding the right balance in times of stressPandemic presents additional challenges for farmers but there are ways to copesocialize and get a break from our solitary work have been cancelled. Whether it’s reduced trac at the farmers market, or the cancellation of church events or the fall fair, our worlds may seem smaller and this can lead to more worrying about a lot of details and factors out of our control. This means we need to step back, take a look at the bigger picture, and try to nd a more balanced perspective. To help get through this time, we can look ahead with our feet rmly planted in the present, while aware of the many challenges the agriculture industry has overcome in the past. We can break this down further and remember that every farming family and farmer has, at some point, been through tough times. Tough times will continue post-pandemic as change continues and every day brings the need to regroup. This is what farmers are good at. On our small Interior farm, I rely on stories of my pioneer grandmother raising her large family in the Fraser Valley to help me adjust and carry on with some hope and optimism. She is one of my inspirations. We may feel that we have to cope, survive and overcome yet another challenge in the form of COVID-19, but we may need help. We may need to see that we don’t have to ‘overcome’ so much as ‘get through.’ Taking guaranteed income or workplace benets. The agriculture sector has a capacity for innovation and farmers are driven to be increasingly creative and ecient. Our community is also grounded in long-standing values, practices and processes. From this solid history, we can get the strength and courage to look ahead. Taking a balanced view can help us look forward with some optimism to the time when we’re able to see family again, work with customers and meet with other producers. We can face the discomfort of the present times with greater condence when we realize that we’ve been through worse before. Resilience A history of overcoming adversity – be it war, recession, disease or even regular day-to-day stressors – creates resiliency. Being resilient, when viewed through a mental health and wellness lens, combines exibility and the ability to adapt with grit and determination. We can also reach out and allow others to support us. However, for those of us in rural communities, that isn’t always easy to do. We’re used to being independent and carrying on, often in isolation, in the face of adversity. “Rural life presents unique stressors such as isolation, reduced public services, reduced anonymity, and stigma around seeking mental health services,” the report for Farm Management Canada states. The irony is that such close-knit communities should be able to provide the social support we need when times get tough. But COVID-19 has brought many unforeseen changes and disruptions to our lives, and many of the regular social events that used to provide a chance to According to a recent report the Wilton Consulting Group prepared for Farm Management Canada, the qualities that make farming an attractive way of life can also make it a lonely and anxious pursuit. “It is a way of life, not just a livelihood,” says the report. “The connection to the land, the burden of regularly taking on large debt, the realities of working and living on the farm, and (often) the responsibility of managing a multi-generational legacy all contribute to this unique way of life.” The same qualities that make farmers and ranchers ideally suited to this way of life also may put them at risk for mental health issues. Researchers at the University of Guelph reported in 2015 that 45% of farmers in Canada experience high levels of stress. This can impact not only the outlook and decision-making abilities of farmers, but also their own health and the well-being of their family, employees, and even their animals. With the uncertainties around COVID-19, the pressure on farmers has increased once again. This is especially true if you focus on the risks at hand. I try to take a balanced look, something that is especially important given the many stressors BC farmers and ranchers face. Farmers endure so many challenges that many outside the sector can’t fully appreciate: non-farmers don’t experience crop and stock disease and loss or farming-specic nancial strain. Few people understand long, lonely and often unpaid hours in remote areas, working by one’s self. Farmers are often self-employed and without a Viewpoint by TAMMY THIELMANCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 5Financing the future of agriculture.At BMO, we know that farming is more than just a business – it’s a way of life. And as a longstanding supporter of the BC farming community, we’ve been committed to agriculture since we began working with farmers in 1817.Downtown Realty 4007 - 32nd Street, Vernon, BC V1T 5P2 1-800-434-9122 www.royallegpage.caPAT DUGGAN Personal Real Estate Corporation Royal LePage Downtown Realty Ltd. Farm | Ranch | Residential Bus: 250/545-5371 (24 hr) Cell: 250/308-0938 firstname.lastname@example.org COSENS BAY RD, COLDSTREAMwww.OkLandBuyers.ca “Farmers helping farmers with their real estate needs”44 acres of beautiful, irrigated farmland ready for your new home, orchard, cattle or crops. Nice clean soil, adjacent to Kalamalka Provincial Park, Coldstream Ranch. Great valley views from all sides. Perimeter/cross-fenced. MLS® 10204233 $1,475,000 Province Wide DeliveryIdrofoglia Reel Model G1 63/200 (2.5x656ft.) $11,895.00Langley 1.888.675.7999Williams Lake 1.855.398.7757No More Moving Your Sprinklers!Save TIME & MONEY with an Automated Irrigation Reel Ideal for any Crop, Vegetable/Corn or Forage. small steps early on to look after your mental health and wellness can help prevent a larger, more serious need later, after stress and worry has built up or anxiety and depression have worsened. Some things you can do to support your mental health include safely connecting with others in your family, your community and some farming-specic supports for mental health and wellness. It’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that others are experiencing similar challenges. Just because you are coping doesn’t mean that you have to do so alone. We can help one another by supporting and learning more about Canadian farming-specic campaigns such as Rally and the Do More Agricultural Foundation. When looking forward, include yourself, your family and the overall mental health and wellness for all of you in future planning for your farm. As parents, spouses, family-members, farmers and the other roles many of us fulfil, we can’t take time off or add to our already-lengthy to-do list. However, taking brief moments to rest, to be with others, look after ourselves and restore our energy is vital in our day-to-day mental health and wellness as we look ahead and farm into the future. Tammy Thielman BSW MSW RSW is a licensed counsellor specializing in agriculture and mental health. With husband John and their three children, she is a sheep producer and farmer in Salmon Arm.
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Berries look good amid COVID-19 concernsUncertainty persists around labour and protocolsKevin Husband is ready to welcome u-pick customers to Emma Lea Farms in Delta amid the COVID-19 pandemic. PHOTO / RONDA PAYNECOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 7drainage is our specialtyVALLEY FARM DRAINAGE31205 DEWDNEY TRUNK RD, MISSION • Fax 604-462-7215 604-462-7213 • www.valleyfarmdrainage.comProudly supporting Canadian industry using Canadian productLASER EQUIPPED & GPS CONTROLLED TRENCHED AND TRENCHLESS APPLICATIONS SUPPLIERS OF CANADIAN MADE BIG O DRAINAGE by RONDA PAYNE DELTA – Berry growers across the Lower Mainland are seeing signs of a strong 2020 crop but COVID-19 has caused uncertainty around how berries will be picked and sold. “The crops look good, they look exceptionally good. We had a good April and a really good May. It’s one of the best springs I’ve seen,” says Kevin Husband, owner of Emma Lea Farms on Westham Island. “Our risk now is harvesting and marketing.” Husband makes use of local labour to harvest, but the Canada Emergency Response Benet may interfere. CERB provides Canadians facing unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic up to $500 a week to stay at home and recipients can’t make more than $1,000 a month in additional income without having CERB payments clawed back. Husband isn’t sure who would come to work for more than part-time. If that happens, he will need up to three times as many pickers than his usual full-time crew. “That $2,000 payment has had a negative ability on workers to pick our crops and work on the farm,” he says. Anju Gill, executive director with the BC Blueberry Council notes that CERB doesn’t benet growers and may impact their access to labour. “For some, it may lessen the incentive to nd a job or return to seasonal work,” she says. “If a worker is allowed only to earn $1,000 on top of their benet, there’s less incentive to earn more.” A coalition of farm organizations led by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, which includes the BC Agriculture Council and the Canadian Horticultural Council, are asking Ottawa to remove the $1,000 cap for workers in essential services, specically agriculture. “This initiative will support the Step up to the Plate – Help Feed Canadians campaign,” Gill says. Step up to the Plate is a federal initiative to encourage Canadians who have had their jobs aected by COVID-19 to consider working in the agriculture and food processing sectors. Irene Willems, co-owner of Willems Berry Farm in Abbotsford, looks to high school students as a key labour source. While this spring’s high school graduates qualify for the student version of CERB, See BERRY on next page owww.tubeline.ca 1.888.856.6613@TubelineMFGFind us onBALEWRAPPERSSPREADERSSILAGE BLADES BALE PROCESSORSWrap up yoursavings with low rate ﬁnancing.Visit us online for program details.Don’t forget to RENEW yourSubscription.
8 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCGIVE YOURSELF THE AVE NUEFarmers understand that endurance and adaptability are key to making it through dif昀cult times. Avenue Machinery knows the important role that durable and versatile equipment plays in your long term success. RELIABILITRELIABILITYABBOTSFORD1-888-283-3276VERNON1-800-551-6411Willems says she’s more concerned about her responsibilities under the province’s guidelines to protect farm workers from COVID-19. “Our biggest concern is what we’re going to be expected to do,” she says. She’s hoping associations and the government will contact her with the information she needs. She purchased face shields for workers and will get masks if needed but she says many supplies are hard to come by. The province nalized its guidelines for agricultural workers on April 6. It issued a new version May 13 explaining that employers must create an infection prevention and control protocol. Providing COVID-19 training to workers is also a requirement as is increased hygiene and cleaning guidance. While face shields and masks are not a requirement at this point, physical distancing and increased handwashing facilities are. Willems feels as though she is in limbo and is waiting for more information from the various berry associations and the provincial government to clarify u-pick and worker standards. Pollination shapes upDespite fears of a bee shortage this spring, Lower Mainland berry growers say they’ve received enough pollinators for the crop they’re aiming to harvest. Indeed, there are enough that an apiarist reached out to several Delta growers with an offer of extra hives. But the offer was rejected by Jack Bates, co-owner of Tecarte Farms in Delta and other growers, who have lower pollinator requirements this spring as they try to gauge how many workers they’ll have to harvest their crop and how much demand there will be for their fruit. “We cut back about 20% or so. We had more than we needed in the past,” Bates explains. “[There are] lots of flowers, lots of good bud set, in Delta anyway.” BC Ministry of Agriculture berry specialist Carolyn Teasdale says the key challenge for pollination this year has been the weather. “The weather has not been ideal for pollination,” she says, noting the dominant pattern has been rain and wind interspersed with some hot days. “There is the potential for a large blueberry crop again this year if adequate pollination is achieved.” She says strawberries, both day-neutral and June-bearing varieties, should be ready for harvest by the first week of June. A late frost in Delta in April doesn’t appear to have damaged any berry plants, nor did the wind, rain and some hail. —Ronda Payne“We don’t even know what’s going to happen this year,” she says. Raspberries have started blooming and James Bergen, chair of the Raspberry Industry Development Council, says harvest should begin in mid-June. He anticipates higher yields this year. While some growers removed raspberry elds last year, hopefully new elds will ll that gap. “The majority of the crop is harvested by machines, which are already in place,” he says. “Fresh growers will likely have more work on their hands maintaining social distancing and anyone using bussing for transportation of workers will incur some extra challenges and costs.” Husband’s biggest concern as berries ripen is how to sell the crop safely when it’s ready. He’s devised a plan for separating the sales processes to ensure physical distancing among customers and avoid contamination. “We’re looking at a drive-thru for bulk ats and separating our u-pick [checkout] from our fruit stand,” he says. “There will be new containers only. We can’t have u-pickers bringing in containers from home.” BERRY growers look for guidance on protocols nfrom page 7
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 9Irrigation Pipe | Traveling Gun/Hose ReelsPivots | Pumps | Power UnitsCall for a quote on Irrigation Design and our current inventory of new & used Irrigation Equipment.Several used 1,200ft pivots & used hose reels available now.TALK TO BROCK 250.319.3044Dynamic Irrigation email@example.com Poultry and hops a winning combinationOYF winners credit community involvement for their success2020 Outstanding Young Farmers Ray and Tracey Bredenhof with sons, from left to right, Kaleb, 5, Evan, 11, Noah, 7, and Jacob, 15. PHOTO / RONDA PAYNEby PETER MITHAM ABBOTSFORD – The vast dierence between the farm they started in 2005 and what it’s become as Ray and Tracey Bredenhof have expanded from broiler production to hops is testimony to not only their own eorts but the support of their community. “By getting involved, opportunities come up. You meet great people and you learn from other people’s experiences as well,” says Ray. “When we walked onto the farm the very rst time compared to now, we couldn’t have planned it.” The result is the award in this year’s BC/Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers Program, announced May 11. This was the second year in a row the couple were nominated for the award, given to farmers aged 18 to 39. The couple, who have four children ages ve to 15, began farming in 2005 with R&T Poultry. They steadily expanded it, and now produce 225,000 birds a year. The barns were recently upgraded to accommodate 25% more birds, and last year the ock shifted to antibiotic-free production. “[It’s] the way the industry is headed so we’re getting ahead of the curve on that one,” he says. Hops were added into the mix in 2016, and today Bredenhof Hop Farms is one of the largest growers in the province, with 21 acres of its own and an equal amount with contract growers. “That’s not really what we intended when we got into hops,” he says, modestly. “A few of the other farms have pulled out, and we’ve picked up a bit more acreage here and there. We’re really enjoying the industry.” Growth has not been without its challenges, however. One of the family’s barns, representing about a third of its production, burned down in April. There were no human or avian casualties, but it’s a reminder not to take anything for granted. Personally, the couple’s oldest son was diagnosed with bone cancer. It’s in remission, but the experience reinforced the importance of being surrounded by a strong community. The couple have given back, too, supporting fundraising events including the Variety telethon, BC Children’s Hospital telethon and Ronald McDonald House. “We’ve gotten involved in a lot of that type of stu, on top of our agricultural [commitments],” says Bredenhof, who also chairs the BC Hop Growers Association. He encourages other growers to get involved in their own commodity organizations. “Get involved as much as you can,” he says. “It doesn’t always have to take a ton of time or a ton of resources. Sometimes it leads down a path you weren’t planning on, and that’s okay. We’ve really enjoyed that part of it.” Typically presented at a ceremony each March, this year’s Outstanding Young Farmers award event was cancelled in response to COVID-19. Typically presented at a ceremony each March, this year’s Outstanding Young Farmers award event was cancelled in response to COVID-19. Brian Pauls, who succeeded Sara Harker as chair of the BC/Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers Program in March, said an event could occur this summer but no plans have been made. Receiving the award from the BC/Yukon program makes the Bredenhofs nalists for the national competition, which takes place in Saskatoon in December 3-6. 1MPXJOHr1PXFS)BSSPXJOHr$PSO1MBOUJOHr4FFEJOH .PXJOHr3PVOE#BMJOHr.BOVSF4QSFBEJOH $PSO(SBTT4JMBHF)BVMJOH firstname.lastname@example.orgWillem Kersten
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Crown hay & grazing leases, water licence on Bualo creek, 2 dwellings, mature forests, abundant wildlife. O Grid.A young champion for more meat processing capacity in the Southern Interior has died. Chad Maarhuis of Magnum Meats in Rock Creek collapsed May 10 following a business trip to Calgary. He was 37. A graduate of the meat-cutting course at Thompson Rivers University, Maarhuis bought Magnum Meats with his wife Erika in 2008. It operates the only abattoir in the Kelowna-Osoyoos-Creston triangle under a B-class licence. The business grew steadily and currently serves more than 800 meat producers in the southern Interior. “Chad was loved by many and will be incredibly missed by anyone who had the pleasure to know him,” says Nova Woodbury, executive director of BC Association of Abattoirs, where Maarhuis was a vice-president. One of Maarhuis’s goals was to provide sausage and smoking services and the trip to Calgary allowed him to purchase the necessary equipment. He was also working with the Boundary Meat Strategy Committee on a proposal to establish a co-op that would set up a processing plant and lease it to Magnum, whose own cut-and-wrap business is at capacity. Those plans are now on hold. The local community and industry have rallied around the family, helping take care of immediate tasks while issues around ongoing operations get sorted out. Woodbury said everyone, including the province’s meat inspector for the area, has stepped up to ensure Erika and his three young children have the support they need. —Peter Mitham BC Veg eyes strategic plan The BC Vegetable Marketing Commission held its annual general meeting on April 29, with a full agenda over the course of the two-and-a-half-hour online event. Presentations regarding marketing opportunities with the province’s FeedBC program as well as the supervisory review were on the agenda. Growers also received an update on the strategic planning initiative launched last year, now being revamped following an initial and extensive round of consultations. The commission initially contracted Dawn Glyckherr, principal of DM2 Consulting Inc. in Vancouver, to facilitate the process. While she managed to achieve her target of consulting at least 65% of the sector, the consultations outstripped the scope of her workplan. Approximately $35,000 was spent on the work, but it was estimated that a further $90,000 would be needed to complete the project, which was expected last fall. “It was evident that much more work was needed to go forward. The cost to complete this work and communication became an issue,” commission chair Debbie Etsell told members. “The decision to part ways was mutual.” The commission has a shortlist of candidates to complete the work. “The commission is working towards presenting to producers and industry a practical and eective plan as soon as possible,” Etsell said. —Peter Mitham Wage hike compounds challenges BC labour minister Harry Bains conrmed May 21 that the province would increase BC’s minimum wage to $14.60 an hour from $13.85 an hour on June 1 as scheduled. The increase comes as many businesses are wrestling with cash ow issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase is part of the provincial strategy to lift the minimum wage to $15.20 an hour on June 1, 2020. The shift was recommended by the province’s Fair Wages Commission in an eort to provide workers with what’s popularly known as “a living wage.” While businesses participating in the federal wage subsidy program launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to oset 75% of the increase, it nevertheless represents an added cost to employers. Piece rates for hand-harvesters are not aected by the increase. The province commissioned a report on the piece rate system in 2018. The results were nally made public earlier this year but the province continues to consider what, if any changes, it will make to the system. —Peter Mitham Former ALC chair Erik Karlsen dies Erik Karlsen, a former chair of the Agricultural Land Commission who helped lay the foundation for the Water Sustainability Act that established a groundwater licensing regime in BC, has died. During his tenure with the ALC from 2005 to 2010, Karlsen presided over key decisions that continue to resonate today, including bids to exclude Barnston Island in Surrey, the Garden City lands in Richmond and properties required for construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road. While the ALC rejected bids to exclude Barnston Island and the Garden City lands, today home to a research farm operated by Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Karlsen was aware that government priorities could often trump farmland preservation. During discussions around the South Fraser Perimeter Road, he noted that Victoria sidestepped the land commission to conclude a treaty with Tsawwassen First Nation. But bids to protect farmland had to be waged, regardless. “If it fails, it fails, but at least we all tried,” Karlsen said of eorts to nd an alternative alignment for the highway. The project went ahead a few months later with the commission noting that Victoria deemed alternative alignments “not to be acceptable from the transportation and environmental perspectives.” Larry Pedersen, deputy minister of agriculture at the time, described Karlsen as “a man of great integrity and ingenuity.” He recalls long discussions about BC agriculture where he and Karlsen would probe appropriate and creative ways to work with legislative and policy frameworks. They would talk about how to respect as many perspectives as possible while encouraging farming, preserving and protecting farmland in the ALR and setting up farmers for success. Born in 1945, Karlsen was unfailingly kind to the people and rm in solving the problems. Because he demonstrated respect for everyone, he also earned it. When asked about his secret for navigating policy conict, he responded: “Unconditional positive regard.” —Kathleen Gibson & Peter Mitham Ag Briefs EDITED BY PETER MITHAMcountrylifeinbc.comvisit us online
Provincial disaster assistance ‘isn’t working’Flooded farmers are falling through the cracksWASHED AWAY. The Kettle River carved a new channel through Advance Nursery's property in 2018, and nancial assistance has yet to arrive. PHOTO / ADVANCE NURSERY CO.COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 11COMMITTED TO AGRICULTURE in the FRASER VALLEY, SOUTH OKANAGAN & VANCOUVER ISLAND rollinsmachinery.comCHILLIWACK • 1.800.242.9737 . 44725 Yale Road West • 604.792.1301 LANGLEY • 1.800.665.9060 |. 21869 - 56th Avenue • 604.533.0048 CHEMANIUS • 188.8.131.523 . 3306 Smiley Road KELOWNA • 250.765.8266 . #201 - 150 Campion Street TRACTORS JD 1010 GAS, 2WD, REBUILT [CNS751] .................................. 6,500 JD 4240 2WD, CAB, 110 PTO HP [U32178] .......................... 38,900 M MOLINE 2WD, LOADER, REBUILT [CNS749] ......................... 7,000 NH BOOMER 33 ROPS, LOADER, 4WD, IND TIRES [U32032] .... 25,900 NH 8560 4WD, 6,250 HRS [U32312] .................................... 59,900 NH T6.175 5,000 HRS, SUPERSTEER - 16X16 [U32145] ........ 69,000 NH TS6.110 600 HRS, CAB, 4WD, NEW TIRES [U32188]......... 54,900 NH TV145 TRACTOR W/BOOM MOWER, 5950 HRS [U16916] . 60,000 NH WORKMASTER 55 1625 HRS, ROPS, 4WD, NO LDR [U32334] 21,500 QUALITY USED EQUIPMENT NEW BOMFORD MULTICUT 450 WING MOWER, 15’8” CUT [N16211] 28,560 KUHN PRO 150 MANURE SPREADER, VERTICAL BEATERS, GOOD CONDITION [U32236] ................................................ 36,600 NH L220 SKIDSTEER 6800 HRS, HAND/FOOT CONTROLS [U40034] 21,500 NH 644 SILAGE SPECIAL BALE SLICE [U32169] ....................... 11,900 NH 1037 BALE WAGON, CHEMAINUS LOCATION [U32142] ......10,500 NH FP230 GRASSHEAD, 2 ROW CORNHEAD, PROCESSOR [U32226] .......................................................... 27,000 NH FP240; GOOD CONDITION, 2005, TANDEM AXLE; HI DUMP HOSES; SPOUT EXTENSION; 29P GRASSHEAD (U31570) .................... 29,000 NH FP240 GRASS, CORN, CROP PRO, SINGLE AXLE [U32113] . 44,900 NH 824 CORN HEAD, 2 ROW, GOOD CONDITION [U32333] ......... 9,000 TAARUP 4036 DISC MOWER, REBUILT CUTTERBAR [U32093] ... 14,500 by TOM WALKER GRAND FORKS – Fred Elsaesser isn’t too worried about the Kettle River ooding his property this year. “It’s only running at 18,000 cubic feet per second,” he says on May 14 from his riverside property. This time in 2018, it was peaking around 48,500 cfs.” Elsaesser’s Advance Nursery Co. Ltd. may escape damage this year, but he is still recovering from the 2018 ood that inicted losses in the range of $2 million. The oods of 2018 swept away cultivated land and cut a new channel across one of Elsaesser’s elds. He and his wife Christine lost over a kilometre of deer-proof fencing, as well as dikes, a pump house and other irrigation infrastructure. He estimates 50,000 trees were swept downriver. “Those trees probably ended up in Washington,” he chuckles wryly. Those are typical losses for farmers aected by the 2018 oods, according to a Community Futures Boundary survey of 41 ood-aected farms. The survey noted that 1,760 acres of land was ooded, 41.5 km of fencing was lost, and $637,200 worth of crops destroyed. On average, 22% of each property was covered in deposits. All required debris removal. The total immediate impact on area agriculture was approximately $12 million dollars, according to data from the BC Ministry of Agriculture and BC Economic Development Association. But the ministry told elected ocials that AgriStability would not be activated in the region. Instead, the province’s Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) program was designated to assist farmers seeking assistance. “DFA seems to be the applicable program,” notes Elsaesser. “It certainly has an ag stream.” But the program hasn’t delivered for the Elsaessers or many of their neighbours. Of the 16 applications from farmers approved to move forward, just two had received funding by February 2019. The total awarded was $20,857. It hasn’t been for trying. The Elsaessers submitted their initial application in fall 2018. They were turned down. They appealed and were turned down again. They led a petition in court that forced the government to acknowledge that their decision-making in the rst two rejections was unreasonable. “The government said they would go back again and write another decision and we are still waiting,” says Elsaesser. They’re now suing the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We want to push this thing through,” says Elsaesser. “We aren’t asking for our business to be made whole. The maximum pay-out on the program is $300,000.” Backwards process What concerns Elsaesser more than the money is the way they’ve been treated. He says DFA sta are going through detailed technical arguments as to why his claim doesn’t t the program mold. “It’s like we are dealing with an insurance broker,” he says. “It feels like the program administrators are doing everything they can to avoid supporting our business. It is a backwards process.” Part of the argument against Elsaesser’s application is that Advance, like many farm businesses in BC, is incorporated. He says DFA wanted to view them as a business rather than a farm. “But we aren’t a corporation. We are a small family farm,” he notes. Still, they have been deemed ineligible. Meanwhile, many of his neighbours are seen as too small. “A lot of farms in the valley are small or are young farmers just starting to expand and must be supported by some o-farm income,” notes Community Future general manager Jennifer Wetmore, who was team lead for economic recovery following the ood. “Under the DFA rules, they don’t comply either and they have just fallen through the cracks.” Meanwhile, more than 250 homeowners applied for assistance and received over $5 million, according to Community Futures Boundary. The organization has sent two letters to government protesting the discrepancy. The rst letter in November 2018 was addressed to public safety minister Mike Farnworth and copied to agriculture minister Lana Popham and others. “DFA is the primary tool identied by the Province of BC to provide direct nancial assistance to business,” it states. “Based on the data, we have concluded that, to date, this tool has been ineective.” It urged improvements to the program for the sake of other communities, and See NOT on next page o 250.306.15801. Hillside with home 5+ Acres2. Aerable Land 20+ Acres3. Acreage with two homesBUYERS WAITING!GORDON AIKEMA firstname.lastname@example.orgFARMLAND WANTED IN THE NORTH OKANAGAN!lWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATEScountrylifeinbc.comllWSfeinbc.com
NOT working nfrom page 1112 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCAll rights reserved. Case IH is a trademark registered in the United States and many other countries, owned by or licensed to CNH Industrial N.V., its subsidiaries or afliates. www.caseih.comBUILT TO FIT THE WAY YOU FARMLooking for a hard-working workhorse you can rely on? Case IH Maxxum® series tractors deliver the power, performance and efciency your livestock operation demands. Powered by FPT engines, these versatile tractors are built to take on eldwork, loader work, and everything in between. Choose from Maxxum ActiveDrive 4 16 × 16 semi-powershift transmission and 2WD, Maxxum ActiveDrive 8 24 × 24 dual-clutch transmission or Maxxum CVXDrive™ congurations to suit the needs of your operation. So whether you’re hauling, mowing, loading or cutting, there’s only one tractor series engineered for maximum productivity – Case IH Maxxum.SEE US TODAY!Dealer Name 1 Dealer Name 2000.000.0000www.dealer_url.comDealer Address 1 Dealer Address 2 City, State Zip34511 Vye Road Abbotsford, BC V2S 8J7 604-864-2273 www.caliberequipment.carepeated a request from Boundary Flood Recovery for a $2.5 million assistance fund to support local businesses. The second letter, in April 2019, went to Ron Burleson, executive director of community recovery at Emergency Management BC, and specically addressed the needs of farmers. Neither letter has received a response. “If DFA is the primary tool for disaster assistance for agriculture in the province, we know that it is not working,” says Wetmore. “Community Futures has made recommendations on how the program might be revamped.” Elsaesser, who has yet to receive assistance under DFA, remains perplexed. “Why would you write any piece of legislation that has an agriculture stream that very few can benet from?” he asks. “It doesn’t make sense.” Growers plan ahead as potatoes find marketsPlantings respond to reduced foodservice demandFresh produce marketers will be keeping an eye on the demand for new baby potatoes. PHOTO / BC FRESHby PETER MITHAM DELTA – While many growers scrambled to adjust to shifting demand for their products when COVID-19 hit, the pandemic caught BC vegetable producers at the end of their season. “It happened near the tail-end of our storage season, so we were through the largest portion of our crops,” says Murray Driediger, president and CEO of BC Fresh Vegetables Inc. in Delta, which is owned by more than 60 farm families. A small volume of Kennebec potatoes destined for foodservice customers was derailed as restaurants shut down but very little went to waste. Retailers took a large portion, and BC Fresh also managed to ship some to a US buyer. “It looks like we’re going to get through the whole crop in relatively good shape,” says Driediger. “It’s taken us a little bit longer than normal, but we’re … pretty fortunate with the way things have worked out.” Growers who supply BC Fresh were also able to assess the impact of restaurant closures and adjust crop allocations for the coming season. “We looked at some of those crops that were more reliant on the foodservice sector, and we ran a bunch of dierent scenarios,” says Driediger. “We were able to make some acreage adjustments, so we feel pretty good about going into this upcoming marketing season.” Plantings of Kennebec potatoes, golden beets and cabbages destined for processing were pared back, for example. Plantings of other crops were maintained with the expectations that consumer demand will remain strong until foodservice sales – which is about a third of BC Fresh’s business – recovers. Weighing options The reduced market for BC products among foodservice customers could prompt the cancellation of the province’s Every Chef Needs a Farmer, Every Farmer Needs a Chef event. BC Fresh has participated in past years and the event was set for its third iteration this November. BC agriculture minister Lana Popham says the province has booked the PNE but it’s weighing its options. “We haven’t sat down to have an ocial discussion,” she says. “We’re now seeing the restaurant industry try and re-enter into the marketplace, so we’ll see how the demand goes.” Driediger expects the recovery to take more than a year, but he says it’s tough to make rm calls given the unprecedented nature of the situation. “There are a lot of unknowns right now, and I don’t think any of us have the answers at this stage,” he says. “We’re all trying to gure out what the new normal is going to be in terms of consumer habits.” The rst of the 2020 crop began hitting store shelves May 21 in the form of Warba potatoes, a white nugget spud. How consumers respond may oer clues to the demand other crops will face later in the season. “It will be interesting to see,” says Driediger.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 13BC FRUIT GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION 1-800-619-9022 (ext 1) email: email@example.com www.bcfga.comANNOUNCEMENT: Application forms and the updated requirements of the 2021 Tree Fruit Replant Program are now available on the BCFGA website, www.bcfga.com. Project applications (along with the required documents) will be received by November 30, 2020. Please avoid the last minute rush and get your application in early. An horticultural advisor is required to sign individual applications for the 2021 Tree Fruit Replant Program. The following information will be provided to assist growers in completing applications. a. A list of qualied advisors. b. Program operational policies. c. A series of reports on replanting and variety performance and selection are available and should be referenced when preparing a Tree Fruit Replant Program Application. The Tree Fruit Replant Program provides funding for quality projects. Project approval is subject to funding availability and is allocated by the date of receipt of applications. Completed projects are veried by inspection and must attain minimum program standards. The Tree Fruit Replant Program is a 7 year program, funded by the Province of BC. 2020 Tree Fruit Replant ProgramProudly offering quality farm equipment and wholesale farm product delivery across BC.Call, email or visit us firstname.lastname@example.orgCheck out our Einbock Tillage Equipment For Organic FarmingTine Weeders t3PX$SPQ$VMUJWBUPSTr3PUBSZ)PFT $BNFSB(VJEBODF4ZTUFNAND On In StockAEROSTAR 900 Tine WeederDELTA Drain Tile Cleaner *NQSPWFT%SBJOBHFr$POEJUJPOT4PJMr&DPOPNJDBM 3FMJBCMFr-PX.BJOUFOBODFr4BGFBOE1SPWFOSPECIAL PRICING On In Stock BCTF introduces grower incentives to boost qualityNew program is the first of its kind for struggling fruit co-opGood apples will fetch a premium for growers sending their crop to BC Tree Fruits this summer. It’s part of a multifaceted plan to revitalize the co-op. FILE PHOTO / MYRNA STARK LEADERby TOM WALKER KELOWNA – BC Tree Fruits has approved a plan to support growers facing diculties this summer after years of poor returns and cash ow issues. “We have looked to nd ways to support growers to have money for inputs to produce a quality crop for 2020,” says BC Tree Fruits CEO Warren Saranchan. The co-op’s board recently directed management to return loan certicates for its 2014 revolving funds to growers in May rather than early June, as directed. Revolving funds for 2015 will also be released. If needed, those monies can oset balances owing on grower accounts, freeing up credit growers can use to purchase 2020 crop supplies. The move will enable growers to invest in the 2020 crop and encourage the production of high-quality fruit. BCTF is also introducing an Apple Quality Assurance Program that establishes a xed return for certain grades and sizes of select varieties to encourage the production of high-quality fruit. “What we are going to do for the 2020 crop season is provide minimum pricing to growers able to bring in quality fruit,” says Saranchan. This is not something the co-op has ever done, he says, but it should give growers the condence that they’ll see a return this fall. The program is limited to the varieties fetching the best returns in the market. These include McIntosh, Gala, Ambrosia, Pink Lady and Honeycrisp. Nevertheless, there’s a wide range of prices oered on the varieties. McIntosh and Galas of the best quality and size will both return $0.32 a pound to the grower. That is nearly 15% more than last year for Macs and 53% more for Galas. Honeycrisp sits at the top of the scale and growers will receive $0.89 a pound for Extra Fancy Honeycrisps, the same as last year. The co-op will also oer an “earn-up incentive.” If it is able to sell apples for higher than the xed minimum return, 75% of the premium will come back to the grower, with the co-op retaining the balance for other programs. But several growers wonder if the co-op, which is facing signicant restructuring and cost-cutting following a damning governance review, can aord to oer this kind of incentive. Saranchan turns the question around, and says the co-op can’t aord to not improve the quality of incoming fruit. “We are trying very hard to change the results at the co-op,” he says. “This puts even more pressure on the entire management team and sta at the cooperative to carry out our restructuring plans and increase returns.” Saranchan says the co-op will look at other sources of revenue if the new initiatives result in nancial shortfalls, as well as short-term loans. Saranchan sees the incentives as part of a long-term strategy rather than a y-by-night scheme. “If I didn’t have a high degree of condence in the business, we never could have gone down this path,” he says. “But we need to make the required changes in governance and strategy with haste.”
14 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCIF IT’S WORTH IT TO YOU, IT’S WORTH IT TO US.Contact our agribusiness specialists by email at agribusiness@ﬁrstwestcu.caWHEN SUCCESS IS MEASURED IN ACRES AND NOT HOURSKeeping it Simple®Divisions of First West Credit UnionBank. Borrow. Insure. Invest.
Agritourism gets creative in midst of COVID-19Guest experiences, sales face modification this yearLET IT GROW! Mother’s Day at Maan Farms in Abbotsford turned into family day with the help of Elsa, from Disney’s Frozen, much to the delight of drive-thru visitors frequenting the farm’s online store. PHOTO / MAAN FARMSCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 15USED EQUIPMENT N/H FP230 27P GRASS HEAD ............................................... 17,500 CLAAS VOLTO 1050 8 BASKET TEDDER ................................. 12,500 FELLA TS1502 2012, HAY RAKE ........................................... 20,000 MF 1372T 2008, 13FT DISCBINE, METAL ROLLERS.................... 22,000 USED TRACTORS KUBOTA T2080 2014, 42” DECK & GRASS CATCHER.................... 3,285 KUBOTA T2380 2017, 48” DECK ............................................. 4,500 KUBOTA BX2360 2010, 1,900HRS, TRAC/MWR.......................... 9,750 KUBOTA F3680 2013, 600HRS, 60’ MWR & CATCHER ................ 21,500 N/H TN90F 1998, 7,600 HRS, CAB, MFWD................................ 8,000 CASE MAGNUM 225 CVT NEW ALO LOADER........................... 170,000 DEUTZ TTV 6130.4 2014, 1,760 HRS, LDR, FRONT 3PT/PTO....... 97,000 NEW INVENTORY: KUBOTA RAKES • TEDDERS • MOWERS • POWER HARROWS ....... CALL JBS VMEC1636 VERT. SPREADER, SAWDUST & SAND THROWERS, KUBOTA K-HAUL TRAILERS ..................................... NOW IN STOCK CONSTRUCTION BOBCAT T190, 2008, TRACK LOADER, 1,375HRS, CAB............... 23,500 KUB KX71 2006, ROPS, THUMB, RUBBER, 2 BKTS, 4,000HRS..... 26,500 KUB KX121-3LAS 2005, CAB, THUMB, 2,700hrs .................... 40,950 ISLAND TRACTOR & SUPPLY LTD. DUNCAN 1-888-795-1755 NORTH ISLAND TRACTOR COURTENAY 1-866-501-0801 www.islandtractors.comQuality PreOwned Equipmentby RONDA PAYNE LANGLEY – COVID-19 is opening up opportunities for agritourism operators to innovate as people look for local activities this summer. Erin and Brian Anderson of Eagle Acres are no strangers to challenges, having relocated and relaunched their farm in 2017 following a family rift. COVID-19 was a new challenge, but Erin began re-imagining pumpkin season as a drive-thru event. Gradually, other family members jumped in with ideas, and SaFarmi – a drive-thru version of the farm’s popular self-guided walking tour – was born. “We were losing our entire spring income for agritourism,” Erin says, then the idea came. “By the end of March, early April, everyone had something to put into it.” SaFarmi is, in some ways, even better than the original experience in that those with mobility challenges can enjoy the tour without leaving the car. “It’s been very well received and we’ve tried to price it well so that people can come back and we’ve had families come back multiple times,” she says. “We’ve had little buses through it. Home care buses.” It took a couple of weeks to ensure roadways and attractions as well as payment systems met public health guidelines. “I think it’s very much a situation of you learn to adapt and react and keep moving,” she says. “Maybe it’s because we’ve had to do it before in multiple times in multiple scenarios.” Gaining traction In Abbotsford, Maan Farms had been gaining traction with its numerous activities and fruit wines when COVID-19 hit, but the Maan family is also familiar with adversity. In 2014, the market barn, kitchen and winery burnt down in an arson and the family pulled together to rebuild. More recently, children’s activities at the farm such as a bouncy pillow, pedal cart track, tire fort and playground have come under re from the ALC as non-farm activities. “It’s still an ongoing issue,” says Gurleen Maan, the farm’s operations manager. Now, faced with COVID-19 the family has been forced to adapt yet again, setting up an online store and organizing drive-thru versions of its Easter and Mother’s Day events. “I don’t think we’ve ever had this much success for a Mother’s Day event,” Maan says, noting it featured the Disney character Elsa and baby animals. Using the online store for food orders and designated pick-up times allowed for volume control. There were also options to add-on to meals with wine and spa treatment kits. Maan Farms made further changes as the province began implementing its reopening strategy in May, including wine tastings. “Come strawberry season … we are going to be opening our doors,” says Maan. “I think the online route that we’ve made will really help us. We discussed that we’re all going to wear masks [and gloves] just to create that sense of safety as people come in.” Customers will have an option of delivery, pickup or eat-in kitchen-prepared food items as well as delivery or curbside pickup for berries when available. Field sectioning and customer counts and spacing will allow the u-pick to open. “U-pick is denitely going to happen,” she says. “Lots of other farms in the Lower Mainland are taking the same route.” The site’s popular goat yoga will be back as well, but Maan won’t be making a run for any Guinness records this year. There will be strict limits on the number of attendees, as well as lots of physical distancing and handwashing. “Each year we’ve done a goat yoga around the full moon,” she says. “We’re going to be doing another one around June 5. We’re now more connected than ever with our customers.” Safety first Customers are also at the core of how Krause Berry Farms and Estate Winery has adapted to COVID-19. Owners Alf and Sandee Krause say only a couple of things like the playground and family fun eld will remain closed. Other areas will open with modied protocols. See SAFE on next page oLittle & Large, Local & Long, Europe & N. AmericaPort to Dealer, Farm to Farm & Anything in Between
Brian Anderson welcomes visitors to SaFarmi at Eagle Acres in Glen Valley. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the agri-tourism operators to think outside of the box to keep their barn doors open. PHOTO / RONDA PAYNESAFE nfrom pg 1516 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCIMPROVING IMPROVING AGRICULTURE!RENN0LOO&HQWHULV\RXU+6'LVWULEXWRUP: 403.784.3518 ZZZrennmill.comRENN Mill Center Inc. RR#4 Lacombe, AB T4L2N4The LW1100 In-Line Bale Wrapper features the new Honda EFI engine for fuel savings, and an updated hydraulic system for faster wrapping! Available in 12, 14, and 16 wheel models,H&S Hi-Capacity Rakes are the PRVWÀH[LEOHUDNHVRQWKHPDUNHWand feature an overhead frame design for high volume capacity of crop.While the Krauses have experienced challenges in the past with respect to guest safety, like the 2011 llama attack on a senior, COVID-19 is a dierent matter. “Our whole purpose here at the farm is to give excellent care,” Sandee says. “Safety rst, quality second, then we ‘wow it’ and then we try to make it as ecient as we can.” The farm assessed the potential risk to visitors from COVID-19 then developed a plan to implement guidelines to mitigate them. “We made many protocols for everything [government] asked for,” she says. “We’ve changed the entire ow of our market so it’s one way.” There are also strawberry oor stickers that t the Krause brand but communicate physical distancing standards. Plexiglas has been installed at the cashier and one-way online order pick-up is available outside the market. “We can still give excellent care to people who want the products but don’t really care to line up,” she says. “We’ve created a drive-thru to pick up your berries and pies at the top of the road.” Alf says the u-pick will be dierent this year. “We’re going to supply all containers,” he says. “It’s one-use containers. We’re selling by volume rather than by pound. It eliminates two touches and it also eliminates another line.” With the issues around labour this year, having guests out for u-pick is important to get the berries out of the eld. Staff training After 46 years in the business, the Krauses have learned to engage their sta at the very beginning of any new plan. COVID-19 has been no dierent but sta training will be. “Our experience over all these years is that it’s good to do all that planning, but it’s also good to be exible,” Sandee says. “Immediately, we set up weekly Zoom meetings and we stayed in touch with our sta … so we all feel engaged and safe.” Langley’s Joseph Richard Group also agreed to make Krause syrups, jams and pies available for pick-up alongside items from its own restaurants. “The feedback was just excellent,” Sandee says. “They could bring some of their people back to work and have something more to oer.” Opening the farm will be a gradual process of one area at a time to ensure sta are up to speed and no one is overwhelmed with how the 2020 season will play out.
Protesters, vandalism tarnish ranch’s reputationON HOLD. Conrad Schiebel stands on the glacial till he was hoping to reclaim with biosolids. The project setbacks for Chum Lake, seen here, are 100 metres. That's more than triple the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation requirement. PHOTO / TOM WALKER COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 17PROVINCIAL LIVESTOCK FENCING PROGRAMApplications Close: September 30, 2020View program updates at cattlemen.bc.ca/fencing.htmOce: 1.778.412.7000 Toll Free: 1.866.398.2848email: email@example.com In partnership with:Farm and Rural Residential Properties in the Peace Country are our specialtyAnne H. ClaytonMBA, AACI P App, RIAppraiserJudi LeemingBHE, AIC Candidate250.firstname.lastname@example.orgBiosolids project halted following harassment by TOM WALKER KAMLOOPS – A project to transform a logging site into productive pasture using biosolids from the city of Kamloops has been sidelined after the rancher was the target of harassment. Conrad Schiebel of Turtle Valley Bison Ranch near Chase faced a road blockade, a social media smear campaign, defacement of his property and death threats throughout last year. “People accused us of being environmental terrorists,” says Schiebel. “That really cuts deep.” Schiebel says the ranch has lost income and customers, suered damage to its reputation and neighbours have turned against it. Work to build the pasture has stopped, while Kamloops now faces the challenge of what to do with its stockpile of biosolids. Ironically, the group harassing Schiebel is part of the very same First Nation that proposed the project in the rst place. Firebreak During the winter of 2017-18, the ranch logged a 70-acre parcel of their land, which is privately held and outside the Agricultural Land Reserve. Schiebel aimed to build a rebreak for its current pastures and hoped the site would provide more grass for its herd of 75 bison. “Late in 2018, we were approached by the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band leadership to consider a biosolids application as a possible way to turn our logged area into productive pasture,” recalls Schiebel. “Both the elected council and several hereditary chiefs gave their support.” Pasture seeding on the glacial till was completely unsuccessful in 2018 and the idea of biosolids held some promise. Schiebel spent a year researching biosolids before making a decision. “We reviewed the practice with several agricultural, soil and water scientists as well as the BC government website on organic waste regulations,” says Schiebel. He adds that the website has high-quality, evidence-based information about the use of biosolids, which is a controlled substance under the province’s Organic Matter Recycling Regulation. They also met with Arrow Transport, the company with the contract to manage the 19,500 wet tonnes of biosolids Kamloops produces each year, as well as an independent professional agrologist. “They deemed our ranch as being an excellent site for this type of reclamation project,” says Schiebel. “The site has since been assessed by an independent hydrologist who also concurred that the risk to any surrounding water sources or aquifers would be extremely unlikely.” Turtle Valley has a serious commitment to the land and its community. “The ranch has worked diligently to implement our environmental farm plan,” notes Schiebel. “We have always worked closely with neighbouring First Nations and included them in all our farming and land development plans.” The ranch received a permit from the province and Arrow began its deliveries in early April. The biosolids are mixed See FIRST NATION on next page
FIRST NATION divided nfrom page 1718 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCwith sawdust before being trucked to the site and deposited in a prepared trench. A backhoe combines the mixture with the glacial till before lling in the trench. The resulting soil has a 7% biosolid content. “This isn’t just a straight surface application,” explains Schiebel. Blockade Area residents led by Connie Seaward began blocking the road that leads to the reclamation site on April 28, 2019 to protest the project. Arrow received an injunction against the blockade 10 days later. In turn, the protestors sought an injunction against the project. BC Supreme Court dismissed the protestors’ application against the use of the biosolids saying there was no plausible evidence to show that the biosolids would cause harm. But Seaward’s group have certainly caused harm to the ranch. Ranch signs have been spray-painted with profanity, its vehicles and Schiebel’s RV have been paint-balled, broken glass has been thrown in the yard where its dogs run and death threats have been sprayed on nearby clis and a railway crossing. Schiebel gures it has cost the ranch around $100,000. “We have lost good customers, particularly restaurants, that say they can’t be associated with all the controversy,” he says. “We had to sell o a number of our animals before maturity when things looked like they were taking a turn for the worse.” Neighbours have not been immune to the fallout. A local contractor purchased new equipment to work on the project, but now his machines sit idle. While local residents did not relish the idea of going to jail if they continued the blockade, that hasn’t stopped a splinter group of Shuswap Nation members from stepping in. The “Secwepemc Grassroots” reinstated the blockade in July and eectively halted the trucks. Arrow Transport, Turtle Valley and Kamloops all agreed to put the project on hold last fall. The way a splinter group of protestors have been able to grab power from the leaders who initially proposed the project mysties Schiebel. “No one seems to be able to explain to us how this small group has the veto power over other First Nation representatives who were consulted and indeed introduced us to the project,” he notes. Schiebel is equally frustrated by the fake science and vitriol that’s circulated on social media. “The ease at which ill-informed comments or malicious attacks can now be shared is becoming a new reality for farmers and ranchers in today’s social media-driven world,” he says. At present, the project remains idle. “We were facing signicant opposition from locals and later First Nations,” says Kamloops utility services manager Greg Wightman. “Although we were granted an injunction against the protestors blocking the road, we decided to put a pause on the project.” The Kamloops biosolids committee has presented eight possible solutions to council. Agricultural application remains an option. “We went through a very expensive review process to carefully outline all options,” says Wightman. “I actually presented this at a national conference and people couldn’t believe the opposition we faced in our region.” Meanwhile, the backlog of biosolids in Kamloops continues to grow, assisted by the protestors. Sources say byproducts from local septic tanks are trucked down the road and processed and stored at the Kamloops holding facility. Every time the protestors ush, they’re adding to the problem.SIGN OF PROTEST. Opposition to a biosolids application on a ranch near Chase turned nasty last year. PHOTO / TOM WALKER
Rethinking the concept for mobile abattoirsFunding required before taking next stepsMcBride butcher Mark Roth has come up with a new approach to make mobile abattoirs viable for BC meat producers. PHOTO / ROCKY MOUNTAIN GOAT MEDIA INC.COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 19“Serving and Supporting the Community Together”PROVINCIALLY INSPECTED ABATTOIR B.C. #34ALL SIZES MARKET GOATS & LAMBS604.465.4752 (Ext 105)FAX 604.465.4744 email@example.com: firstname.lastname@example.org: email@example.com St. Laurent Avenue Quesnel, B.C. V2J 5A3Producers can apply for an advance on calves, yearlings, lambs, bison, forage and grain up to $1,000,000.00 with the rst $100.000.00 being interest free. For Canola advances the rst $500,000.00 is interest free. Plus, interest relief through the Advance Payments Program is available to association members on their feeder cattle purchases.by JACKIE PEARASE MCBRIDE – Hopes are high that a government-inspected Class E mobile abattoir may soon move to the prototype stage. The proposal is driven by McBride custom butcher Mark Roth, who says the Class E licensing system needs work to better serve small-scale farmers. The construction of a Class A abattoir in McBride in 2011 was what led Roth to become a butcher. He dropped his plans to work at the new plant after a stint of on-farm butchering and cutting and wrapping at his small butcher shop. “I realized I really like that a lot better,” he explains. “I completely fell in love with that process. It’s just so much kinder.” Roth says abattoirs do a good job but the process of corralling, transporting, chuting, head squeezing and butchering at an unfamiliar facility is not the way most small-scale farmers want to harvest their animals. “In our valley, it’s been proved time and again that the abattoir model doesn’t t with small farmers,” he says, noting that the McBride facility has yet to operate successfully for any length of time. It’s currently closed. “It was handy for a few people, this abattoir, but it didn’t t the needs of the whole valley. So there wasn’t really a business to be had because they were only getting a small portion of the business.” Roth and his father Darrell, who runs a small-scale cattle farm with a Class E licence, developed the idea for an inspected abattoir that could be viable for remote locations. Mobile abattoirs are not a new idea. Roth says they have not been nancially successful because the units were much too large and the docking station requirements are beyond what most farmers are willing to do to slaughter a handful of animals each year. His solution is a 16-foot refrigerated truck pulling an 18-foot skinning trailer that would eliminate the docking station requirements and carry enough potable water for the slaughter of four animal units. The long-term aim is to provide remote inspection via video but current legislation does not allow that scenario. In the meantime, Roth proposes to have a government meat inspector in the unit so the meat being harvested can then be sold to restaurants and grocery stores. Currently, a Class E licence only allows for on-farm slaughter of up to 10 animal units for direct sale to consumers. “What I’m trying to do with this inspected farm harvest unit is to bring the inspection to the farm,” he says. “I think the beauty of these units is they bring inspected slaughter to people who don’t have the infrastructure – like business people who don’t have the infrastructure.” Roth received a boost when he shared his idea with See MINISTRY on next page o
MINISTRY supportive nfrom page 1920 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCProducer Check-o Supports Beef Industry Projects.www.cattlefund.net 1.877.688.2333www.cattlefund.net 1.877.688.2333BC agriculture minister Lana Popham when she visited McBride in 2018. “She was just unbelievably supportive,” he says. “She’s allowed me to work with the top three guys in meat inspection to see if we can make something work.” Roth is working closely with senior sta in the ministry’s food safety and inspection branch, including operations manager Klaus Noegel, veterinarian Ken Robeleski and executive director Gavin Last. “We have been providing support for Mark to understand and meet licensing requirements and to work with him on innovative ideas to meet those requirements,” Last explains. Last says seven mobile abattoirs have operated in BC in recent years but none are currently operating. He says the province is interested in new ideas around mobile abattoirs, including remote inspection via video. “We’re looking at it. We’re certainly interested in it and want to learn more about all kinds of alternative methods for inspection so that we could oer a service that’s meeting the needs of everybody in the province, which is challenging given the geography and where the populations are and where they have their farms,” Last says. Trailer manufacturer Bill Barnes added his ample knowledge and experience to creating a design for the mobile unit. Barnes says interest from both levels of government in developing a replicable prototype makes him hopeful that federal funding will be available soon to see the project to fruition. “There are certain things that have to change within the industry in order to make this a very frugal operation…for whoever’s going to take it over and for the government once it’s running, once the equipment’s out there,” Barnes adds. Once a prototype is complete at Barnes’ Prince George facility, Shur Foot Industries Inc., Roth plans to operate the unit. Roth suggests the new mobile abattoir could also provide an additional revenue stream for A and B abattoirs. The unit could be a stand-alone business operating out of such a facility or mobile operators could rent the cut and wrap portions of Class A/B plants during slow periods. It would also provide options for small-scale farmers to build their herds and develop new markets for their meat, thus creating more work for custom butchers. Middle ground “We think that place between ‘personal use only’ and industrial scale class A/B is a huge market if we can nd a way to access it,” he notes. “One inspected farm harvest unit could supply several small butcher shops with carcasses to cut and wrap over a much larger area than a stationary abattoir and lowers the infrastructure barrier for both small scale farmers and small scale meat shops who do not have slaughter capabilities.” Roth says his on-farm slaughter service is the same regardless of whether or not he holds a Class E licence. “So to call it a ‘class anything’ and pretend that that gives it some sort of guarantee that it’s healthy or government-approved is kind of crazy. It’s a pretty meaningless licence,” he explains. “At the end of the day, if you have a dishonest farmer, they can do dishonest things without getting caught. That’s the problem with Class E.” Have you herd? VBP+ TrainingWorkshops or Webinarsare Free!Looking to learn moreabout how to raisehealthy beef cattle?Open to producers of allsizes!free to all beef producersin bc!Subscription toSubscription toCountry Life Country Life in BCin BCto RENEW yourSubscriptionDon’t forgetMark Roth says mobile abattoirs haven’t been successful because they are too big. His vision includes a self-sufcient truck and trailer, eliminating the need for on-farm infrastructure. PHOTO / ROCKY MOUNTAIN GOAT MEDIA INC.Used Case IH Magnum 225 4WD Cab Tractor CVT Trans-50kph, 540/1000 PTO, HD Cat3 3Pt, Bar Axle...........$149,500New Mahindra 3540 4WD Compact Tractor ROPS, Power Shuttle Trans, w/Mahindra 3550L Loader .............$30,950Used Case 420CT Compact Track Loader Cab w/heat, air, Hyd. 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UNCERTAIN FUTURE. Beef producers say they are not getting the nancial support they need to cope with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. FILE PHOTO / LINDSAY BARTKORanchers brand gov’t support inadequate Beef prices show sign of reviving as plants restartCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 21 THE HE BREED YOU CAN TRUST BrBrititish ish Cololumbiabia BCHA President John Lewis 250-218-2537 * Fer琀lity * Eciency * Longevity * www.bcbchehereforord.ca BCHA Secretary Janice Tapp 250-699-6466 by TOM WALKER KAMLOOPS – Despite an improvement in cattle prices, ranchers still face plenty of challenges as well as a lack of support from government. BC Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon says it’s frustrating to hear governments say the beef industry is important to the food supply yet avoid providing nancial support. While governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan have stepped up to match federal funding for a set-aside program for beef that have been backed up in feedlots for the past eight weeks, Boon isn’t optimistic about similar support from Victoria. A proposal for feeder cattle, the ones BC ranchers typically backgrounds before sending to feedlots in Alberta, would be important for BC, Boon notes. “Those are the cattle that are ready and supposed to going to the pens in Alberta that are held up with the backlog,” he said. A set-aside program, which would compensate producers for the cost of holding fed cattle until the market is ready to receive them, is an idea the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has been pitching since April. Ottawa has so far refused to consider a full-edged version, however, preferring to enhance its existing suite of business risk management programs. Set-aside funding is currently allocated through AgriRecovery to the tune of $50 million, an amount the industry calls extremely disappointing. Alberta’s backlog of cattle totals 130,000 that require more than $500,000 a day in feed. CCA president Bob Lowe says producers had spent $50 million and more prior to Ottawa announcing the funding on May 5. Requests for assistance to help with the huge rise in premiums for the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program (WLPIP) have also gone unanswered. Alberta and Saskatchewan have opened their coers instead. Alberta is providing $17 million towards the set-aside program as part of its 40% cost-sharing agreement with Ottawa. Saskatchewan ponied up $5 million in matching funds as well as $5 million to partially oset higher WLPIP premiums. Boon is doubtful BC will provide any kind of a premium support for the WLPIP. “BC has upped the trigger rates for AgriStability and feel that that is probably a safer coverage for them than getting into premiums,” he says. But WLPIP is especially important for young producers. “What we are asking BC to support is to allow for payment of the premiums on WLPIP accounts when they settle the contract at the end, similar to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” Boon says. “That would allow producers to retain more of their operating funds through the summer when cash ow is tight.” There is some good news, however. “There is starting to be a market in Western Canada,” CCA executive vice president Dennis Laycraft told a virtual townhall meeting on May 21. “Cargill started to bid on cattle last week.” The change reects increased capacity at packing plants across North America. Cargill reopened its High River plant on May 4 following a two-week shutdown and was at 75% capacity on May 21. JBS added a second shift at its Brooks plant on May 20, having slowed to one shift for a month, and was at 50% capacity. Together, those two plants account for 70% of beef processing capacity in Canada. The plants have been able to take advantage of the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund Ottawa announced in early May to assist with worker safety improvements. “We have seen a huge price spike in fed cattle over the last week and massive volatility,” says Rick Wright of the Livestock Markets Association of Canada. He said the price for Alberta fed cattle dressed and delivered to packers rose from $2.00 to $2.50 lb in seven days, despite the backlog of cattle in Western feedlots. “That price looks to be a temporary situation,” says Wright, noting that there seems to be a gap between fed yearlings and the heavy fed calves that will come on in about a month. “Packers are reaching out to nd the long fed cattle that have superior grade yield,” he says. He adds that BC steer calves being traded on electronic sales at 700 lbs for October delivery have brought $2.00 lb in the last week. Looking ahead, Wright says Colorado-based beef market data rm CattleFax is predicting steady prices this fall, with 550 lb calves at $2.15 and 800 lb yearlings at $1.90. CattleFax predicts that the backlog of fed cattle will inuence the market on both sides of the border well into the fourth quarter. “They felt that might negatively aect the price of feeder cattle this fall,” he says. Boon, for his part, is glad the market is showing signs of life, and he praised the work of those on the frontlines of the food supply for showing up for work. “Hats o to those guys coming back in Cargill, JBS and Harmony in Alberta,” he adds. “Those workers are showing they are supporting the food chain and without them in there those plants wouldn’t be working.” Silagrow.com1.800.663.6022 | ofﬁce@silagrow.comMulch FilmLandscaping FabricsShade Nets Bale WrapsBunker CoversSilage BagsTw i n eNet WrapsHay TarpsForage & Grain SeedVisGreenhouse Ground CoverGreenhouse FilmsProtection NetsSALMON ARM 5121 - 46 Ave S.E. SURREY 112-18860 24 Ave (PU & Delivery Only)Serving all of BC
22 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC© 2020 AGCO Corporation. Massey Ferguson is a worldwide brand of AGCO Corporation. AGCO and Massey Ferguson are trademarks of AGCO. All rights reserved. ABBOTSFORD Avenue Machinery Corp. | 1521 Sumas Way ..............................................604-864-2665KAMLOOPS Country Tractor | 580 Chilcotin Road ......................................................... 250-851-3101MAPLE RIDGE Van Der Wal Equipment Ltd. | 23390 River Road ...................................... 604-463-3681VERNON Avenue Machinery Corp. | 7155 Meadowlark Road .....................................250-545-3355CHECK OUT THE MASSEY FERGUSON 6700 SERIES TRACTOR.We’ve invested heavily in the future, and the new Massey Ferguson® 6700 Series tractors are unlike any mid-range we’ve ever built. They’re engineered from the ground up, then tested in the harshest conditions around the world, for more power, versatility and long-lasting operation. These machines are purpose-built to provide unmatched lift capacity and the power to pull heavier implements through the toughest jobs, with the next-level comfort of our deluxe cab and features. Come demo the 6700 Series today, and don’t be surprised if this ends up being the last tractor you ever buy.IT’S THE MOST POWERFUL HEAVYWEIGHT IN ITS CLASS.masseyferguson.us
Dairy reduces energy costs withsolar power Bomi Farms has the largest solar installation on a farm in BCDairy farmer Rene Miedema is extremely pleased with the grid solar panel system installed by Roost Solar last year. PHOTO / JACKIE PEARASECOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 23by JACKIE PEARASE ENDERBY – On a sunny afternoon in the North Okanagan, dairy farmer Rene Miedema may be found watching his hydro meter with a huge smile on his face. Solar power will do that to a farmer. Miedema is smiling because the solar panels installed on his dairy barn’s south-facing roof last fall are osetting most of his monthly hydro bill. He farms 200 acres of corn and hay east of Enderby on Trinity Valley Road. Bomi Farms has about 110 cows milked by two robotic milkers. The grid solar panel system runs his milking barn, house, young stock barn and a small barn now used for his wife’s ower business. A wash station for a new market vegetable enterprise will be added soon as well. “Every single building on the farm is run through solar,” Miedema says. “We had hoped to oset 96%, and my wife is adding to our load, so we might end up osetting a little less.” Steve Russell of Roost Solar says the 151 kilowatt grid solar panel system on Miedema’s barn is expected to produce over 170,000 kWh annually. Unlike o-grid systems that utilize batteries, a grid system puts excess solar back into the electrical grid. “BC Hydro and Fortis oer a program where any excess solar power gets fed back into the grid and you get full credit for that to draw down on that credit at night or winter when you’re not producing as much solar power,” Russell explains. About one-third of Roost Solar’s business is agricultural, with most installs being much smaller in scale. Miedema’s is the largest solar installation on a farm in BC, according to BC Hydro. “Rene’s (system) osets almost everything and it’s quite a big install for this area. It’s 438 panels, which is pushing the limits of what even BC Hydro allows,” Russell adds. “We went as high as we basically could according to his electrical service.” The power produced by the system goes into a bank of inverters, then is fed into two separate meters on the farm. The solar panels can be monitored remotely to show what is being produced daily, monthly and annually on a panel-by-panel basis. There is also an automatic alert for any issues with the system. All the panels have a 25-year performance warranty. Just one panel has been changed out since the installation. Embracing technology Miedema is no stranger to embracing technology. He faced a strong learning curve Serving the Okanagan and Fraser Valley We’ve been proudly family owned and operated since opening in 1976. And with two blending plants, we’re one of BC’s largest distributors of granular, liquid and foliar fertilizers. Our buying power and proximity to the Fraser Valley makes us the logical choice for truckload shipments. OKANAGAN FERTILIZER LTD 1-800-361-4600 or 250-838-6414See SOLAR on next page oVAN DER WAL EQUIPMENT (1989) LTD. 23390 RIVER ROAD, MAPLE RIDGE, BC V2W 1B6 604/463-3681 | vanderwaleq.com JUWEL – EASE OF USE AND SAFETY OF OPERATIONFOR ANY STRATEGIC TILLAGE PRACTICELOOK TO LEMKENJuwel mounted reversible ploughs from LEMKEN combine operational reliability and ease of use to deliver excellent performance.@strategictill | lemken.caVanderWal Equipment is now a LEMKEN dealer.■ Optiquick for ploughing without lateral pull ■ TurnControl for safe plough turning ■ Hydromatic for disruption-free ploughing even in stony soils ■ Skimmer with easy adjustment options – all without tools■ Also available as M version with hydraulic turnover deviceQuality Pre-Owned Tractors & EquipmentAGCO ALLIS 6690 4WD W/LDR . . . 25,000 AGCO ST47A 42D LDR . . . . . . . . . . . 28,000 BOBCAT 5600 TOOL CARRIER . COMING FELLA 800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,500 FORD 545 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,500 FORD 6610 CAB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . COMING JCB 409 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47,000 KUHN 4002 POWER HARROW . .12,500 KUHN FC313 MOWER TG . . . . . 20,000 x2 KVERNELAND AB85 4 BOT PLOWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,000 ea KVERNELAND 4032 MOWER . . 16,000 KVERNELAND 9476 RAKE . . . . . . CALL MCCORMICK GX45 4WD . . . . . . . CALL MASSEY FERGUSON 265 . . . . . . . 9,500 MASSEY FERGUSON 285 . . . . . .11,500 MF 5460 4X4 LDR . . . . . . . . . . COMING NEW HOLLAND TM150 . . . . . . . 47,000 NEW HOLLAND TS 115 . . . . . COMING SUNFLOWER 7232 23’ HARROW 17,500 TYCROP DUMP BOX 14’ . . . . . . . . 9,500 WACKER NEUSON TH522 TELEHANDLER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52,500
Bomi Farms in Enderby has the largest solar installation on a farm in BC. PHOTO / JACKIE PEARASE24 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCwww.tjequipmentllc.com 360-815-1597 LYNDEN, WA ALL PRICES IN US FUNDS1997 CLAAS LINER 780 CENTER DELIVERY, UP TO 24' RAKING WIDTH $9,2002010 NH BC5070 MOISTURE SENSOR, HYD. TENSION, ALWAYS STORED INSIDE $21,500EVERGREEN WATER MASTER W/4.1" X 1320' HOSE, HONDA MOTOR $18,500TY CROP IRRIGATION REEL W/3.7" HOSE, HONDA MOTOR $14,000You’re invested in your businessSo are wePartner with the only lender 100% invested in Canadian agriculture and food.1-800-387-3232 | fcc.caTHE BC DAIRY HISTORICAL SOCIETY IS SEEKING NOMINATIONS of producers, processors, BC Dairy Pioneers, supporters of the BC Dairy industry, writers or other individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the BC Dairy Industry. To nominate a worthy individual, submit a short summary of your nominee’s contributions to the industry. Nominations are to be submitted online at www.bcdairyhistory.ca under the Achievement Awards Tab. Nominations close October 2nd. The award will be presented at the 2020 BC Dairy Conference Gala Banquet.2020 BC DAIRY INDUSTRY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD BCDairy HISTORICAL SOCIETY13 years ago when he installed two DeLaval milking robots. Looking to the future, Miedema expects the dairy industry to see smaller prot margins, which pushes him to nd ways to diversify and economize. The choice to go solar was simple math based on proven technology that has become more nancially feasible in recent years, although it still required a hefty bank loan. “It’s a big, big number. But we hope, depending on what the rates do and how quickly we can pay down the loan, we hope to be even within say 12 to 15 years. Then, after that, it’s gravy,” Miedema says. “Even now, if you just do back-of-your-napkin math, we’re getting 3% on our money, on our investment. It’s an investment. It’s a long-term investment.” He encourages other producers to seriously consider solar as an option. “If somebody is building a new facility, I honestly believe this is a no-brainer. If you have the opportunity to orient the barn properly, maybe adjust the slope of your roof, you just roll that into the cost of your overall structure.” Miedema says the move to solar will make any producer happy. “I just love it. It’s a sunny day today and I know it’s trickling in; we’re making a bit of money on that.” Ingratta heads dairy commisionby DAVID SCHMIDT OTTAWA – Bob Ingratta is back in the dairy industry. Ingratta was CEO of the BC Milk Marketing Board for almost six years, from December 2011 to March 2017. Three years later, he has been appointed as chair of the Canadian Dairy Commission. Saying strong leadership is required in the coming year, federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau called Ingratta’s “depth of knowledge and experience in agriculture and corporate governance … valuable assets to the CDC.” Ingratta is the second BC resident in a row to lead the CDC. He follows in the footsteps of outgoing chair Alistair Johnston. Johnston is also an appointed director of the BC Chicken Marketing Board. “I am honoured to help the industry work through changes as CDC delivers service on many fronts,” Ingratta said. CDC’s main responsibilities are to set the support price of butter and skim milk powder and to monitor national milk production and demand and recommend adjustments to the national production target for industrial milk. To address supply issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC has received $200 million to purchase dairy products dislocated by shifting demand. Canada's dairy industry is also wrestling with how to replace Class 7, established under the national ingredient strategy, which the industry lost during negotiation of the new Canada-US-Mexico free trade agreement (CUSMA). Solar nfrom page 23countrylifeinbc.comvisit us online
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 25A recent review of the literature on how dairy cattle are housed illustrates that the public’s perceptions are at odds with the reality of industry practices. In terms of animal welfare, the public expects that dairy cattle should have access to pasture, freedom to roam and the ability to interact with each other. It is not an unreasonable expectation and in the broader context of other livestock – beef cattle, sheep and horses – it is an understandable point of view for a public not involved with the special responsibilities in the dairy industry. The review was undertaken by Marina von Keyserlingk, NSERC Industrial Research Chair with the UBC Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, and her colleagues as well as researchers at the University of PEI. The review, “Considerations for the future of dairy cattle housing: An animal welfare perspective” was published in the Journal of Dairy Science. “We see dierent publics questioning dairy, likely in large part because there is a growing realization that the lives led by the cows are very dierent than what they imagined,” says von Keyserlingk. “This dierence causes them to question things. Our work indicates that even when we educate them there are still practices that are out of line with societal expectations. This potentially undermines public trust and undermines the social sustainability of dairy farming.” In the various papers reviewed, many non-farmers equated pasture access with positive animal health and welfare, and a high percentage opposed zero-grazing systems. But access to pasture also came with an asterisk; participants in one of the studies reviewed rated indoor housing with ventilation (barn fans) more favourably than pasture without access to shade (increased risk of heat stress). People favour natural cow management but not at the expense of cow health. There is also context to consider in pasture turnout. “The public sees cows on pasture but do not necessarily think about dierences in seasons,” says von Keyserlingk. “Experimental work indicates that cows do prefer pasture, particularly at night and during the summer.” While naturalness is a priority among the non-farming public, cow management to maximize health and productivity is essential for farmers. Tie stalls, lack of pasture and individual housing for calves may seem unnatural to the public but farmers consider these things essential for practical cow care and economics. The third player in this equation is the cow and its own motivations. The review states that dairy cattle that are highly motivated to access pasture show a reduction in oral stereotypies, or repetitive behaviour, when turned out to pasture after being tethered in the barn. The conundrum is that the non-farming public, the dairy farmers and the cows themselves are all on the same page. Physical and mental health matter. The review states that certain behaviours are more critical than others, and further evaluation of the cows’ priorities is necessary to continue to improve their housing. Those housing improvements could include the use of modern technology. While, at rst glance, that may appear to deviate even further from natural living, it may actually facilitate natural behaviour by the cows while still not fully providing natural environments. Today’s technology oers dairy farmers options unheard of a few decades ago. Automated calf feeders provide calves not only milk on demand but a means to satisfy the strong urge to suckle. They also provide the benet of animal monitoring and options for individualized care which improves both health outcomes and natural expression. Automated milking systems are used on many dairy farms. Smart computing is on the horizon with dairy-specic technologies that will monitor the health of cattle remotely so that animals grazing on pasture can be brought into the barn for health checks. Health data might be transmitted by ear tags. Drones are already in use in beef cattle management on the range and likely have application for dairy cows on pasture. “We argue that the long-term sustainability of the dairy industry will depend on the extent to which housing systems reect public concerns and the animals’ priorities,” the review states. “The adoption of technologies, such as automated feeders and remote monitoring systems, may represent a means to practically promote the animals’ natural behaviour while simultaneously improving individualized care. Although older generations may consider technological solutions to be a further deviation from dairy farming’s agrarian roots, the denition of “naturalness” for younger generations may well have expanded to include technology.” Continued use of technology could bridge the division between the expectation of the public and the farming community. Given how naturally young farmers today embrace technology, the review suggests that the denition of naturalness has shifted across generations to include technology which will help achieve a compromise between stakeholders and their priorities. Dairy housing a matter of perspective Study says technology could help bridge gap between perception and realityResearch by MARGARET EVANSPRINCE GEORGE 250-561-4260 | KAMLOOPS 250-573-4412 | KELOWNA 250-765-9765 | CHILLIWACK 604-792-1516 | NANAIMO 778-441-3210PRAIRIECOASTEQUIPMENT.COMTOLL FREE: 1-877-553-3373Triple Mounted Mowers· 3 Models – up to 32.5’ Cutting Width· Narrow Transport Width of approx. 10 ft· Impeller or Roller Conditioning0%FINANCING UP TO72MONTHSUP TO$6,000FACTORYDISCOUNTS+Round Balers0%FINANCING UP TO72MONTHSUP TO$4,000FACTORYDISCOUNTS+Mower ConditionersTurn 10-hour daysinto 460-acre daysSome restrictions may apply. See dealer for details. Offers valid June 1-July 31, 2020.
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Exceptionally low cull rate is the payback on innovation DOING IT RIGHT. Innovative trellising, light-reecting ground covers and a strong back have contributed to near-perfect harvests of Honeycrisp apples for grower Devin Jell of Summerland. He was presented with the BC Fruit Growers’ Association’s Golden Apple award this year. PHOTO / CARL WITHLERCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 27Insurance products and services are provided through Assante Estate and Insurance Services Inc. Please visit www.assante.com/legal.jsp or contact Assante at 1-800-268-3200 for information with respect to important legal and regulatory disclosures relating to this notice.Financial planning for farm families Farm transition coaching Customized portfolio strategy Retirement income planningDriediger Wealth PlanningMark Driediger, CFP, FEA, Senior Wealth AdvisorBrent Driediger, BAA, CPA, CMA, CFP, Wealth Advisorwww.DriedigerWealthPlanning.com | 604.859.4890 Assante Financial Management Ltd.BC FRUIT GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION 1-800-619-9022 (ext 1) email: email@example.com www.bcfga.comThe Province of BC has provided funding to enhance the competitiveness of the tree fruit sector. The fund is open to tree fruit growers, producers, and processors to support three key areas of priority: ● Research: cultivar, disease and pest research. ● Marketing: export market opportunities and market development research. ● Infrastructure: sector-based infrastructure modernization such as new equipment. The Tree Fruit Competitiveness Fund is jointly delivered by the BC Fruit Growers’ Association and Investment Agriculture Foundation BC. For details about the Tree Fruit Competitiveness Fund, including eligibility and application forms, please visit www.bcfga.com or iafbc.ca/tree-fruit, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Project intake is continous. Apply in advance of project initiation – 8 weeks minimum is recommended. Tree Fruit Competitiveness FundGrower harvests near-perfect Honeycrispsby TOM WALKER SUMMERLAND – Order is certainly a word that comes to mind when you look at Devin Jell’s Summerland apple orchard. The rows are perfectly straight, with alternate trees angled 15 degrees o-centre to form a V-shape. The trees are supported by a trellis and the lateral branches are taped to the cordon wires like a grape vine. The space between the trees within the row is carefully pruned to be clear of any growth and buds are meticulously thinned down to around 120 apples per tree. “I think I am driven to ght entropy, to build order out of chaos,” says Jell, this year’s recipient of the Golden Apple award from the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, presented at the BC Tree Fruit Horticultural Symposium in Kelowna at the end of February. “Nature wants to just do chaos and I am trying to put order back into the system.” Jell admits that over his 14 years of farming there have been setbacks, like the summer of 2018 when he lost several thousand trees to Sudden Apple Decline. “It’s a tug of war,” he says. “Some years she wins, some years I win. But I get a good deal of satisfaction out of that.” Jell and his wife Janine are carrying on the farming legacy of the Gartrell family, operators of the Okanagan’s oldest continuous family farm. James Gartrell brought his family out from Stratford, Ontario in 1885 and became the rst commercial orchardist in the valley. The farm, now known as Sun-Oka Fruit Farms, has been in the family ever since. “My father-in-law and his brother were looking to retire around 2005,” says Jell. “Having no sons, they started looking for a son-in-law with a rubber arm they could twist.” The Gartrell brothers had some specic qualities in mind for their successor. “They told me they were looking for someone with a weak mind and a strong back,” Jell quips. “And they settled on me.” It turns out a strong mind is critical to Jell’s success at growing his signature apple, Honeycrisp. “If you grow them right, they really eat well,” Jell says. “I can’t imagine an apple tasting any better than that.” But the variety has endless challenges, he says. “Anything that can go wrong with an apple goes wrong with Honeycrisp,” he says. A degree in molecular biology from the University of Victoria has helped Jell understand and control the variety’s issues. “I am very cause-and-eect,” he explains. “I take meticulous notes and I do a lot of things through trial and error.” He has been researching how tomato growers have solved a problem that also aects Honeycrisp apples, and over the last two years he has had success. “I don’t want to put (the solution) out there just yet,” he says. “I want to be sure it is not just correlation, but actually causation.” His success as a grower is clear, however. When he started shipping to Kelowna-based independent packinghouse Consolidated Fruit Packers Ltd. two years ago, he was told the industry standard for Honeycrisp culls was 50%. “Last year, I watched some of my apples coming down the line and I got a cull rate of only 2.4%,” he says. “I declared victory. I don’t think I can get any better than that.” See TRELLIS on next page o
TRELLIS system maximizes light nfrom page 2728 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCMarketing British Columbia to the World®www.landquest.comToll Free 1-866-558-LAND (5263)“The Source” for Oceanfront, Lakefront, Islands, Ranches, Resorts & Land in BC®BOUNDARY CREEK HAY FARMGREENWOOD, BCEXPERIENCE THE LURE OF THE LAKE (NISKONLITH) NEAR CHASE, BCWATERFRONT ACREAGEQUALICUM BEACH, BC LIMESTONE MOUNTAIN RANCHBIG LAKE, BCIDEAL HOBBY FARM PROPERTYEDGEWATER, BCPONDEROSA RANCHCOBBLE HILL, BCOCEANFRONT ACREAGESSOUTHERN GULF ISLANDSSPRAWLING 741 ACRE CATTLE RANCH SUPPORTING 350 COW CALF PAIRSBELLA COOLA ESTATE PROPERTYSELF-SUSTAINING CATTLE RANCHVANDERHOOF, BCPicturesque creek side 317 acres with over 200 acres in irrigated land yielding 3 tons per acre. 4 hose reels gun irrigation with 3 phase 30 HP pump. Ranch house, new modern shop, hay shed, barn and storage. Abundant wildlife elk, deer, wild turkey, moose and grouse. $1,149,000Bring your RV / trailer to the edge of the Thompson-Nicola and the Shuswap regions, where you will find the scenic Niskonlith Lake just 20 minutes off the Trans-Canada Highway near Pritchard. Mostly flat 2.6 acres with shelter, power and 760 ft of lake frontage! $499,000Last undeveloped waterfront lot in an area of luxury waterfront estates. 6.05 acres, zoning allows for a main home + secondary accommodation. Views across the Strait of Georgia extend from Denman & Hornby Island towards Qualicum Beach with the Mainland mountains as the backdrop. $850,000Picture perfect cattle ranch, horse facility & recreational paradise. Private 50 acre private lake, dock & rainbows to 6 lbs. 1,415 acres, 11 titles fenced & cross fenced. 2,000 ft2 ranch house & cabins. Barn & many out buildings, 325 acre in hay 550-600 tons / year, 175-200 cow / calf pairs. Tons of wildlife. $1,995,000Perfect size acreage (68 acres) with a little bit of everything! Lightly forested, very accessible with a private road / trail running into land. Land extends out towards Columbia River. A few nice open pastures offer excellent grazing. Lots of animal and horse trails. Only minutes to town. Great views. $399,900Stunning private estate on 50 acres with valley, ocean and Mount Baker views. 30 minutes from downtown Victoria. Main home, caretaker / guest home, barn, workshop and equipment storage. Turnkey, meticulously maintained grounds and improvements. $4,350,000One of a kind private island with airstrip & easy boat access from Vancouver Island to a sheltered dock. Miles of sandy beaches, 400 acres of precious conservancy lands, managed forest, freshwater ponds, orchard & a fulltime caretaker. Ultimate privacy & spectacular views. NOW FROM ONLY $199,000Fully operational cattle ranch with sunny lakefront residence nestled onto the shore of Sharpe Lake. Currently runs 350 cow / calf pairs. 16,270 hectare Crown grazing range with a 1,883 AUMs allowance. 2 hour drive to both Kamloops & Williams Lake. 9 titles, 250 acres of productive hay land. $1,490,0004,670 ft2 rancher style estate on 198 parklike, riverfront acres (3 titles). Home is approx. 50% complete with solid timber frame const. & massive 19 ft cedar beams. Copper roof, eves, gutters & some window ashing. Extensive work done on the property developing ponds, creeks, elds & gardens. $989,00030 mins S of Vanderhoof. Potential to run approx. 350 pairs. 1,405 deeded acres, 600 acres hay production 800 acres. 40,000 acre grazing lease. Cross fenced to manage herd rotation. Modular home with basement suite. Renovated cabin, newly built equine barn with suite. Numerous outbuildings. Off-grid. $1,925,000RICH OSBORNE 604-664-7633Personal Real Estate Corporationrich@landquest.comROB GREENE email@example.comKEVIN KITTMER firstname.lastname@example.orgSAM HODSON 604-694-7623Personal Real Estate Corporationsam@landquest.comMATT CAMERON email@example.comJASON ZROBACK 1-604-414-5577 JAMIE ZROBACK 1-604-483-1605DAVE COCHLAN firstname.lastname@example.orgCHASE WESTERSUND 778-927-6634COLE WESTERSUND 604-360-0793FAWN GUNDERSON 250-982-2314Personal Real Estate Corporationfawn@landquest.comJOHN ARMSTRONG email@example.comLandQuest® Realty Corp CaribooCFP eldperson Sera Lean says that Jell’s skills with Honeycrisp are part of what prompted her to nominate him for the award. “Honeycrisp is not a starter apple. They require a lot of skill,” she notes. “Devin grows them well and he does it consistently.” Jell has become a agship grower for the company she adds. “Knowing that he can produce hundreds of bins of top quality fruit, that’s how you build an export program.” A lot of that success comes from his innovative V-trellis system, which he designed and built on his own. “I was mowing the grass early one morning and thought about how I am really in the business of harvesting light, and I needed to get more of it into the trees, rather than just let the light fall on the ground,” he says. The system is increasingly popular with Washington state apple growers but Jell’s fellow growers in BC dismissed the idea. “They all mocked me and told me it had been tried before, but I am stubborn,” he says. The angle of the trees allow them to catch more sunlight, while the 12-foot height makes better use of the land base. “I have twice as much fruiting surface per acre,” he notes. Branches from each tree are trained left and right along the cordon wires to create two continuous fruiting walls for each row of trees. He uses a more vigorous rootstock to support the greater tree area. The arrangement of trees also allows better penetration of sprays while the open canopy improves air ow to reduce disease pressure. But it’s during picking where the system really shows merit. “Pickers eyes light up when they see this fruiting wall,” says Jell. When a picker goes up the ladder, apples are within easy distance because the tree is only six to eight inches deep. “It is safer for them because they don’t have to lean and reach inside the tree,” explains Jell. “They can pick a lot faster and do really well with a piece rate.” On the downside, the system is “considerably” more expensive to install than a regular super-spindle plantings. He says he was lucky to get the steel he needed at “the lowest price in decades” following the 2008 recession. The system also requires thousands of hours more pruning time than a super-spindle system, Jell says. He has two full-time employees dedicated to pruning the orchard. The angle of the trees does cut the amount of sunlight that gets through to the bottom fruit, however. Jell was an early adopter of reective material placed on the orchard oor to bounce sunlight back into the canopy to help fruit colour up as picking season approaches. He’s been using it since 2011. “It denitely works and is very valuable for this system,” he says. Jell says he gets a lot of satisfaction seeing the results of his work at harvest time. “When you look at all of the things that can go wrong for you in farming, the odds seem stacked against you,” he says. “It doesn’t happen every year, but to be able to come out at the end with bin after bin of perfect-looking apples, it gives a sense of accomplishment.” A new crop on the way. Devin Jell’s trellis system did not come cheap but it maximizes his acreage, increases the canopy and improves air ow, and makes his fruit super-easy to harvest. Pickers love it. PHOTO / TOM WALKER
Making the shift from table to wine grapesNew winery makes its debut as COVID-19 restrictions easeCOVID-19 stalled but couldn’t stop Darren and Jane Sawin from ofcially opening Priest Creek Family Estate Winery’s new tasting room in southeast Kelowna on May 20. The property was part of a parcel farmed by the rst European settler in Kelowna, Father Charles Pandosy, who is said to have planted fox grapes in 1859 for sacramental wine, making him the valley’s rst grapegrower and winemaker. PHOTO / MYRNA STARK LEADERCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 29by MYRNA STARK LEADER KELOWNA – While many wineries struggle with online sales, it was the only option for one of Kelowna’s newest wineries when it launched amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But when restrictions lifted in mid-May, visitors nally had a chance to see what three years of work had done to the historic property. When Darren and Jane Sawin purchased their 12.5-acre vineyard in southeast Kelowna ve years ago, it had eight acres of mature Einset Seedless vines – one of the largest plantings of the pink table grape in the province – and 2.5 acres of 25-year old Gewürztraminer vines. The couple had relocated to the Okanagan from Calgary in 2005, taking time to purchase the right land where they could raise their four children, today ages 12 to 23. “Darren was raised on a large cattle ranch in southern Saskatchewan and grew up farming so we wanted a family business the kids could grow into if they wanted,” says Karen, also raised on a Saskatchewan farm. The couple initially focused on growing and marketing the table grapes themselves, then began selling them to BC Tree Fruits Co-operative. The Gewürztraminer went to Ex Nihilo Vineyards in Lake Country. But with the farm as their sole source of income, the returns didn’t pencil out. BC Tree Fruits negotiated contracts on behalf of growers, and the Sawins felt they weren’t getting top dollar for their fruit. The co-op priced grapes the same for all customers, even though the Sawins knew some customers were willing to pay the co-op a higher price. “We actually listed the property for sale thinking we were going to go nd another property on this bench with wine grapes,” says Darren. Then, by chance or fate, they met Jason Parkes, owner of The Hatch Wines in Kelowna, Perseus Winery in Penticton, and the builder of Indigenous World Winery in West Kelowna. “Jason actually looked at our property three times and almost put an oer on it, but decided to meet with us. He said, ‘This is a perfect property for a winery right between other wineries. Why are you selling it? You even have some wine grapes. Let’s do this together. I’ll help you and teach you and guide you,’” explains Karen. With Parkes’ vision and partnership in grape growing, grape procurement and winemaking, they spent two and a half years creating Priest Creek Family Estate Winery, incorporated in 2018. That year they pulled out the Einsets, replanting eight acres with three clones of Pinot Noir as well as some Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. They began making wine from their Gewürztraminer grapes plus Cabernet Sauvignon and other varieties purchased from growers in Oliver. And they built a winery and tasting room. The Sawins will focus on red wine production to dierentiate themselves from nearby wineries such as SpearHead, Tantalus and Vibrant Vine. “The more wineries you get closer together, the better. It’s not competition,” says Darren. While he’s been involved in farming since he was a kid (“farming is farming,” he says), Darren is grateful for the assistance he’s received from Parkes, who serves as consulting winemaker. The experience of some of his eld workers has also been invaluable. They also had access to Parkes’ viticulturist last year. “She came out twice a week and taught me. She made a spray plan for us,” he says. Their business plan calls for a maximum production of 5,000 cases. They bottled 1,400 cases in 2019 and are hoping for 2,000 this year. Creating small, approximately 200-case lots, their product is ltered in Oliver at Cellar Dweller and taken to Artus Bottling Ltd. in Penticton. To enhance his winemaking skills, Darren took Washington State University’s online viticulture course last year. Their production facility has room to accommodate extra tanks as they scale up to 5,000 cases. In time, they’d also like to purchase 10 acres of land in the southern Okanagan to increase control over their red grape supply. However, one of the challenges in the whole operation has been nancing. It typically costs about $30,000 an acre to replant grapes. There is no grape replant program, and with no o-farm income they haven’t been able to access bank nancing. Winery development to date has been done entirely with savings. Just like marketing their table grapes, marketing their wine hasn’t been without challenges. Public health measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 prompted them to launch with only online sales and curbside pick-up. But on May 20, after the province relaxed restrictions, they were excited to open their tasting room while following health guidelines. “We just want to welcome customers face-to-face,” says Jane. At the same time, the pair remain optimistic they’ve chosen the right business for grapes. “The owner of Vibrant Vine and I were visiting one day and he asked me, ‘Have you ever met a grumpy old farmer?’ I said yes, and he said, ‘Have you ever met a grumpy old winemaker? There’s none. They’re all happy,’” he said,” says Darren. “And he was right.” 16FT MASCHIO POWER HARROW $13,500KRAUSE Disk Ripper14FT $12,000TYCROPIRRIGATIONREEL $20,000CASE IH MXM140 PRO7800 HRS. $42,000JOHN DEERE 64108000 HRS. $35,000NEW HOLLAND TM120 5610 HRS.4X4 NOT WORKING $35,000JOHN DEERE 75206500 HRS. $52,000JOHN DEERE 64208800 HRS.FRONT 3 POINT HITCH$40,000NEW HOLLAND T8 350 3975 HRS.FULL GPS $152,000AG-CHEM FERT SPREADER $20,000
30 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCEven when we’re apart, we stand together.As we navigate the impact of COVID-19 world and recover from the disruption caused by the global pandemic in the coming months, it’s critical that we continue to support one another and work together to build a more resilient nation and agriculture sector. Many of you may have questions during this time as you think about ways to re-open or sustain your farm operations and rebuild for the future, while continuing to protect yourself, your family and your employees. We want you to know that RBC is here to support you and the Canadian agriculture community. We understand that every farm operation is unique. Whether it’s offering a relevant solution from the RBC Client Relief Program* to help support producers and farm operators who have been impacted by COVID-19, or exploring tailored ﬁ nancing solutions and providing advice around longer-term business owner, risk and contingency planning, we’re here to help. We encourage you to speak with your RBC Agriculture Account Manager to discuss your business needs. They can work with you to determine the best options to help support your recovery and growth plans. The situation remains very ﬂ uid, and we’ll continue to evolve our approach as we navigate the current and post-COVID environment. For the latest updates, please visit www.rbc.com/businessrelief.RBC has proudly served the Canadian agriculture community for more than 150 years and we’ve been through a lot together during that time. The challenges may differ, but the resolve of Canadian producers and RBC’s dedicated employees never wavers. I want to thank our clients and our employees for your extraordinary resilience and commitment to work through these challenging times together so that we can build a stronger future for the industry and nation. As always, we stand together with you.Sincerely,Ryan RieseNational Director of AgricultureRBC*The RBC Client Relief Program is available for a limited time with some options available only until June 30, 2020. Some of these options may increase your interest costs or your outstanding principal balance over the life of your loan or increase the outstanding balance on your credit card during the relief period, if applicable. You should carefully evaluate your ﬁ nancial situation and priorities before exercising any of these options. For more information on how RBC supports producers visit rbc.com/agriculture ® Trademark of Royal Bank of Canada.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 31by BARBARA JOHNSTONE GRIMMER SATURNA ISLAND – A summer tradition on Saturna Island since 1950, the annual Saturna Lamb Barbecue is one of many events cancelled across BC this year in response to concerns associated with COVID-19. Normally held every July 1, this one-day event brings in more than $50,000 as a fundraiser for the tiny Gulf Island community of 350 people, while boosting lamb sales for island sheep producers. The Argentine-style lamb barbeque attracts tourists by boat and ferry from all the neighbouring islands and mainland. Up to 1,300 meals are served to approximately 2,000 visitors. At the centre of the action is Campbell Farm, one of two Class A abattoirs in the southern Gulf Islands. The small facility serves farmers on Saturna and neighbouring islands. It processes all lambs for the barbecue, work that kicks o operations for another year. Jacques Campbell operates Campbell Farm with her brother Tom and sister Nan. She is also a director of the BC Association of Abattoirs and BC Sheep Federation. Campbell Farm has 100 commercial ewes and about 10 cows. Approximately half its 560 acres is arable and the rest is primarily forested and rocky. Campbell Farm was started by Jacques’ parents Jim and Lorraine Campbell in 1945 after they completed their agriculture studies at UBC. They started with beef but transitioned to mainly lamb because of the suitability of sheep to the climate and landscape, and the high demand for Gulf Island lamb. The abattoir was originally built in the late 1950s with advice from the UBC Faculty of Agriculture. There are two levels in the plant: a drop oor allows for beef to be hung, and a walk-in cooler on the upper level has an overhead track to move the carcasses. When the meat regulations changed in 2007, the upgrades needed for the plant were minimal, requiring only improved surfaces and a closed-in ceiling. Other items were added – like a bolt gun and sanitizers for the knives. There were additional considerations, such as an oce and bathroom to be provided for the inspector. Slaughter is seasonal, running from June to December. The abattoir runs three days a week, with one day for slaughter and two days for cutting and wrapping. The inspector comes on an early ferry from Victoria, arriving at the Class A plant typically kicks off season with community BBQ, but not this year Abattoir meets needs of Gulf Islands farmersCASE IH MAXXUM 120 MFD, CAB TRACTOR W/LOADER $117,700 CASE IH 1250 6 ROW CORN PLANTER $14,500 CLAAS 860 SP FORAGE HARVESTER 12.5’ PICKUP & 6 ROW CORNHEAD $93,700 CLAAS 970 SP FORAGE HARVESTER 10’ PICKUP & 10 ROW CORNHEAD CALL FOR MORE DETAILS/PRICING X 2 FENDT 930 MFD CAB TRACTOR CALL FOR DETAILS JD 7230R MFD TRACTOR CALL FOR DETAILS JD 8295R MFD CAB TRACTOR WITH DUALS JUST IN! CALL FOR DETAILS NH 900 PT FORAGE HARVESTER WITH GRASS PICK UP $5,400 Pre-owned Tractors & Equipmentwww.caliberequipment.ca STORE HOURS MONDAY-FRIDAY, 8-5 CLOSED SATURDAYS ‘TIL SPRING604-864-2273 34511 VYE ROAD ABBOTSFORD Go with your gut. JAGUAR. Jacques Campbell of Campbell Farm, Saturna Island with some of her lambs. PHOTO / BOB ESTEYSee QUICK on next page o
The annual Saturna Lamb Barbecue on the Canada Day weekend typically raises $50,000 for community projects but like just about every other community event this year, it has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PHOTO / NETTIE ADAMSQUICK turnaround nfrom page 3132 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCfarm around 6:30 am, and work ends when the inspector heads to the ferry around 10 am. Campbell said that when changes to the meat inspection regulations were announced in 2004, they were rst told that there was no room for small slaughterhouses like hers. That attitude has since changed. She feels that the advantage of the licence and the inspection process outweighs the expense and extra oversight, providing opportunity. They have scheduled slaughter days and sell beef and lamb in the local store and to the local restaurants. Campbell Farm’s abattoir provides custom cut-and-wrap services for farmers on islands without their own abattoir. Campbell has been trained to assess the quality of the carcasses and label as premium those that meet the standard. Each package and box is identied with a unique label tracing the meat to the RFID tag on the animal and farm of origin. Campbell Farm has a customer base of sheep and beef producers from neighbouring islands who bring their animals by truck on the ferries or from smaller islands by barge. Sometimes the schedules require an overnight stay, which is dicult with COVID-19 restrictions in place. One ever-evolving challenge is the ferries themselves. Rates seem to always go up and schedules altered. Campbell has been an early adopter of technology, using a Psion RFID reader, Farmworks software and a Bluetooth-enabled scale head to monitor her own ock’s progress, although she does say that her old method of using paper and pen works well, too. She participated in the Canadian Sheep Federation RFID Trial several years ago, and her farm hosted a workshop for sheep producers in 2010 to show the benets of RFID and also to show how the abattoir operates, arranging for a Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspector to attend. Producers came from Salt Spring, Pender, Mayne and Vancouver Islands, and an abattoir operator came from Gabriola Island to see the upgrades. COVID-19 hasn’t changed life on the farm too much, but Campbell is planning for changes in her abattoir when slaughter begins in July. She has applied for funding to help her adapt the small plant to ensure safety for the people who help slaughter, and for the inspector. She expects that her usual capacity of 20 lambs in a morning will be somewhat reduced by the increased social distancing measures and a reduction in sta from ve workers to four. She explained how some meat plants have installed ceiling-hung Plexiglas kill-oor dividers. She is planning to order a face shield, as well as other personal protection equipment. “We were on a call with Dr. Bonnie Henry who reassured us that the meat would not be aected,” says Campbell, “We are to develop a COVID plan and apply all the safety measures that we can.” The Saturna community has responded in a positive way to the cancellation of the annual Saturna Lamb Barbecue. “We have sold everything we have; there is not much left in the freezer,” says Jacques Campbell of Campbell Farm, which processes lamb for the 70-year-old event. When the cancellation was announced in early May, she immediately had orders for eight lambs that she was not expecting. “If this is a slow season, I don’t know what the busy season is going to be like,” she says. Busy season for lamb sales would normally start in June, with 25-27 lambs slaughtered for the barbecue. The regular season begins when the last of the hay is in the barn. “People are stepping up, “ agrees barbecue co-chair Peggy Warren. Donations are already coming in, and there are plans to sell an “un-ticket” for $22.50, the price of a barbecue ticket, as a fundraiser. The Saturna Lamb Barbecue is a project of the Saturna Community Club, the oldest organization on the island. The club manages the community hall, the cemetery, the recycling centre and the library. Fundraising used to be applied to the health centre which is now funded through local property taxes. “Everyone on the island plays some role,” says Warren. “Firewood to be chopped, food to be made. There is Spanish rice with a secret recipe, fresh baked Haggis Farm rolls, homemade coleslaw, island-made mint sauce and homemade cookies.” Priscilla Ewbank of Haggis Farm Bakery says the event involves everyone in the community, from top to bottom. “Everyone is a volunteer,” she says. “It is a time for all of us to come together. The barbecue will be missed, and the funds are important to the community.” From humble beginnings as a school picnic, the barbecue is now the main source of income for community groups on Saturna. Of the $50,000 raised, the barbeque nets $30,000 and various community groups at the family-focussed event raise the remaining $20,000. — Barbara Johnstone Grimmer Community spiritWe service all makes!Power through your entire to-do list.IN-LINE INGENUITY. Unlike competitors, the HESSTON 1800 SERIES by MASSEY FERGUSON is designed to follow di-rectly behind the tractor. The result is dense, high quality hay - with no flimsy banana-shaped bales that immediately fall apart when they're picked up.SUNFLOWER 1000 SERIES DISC HARROWS are the #1 choice for seedbed preparation.The mid-size, 5-ton S-500 Willmar spreader is versatile enough to adapt to nearly any situation on small or large farm operations. 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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 33ROTATOR®TECHNOLOGY1000 SERIESIRRIGATION AUTOMATIONHELPS AID NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT Wirelessly automate your valves to turn your sprinklers on and oﬀ as needed and reduce potential for runoﬀ.Contact us to learn more: Tel: +1 509.525.7660nelsonirrigation.comBIG GUN® SPRINKLER + TWIG® WIRELESS CONTROLSHigh-uniformity Rotator® sprinklers help manage water & nutrients uniformly in the soil.Nelson valves are designed for tough agricultural applications. 3030 SERIES PIVOTSPRINKLERS1/2” & 3/4”IMPACT REPLACEMENTSby RONDA PAYNE ABBOTSFORD – Changes to on-farm safety standards as a result of COVID-19 were outlined in an online workshop BC Ministry of Agriculture food safety specialist Elsie Friesen led on April 29. “The good news during COVID-19 is that you have a solid base in the procedures that you’re using,” she says. Chilliwack’s The Local Harvest operates a 38-acre farm that supplies produce to a store at the front of the property. Similar to other small operations, it isn’t CanadaGAP-certied and doesn’t have a formal safety plan but as co-owner Helen Oostenbrink explains, it changed its eld and market procedures in March. Sta, who number 10 at peak season, meet daily to put the standards into practice. They’re now second nature. “The requirements from Fraser Health, those are the ones we’re following,” she says. “We’ve done the arrows, we’ve done the sign on the door limiting people. It’s a lot more extra work, but we’re doing it.” Fraser Health sent Oostenbrink a letter and visited the market to discuss procedures. This includes practices like physical distancing, handwashing, hand sanitizer stations for customers and employees and cleaning all surfaces. “In regards to food safety, nothing is changed as food operations address viruses at all times,” says Friesen. Friesen says the virus that causes COVID-19 needs a host to be able to replicate but it can be transferred via contact with non-host items like totes. This contagiousness is an issue when coupled with the proximity of workers. Fortunately, the protein coating the virus can be broken down by soap, water and friction, neutralizing it. However, sanitizers and disinfectants must be used as directed to be eective. “The most important precautions are, 1) wash your hands; 2) don’t touch your face; and 3) physical distancing between other people,” she says. “I suspect that whatever changes we see at the beginning of the season will continue to the end of the season.” Splashing is also a key factor in contamination and she advises using pressure washers outside only. A four-step process – washing with soap and water, rinsing, sanitizing and air drying – is necessary for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces. Oostenbrink is lucky that her business has a number of sinks both in the warehouse and in the store to facilitate increased handwashing. Her business has also started putting produce into plastic bags because of customer preferences. Items weren’t selling without it. “We pick it, do our safety practices and bag it,” she explains. “It’s not what we stand for. We were working towards no plastic.” Her safety practices include sanitizing the washing station, hand washing and washing the produce with clean cold water before bagging. Stations are sanitized between batches of produce. Friesen advises operators to review CanadaGAP sections 11 and 15 for handwashing procedures. While these standards require one handwashing station for every 35 workers, she suggests it should be one for every 15 to 20 workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gloves may seem to be the answer, but when compared to soap and water, handwashing is more economical. Because COVID-19 is a biosecurity issue, the footbaths common at poultry operations are a consideration for other agricultural sectors. “The top of the shoe is where your, or others’, speaking spittle or respiratory droplets fall down to and if you end up tying or untying your shoes, it can get on your hands,” Friesen says. Temperature checks are one way to identify those who may have the virus, but Friesen notes these checks must be done by someone in full personal protective equipment with a medical-grade thermometer. If someone gets COVID-19, operators must contact health authorities and have a written recall plan they can implement. The ministry, along with commodity associations, can help build such a plan.Strengthening on-farm food safety protocolsGradual reopening demands farm shops adhere to best practices • Provide handwashing stations, ideally one for every 15 to 20 workers • Create a cleaning checklist (door handles, light switches, vehicles, totes, phones etc.) • Identify items where transfer is possible and establish contact and cleaning procedures • Establish protocols for farm visitors • Change disinfectants every 6 to 12 months • Mix and use cleaners and sanitizers as directed • Make use of technology such as tap payment • Have pickers work on odd rows rst, then work back on even rows for distancing • Create a traceability and recall plan • Visit webpages like BCCDC, AgSafe, Health Canada and BC MInistry of Agriculture for complete information On-farm practices for a pandemic
How virus-free potatoes get their start. PHOTO / ANNA HELMER34 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCThe situation on the ground remains uncertain (I still don’t quite understand where sales are going to come from) and uid (the latest information gets old quickly). To avoid fretting unduly, I have found some talking points of a more general interest, touching on universal experience, reecting common struggles and tapping deep wells of empathy. Case in point: Here’s one for all the middle-aged ladies out there who are required to handle 100 lb sacks of seed potatoes every spring. It’s all so awkward, even under premium conditions, which include: a pallet of tightly sewn sacks presented at waist height, no witnesses, mid-morning. I grasp one in close embrace, lean back slightly using knee and hip as leverage, and mutter obscenities. I swing over in the direction of the destination pallet (at ground level), stagger along with mincing and hurried steps and nally allow the inexorable force of gravity to drag the sack down my body, scratching unprotected skin, ripping o buttons and cracking ngernails. There is a proper way to stack sacks of potatoes. I don’t do it like that. Another un-favourite farming thing (the un-avowed topic for today) – and it’s amazing that both occur on the same day sometimes – is doing lab work on beautiful spring days. (I’ll be honest. On any day.) It’s stuy in there, stinks of bleach and alcohol, eats up hours I’ll never get back, and bears no resemblance to any farm dream ever. It must be done every 25 days in the spring, and it must be done exactly right, with no deviation from standard operating procedures. There are lots of witnesses if it’s done wrong because the jars of plants, stored in the communal grow room, will have mold spots and won’t grow properly and no-one will be shy to point it out because we all know it must be perfect. Some explanation is perhaps required. Potatoes, for all their robust reputation, are exquisitely vulnerable to various diseases caused by virus infection, not to mention scab, rot, mold, fungus, diminishing vigour and general ugliness. The trick is to plant seed that is certied virus-free and as generationally close to the original virus-free tissue culture as possible. So, commercial growers need annual infusions of early-generation seed potatoes. We produce that here in Pemberton, and it starts in our seed propagation facility, aka The Lab. The Lab is owned jointly by all the seed potato growers in Pemberton. It’s where we house, in tissue culture, all our varieties and where we can work in a sterile environment. Potatoes feature the useful and unique characteristic that they will grow true clones of themselves both from the tubers and from stem cuttings. This means that we can multiply the number of plants by cutting them into little pieces and planting them in agar and growing them for a month under lights, before cutting them up again. We start with just a small handful in January and end up with thousands in June, which are nally planted into the eld. The harvest from these plants becomes the rst generation of virus-free seed potatoes. It’s a process that has taken me 20 years to understand and execute. Every so often, I write about it and suspect I succeed only in confusing people further. Apologies if this is again the case. I originally meant to complain about it and move on. As with lots of things these days, an armour of numb indierence to the inevitable challenges of the immediate future would be helpful. Anna Helmer is currently battling a COVI-D-pression and planting potatoes in the Pemberton Valley. Taking refuge in The LabCloning potatoes may not be fun but it’s essentialFarm News by ANNA HELMERHANDLERS EQUIPMENTABBOTSFORD, 339 Sumas Way 604.850.3601HOUSTON, 4001 Williams Crescent 250.845.3333TRACTOR TIMEVICTORIA, 4377C Metchosin Rd. 250.474.3301 30 minutes from Victoria and 15 Minutes from Highway#1 in Metchosin.PREMIUM TRUCKPRINCE GEORGE, 1015 Great Street 250.563.0696WILLIAMS LAKE, 4600 Collier Place 250.398.7411Contact your local MAHINDRA DEALERLong lasting 7-Year and 5-Year limited powertrain warranties.Mahindra 9125 Cab Tractor with Pallet Forks and Box Blade.
4-H sales adapt amid COVID-19 restrictionsClubs explore online sales and other optionsIt will be anything but business as usual for 4-H members this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has effectively shut down their traditional stock sales at shows and fairs. FILE PHOTO / RONDA PAYNECOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 354-H British Columbia is pleased to oer BC youth an opportunity to keep busy while they are staying home by participating in the new 4-H@HOME Project. 4-H@HOME will support BC youth in applying the 4-H moto Learn To Do By Doing as they complete hands-on activities related to the 4-H Canada Leadership Development Pillars: e 4-H@HOME Project features 30 unique topics, including dairy. e dairy project consists of activities, including participation in a virtual dairy farm tour, an exploration of the udder, and a milk product nutritional comparison.is project is available at no cost to both 4-H BC mem-bers, as well as youth not currently enrolled in 4-H. For more details and to register, visit: www.4hbc.ca/4-h-home 4-H @ HOME4-H@H O M E P r o j e c t by JACKIE PEARASE ARMSTRONG – True to their club motto, “Learn to Do by Doing,” 4-H club members across BC are nding new ways to market their animal projects when traditional means are unavailable. Physical distancing rules in place banning events of more than 50 people and the cancellation of most fall fairs featuring 4-H auction sales have pushed 4-H leaders to think outside the box. Organizers of the Okanagan 4-H Stock Show in Armstrong are going ahead with the planned sale date of July 11 but with an online format. Interior Provincial Exhibition 4-H director Ted Steiger says 4-H members will create short descriptions of their animals for an online catalogue used for the week-long auction from July 4-11. “It’s basically our only option at this point,” he notes. “Until they relax the rules somewhat … it’s our best option.” Restrictions in place this fall will dictate the format of the 4-H sale typically held at the IPE. “As far as the IPE sale goes, we’re still throwing some ideas out on that one,” Steiger says. “There will be some sort of an auction for those kids.” The cancellation of the Pacic National Exhibition has Lower Mainland 4-H groups considering the online route as well. Abbotsford 4-H key leader Heather Schmidt says not having the PNE to market animals is a reminder that creative thinking is a useful skill for farmers. “The marketing is part of agriculture so it may be an opportunity for the kids to have to be a bit more creative in how they market their project,” Schmidt says. “In my mind, the selling of the project is the icing on the cake. The cake is really the whole year of the kids working together and learning how raise their animals well. Marketing is a part of that.” PNE agriculture manager Christie Kerr is polling 4-H clubs in early June to determine if there is enough interest and resources to provide an online auction in lieu of the auction at the fair. “It’s a whole new world for us. We are working to see what we can do to engage 4-H and support them in any way we can,” says Kerr. “There has never been a year that we haven’t been here to support 4-H, in particular the auction.” She expects the auction to have fewer hogs as some swine clubs opted out of a project this year. “Within our club, probably only half of the members were able to get hogs because of the sharing of property. A lot of pig clubs’ members have their pigs at one farm and with social distancing, they’re just not able to do that right now,” she explains. Provincial Winter Fair organizers in Kamloops are making a nal decision on their event on July 1. “We’re denitely not going ahead with a full-scale fair,” says 4-H and open beef division representative Carole Gillis. “There is enthusiasm for some kind of an event. But there are also people who have said, ‘No matter what, we are not attending fairs this year.’” With a 50-acre site to work with, organizers are hoping that something can be worked out with Interior Health for an outdoor event. Any kind of on-site event would include safety measures in line with health guidelines, with the 4-H auction streamed live for telephone and electronic bidding. Alternatively, a digital event will be oered with 4-H webinars in July and digital marketing for the sale in late September. “Either way, we will have an auction of 4-H projects and open projects for anybody who wants to enter,” Gillis stresses. “We think it’s really important for kids not to lose the year and to have that connection to the fair.” South End key leader Heidi Meier says the Williams Lake and District 4-H Council is currently monitoring the situation. The council hopes restrictions will be lifted in time for its annual show and sale at the Williams Lake Stockyards on August 6-10. “If the council is unable to proceed in person, an alternate sale format will be presented,” Meier adds. “It is our greatest hope that the community members will continue to support their local 4-H members by purchasing members’ projects in whatever form is rolled out.” Kamloops District 4-H key leader Ron McGivern says it is imperative that 4-H stock sales continue despite present circumstances. “This has been a particularly challenging year for our 4-H members, our future leaders in agriculture,” he says. “We cannot have the challenges of this year stie our members who really need to experience the successes of agriculture.” 7ISITProfessionally trained farmer/horticulturist with a lifetime of practical farming experience. 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Chemicals, pheromones and IPM can provide controlTracy Hueppelsheuser, left, and Bev Gerdeman helped growers attending the Pacic Agriculture Show earlier this year understand how to control leafrollers in their berry crops. PHOTO / RONDA PAYNE36 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCCALL FOR AN ESTIMATE LARRY 604.209.5523 TROY 604.209.5524 TRI-WAY FARMS LASER LEVELLING LTD.IMPROVED DRAINAGE UNIFORM GERMINATION UNIFORM IRRIGATION FAST, ACCURATE SURVEYING INCREASE CROP YIELDS We service all of Southern BCFOR BAGGED or BULK ORDERSDarren Jansen Owner604.email@example.comCertified by Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd.by RONDA PAYNE ABBOTSFORD – Some crop pests cause damage to plants and berries, while others, like the leafroller, also contaminate the crop. Raspberries are particularly susceptible and it takes proper timing and control methods to ensure these pests don’t leave their mark on berries ready for sale. BC Ministry of Agriculture entomologist Tracy Hueppelsheuser notes leafrollers have been an issue in the Fraser Valley since the 1980s, but growers in the Skagit Valley began noticing concerning levels in their elds beginning in 2017. Bev Gerdeman, entomologist with Washington State University in Mount Vernon, said by last summer, many growers were unable to control the moths and larvae. “You have a host of these [leafrollers] attacking red raspberries” she says. “They can attack the buds, the blossoms and then, in the later season, they will attack the berries. They can become harvest contaminants.” There were noteworthy issues in the 2019 Fraser Valley raspberry season too, though not as severe as those in Mount Vernon, according to provincial berry industry specialist Carolyn Teasdale. “We don’t know how widespread it’s going to be this year,” she says. “The ministry is going to fund some trapping.” Abbotsford had hotspots in 2019 where growers found the pest during harvest, Teasdale says. “But that’s the raspberry capital, so that’s to be expected,” she notes. “Some growers reported seeing more than usual. We didn’t hear as much [about leafrollers] in blueberries.” Gerdeman says it’s important to get a handle on populations to ensure export sales. South Korea is among the countries that quarantines fruit with leafrollers. “We should be concerned and be wary about things that could happen in the future with exports,” she says. Chemical control can be challenging and requires specic timing. Some types of leafrollers are already showing resistance to newer controls. “You have to target the newly hatched larvae and that’s why timing is important and why trapping is important,” says Teasdale. “Time just after the eggs have hatched.” The larvae are more susceptible when they are small. There are a number of products that can be used for leafrollers. Some additionally oer protection from Spotted Wing Drosophila. “Some of the new labels are really relying on scouting to determine application [timing],” says Hueppelsheuser. Over a ve-year period, she’s seen a wide range of timing for leafroller hatching. She suggests installing sticky monitoring traps by May 15 to count moths and gauge spray timing. She suggests checking at least 20 stops in a ve to 10-acre area. Stop and inspect growing tips on three to ve canes every six to 10 rows, stopping every 40 steps within the row. If two to four out of 20 have leafrollers, it’s time to consider spraying. Since one of the main tools, Capture, is being phased out this year, Hueppelsheuser suggests DiPel, Intrepid, Exirel (registered on blueberries), Delegate, Entrust and Success. Each works dierently and at dierent times, so reading the label is essential. Rotation of control chemicals is important, but Gerdeman says there are other options, too. “Mating disruption is another type of strategy,” she says. “Don’t expect that mating disruption is going to be a stand-alone approach … [it should be] an additional approach with IPM.” Pheromone sticky traps attached with twist ties help to confuse the males, limiting the numbers mating. For success, it requires more canopy cover from the berries than young elds can provide. The benet is a one-time treatment that lasts season-long as an adjunct to other control practices with no resistance. “It’s more eective in really big acreages,” Gerdeman says. “The recommended rate is 200 twist-ties to an acre.” The twist-tie pheromone traps are available through Hueppelsheuser. While the traps are a “set-it-and-forget-it” control installed at the start of the season, they are labour-intensive. Another option to bring pheromones into elds is an electronic aerosol puer that releases a pu every 15 minutes from dawn to dusk. These are not yet registered for use, but may oer another single-season option. “We’ve got to do some due diligence,” says Gerdeman. “One per acre, it’s a lot less [work] than the twist-ties.” IPM practices also oer several options. “There’s a lot of guys out there in your eld helping you out,” says Hueppelsheuser. Naturally occurring lacewings, pirate bugs and ground beetles can help. The parasitoid Trichogramma minutum can be purchased and deployed for eective control. ES Cropconsult will undertake ministry-funded trapping and monitoring this season. Teasdale says updates will be reported in the raspberry and blueberry IPM newsletters the berry councils send out this summer. Leafrollers can be a potential crop contaminantVAN DER WAL EQUIPMENT (1989) LTD. 23390 RIVER ROAD, MAPLE RIDGE, BC V2W 1B6 604/463-3681 | vanderwaleq.com The 5080T is particularly ideal for those who need more lift height. With a high level of working comfort and excellent safety standards, these machines have a telescopic arm that provides considerably greater lift height. For all those that want to go UPCall us for a test drive!
Strawberries could benefit from new control optionBert van Geffen of Star Produce Group, based in Saskatchewan and owner of BC Hot House, is trialing greenhouse-grown strawberries using silicon to control powdery mildew. PHOTO / SUBMITTEDCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 37FAST, EFFICIENT UNLOADINGNOW WITH GREATER CAPACITY!INVEST IN QUALITY®www.kuhn.comHP 16 0 PROPUSH® HYDRAULIC PUSH BOX SPREADER• Increased capacity of simple push-off design with no chains• Poly 昀oor and sides promote self-cleaning to prevent material buildup and freeze down• VertiSpread® verical beaters provide 25 - 30’ uniform spread pattern with excellent material breakup• All-welded steel construction for reliability in high use applications600 cu. ft. heaped capacity • trailer models onlyMatsqui Ag-RepairAbbotsfordCountry TractorArmstrongCountry TractorKamloopsVisit your localBritish ColumbiaKUHN Dealer today!by RONDA PAYNE ABBOTSFORD – What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, but is what’s good for the cucumber good for the strawberry? Richard Bélanger, a plant science professor at Laval University, thinks so. He presented his case for using silicon for powdery mildew control in strawberries at the Pacic Agriculture Show in January. “It is misunderstood, it is controversial, it is contentious, it is confusing,” he says of the studies and application of silicon in crops. However, in 2015, the International Plant Nutrition Institute ocially recognized silicon as a benecial element against biotic and abiotic stress. It is used successfully in cucumber and wheat for reducing powdery mildew and in soybeans to help control the fungus Phytophthora sojae. “Silicon only works on plants that can accumulate silicon,” he explains. “This has been one of the main points of discussion.” This explains why silicon is ineective, or minimally benecial, in some crops – they are unable to absorb the element because they don’t have the right amino acid structure. The presence of the structure lets scientists predict which plants will benet from silicon applications. Strawberries are one of them, and Bélanger began conducting trials with strawberries in polytunnels. “We let powdery mildew develop naturally. This was not very hard,” he says. “The plants that were receiving the silicon looked a lot healthier. There was a very signicant reduction in powdery mildew in all cultivars.” Additionally, yield and fruit quality increased dramatically. There was a 185% increase in marketable fruit compared to the control, which was untreated. Star potential Silicon’s ability to control powdery mildew in strawberries appeals to Bert van Geen, corporate head grower for Saskatoon-based Star Produce Group, which owns BC Hot House Foods Inc. and has been exploring the potential of growing strawberries in a greenhouse environment. “They did trials of growers in Europe,” van Geen says. “When they used it, they actually got white strawberries, so they say, ‘don’t use it.’” But he spoke to Bélanger, who noted it isn’t just the silicon that counts. Bélanger believes that the European growers had the incorrect pH. Van Geen has been making all the necessary adjustments to pH, nutrients and silicon in preparation for testing silicon for mildew control in strawberries in BC greenhouses. “If I do it, I want to be 100% sure I’m doing it right,” he says. “There’s a lot of homework to do there. It’s going to be very complicated.” His trials began this spring. While silicon will also give the fruit a longer shelf life and greater rmness, van Geen is most interested in its ability to control disease. IPM methods aren’t displaced or harmed by silicon so he’s looking forward to moving closer to an organic strawberry. He’s heartened by the number of BC cucumber growers using it who have indicated it’s delivered good results in their environments. “In some crops, it doesn’t work at all and some it works a tiny little bit and some, like cucumbers and strawberries, it works fantastic,” he says. Bélanger says the best source of silicon for plants is potassium silicate in a constant supply for maximum absorption by the roots. However, he cautions growers to limit the concentration of the water/nutrient solution to no more than 1.7 millimolar. To do this, he recommends adding the potassium silicate to water rst, then adjusting the pH level before adding other nutrients. “Don’t apply more; you’re just wasting your money,” he says. Additionally, silicon works on other diseases that have a biotrophic stage, meaning that the pathogen feeds o the plant’s living cells to weaken it or reduce yields. Other such pathogens include verticillium, anthracnose and phytophthora. Silicon control of fungal issues trialedYOURHelping YouWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATEScountrylifeinbc.comYOURHelping YouHelpingpingplinYoulHHping YoeWSfeinbc.com
38 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
Not all farmers’ markets are thrivingLangley is on hiatus, while others also try to regroupBC Association of Farmers’ Markets executive director Heather O'Hara, left, with Melanie MacInnes of MacInnes Farms, commended the Langley market for taking a breather to regroup. PHOTO / RONDA PAYNEwww.horstwelding.com 1.866.567.4162 Side Discharge • For straw and lyme• 1-1/2” high paddles• Rear mesh back panel• Secondary beater drum• Agitator• Material can be discharged from either sideCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 39by RONDA PAYNE LANGLEY – Poor nances are casting doubt on the future of the Langley Community Farmers Market. “We just don’t have the business case for running the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end,” saiys Paige Dampier, who stepped down as chair of the Langley Community Farmers Market Society at its annual meeting in March. “The society is active, it still exists, so it’s up to us to decide what to do going forward.” Board members Ava Reeve and Marlyn Graziano also did not renew their terms. The membership in attendance approved running the organization with the ve remaining board members. Society treasurer Terry Luck noted that a net loss of $15,000 in 2019 left the organization with just over $1,600 in net assets. The loss is attributed to vendor numbers dropping from about 40 to 20 a week, along with associated stall fees. Luck says the society incurred the loss through the 2019 season because it would have been a disservice to vendors and shoppers to cease operations mid-year. There have been shifts to the format and timing of the Wednesday market, which began in 2008. The physical setup changed in 2015 in response to the re marshal’s requirements. In 2018, for the 10th anniversary, the board tried a Saturday market which was unsuccessful because vendors were already committed to other markets on Saturdays. Dampier noted ongoing issues have included frequent turnover in the market manager and coordinator, challenges in meeting the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets requirement that 51% of vendors be farmers and food, and growing competition from big-box stores and retailers using similar language around local food. Langley isn’t the only market in the province facing challenges. Changes in leadership at the Rossland Mountain Market have been challenging, market manager Miche Warwick said during a discussion of vendor recruitment at the BC Association of Farmers Markets conference. The market in the community of 3,500 has lost its vision and values, not to mention vendors, as a result. White Rock Farmers’ Market has weathered a few hard years due to construction blocking access points and permanently reducing the area available for vendors. Dave Kyle of Abbotsford Garlic has attended the market for seven years and noted that both visitor and vendors were down a couple of years ago, but bounced back last year. “There are dozens of [vendor] spots that are permanently gone,” he says. “But last year was our busiest year … and the weather was crap. Two years ago, they were down for sure, but last year, the people came back again.” He notes there have been issues with how the board may have seen the market’s future, but there is a solid market manager in place who vendors support. He also sees the Abbotsford Farm & Country Market facing a struggle due to its location in Jubilee Park in an area with a large homeless population. BCAFM executive director Heather O’Hara was on-hand at the Langley market’s AGM and noted that the Langley market isn’t alone among BCAFM members in facing these challenges. “You should be commended to have the time to buyNow is theChoose from interest-free waivers, low ratenancing or low rate leases, OAC. 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To Oct 9/20. . . . .OLDS, AB$13,900 $129,900 $20,900 $96,9002003 JOHN DEERE 567, Stk: 102161, Bale Count: 13810, Mega Wide Pickup, 5ft Bale Width, Twine Only ..............PONOKA, AB2016 JOHN DEERE 946, Stk: 92809, Width 13’, Center Pivot, Impeller Conditioner, 1000 PTO, 3 SCV Required. . . . . . . . . . . . . CALGARY, AB2014 JOHN DEERE 569, Stk: 106440, Bale Count: 10016, Netwrap and Twine, 5ft bale width, Mega Wide Pickup ..........OLDS, AB2017 JOHN DEERE W235, Stk: 108519, 475 Hrs, 500R Hay Head, V10 Conditioner, Full GPS w/ Display .............OLDS, AB$45,400$42,500 $17,900 $209,900courage to go on hiatus,” she says. “It’s a very dicult thing to do and it’s unpopular, but it’s the perfect thing to do to regroup.” —With les from Peter Mitham
Desperate times call for chivalrous measures40 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCMAIL TO 36 Dale Road Enderby, BC V0E 1V4 firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t miss a single issue of Country Life in BC!CREDIT CARD # _____________________________________________________________ EXP _____________________________________________ CVV ______________________oNEW oRENEWAL | oONE YEAR ($18.90) oTWO YEARS ($33.60) oTHREE YEARS ($37.80) Name Address City Postal Code Phone Email NEWS & INFORMATION YOU NEED! Join thousands of BC farmers and ranchers who turn to Country Life in BC every month to nd out what (and who!) is making news in BC agriculture and how it may affect their farms and agri-businesses!When we left o last time, Birdie and Bernie had headed home, urging Deborah to move into their room at the resort to give her some much-needed space from Kenneth. Back at home, the barn repairs were complete and everyone was enjoying a celebratory dinner and speculating what might happen next in wake of the virus that would likely have Kenneth and Deborah in isolation together on their return home. Rural Redemption, Part 123, continues ... Deborah said her goodbyes to Birdie and Bernie and promised to take Birdie’s advice: “Honey, just take some time for yourself and let that man stew in his own juices for a few days.” She avoided the places where Kenneth was likely to be and spent hours walking the beaches. In the solitude, she reected on the nature and health of her marriage and pondered its future. Kenneth texted her on the third day. “Are you ready to come back?” “NO.” He texted again the following day. “Please come back. I need to tell you something important.” “Text me if it’s important.” “I’m sorry. Please meet me for lunch.” Kenneth was waiting when Deborah arrived at the restaurant an hour later. He rocked back in his chair as the waiter seated her. “Have you come to your senses yet?” he asked. “I wouldn’t be here if I had. I came because I’m curious about what you’re sorry for.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” demanded Kenneth. “In your text you said you were sorry. Why? You’re not usually sorry about anything.” Kenneth stiened; apologies weren’t in his nature. “Oh, trust me, Deborah. I’m sorry about more things than you’d care to hear about but right now I’m just sorry to tell you that our ight’s been cancelled because of the virus outbreak. I’ve booked new tickets to Toronto, then connecting to Vancouver, but we’ll be stuck here for another ve days. The hotel’s letting us stay the extra days for free. You might as well gather up your things and come back to our room.” “No need for that, Kenneth. Five more days will be hard enough for you as it is. The front desk called this morning and said I was welcome to stay where I am until there’s a ight home. I think I’ll just stay put. It will be easier for you to make golf plans if you don’t have to worry about me.” Deborah said that she wasn’t very hungry and excused herself. Kenneth watched her go then pulled out his cell phone. He scrolled through the contacts until he came to Janice Newberry. He began convincing himself the ve- day delay was a good enough excuse to call her. vvv Susan’s phone rang just as she and Ashley were nishing the breakfast dishes. It was Deborah. She explained that their original ight had been changed because of all the uproar over the virus and they wouldn’t be home for another six days. Susan said spring break was being extended for a week and there was even some talk about school not going back in at all, but Susan shouldn’t worry because she would stay with the kids until they were back. Deborah said she didn’t know what was going to happen because it looked like she and Kenneth might have to be in isolation for two weeks and she wasn’t quite sure how they would do that. Susan said she was sure Kenneth would gure something out, then told her how Newt, and Christopher, and Clay Garrison, and Tyler Koski, and Doug McLeod, and Harb Singh had rescued the tractor and xed the barn roof, and what a nice young man Clay was, and wasn’t Doug McLeod the one who was Li’l Abner in the musical? Deborah said yes, it was, and Susan said she loved his sense of humour. Deborah said she hoped the kids were behaving themselves. Susan said they were as good-as-gold and passed the phone to Ashley. “Hi, Mom. Guess what? There might not be any more school until fall! I can’t wait for you to get home and tell you all the news. Grandma’s breaking hearts left and right!” “Ashley, shush!” said Susan as she took her phone back. Susan said Ashley was a terrible tease and Christopher would be sorry he missed her call but he was working on his 4-H calf at Newt Pullman’s place and she would tell him all the news when he came home for lunch. Christopher arrived a little after noon. Newt had been asked to come with him. Susan told them about Deborah’s call and all the changed travel plans. After lunch, Susan and Newt were alone at the table. “Well, Newt, it looks like that isolation wasn’t just a rumour. I’ve been thinking maybe I’ll rent one of those beachfront suites at the hotel in town and take the kids there for a couple of weeks.” “The way I hear it, there’s a good chance the hotels and motels won’t be staying open. You’d probably all be better o closer to home,” said Newt. “Where could we stay that’s any closer than that? I might have to take them back to the city with me.” “They’re saying they want everyone to stay home. There’s not much point in uprooting them and dragging all over hells-half-acre.” “Well, I’m certain they wouldn’t want us to be quarantined here with Deborah and Kenneth,” said Susan. “I don’t expect they would. If you can’t stay here, and you don’t want to go far, where’s the next best place?” Susan gave Newt a side-long glance. “Are you suggesting what I think you are?” “Can’t say. I have no idea what you’re thinking. What I’m saying is Rocky and I are living all by our lonesome in a house with six bedrooms and three bathrooms. It’s as close as you can get to here without staying put. And the Woodshed Chronicles by BOB COLLINSthree of you are more than welcome to stay until all of this blows over.” “Are you sure that would be wise?” asked Susan. “Are you suggesting what I think you are?” “I can’t say,” said Susan smiling. “I have no idea what you’re thinking. Aren’t you afraid people will talk?” “Well, at this stage of the game, there aren’t very many things I’m afraid of. Gossip surely isn’t one of them,” said Newt. “What about your honour and reputation?” “As long as you’re upstairs and I’m downstairs and Ashley’s somewhere between, I gure my honour’s probably safe enough. And the presence of a lady in the house might do my reputation some good.” Susan broke out laughing. “Are you serious about this?” “You bet. You’re welcome to come and give the house a once-over before you say one way or the other.” vvv The next morning at the store, Susan told Lois all about Deborah and Kenneth being delayed and having to be in isolation for two weeks once they were back. And she told her about Newt’s oer of a place she and the kids could stay. Lois asked if she was going to take him up on it. “I think so, maybe. Do you think it would be okay?” “Absolutely,” said Lois. “They don’t come any better than Newt Pullman.” “He is a nice man, and the kids think the world of him and it’s a very generous oer. I probably will say yes.” Over at the coee club table, Old Jimmy Vincent was taking in the whole conversation. Susan left and bumped into Junkyard Frank coming up the store steps. “Mornin,’ Mrs. Henderson.” “Yes, it is a good morning isn’t it?” said Susan without stopping. Frank stood at the door and watched her go, then stepped inside. “You’re wasting your time moonin’ away after that one Frank,” said Jimmy. “What in hell are you on about, Jimmy. I’m not out of the running yet. Slow but steady wins the race.” “Not as slow as you been going, I guess.” “If you’ve got something to say spit it out!” demanded Frank. A little grin wrinkled Jimmy’s cheek. “S’pose you haven’t heard the news then. Your lady friend there is planning on shacking up with Newt Pullman.” ... to be continued
Jessica Miedema prepares bouquets for Mother’s Day at her home-based business located on the family dairy farm. PHOTO / JACKIE PEARASE COUNTRY LIFE IN BC JUNE 2020 | 41Fresh cut flowers part of diversification plan at Enderby dairyBill Everitt 250.295.7911 ext #102 email@example.com tToll free 1.877.797.7678 ext #102Princeton Wood Preservers Ltd. 1821 Hwy 3 Princeton, B.C. V0X 1W0KILN DRIED PRESSURE TREATED ROUND WOOD POSTS AND RAILSPreferred supplier for British Columbia Ministries & Parks Canada.&ARMs/RCHARDs6INEYARDs"ERRY4RELLISINGby JACKIE PEARASE ENDERBY – Boredom, a desire to diversify and a green thumb add up to a cut ower business for Jessica Miedema at Bomi Farms in the North Okanagan. “I used to have a corporate job and then we started having kids so I left, but I was getting a little bored,” says Miedema. “When I was pregnant with our third, I decided to start a cut ower farm. It’s now in its third year and it’s gone really well.” Miedema is not very involved with the family dairy – she does the books and makes decisions with her husband Rene – but she is an important part of their eorts to diversify the farm. She used past experience as a orist, a knack for growing and a love of business to create Little Flora Gems. “It’s fun because it’s a lot of planning. I have a Master’s in business so I really like the planning and spreadsheets and all that stu. It’s a lot of succession planning. It’s a big puzzle and I like that,” she says. Miedema started with a quarter acre and now has an acre in annuals, perennials, owering fruit trees and shrubs. The ower garden features a huge selection of tubers, bulbs and corms, including anemones, dahlias, ranunculus and tulips. The area surrounding the farm provides an ample selection of plants suitable for Miedema’s creative bouquets. She wraps her owers in kraft paper with twine and paper labels in keeping with her eco-friendly approach. She uses the ample free manure from the dairy for fertilizer and composts discarded plants. Weed control includes landscape fabric, ame-weeding and hard work. Miedema oers seasonal and full season ower subscriptions, custom arrangements, wholesale and DIY buckets. She sold out on Mother’s Day and some of the subscriptions are already full. “It’s been really good, actually; it’s surprisingly exceeded expectations,” she says. A re-purposed cow barn serves as her cooler, seed propagation area and workspace. A 1,700-square-foot hoophouse provides extra growing room. Sales have been concentrated at local farmers’ markets and through word-of-mouth to date but a new website hosted through Shopify has helped extend her reach and provided options for customers during the coronavirus pandemic. A ower design course at the Paris Flower School Catherine Muller last year enhanced her skills and creativity. A new market garden added in 2019 allowed Miedema to start a CSA box program this season and interest is already growing. The acre in vegetable production includes lots of traditional crops plus some unique ones like okra and Asian greens. Miedema says the CSA boxes may expand to include more items in the future. “We’ve added more chickens and I have more laying hens coming and we have ducks and duck eggs,” she notes. “We’re really going full tilt ahead with it.” Flower powerFOLLOW USLIKE US W US@countrylifeinbcThe agricultural news source in BC since 1915.
42 | JUNE 2020 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCHome cookin’This is spicy, sweet and sour, and full of avour. It would accompany not only curry dishes, but also meats of all sorts, or a Ploughman’s Lunch of sharp cheddar, bread and pickles. I used mangoes, but nectarines, peaches, apricots, pears or apples would all be good instead. 1/3 c. (75 ml) minced fresh ginger 2 garlic cloves 1 onion, nely chopped 6 c. (1.5 l) chopped mango 2 c. (500 ml) brown sugar 1 c. (250 ml) apple cider vinegar 1/2 c. (125 ml) golden raisins 2 tsp. (10 ml) black mustard seeds 1 tsp. (5 ml) red chili akes • Prepare sealing jars, lids and rings and dig out the canner. • Mince ginger and garlic and nely chop onions. Peel mangoes and remove the meat from both sides of the at pit, then chop into half-inch dice. There’s no need to peel apricots, pears or apples, but I would peel peaches or nectarines. • In a large pot, bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and add all the remaining ingredients. Once it has returned to bubbling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 40 minutes or so, until it’s thick and none of the produce is still crunchy. Tender fruits like apricots, pears, peaches or nectarines probably should not be cooked that long. I would suggest half the time. • Ladle into hot canning jars, seal and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. • Makes about six eight-ounce jars. Seems to me Dads like beef and cheese and potatoes. Spinach is good for them. They’ll love this special-occasion meatloaf. 1 large onion 1 stalk celery 5 mushrooms drizzle of oil 1 lb. (454 g) lean ground beef 1 egg 1 large garlic clove 1/4 c. (60 ml) oat bran or crumbs 1 tbsp. (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce 2 tsp. (10 ml) Sriracha sauce salt and pepper, to taste 6 oz. (170 g) frozen spinach, thawed, or fresh 1/2 c. (125 ml) Swiss cheese, grated Topping: 2 potatoes 1/4 c. (60 ml) Swiss cheese • Chop onion, celery and mushrooms and saute over medium heat in a drizzle of oil, until softened. Remove from heat and cool. • In a mixing bowl, combine beef with a beaten egg, minced garlic, oat bran or bread crumbs, Worcestershire and Sriracha sauces, salt and pepper and mix well. Add cooled onion mixture and combine. • Pat about half the mixture into a loaf pan. Arrange thawed spinach (or fresh, which has been steamed briey until limp) and grated Swiss cheese in the centre of the meat mixture, leaving a one-inch border all around. Pat remaining meat mixture on top, pressing around the sides to seal the cheese and spinach inside. • Bake at 350° F for about 45 minutes. • Meanwhile, microwave the whole potatoes, which have been pierced with a fork, for just a few minutes, or until softened and partly cooked. • Slice potatoes and grate Swiss cheese. • Remove meatloaf from oven and top with potato slices and grated Swiss Cheese. • Cook for a further 15 minutes. FRUIT CHUTNEYDads love meat and potatoes. PHOTO / JUDIE STEEVESDAD’S DAY MEATLOAFturmeric, salmon and berries are the new superfoods, but spinach is still stued full of good-for-you nutrients and it tastes pretty good too, I think. At this time of year, not only are there lots of fresh, young vegetables and herbs available from local producers all over the province, but we’re coming to the season when fresh fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and cherries come into season, followed by peaches, nectarines, apricots, blueberries, apples and pears. With that in mind, consider drying, freezing, canning or preserving some of those fresh, local beauties, perhaps in a new way like a chutney, with lovely mellow avours and hints of spice from ginger and chillies. Earlier in the year, when Mexican mangoes were on sale in the stores, I tried out a new recipe for fruit chutney, and it’s pretty darn good, not only with curries, but also with barbecued meats or avourful cheeses and crackers. Or, with a slice of home made sourdough bread! That’s another experiment I’m working on, which I may report on in a future column. In the meantime, celebrate Father’s Day with your favourite Pops by making him a satisfying meal that will help keep him healthy as well as happy. You could also celebrate the ocial arrival of summer the day before, June 20, and enjoy the longest day of the year – if you can stay up that long. Add flavour to home-style cooking with fresh herbs and salad greensI planted spinach on my kitchen windowsill in late March. I planted another row of it in the vegetable garden when it thawed in April, and I planted out the seedlings I’d started indoors a week or so later. At that point, the Oriental salad greens were already up, making their row look nice and green in the veg garden. We’re eating far more often at home, so new ideas for all three meals of the day are particularly welcome. We eat some sort of salad at least once a day, and in order to limit our excursions to the retail stores, we want to grow what we can of our own produce. It seems it’s nearly impossible to keep some of it long enough to shop less often than once a week, between eating it up and nding a soggy mess where crisp peppers or zucchini were. I’ve found that you don’t need to do anything fancy to spinach to freeze it. Just stu clean leaves into freezer bags and make room for them in the freezer. Now, the result isn’t much good in salads, but it’s perfect for cooking into meatloaves, rice dishes, sauces or meatballs. You don’t even need to thaw or chop it. I just squeeze the bag while it’s still sti and the frozen spinach breaks into shards of green leaves – even better than chopped, fresh spinach –and with less eort. Instead of cooking fancy meals and inviting friends and family over to join the celebration, we’ve been eating comfort food and celebrating quietly. We eat what we can nd between the gaps and empty shelves in the grocery store, instead of planning ahead and buying what’s on the list. It’s a new world out there, and we have to adapt to it –for the moment anyway. I know that kale and Jude’s Kitchen JUDIE STEEVES
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