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. 107 No.9 The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 SEPTEMBER 2021 | Vol. 107 No. 9ANIMAL WELFARE Producers face unannounced welfare checks 7 DROUGHTLivestock feel the heat as forage dries up9 BERRIESBlueberry growers welcome higher berry prices19PETER MITHAM OTTAWA – Voters will go to the polls September 20 after the governor general approved Justin Trudeau’s request to dissolve parliament. By law, a federal election wasn’t necessary until 2023 and the ongoing wildres in BC mean it’s hardly welcomed in many parts of this province. “We’re disappointed [by] an election being called while BC is currently dealing with a wildre crisis,” says Danielle Synotte, executive director of the BC Agriculture Council. “As we were in the midst of preparing for the next ag policy framework, we hope that the election won’t cause any program disruptions.” BCAC is represented at the national level by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, which has promised to work “diligently during the lead-up to the federal election to ensure that agriculture is a priority in all party platforms.” CFA wants Ottawa to invest more deeply in rural infrastructure and support family farms, in part through measures to enhance farm succession and “regulations addressing on-farm activism that could endanger animals and farm families.” While the incumbent Liberals have yet to release their platform, the Conservatives expressed strong support for supply management. Conservative promises include completing negotiations regarding compensation for concessions under CUSMA and developing an Agriculture and Agri-food Labour Strategy to address the labour shortage in Canada’s agriculture sector. Delta farmers led by Delta South MLA Ian Paton, far left, have loaded nearly 800 bales of hay on three trucks destined for Sageview Ranch in Kamloops to feed livestock displaced by wildres in the region. Hay was donated by Danny Sherrell, Peter and Joe Vaupotic, Morgan Thompson, Scott Harris and Paton, and trucking was provided by Mike Wolzen. PAM PATON 1-888-770-7333 Quality Seeds ... where quality counts!YOUR BC SEED SOURCERanchers play a key roleKATE AYERS & TOM WALKER FALKLAND – This year’s wildre response has benetted from signicant improvement in the working relationship between farmers, ranchers and provincial response teams, but property access remains a key issue. Unpredictable conditions continued last month as fast-moving wildres burned through 865,000 acres by August 24, surpassing the 20th century record of 855,000 hectares set in 1958. With rain still scarce, the nal area could well approach the all-time record of 1.3 million hectares burned in 2018. “This is the most volatile re season I have ever seen,” Mark Healey, incident commander with the BC Hay there!Growing more with less waterwatertecna.comttttttttIRRIGATION LTD1.888.675.7999 888 6 9999888669999 Diesel & PTO Pumps PVC & Aluminum PipeIrrigation ReelsDRIP IRRIGATIONCentre PivotsBad timing for election callSee FIRE on next page oWildfire response improves
FIRE season “catastrophic” nfrom page 1Wildre Service (BCWS) for the White Rock Lake re, told an August 11 townhall meeting in Falkland. The extremely dry conditions and number of communities impacted has made this year unlike anything he’s seen in his 40 years of reghting. “These res? They’re incredible,” he said, saying the res need to be treated collectively given the combination of factors at play. “This is a catastrophic event that’s occurring.” BC Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon says conditions have challenged ranchers moving through their range to locate, move and protect cattle. “I had one rancher who was able to tag along with BCWS on a y-over of the Tremont re. He identied an area on his range that he thought had settled down, but two hours later the re just exploded again,” says Boon. Ranchers who need assistance rounding up and moving animals can access the horse-and-rider program BC Cattlemen’s developed in 2017 that pays ranchers $350 a day to cover the cost of a cowboy on a horse or quad to help move cattle out of harm’s way. Ranchers can apply for funding retroactively. The extra help is important given that BCWS has signicantly fewer resources to manage this year’s res than in 2018. “We have about 3,600 personnel working today, while in 2018 we were over 5,000,” BCWS director Ian Myer told a BC Cattlemen’s townhall on August 4. With res aecting all of Canada west of Lake Superior and the western US, there’s little extra support from outside BC. While ranchers can respond to any res they discover, they must rst report the re so that BCWS is aware a response is in progress. “BCWS will then not only know the location, but also that personnel are involved and they won’t be dumping water or re retardant in the area,” explains Boon. But when help arrives, ranchers must stand down and let the red shirts take over. A rancher liaison, a new initiative this year, then steps in. The rancher liaison program is a partnership between BC Cattlemen’s and BCWS that gives ranchers input into re management. A member of the ranch community works with each incident management team, providing local knowledge as well as informing BCWS where livestock is located. The liaison also feeds information back to ranchers, including if any animals are found. But many have criticized this year’s response times and the challenges in getting reliable information. “It was really hard to get information about what was going on,” says Tristan Banwell of Spray Creek Ranch in Lillooet following his farm’s evacuation from the Lytton Creek re. “It was impossible to ascertain how quickly the re was moving; there was misinformation going around about what areas had been burned and where the re’s perimeters were.” While communications improved, he says BCWS sta shortages made “situational awareness” hard to achieve. Poultry grower Lisa Dueck of Dueck Falkland Farms in Falkland ran into similar issues. She doesn’t blame the frontline workers, but the provincial decision-makers. “There are some really, really huge problems there with awarding contracts or asking resources from people aliated with the government or unionized groups instead of private contractors or local help when they can use it,” she said. “People lost everything because of the delay in ghting these res. It’s a massive problem and I can’t see summers getting any cooler moving forward and it’s not being addressed. It’s critical it be addressed.” She also calls out ongoing issues accessing properties in evacuation zones. “Once we left, we couldn’t come back for any reason,” says Dueck, who was woken up at 1:15 am on August 12 and told to leave by noon. “They wouldn’t allow feed for our animals; they wouldn’t allow milk trucks to come through so dairy farmers had to dump their entire production. They didn’t allow fuel trucks through to service your generator.” While her generator kept running throughout the 2 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCevacuation period, resulting in minimal losses to her inventory of frozen meat, others weren’t so lucky. It underscores the disconnect between ocial policy and farm realities. “I get it, liability-wise, but we also have liabilities as farmers and responsibilities for these animals,” she says. “There wasn’t a lot of back and forth. It was just this is it, this is how it is going to be and if you run out of feed, the animals starve.” While she eventually obtained a ve-hour permit to check on her animals after three days, she would like to see a local liaison program for farms similar to what ranchers have. “Someone in the area, in the district, who understands what’s happening locally – that would be really helpful,” she says. The permit system also needs improvement. “A single, integrated system for identication and access permits at roadblocks” was among the recommendations of the Abbott-Chapman report on the province’s response to the devastating 2017 wildre season. It is among the few of the report’s recommendations the province has yet to implement, despite progress on industry partnerships to encourage joint response activities. “It would help if we had one permitting system across the province, but we don’t and that’s a problem, particularly when a re is www.tractorparts4sale.caABBOTSFORD, BC Bus. 604/807-2391 email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWe accept Interact, Visa and Mastercard VICON PS602 FERTILIZER SPREADER, 3 PT, 1,000 KG CAPACITY . . 2,200 MASHIO CM4500 14’ PWR HARROW W/ROLLER GD COND. . . $14,000 VIBRA 8.5 FT 3POINT CULTIVATOR WITH HD SPRING LOAD 22” SHANK. GOOD CONDITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD! 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However, the role was previously held by Parm Bains of Westberry Farms during the 1990s.CORRECTIONacross multiple regional districts,” says Boon. “The Cariboo, Thompson Nicola and Kootenay Boundary regional districts have all adopted a system we designed for 2017, but across the province, things need to be simpler.” In addition to their buildings, access to properties is important to check on animals and to ensure forage continues to be irrigated. Well-watered pastures help slow the res and are especially critical this year for ranches in areas facing drought. “If we had a good system in place that people would trust, it could actually support safety,” Boon notes. “Ranchers wouldn’t be sneaking in and they wouldn’t stay in if they knew that they could get back in at a later time.” BC Cattlemen’s is also calling for a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for re-aected range. The number of interface res this year prompted the construction of hundreds of miles of reguard. These have scarred the landscape. “It is extremely important to get those reguards seeded immediately,” says Boon. “It not only supports soil health and stability, but also helps block out invasive plants.” It’s also another opportunity for collaboration between stakeholders. “We will have a clean slate after these res, and it gives us an opportunity for landscape-level planning to get the trees and the grass in the right places,” he says. “We have an opportunity to bring the ranching community together with First Nations, loggers, the government and wildlife interests. This is important for everybody.” With les from Peter Mitham
Food sales still reeling from the pandemicFull sales recovery hinges on hospitality sectorCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 3Randy Haines of R&B Farms in Christian Valley had no problem peddling fresh produce at the Peachland Farmers Market in early August. Sales were brisk. But supply-managed sectors face challenges gauging demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create consumer instability. MYRNA STARK LEADER driven by closures in the foodservice sector,” he says. “I don’t think foodservice has fully recovered and it may be some time before it does.” This continues to create marketing challenges, forcing BC Fresh to stay on its toes trying to place product. When public health restrictions initially came into place in March 2020, stocks of Kennebec potatoes that would normally have gone to restaurants were diverted to retail and other channels. Plantings were scaled back and tweaked to serve the retail market. “You have to be fairly nimble in order to move perishable product throughout the various channels,” says Driediger, noting drought and wildfire have complicated all aspects of the supply chain. “It’s been a very difficult year financially, and physically and mentally, for a lot of the growers, particularly the growers in the areas where the heat, the drought was the worst.” The drought will likely reduce yields this year, betraying the hopes that many growers had this spring as vaccines rolled out and plantings completed early. “It was just a fantastic spring and planting season this year, so everybody had some pretty high hopes,” he says. One sector that seems to have weathered the pandemic fairly well is tree fruits. While packaged fruit beat out bulk produce as consumers sought convenient, low-touch options, foodservice has also rebounded. Demand has been largely steady, says Laurel Van Dam, strategic initiatives director with BC Tree Fruits Cooperative. “There was definitely a drop in foodservice demand during the height of things but as restaurants started opening up, sales came back to normal,” she says. previously scheduled incentive days through November. The incentive days encourage production, and the industry had anticipated greater demand this fall as a semblance of normal life resumed. It’s now scaled back those hopes. Uncertainties associated with COVID-19, combined with imports under recent trade agreements, mean less production is required. “The WMP market forecast continues to indicate that the impact of imports due to trade agreements, higher than normal cheese stocks, and the slow recovery of the hospitality and service industries will continue to affect demand through the fall across Canada,” a BC Milk Marketing Board statement says. Summer typically brings lower demand for table eggs, according to the BC Egg Marketing Board, so a downturn in recent months isn’t surprising. But as other sectors report, foodservice demand continues to lag. “Sales of eggs in this sector is still depressed over 2019,” says BC Egg Marketing Board communications director Amanda Brittain. “Many restaurants are currently open so we are seeing a small uptick in sales; however, without the usual influx of tourists, egg sales to the hospitality and restaurant sector will not return to normal this year.” BC Fresh president and CEO Murray Driediger says restaurant activity is picking up but remains less than 95% of pre-pandemic levels. “It’s continued shifting sands, and it has been for 18 months, and that’s been PETER MITHAM BURNABY – While consumers are reverting back to normal shopping patterns, gauging where and what they’ll be buying continues to be a challenge for farmers post-pandemic. Supply-managed commodities have a special perspective on the challenges, because their segment of the industry is all about anticipating consumer demand in order to ensure orderly marketing. But as uncertainties around COVID-19 continue, so do the challenges of meeting demand. “It’s still not easy because there’s a lot of different metrics at play,” Abbotsford producer Ray Nickel told the BC Chicken Growers Association general meeting August 4, delivering the report from the Chicken Farmers of Canada. “We haven’t seen a full opening yet ... Now you’re hearing the renewed COVID fears on the delta variant.” The result is that retail sales and foodservice demand are both up, challenging chicken producers to supply both channels and anticipate where demand might be heading. This is in sharp contrast to last year, when restrictions designed to fight COVID-19 resulted in an immediate 20% drop in foodservice spending. Government support programs designed to carry people through the pandemic, which have been renewed into the fall, are another wildcard. “Don’t forget all the cash that everyone’s been receiving from the federal government,” says Nickel. “We have a lot of free-flowing money out there right now that could certainly be going to the food sector.” The complex outlook is good news, however. “We do definitely see that there’s going to be increased demand for chicken supply,” says Nickel. Prospects are slightly different for the dairy sector, however. The BC Milk Marketing Board, in conjunction with the other Western Milk Pool (WMP) provinces, recently approved a decision to cancel Please RSVP by text or call Alexis 604.319.0376Rosegate Farm, Matsqui - Wed, Sept. 1Davie Farm, Delta - Friday, Sept. 3Vyeﬁeld Farm, Sumas - Tues, Sept. 14 Whitta Farm, Nanoose - Friday, Sept. 17Bremer Farm, Enderby - Wed, Sept. 22*As per Covid Health Protocols are updated, we may have to alter or cancel events. 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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.107 No. 9 . SEPTEMBER 2021Published 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 60 and counting, PW! Restart, regenerateAfter 18 months of COVID-19, it seemed as though the worst might be over. Vaccines were available, cases were coming down, restrictions were easing, and day-to-day activities were returning to what we used to call normal. Enter the highly infectious delta variant of the virus. It’s driving a fourth wave of infection around the world, and the spectre of another round of restrictions and protocols. COVID is turning out to be a resilient foe, as are many other viruses able to enlist human hosts to reproduce. A virus is what occurs when a tiny genetic blueprint called a virion contacts a living cell it can program to make copies of itself. A virion is not alive. It lives only as a virus once it contacts and gains entry to a host cell which it programs to make copies of itself. The world is full of virions, by some estimates as many as a nonillion (1 followed by 30 zeros). There could be a hundred billion virions in a litre of seawater, and a kilogram of dry soil might hold a trillion. In order to successfully replicate itself, a virion must provide its host cell with instructions in the form of mRNA (messenger Ribonucleic acid). In 1971, American virologist and Nobel laureate David Baltimore divided viruses into seven groups based on their distinct DNA or RNA makeup and how mRNA was created. In six of the seven groups, viral genes are transcribed in various ways from DNA and/or RNA into mRNA. The simplest is Group 4, which includes coronaviruses, where the single-stranded RNA acts as mRNA without transcription. Group 5, also single-stranded RNA, includes ebola, rabies, measles and inuenza and the viral genes are transcribed into mRNA. The most complicated is Group 7, where viral genes of the double-stranded DNA responsible for Hepatitis B are transcribed from DNA into RNA, back into DNA, then into mRNA. The complexity of the transcription process varies in the remaining groups responsible for diseases such as smallpox, human papillomavirus (HPV), rotaviruses and HIV. Viruses are the ultimate predator, capable of killing everything from bacteria and plankton to plants and animals. Despite the frightening potential, viruses are not all bad. They are crucial to balancing ecosystems ranging from the world’s oceans to a barnyard digestive tract. Most virions can only become viruses in very specic hosts and many are benign or even helpful. That said, there are those that can cause havoc to agriculture. There are few crops – berry, grain, vegetable, orchard, grass or greenhouse-grown – that are immune to viral infection. Blue tongue, bovine viral diarrhea, West Nile, H1N1 (swine u), avian inuenza, foot and mouth disease, rabies and a long list of others are an ever-present concern to ranchers, poultry and other livestock farmers. The science of virology began in the late 19th century and has identied and created vaccines for many debilitating and deadly viral infections. Having lived through more than 70 of the intervening years I have vivid recollection of three people aicted with poliomyelitis. Polio is a virus, similar in the Baltimore grouping to coronaviruses. Its eect was life-altering and permanent for all three. I remember equally well the day I was immunized with the Salk vaccine in a classroom at Fleetwood Elementary School and being relieved when my mother explained what it meant. Vaccine protest has been around since Edward Jenner began using it to create immunity to smallpox, and while I fully respect anyone’s decision not to be vaccinated, I am puzzled by it. Even more so by the persistent denial that COVID even exists. If there is no COVID, might we not fairly question virology in total? No smallpox? Rabies? Inuenza? Polio? Hepatitis? Or shingles? That seems like an ill-advised and dangerous leap to take. Bob Collins raises beef cattle and grows produce on his farm in the Alberni Valley. The Back Forty BOB COLLINSAnti-vax rhetoric is far worse than the cureWe acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada.4 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCBC farmers may look back on this year as the summer of their discontent. While the hopes for a post-pandemic restart sparked talk about the ‘new normal,’ this summer’s high heat and dry weather red everyone up in the wrong way. Shiny newness became coated in grey ash, and the extreme conditions in many parts of the province seemed less like an aberration than a realization of what could be possible again. By some measures, more than 80% of growers in some sectors feel a repeat of this season’s extreme weather is a question of when, not if. The weather woes didn’t just hurt growers. Wildre and smoke also hit travel, putting paid to agritourism activities and keeping a damper on foodservice. Close behind wildre and travel advisories was the delta variant of COVID-19. Just as borders began reopening and travel and in-person meetings were resuming, new restrictions – including the return of indoor mask mandates – have put us on guard. Growers who lost business as demand shifted away from foodservice channels last year are still looking for recovery. Now a federal election is on the books, delaying the meeting of the country’s agriculture ministers that was set for September 8-10. With it, discussions of disaster assistance, business risk management programs and the next federal-provincial policy framework that will succeed the Canadian Agricultural Partnership in 2023 have been delayed. The disasters and delays do nothing to give the farm sector a post-pandemic boost. While the province can be applauded for trying to harness the economic potential of agriculture through the Regenerative Agriculture and Agritech Network that’s set for its ocial launch at the RegenBC conference on September 28-30, farmers need more than technology. Sure, more ecient tools and better ways to assess and analyze current situations are good, but none of it helps the fruit growers dealing with yet another year of poor returns, the livestock growers wondering how they’ll feed their animals this winter and small-lot producers who still can’t book processing space at a local abattoir. Regenerating the province’s farm sector will take more than technology, no matter how good it is. It will take immediate and ongoing support by governments that believe in the potential of rural communities. The needs go beyond agriculture to include health care, education and other public services. Preparing for the future depends not only on investments in technology but caring for the people who use it. Because without people, especially those who grow our food, the technology is pointless.
Organic practices key to our collective well-beingMany benefits flow from the decision to pursue organic certificationCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 5report released August 9 highlights the dire need to address climate change across all sectors, including agriculture. Our food producers are directly impacted by climate change – heat waves, droughts, extreme weather events – and at the same time agriculture is responsible for approximately 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions. BC can follow on the heels of current EU strategies and be a leader in adopting sustainable agriculture practices that will help us address climate change and its impacts. The organic sector has a role to play in supporting new strategies. Leadership Organic BC (formerly the Certied Organic Associations of BC) has had a busy spring and summer with its recent rebranding and launch of a new website. Our non-prot organization delivers accreditation services to nine certication bodies, administers the provincial BC Certied Organic Program, is a recognized conformity verication body for the Canada Organic Regime, and provides support and advocacy for organics. Our new brand is an opportunity for the organization to build upon the foundation built by so many dedicated people over many years, and to continue that work as a strong leader of the organic sector in the province. Organic agriculture is a living-systems approach to producing food and stewarding the land. The organic community has worked collaboratively, combining innovative science and experiential wisdom, to develop eective production methods for all commodities. Organic practices can reduce greenhouse gases, sequester carbon, and increase farmers’ resilience to climate change. These time-tested, scalable, sustainable management methods are codied by peer-reviewed, national certication standards. Organic certication ensures that farmers build and maintain healthy soils, increase biodiversity, protect the environment and improve animal welfare. Since 2018, provincial regulation of the term ‘organic’ has helped ensure public trust in the organic brand. Although organic farming is now widely recognized, the recognition of its great potential for helping solve the climate crisis has not yet translated into government policy. We applaud the provincial government’s recent support for regenerative practices as a rst step in helping mitigate climate change. And yet, the term ‘regenerative’ is not clearly dened on a national or international level, nor is it a protected label with binding standards. At this point in time anyone can claim they are using regenerative practices, and include the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Emissions related to the production and use of nitrogen fertilizer are driving the increase in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, having increased by more than 50% between 1990 and 2017. A lack of standards also opens the door for corporate greenwashing in the interest of prots. Whether a farmer certies as organic for its increasing market value or because they highly value the principles of organic agriculture, they all work within a carefully monitored production system that ensures the health and welfare of people, animals and the planet. The organic sector has a central role to play in helping us transition to a more environmentally sustainable world, and we are more than ready to share decades of experience in organic methods to do that. We are excited about the possibility of building bridges and supporting food production in more ecological ways while maintaining the integrity of organics. I believe we are stronger together. We will get through these uncertain times if we respect and support each other and increase collaboration amongst all organizations working toward positive change. And now, more than ever, it is important that we support our BC producers. Eva-Lena Lang is executive director of Organic BC. As I write this article, the province’s air quality index in my area is at 10 due to wildre smoke, as it has been for several weeks. A record-breaking heat wave and budget-blowing wildre season is forcing farmers across the province to dig deeply to prove their resilience once again. As the folks who grow our food, they shouldn’t have to. On top of the regular work of running a farm business, farmers and ranchers have had to manage complex logistics: evacuating and leaving their livelihood behind, relocating livestock, staying put to help mitigate damage, or preparing to leave while on evacuation alert. Every farmer I have spoken to across the province has been impacted in some way. The heat wave and drought resulted in fruit and crop loss from dryness or burning, decreased pollination, germination issues, issues with ripening because of the smoke, and reduced feed and forage. A common theme across conversations is the importance of innovation and diversity – approaches that helped ensure not all was lost. I am in awe of their resilience and their optimism despite these challenges. At this point, we can only project the total impact this season will have on our farmers, food supply and the economy. At the same time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Viewpoint by EVA-LENA LANGFunding is available for 2022 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Program to enhance the pro昀tability and sustainability of the agriculture industry.Statements of Interest due: September 23, 2021Program Funding provided by:For more information and to submit a Statement of Interest: iafbc.ca/innovationHELP ACCELERATE THE PACE OF INNOVATION IN BCHow is DFWT innovating with their 2021 project funding?“[We are working] to promote the preservation and planting of natural habitats on farmland to improve crop yields and pro昀tability while also increasing biodiversity.”Drew Bondar, Delta Farmland and Wildlife TrustRead more: iafbc.ca/dfwtDowntown 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. 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Poultry, cattle and hog producers have been put on notice that the BC SPCA will be undertaking a series of unannounced welfare checks, a move BC SPCA says is part of its mandate under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. FILE PHOTOCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 7Producers face unannounced welfare checksBC SPCA gets proactive after Excelsior hog farm protestPETER MITHAM NANAIMO – BC SPCA has put commercial livestock producers around the province on notice that it intends to launch unannounced inspections of their operations under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Six sectors have been chosen for the inspections, which will initially take place on Vancouver Island as part of a pilot program. BC SPCA notied industry in a letter dated June 23 that its inspectors would visit two growers from each of the beef, turkey, egg, broiler, hog and dairy sectors as part of the pilot. “The letter was to put these industries on notice that we intended to conduct inspections pursuant to s.15.1 of the [Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] Act,” says Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement ocer with the BC SPCA. “This inspection power was granted to the BC SPCA by the [BC] Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and was not something that the BC SPCA has lobbied government for. However, as the enforcement agency charged with enforcing the act, we felt it important that we do a sampling of these inspections.” BC SPCA hoped to complete at least two inspections by the end of August. Agriculture ministry sta and a vet will accompany inspectors. Producers also have the option of requesting the presence of a representative from their industry association or vet during the inspection. Producers will be asked to provide inspection records and animal welfare plans as required under their sector’s animal care programs. Producers can ask inspectors what concerns, if any, have been identied during the inspection, and can obtain a second opinion in response. The inspections are limited to commercial growers registered with their respective commodity groups. Small-scale growers, who fall outside marketing regulations, are not included as part of the checks. “We do not have the resources at the moment to be doing everything,” says Moriarty. “We picked the larger sectors, the ones that have had cases before.” While both the Dairy See SPCA on next page o
8 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCSPCA welfare checks have growers on edge nfrom page 7Farmers of Canada ProAction initiative and the Chicken Farmers of Canada Animal Care program make use of third-party audits, Moriarty says the inspections are important because they provide independent third-party verication of animal welfare. “This isn’t something we want to be doing … but we do feel there is a need for third-party auditing and so until that time happens, this was a very small sampling we were going to go forward with,” says Moriarty. Unfairly targetted While the inspections are legal, they’re also a departure from the standard complaint-driven investigations BC SPCA has conducted in the past. This has commercial farmers feeling unfairly targeted. Producer groups met with BC SPCA compliance and enforcement sta on August 4 seeking answers. The meeting included representatives from the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the BC Farm Industry Review Board. “Animal care is a priority for our livestock members, who seek to continuously rene and advance on-farm standards,” says Danielle Synotte, executive director of the BC Agriculture Council, which facilitated the meeting. “Our focus is on trying to ensure that all parties have a clear understanding of what the inspection process will look like prior to any inspections taking place. As such, industry representatives welcomed the opportunity to engage with the BC SPCA on their pilot proactive inspection initiative to see where they could best support the success of this pilot initiative.” A collaborative approach was what BC Chicken Marketing Board chair Harvey Sasaki reported to chicken growers when they met later on August 4. “Being that there are only two inspections per group, we don’t want to appear as not being cooperative as an industry,” says Sasaki. “While you may feel threatened by their request to inspect your operation, denial of access is really not an option.” Details of all inspections, including denials of access, remain condential. However, the proportion of farms that deny access to inspectors over the course of the pilot will be published in a report to the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. On edge Despite the assurances, the inspections are the latest in a series of events that have put livestock producers on edge. A combination of initiatives, legal and otherwise, from animal rights groups have prompted several producers to tighten security. Regulated commodity groups have been a special focus because they maintain lists of members and keep records regarding producer compliance with codes of practice developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). The codes are developed by industry in partnership with stakeholders, including the SPCA, and are open for public comment prior to being nalized. BC recognizes the codes of practice under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as the reference for what constitutes “reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal management” that do not cause animals distress. But the April 2019 invasion of the Excelsior hog farm in Abbotsford highlights public concern, says Moriarty. BC SPCA declined to press charges against Excelsior and several of the activists involved in the invasion now face charges of break and enter and mischief (the case is set for trial in June 2022), but Moriarty says it highlighted the need for proactive inspections. “The general call for accountability and transparency within the farming industry [came] out of Excelsior, what happened there. Who are going into these barns that are closed?” she says. “We heard from the public, that they care about animal welfare in farmed animals, and we are the agency responsible for enforcement.” Some industry members say this smacks of an agenda, especially given that smaller farms get a free pass. “It is fair to say that SPCA has had a mandate to go after commercial farm activities,” says Abbotsford producer Ray Nickel, also a director of the BC Chicken Marketing Board and former president of the BC Poultry Association. “This isn’t just an innocent ‘We want to follow up on the Code of Practices here,’ or the [Prevention of] Cruelty to Animals Act. There is an underlying agenda, and I think it behoves the BC [Poultry Association] to take some concerted action on behalf of all the associations to put some pressure on the ministry because this isn’t over yet.” Sasaki says the poultry industry will be following up with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries regarding the inspections. “Ultimately it is the Ministry of Agriculture that’s responsible for the legislation and regulations,” he notes. ABBOTSFORD1-888-283-3276VERNON1-800-551-6411You have the right equipment - get the right parts!Avenue Machinery sells AGCO Parts so you can take care of your machine,the right way.LONGEVITYLONGEVITYGIVE YOURSELF T H E AVENUE“This isn’t something we want to be doing … but we do feel there is a need for third-party auditing.” MARCIE MORIARTY, CHIEF PREVENTION AND ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, BC SPCA
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 9Vancouver Island dairy farmer Mickey Aylard says a lack of rainfall means it’s doubtful the farm will get a fourth cut this year. Second and third cuts were well below average. SUBMITTEDFlotation Tiresto replace11R22.5 Tires orSilage Boxes620/45R22.5 Scale Repairs for ALL Makes of Feeder MixersHydraulic Hose RepairsHubs, Spindles, Tires & Wheelsfor Artex, Dirks and TyCrop WagonsFloor Chain Assembliesfor all makes of Forage and Manure BoxesCamlock Fittings, Pipe Fittings, and Pressure Washer AccessoriesRENT OURLoewen 925 cubic foot 20ft. Forage Box $600/dayRENT OUR2,000 gal. tank w/boom$600/dayWe sell knives for Supreme, Trioliet, Jaylor and Kuhn Vertical Mixers. We also carry Interstate Batteries and Lite kits for farm machinery.3000 Gallon Manure Tank10,, Boom, Dual Pumps, Flotation Tires, Single Axle$98,000.00Manure Agitators3 Point Hitch - Size: 18-30, lg.Lagoon Style - Size: 30-40, lg.Slotted Floor BarnKATE AYERS SAANICH – BC livestock producers are scrambling after ve months without signicant rainfall and three heat waves. While many forage producers saw a decent rst cut, much of the southern half of the province is at some level of drought. Just ve of the 32 water basins in the province were free of drought as of August 23. Vancouver Island was among the regions hardest hit, with the entire region sitting at Level 5 as this issue went to press – a level of dryness “almost certain” to have adverse ecosystem impacts. “This drought has been setting up quite steadily since the spring. We didn’t get the moisture that we normally get from the Comox Valley to Saanich,” says beef producer Brad Chappell, owner of Heart of the Valley Farms in Courtenay. “For the pastures, normally we can sustainably graze for ve to six months. … If we’re lucky, we’ll be between 40% and 50% of that.” Chappell says most producers were forced to start feeding cattle in the third week of August, if not earlier, eating into their winter feed supplies. “That has a heavy impact,” he says. This year’s forage yields were not stellar during rst cut and have only tumbled as the months rolled on. “First cut yields on the east side of the Island were 20% lower than normal. Second cut yields from mid to late June or early July were down 50% and by the middle to end of July, we were at yields 12.5% of normal. It is pretty catastrophic,” Chappell says. Island Milk Producers president Mickey Aylard of Brackenhurst Farm in North Saanich, which milks 100 cows and maintains a herd of 200, says dairy producers face equally dire scenarios. “We haven’t really seen rain since February. We had a bit in April and June but nothing substantial,” she says. “On our farm, the perennial grass yields have been lower. Our rst cut was comparable to previous years but second and third cuts were low and I’m not sure we’re going to get a fourth this year.” Interior situation dire The situation in the Interior is also dire. Drought, followed by wildres and, in the Central Interior, a plague of grasshoppers has left cattle and ranchers with slim pickings. Restrictions on water use are compounding the challenges on all fronts. Stream ows in many watersheds are at a level that government has declared a “high likelihood of signicant irreversible harm to the aquatic ecosystem.” The result is a shortage of feed now and for the foreseeable future. Compounding the shortage is the displacement of animals by wildre, which has increased demand in many areas. To ll the gap, producers such as Bryce Rashleigh on Vancouver Island have rallied producers to ship forage to the Interior. Rashleigh is one of several producers on a list that the BC Cattlemen’s Association has compiled to connect producers with available hay and pasture. But with lower feed supplies and the need to feed more cattle earlier, many producers anticipate higher feed costs. A federal-provincial emergency feed program will cover interim hay and feed costs associated with displacement by wildres, but farmers can only pay for what’s available. And supplies are short all-round. “We are using up more Livestock feel the heat as forage dries upProducers face water limits after months without rainSee FEED on next page o
10 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCFeed is expected to be in short supply heading into winter and that’s likely to put pressure on prices, prompting producers to trim herds and move more cattle through the sales. FILE PHOTOFEED shortage nfrom page 9Agricultural Grade Products - Made in the U.S.A. Contact your local Nelson Irrigation dealer today!TAP INTO OUR WEBINAR SERIES! NELSONIRRIGATION.COMROTATOR®TECHNOLOGYREIGNSNEW HANGINGSPRINKLER SOLVESPROBLEMS FORORGANIC GROWERS15-50 PSI8.5-75 GPH9-16’ RAD.Introducing the S7 Spinner - a new Nelson innovation designed to combatrising energy and labor costs. The S7’s modular design allows quick and easynozzle exchange - and the Quick Clean (QC) technology reduces irrigatorhours — simply turn, ﬂush and reconnect. Special insect protection helpsprevent plugging or stalling. Find out more at WWW.NELSONIRRIGATION.COMthan we normally would as we are housing more animals,” says Andrea van Iterson, whose family has been lucky to have irrigation for the forage that supplies its backgrounding operation in Westwold. “We are in a better position than many who are dry-land farming. They are in pretty bad shape. Their yields are so compromised with the drought.” She says fall feed will be dicult to obtain, and what is available will be at much higher prices on par with 2019. Chappell agrees. “We are going to be very short on the Island in terms of the rich-energy second cut, and the third cut is almost non-existent. It’s brown. I’m irrigating now just to keep the grass alive for when my cows come home,” says Chappell. “We have trucks coming here with feed from the Dakotas, that’s how bad it is in the West right now. I know a guy who recently went down to California for a load of alfalfa.” Aylard has excess feed from last year, so she hasn’t had to tap into this year’s crop – yet. She has also been irrigating the pastures for the cattle to graze. “But a big thing we are concerned about is grain. It’s not just Vancouver Island or BC experiencing drought, but across Canada there has been severe weather issues and challenges,” she says. “Grain will be in higher demand and harder to get this winter.” Liquidation Feed and water shortages across the Prairies are forcing some ranchers to signicantly reduce their herd sizes and sell o breeding stock. One report mentions the possibility of a 50% reduction in Western Canada’s cattle herd. “We’re not selling but I do know four or ve ranchers on the Island who are right now. They are culling the back end and older cattle of their herds,” says Chappell. “It’s been a tough year. People are either going to spend through it or reduce.” Van Iterson expects the fall calf run to start earlier. “People will be trying to get animals out of their operations. I know that BC livestock already has some additional sales planned as they have people wanting to move animals,” she says. “The industry is liquidating animals right across Western Canada. They will keep young top-producing animals for breeding stock but anything else could be up for sale.” While yearling markets are delivering strong prices, she is sceptical that they’ll last. “I don’t know how long those prices are sustainable,” she says. Brian Perillat, manager and senior analyst at Canfax in Calgary, expects to see downward pressure on cattle prices as the extent of the fall run and increases in feed prices become known. “We’re expecting to see fairly large volumes of calves and feeders moved to market,” he says. “[But] when producers are trying to market calves and feedlots or buyers have to pay such extreme prices for grain, they also have less money to spend on calves.” Strong consumer demand for beef should cushion any drop in prices, however. “Beef demand is very strong and we’re expecting good prices next year. It’s supporting prices at relatively decent levels despite these challenges,” he says. “The outlook is pretty darn good. Beef demand has been great. Hopefully later next year we’ll see some recovery in prices.” With les from Tom Walker
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 11Farmers take issue with water restrictionsFood security requires access to water, say growersArzeena Hamir built a 500,000 gallon dugout six years ago to stabilize her water supply. SUBMITTEDBC Livestock Producers Co-opKamloops 250.573.3939Williams Lake 250.398.7174Vanderhoof 250.567.4333OK Falls 250.497.5416Canart Cattle Company Kamloops 250.573.5605Ellis Cattle Co. Williams Lake 604.309.5355Patterson`s Auction Mart Ltd. Dawson Creek 250.782.6272VJV, Dawson Creek 250.782.3766Miane Creek Livestock Armstrong 250.558.9408Western Livestock Marketing Solutions Inc. 250.573.5605OFFERING MARKETING, BUYING & TRANSPORTATION.OUR ADVANTAGESLess Shrink with Less ExpenseLicensed & BondedWe Buy and Sell with IntegrityWe have Extensive Knowledge of Buyer and Seller Needs. Contact Our Friendly Local Livestock Professionals Today.LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS IN BC SELL & TRANSPORT YOUR CATTLE THROUGHMOUNTAIN LIVESTOCK MARKETING ASSOCIATIONMembersContact MLMA 1.250.314.9686Have 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!KATE AYERS & PETER MITHAM GIBSONS – With a growing number of watersheds reaching Level 4 drought restrictions or higher, some farmers say regulators need to make greater allowances for food production. Sunshine Coast Regional District recently implemented Level 4 drought restrictions which prohibit all outdoor water use, including for agriculture. That doesn’t sit well with Raquel Kolof of Hough Heritage Farm in Gibsons and president of the Sunshine Coast Farmers Institute. “All farmers, including commercial food farmers, were cut o from outdoor water use on August 10, 2021, as the SCRD went into stage 4 water restrictions on the Sunshine Coast,” she says. “[But] breweries, distilleries and industrial cannabis grow ops have unrestricted water use simply due to the fact that their operations are indoors.” The farmers institute promptly sent a letter to the Sunshine Coast Regional District asking it to exempt soil-based farmers from the restrictions. It had previously changed the rules in 2019 to exempt farmers until Level 4, but Kolof says allowing industrial users to draw water while prohibiting growers from watering their crops doesn’t make sense. “Water restrictions based on indoor versus outdoor water use are arbitrary, unfair and not in the best interest of our communities' need for food security, nor our aquifer's and ecosystem's long-term health,” the letter says. “Soil-based farming supports our ecosystem and reverses climate change. Soil-based farmers with healthy living crops and livestock-grazed pastures sequester carbon. This carbon drawdown into living roots feeds our soil microbiome and cools our climate.” The letter also notes that healthy pastures, cropland and orchards also support wildlife and feed pollinators, which are essential to the food supply as well as being an environmental benet. Nature Tech Nursery co-owner Thom O’Dell in Courtenay also ags the environmental benets of maintaining agricultural water use. Drought ratings in two watersheds in the Comox Valley are at Level 4, a stage at which adverse impacts become likely. While maintaining stream ows protects sh, O’Dell would like to see the province support greater investment in on-farm water management. Nature Tech has yet to hear back regarding its water licence application 19 months after submission and is now considering whether or not to develop a dugout for water storage. “We hope that the province will implement funding for water storage as it is increasingly clear that we need to do much more to adapt to climate change,” he says. “We think that is a simple and cost-eective contribution that would serve complementary goals of assisting small farmers to be more sustainable in terms of their water use while also enhancing conservation eorts for salmon and other riparian species by reducing the use of surface water by farmers in the growing season.” Courtenay beef producer Brad Chappell of Heart of the Valley Farms says the federal government also needs to step up. “If the federal government truly wants to help agriculture, they should develop a plan through grants and nancing in regions to develop o-stream and extra watering facilities like dugouts and wells,” he says. Courtenay organic producer Arzeena Hamir has ensured a stable supply of water for her four acres of vegetables with a dugout she built in 2015. It stores 500,000 gallons of water, augmenting what her well delivers. Water access is most acute in the Koksilah watershed, one of a growing number of watersheds in the province now rated Level 5, when a “high likelihood of signicant irreversible harm to the aquatic ecosystem” are almost certain. See WATER on next page o
12 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCWATER restrictions on the increase nfrom page 11Dustin Stadnyk CPA, CAChris Henderson CPA, CANathalie Merrill CPA, CMATOLL FREE 1-888-818-FARM | www.farmtax.caExpert farm taxation advice: • Purchase and sale of farms • Transfer of farms to children • Government subsidy programs • Preparation of farm tax returns • Use of $1,000,000 Capital Gains Exemptions Approved consultants for Government funding through BC Farm Business Advisory Services ProgramARMSTRONG 250-546-8665 | LUMBY 250-547-2118 | ENDERBY 250-838-7337View over 100 listings of farm properties at www.bcfarmandranch.comBC FARM & RANCH REALTY CORP.Buying or Selling a Farm or Acreage?GORD HOUWELING Cell: 604/793-8660GREG WALTON Cell: 604/864-1610Toll free 1-888-852-AGRI Call BC’s First and Only Real Estate Office committed 100% to Agriculture!PROFESSIONAL SERVICESCALL 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 BCGrape growers optimistic as harvest approachesBC grape growers are gearing up for the 2021 harvest following a hot, smoky summer and the second-smallest crop of the past ve years. This season has delivered strong accumulation of growing degree days thanks to high temperatures, with vineyards reporting veraison well underway in early August. Many growers are optimistic, despite the challenges wildres and the pandemic have posed winery tasting rooms. The annual crop assessment released earlier this year by the BC Wine Grape Council pegged the 2020 crop at 32,050 short tons. This was down from 35,568 tons in 2019. “The 2020 vintage was a slower starter, with bud-break and bloom later than average,” the report notes. “Residual eects of the 2019 cold-damage as well as cool spring temperatures during owering resulted in lowering the overall yield.” A second report released this year by the BC Wine Grape Council indicated a slight increase in acreage from ve years ago. A survey of vineyards in 2019 indicated a total of 11,086 acres compared to 10,260 acres in 2014. Merlot, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are the top three varieties grown in BC. However, due to variation in vineyard architecture, acreage isn’t always the best indication of the growth in plantings. While red varieties accounted for 53% of the acreage versus white varieties in 2019, red fruit made up 49% of that year’s harvest (17,380 tons) versus white grapes at 51% (18,188 tons). This was a minor change from 2014, when red varieties accounted for 51% of the acreage and 46% of the crop. The numbers indicate lower per-acre yields for red grapes versus white varieties. Red varieties typically command higher pricing, however, making them a more valuable option than their white counterparts. While the most valuable grape in the province last year was the white variety Albarino at $4,000 a ton followed by Marsanne at $3,525 a ton, white varieties otherwise ranged from $1,659 to $2,917 a ton. Red varieties, by contrast, ranged from $1,800 to $3,487 a ton, led by Grenache and Syrah at $3,487 and $3,247 a ton, respectively. — Peter Mitham Greenhouse, nursery specialist named BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries eld vegetable specialist Susan Smith is now also responsible for greenhouse, oriculture and nursery crops. Smith’s appointment came in June, following Dave Woodske’s retirement as oriculture and greenhouse specialist in March 2020. “There’s a real need for ministry support,” Smith told greenhouse growers at their annual general meeting on August 12. “Greenhouse and oriculture and nursery are very dierent from eld vegetables in the issues that they face, but when it comes to being that liaison between industry and the ministry on some of these critical things, I think that my experience with those types of things with eld vegetables is helpful.” Smith feels her experience can build bridges for greenhouse vegetable, ower and nursery growers as they face trade issues and other challenges. “I might be able to help them with business management tools and point them towards things like that,” she says. “We have some basic production and basic extension tools. I try to connect them up with industry leaders and connect them with industry associations. I also try to provide them with as much aid as possible when it comes to some of the resources that are out there in terms of best management practices and grower education opportunities.” She also sees herself assisting with technical issues such as getting input for land use planning, animal health and strategic planning from various organizations in the future. Smith’s appointment followed a review of ministry priorities and industry demand in collaboration with the BC Greenhouse Growers Association, United Flower Growers and the BC Landscape and Nursery Association. Woodske spent 22 years as the ministry’s nursery specialist, beginning in 1998. His position eventually grew to include oriculture and greenhouse vegetables as roles were consolidated. The trend continues with the expansion of Smith’s role. — Ronda Payne Growers along the Koksilah River became the rst in the province to face restrictions under BC’s Water Sustainability Act in 2019 when water access was cut as stream ows fell below 180 litres per second. “All the streams and wells that are in the Koksilah watershed and support the river and are used for irrigation were also included,” says David Tattam, a producer and environmental farm plan advisor. To manage the risk, a group of 19 producers developed an irrigation scheduling system that sees half of them irrigate four days then the other half irrigate for four days during drought conditions. This approach helped maintain water use until midnight on August 17 when the province once again cut o users as ow levels dropped. However, some farmers in the area decided not to irrigate at all this year, says Tattam. “They have to put so much water on that it wasn’t cost eective,” he explains. “Farmers take a pretty big hit nancially even with the scheduling. It’s better than no irrigation but you’re only irrigating half the time. They reduce the opportunity of getting second and third crops o. … We’re hoping in the future that we can come up with something better than scheduling and nd opportunities to develop access to water.” Secure access to water will be key for agricultural production to continue in BC. This point was highlighted in a 2006 report for the province, which estimated that an additional 92,000 hectares of irrigated farmland would be needed by 2025 for BC farmers to continue supplying 48% of the province’s food supply. Climate change, and the responses of local government, has only exacerbated the importance of secure access to water. The urgency of the situation is prompting some producers to get political. Cammy and James Lockwood of Lockwood Farms in Cobble Hill have 6,000 laying hens and a market garden, both of which suered during this summer’s heat waves. They did their best to keep the lettuce and brassicas cool so it wouldn’t go to seed but still lost about 4,000 heads of lettuce. “Plants were literally just getting scorched. On the nursery side, a lot of the leaves just burnt even when they were well watered,” says Cammy, noting that the farm’s well struggled to keep up with demand. Growers in the eastern Fraser Valley also made huge demands on their aquifers, and Lockwood says governments need to pay attention. “I feel not enough is being done about this,” she says. “The government is not treating it like the crisis it is. Food security is at top of mind through the wildres and heat dome.” This summer’s events pushed Lockwood to become more politically involved in her region and she will support the Green Party in the upcoming federal election. “As farmers, we are on the front lines of the climate crisis and it’s getting harder and harder to grow food,” Lockwood says. With les from Barbara Johnstone Grimmer Ag Briefs EDITED BY PETER MITHAM
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 13Feed BC connects producers with opportunitiesLocal food access expands across provinceBC Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Lana Popham says the province’s Feed BC program is set to add more food hubs, hospitals and schools to its list of participants. BCMAFF www.hlaattachments.com 1-866-567-4162 • Grapple clamps on to any Class II fork frame with walk through guard Grapple shown mounted on HD55 pallet fork.• Minimum 12 GPM required• Secondary metering drum regulates ﬂow onto the belt• 12” wide high abrasion rubber belt with 1 ½” paddles• Discharge from either side Straw/Lime model shown.• Includes 2-½”x 8” cylinders• Main bucket material ¼” end plates and clam ﬂoor bottom• Available widths 66”, 72”, 78”, 84”• Loader and skidsteer models available SINGLE ARM LOG GRAPPLESINGLE ARM LOG GRAPPLESIDE DISCHARGE BUCKETKATE AYERS VICTORIA – The government’s Feed BC program is gaining momentum as more food hubs come online and post-secondary partners express interest in oering more local products to students. “We have a dozen food hubs that are underway right now,” says BC Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Lana Popham. “With the increased budget that we have this year, we’ll be able to do two or three more for this cycle.” In addition, she says “around 25” public post-secondary institutions have either signed on with FeedBC or are interested in participating in the initiative. “We have the goal of making sure at least 30% of the food in these institutions is grown or processed in the province,” she said. However, after tracking consumption data of institutions over the last two and half years, the government is preparing to move the goal post. University of Northern BC food services director Yazan Kanaan says the university upheld its commitment of 30% local food even during the pandemic. It managed to achieve 35.7% local purchases in the rst semester and 40% in the second during the 2020/2021 school year. While UNBC has surpassed the set 30%, Kanaan cautioned that increasing the benchmark may not be the best move until all universities are set up to achieve at least the minimum. Collecting and tracking purchasing and consumption data can be challenging, Kanaan says, especially when universities work with third-party distribution companies such as Sysco. Feed BC also works with regional health authorities that operate 170 hospitals and residential care facilities. To properly implement Feed BC, all partners must monitor food purchases to ensure targets are met and commit to sourcing from local producers, Popham notes. “Our role is to help facilitate conversations between primary producers and those institutions that are trying to make a shift and then everyone in between,” she says. “This policy brings stability into domestic markets and allows us to … gure out what is needed in institutional buying. The domestic market is the foundation of the house. It takes a while and it is hard to shift a whole food system, but we are seeing a boost in momentum.” When the Interior Health Authority began purchasing 600,000 BC eggs per year, egg producers noticed the benet right away, Popham says. “It shows that a small shift in where you are purchasing from and thinking about BC producers makes an incredible dierence in farmers’ bottom lines,” she says. S&G Farms Ltd. in Oliver currently works with Sysco through the Feed BC program to provide Interior Health with more BC products. “I think it is really important to buy local products,” says S&G Farms owner Inderjit Sandhu. He and his family grow 50 acres of fresh vegetables for wholesale and retail. In 2019, the second year of Feed BC, local food purchases by BC health authorities were $3.5 million higher than the year prior “and that is just the beginning,” Popham says. Island Health patients and the Lower Mainland health authorities joined Feed BC’s healthcare partnership at the end of July. On the Island, Galey Farms in Saanich and Michell Farms in Saanichton provide fresh produce to Island Health, which also works with local food suppliers including Islands West Produce and B&C Foods. In the Provincial Health Services Authority, the BC Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam has partnered with Okanagan Select, an Indigenous shery owned and operated by the Syilx. The group provides sockeye and Chinook for patients. Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care work with Highline Mushrooms in the Lower Mainland and Monte Cristo Bakery in Delta. As per the minister’s mandate letter last November, the province also looks to expand the FeedBC program into elementary and BC Agriculture in the Classroom in partnership with the BC ministries responsible for education, health and agriculture deliver fresh produce to up to 580,000 elementary and high school students each year in over 1,400 schools, says BCAITC executive director Pat Tonn. The BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Program has been running for about 17 years and provides public and First Nation students from kindergarten to Grade 12 with healthy food, says Tonn. While schools faced some challenges administering the program as a result of COVID-19, she says “all schools and districts are back on for September.” Teachers, parent volunteers and partners help the program succeed, not to mention the many farmers who participate and provide food for students. “There are about 500 dairy farmers who (supply) milk for the elementary school programs and about 520 producers who grow fruits and vegetables,” Tonn says. The BC Ministry of Health secured the nutrition program’s future with a $3.5 million investment earlier this year. —Kate Ayers Nutrition program continuessecondary schools. “The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries is working towards Feed BC being introduced in the public K-12 school system in the future and we are working closely with the Ministry of Education on the timing,” says the ministry’s public aairs ocer Dave Townsend.
14 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCThe BC Fruit Growers Association is one of several agricultural organizations that have been calling for a grocer code of conduct that would provide greater protection to its members. FILEROOHI SAHAJPAL KELOWNA – A proposed grocery code of conduct could bring big changes to the relationship between food industry retailers and suppliers in Canada, a system that has been called unfair for many years. Nova Scotia-based Empire Co. Ltd., which operates under the Thrifty Foods and Safeway banners in BC, and the manufacturers association Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP) proposed a grocery supply code of practice for Canada in an eort to stabilize the relationship between retailers and suppliers after decades of complaints of unfair practices such as arbitrary fees, cost increases imposed without notice and late payments. Some of the proposed changes in the code include “requiring negotiated agreements in writing between retailers and suppliers, ensuring open negotiations between retailers and suppliers and introducing a government adjudication system to manage complaints of unfair practices under the Code.” The change is one dairy farmers and grower associations in BC support. “The BC Fruit Growers Association is in support of the grocery code of conduct and in fact I would go so far in saying we were one of the rst agricultural organizations to raise the issue several years ago,” says BCFGA general manager Glen Lucas. In 2017, the BCFGA sent a resolution to the Canadian Horticulture Council after retailers introduced additional costly food safety requirements. Lucas says it was the arbitrary introduction of fees by Walmart Canada last year that was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and brought suppliers together to take action. Last July, Walmart Canada introduced new fees to its suppliers – up to 6.25% of the cost of goods – to recover costs of its $3.5 billion modernization plan, which included store upgrades and e-commerce initiatives. “The arbitrary introduction of fees is an indication of an imbalance of market power in terms of bargaining power and the ability to set prices. That’s one of the main areas of competition where it’s no longer a supply-and-demand type of thing but a monopoly situation on purchasing, not selling, and that was our concern,” says Lucas. Dave Taylor, a third-generation dairy farmer from Vieweld Farms in Courtenay, says that BC dairy farmers are advocating for the change alongside processors. “In the past, processors would try new products and experiment with dierent things because they had the resources to do so. It seems to be that those are the areas that sometimes get sacriced in the crunch. That’s a huge concern to me because areas like products, innovation and new processing are where I want to ourish in because that’s going to mean growth for me as a dairy farmer,” says Taylor, a board member with the BC Dairy Association and BC’s representative with Dairy Farmers of Canada. DFC issued a statement earlier this year endorsing the Empire Co./FHCP proposal. “A grocery code of conduct would bring some balance to that area in the supply chain. That’s kind of our message when we’re speaking to government and encouraging this in any way we can to see where it might go,” says Taylor. The concerns of processors, producers and independent grocers were part of the discussions at the annual federal-provincial-territorial agriculture ministers’ meeting last November. The ministers struck a working group to consult experts and industry members regarding the increase of fees by retailers and the disadvantaged position of suppliers. Industry-led Alongside the code proposed by Empire and the FHCP, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), which represents Canada’s major grocers, recently announced its own proposal for an industry code of practice. It’s calling for a collaborative process in the creation of a code which would be industry-led. The council does not want to see government regulation. “There’s been some supply chain bullying going on over several years between grocers and suppliers. Grocers have been charging fees to support key initiatives on their end and some of the fees have been abusive, to be honest,” says Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax. While fees used to support marketing, shelf space and positioning on yers, Charlebois says they’re now reaching a point where grocers rely on these fees to support their operations. “It’s not about articial marketing initiatives anymore, it’s more about growing the business and they need the extra fees. So, whenever there’s an investment made by a grocer in opening up a distribution centre or developing new e-commerce platforms, it’s often at the expense of suppliers,” he says. Similar grocery codes have been implemented in places like Australia and the UK for several years and Charlebois says that it’s just a matter of time before it will happen in Canada. “There's this broader acknowledgement that there's a problem, but I don't think that people actually agree on what the solution should be. I’m of the mind that if you don’t get the government actively involved in any code, I’m not sure it has any chance for survival.” Agriculture ministers from across Canada will discuss a code of conduct at their next meeting, originally set to take place in Guelph, September 8-10, but now deferred by the federal election. Participants will discuss the results of the working group, which presented its preliminary ndings on July 15. “The set of ndings shared today give all ministers a solid basis of understanding of why an industry-led proposal to improve transparency, predictability, and respect for the principles of fair dealing would be benecial for the agri-food sector and all supply chain partners,” said federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in a statement. “We are urging industry to continue their constructive dialogue to develop a concrete proposal designed for the Canadian context that will improve fair dealing in retailer relationships with their suppliers.” With les from Peter Mitham Growers welcome grocer code of conductCanada’s agriculture ministers are preparing to take actionLow cost assistance to complete LMIAs and assist in communicating with Service CanadaNo charge Spray SchedulesValuable information in the BCFGA NewsletterFree subscriptions: Country Life in BC, The Grower, & Orchard and VineNo additional charge for Pesticide Applicator Certicate RenewalA $250 incentive for completing an Environmental Farm Plan *NEW**Some conditions apply, contact us for full detail. For additional information, email us at email@example.com or call 250-762-5226 ext. 1Full membership (tree fruit producers) and associate membership (grape growers) accepted.BC FRUIT GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION1.800.619.9022 (Ext. 1)www.bcfga.caSubscription toSubscription toCountry Life Country Life in BCin BCto RENEW yourSubscriptionDon’t forget
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 15Chicken growers address heat stressEven best practices might not have helped this summerLimiting access to feed up to six hours before the hottest part of the day to lower metabolism is one of the ways poultry producers can help birds stay cool. FILE403.347.2646rtf firstname.lastname@example.org Clean machineLIKE NEW5/16” x 26” Notched Blades, F&R – 10.5” Spacing2 3/16” Alloy Steel Gang Shafts, New ScrapersNew W214 INA Ball Bearings F & RD u al W he e l s / N e w 9. 5 L x 1 5 ” Im p. T i re s New 5” x 8” Hyd. Cylinder, New Hose Group, Tips & Depth Segments / NEW PAINT $21500.00 #3, 7491-49 Ave., Red Deer, ABPETER MITHAM ABBOTSFORD – This summer’s heat waves loomed large for chicken growers at their August 4 general meeting, with guest speaker Dr. Luke Nickel of Poultry Health Services in Abbotsford providing tips to help growers manage the issue. With heat stress a risk once temperatures exceed 30°C, many growers were hit hard by the late June heat wave as temperatures reached 45°C. Chicken growers lost about 20% of that week’s production. Turkey and egg producers also saw losses. “It was quite a disaster for a lot of people,” Nickel notes. Broiler producers were hit hardest because their birds are bred to mature quickly. “These modern breeds that are growing quite fast, quite ecient, they’re going to be generating quite a lot of heat, which ends up being quite a problem,” says Nickel. A chicken’s normal body temperature is 41.5°. A broiler sheds 75% of the energy it takes in through respiration and body heat. When the surrounding temperature rises, birds try to stay cool by reducing feeding to slow their metabolism, panting and stretching their wings to increase heat loss. “Any time we get out of that thermal neutral zone, the birds are going to have to adapt to that and respond to that to keep themselves in that neutral range,” says Nickel. “We’ll start to see death when they get up to that temperature of 44°C and they’re not able to regulate their temperature or cool themselves at all.” High humidity makes cooling harder, because panting becomes less eective at shedding heat. This makes early evening a dangerous time for heat-struck ocks, because relative humidity increases as temperatures drop. To protect ocks during a heat wave, Nickel advises growers to ensure their barns are well ventilated. Tunnel venting is more eective than cross-venting at keeping the air moving. “The more air that you can move through your barn, that’s going to remove more heat generated by convection,” he says. Reducing rations or adjusting feeding schedules so that blood isn’t rushing to the birds’ guts during the hottest part of the day can help. Some growers withdraw feed six hours ahead of high temperatures to ensure blood can ow to the skin to facilitate cooling. Providing adequate water is important. Broilers can drink four times as much when heat-stressed. Growers should also walk their barns regularly both to monitor ocks for heat stress and to separate birds so that natural cooling is more eective. But even a combination of these measures may not have been eective against this summer’s heat. “During the heat that we experienced this summer, a combination of all these things still probably wouldn’t have helped you,” he says. While heat stress has been the key issue for growers this See ILT on next page oQuality Pre-Owned Tractors & EquipmentANDEX 773 RAKE . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,500 CASE 415 CULTIPACKER . . . . . . 12,500 JAYLOR MIXER WAGON . . . . . . . . 13,500 JCB 409 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47,000 JD 348 BALER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,000 KUHN FC313 MOWER TG . . . . . 20,000 KUHN 4 BOT ROLLOVER PLOW . . . . 19,900 KUBOTA BX2200 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,500 KVERNELAND 4032 MOWER . . 16,000 MASCHIO DC4000 POWER HARROW . . . . . . . . . . . .12,500 MASCHIO 4.5 M PWR HARROW COMING MF 1523 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,000 NH 570 BALER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,000 TYCROP HIGH DUMP 16’ . . . . . . . 9,500 WACKER NEUSON 750T . . . . . . . 62,500
16 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCILT outbreaks increase nfrom page 15Insurance 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.summer, the second half of Nickel’s presentation addressed several diseases of concern, including infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT). BC Chicken Marketing Board executive director Bill Vanderspek noted that four ILT outbreaks had been declared in the week leading up to the meeting, with a fth declared the day of the meeting. This follows more than 20 outbreaks last year and 30 in 2019, up from an average of two outbreaks a year previously. Nickel says high temperatures may be a factor in this year’s outbreaks. “[The] virus will sit in the nerves, especially if ocks have been infected a while ago,” says Nickel. “If those birds get stressed, such as they go through an extreme amount of heat, they can start shedding that virus again and infect the neighbouring ocks. And historically we have seen a little bit of an increase in the summer, probably as guys are ventilating a bit more.” A previous presentation on ILT to growers noted that once the virus causing ILT is circulating in a ock, infected birds need to be removed to limit the spread of the disease. Strict biosecurity protocols also need to be in place to limit the spread between farms. While iodine in the water may help mitigate the spread of the disease, quarantine for infected barns and heat treatment of litter prior to removal and disposal is also critical. RONDA PAYNE SURREY – Greenhouse growers probably thought they’d encountered the most challenging year possible in 2020. But as BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association president Armand Vander Meulen told members during their annual general meeting August 12, no one expected the issues 2021 delivered. “Over time, hurdles that growers face seem to increase every year,” he says. “We entered 2021 not expecting a repeat of 2020, but I don’t think any grower could see the hurdles in 2021.” Labour shortages, supply shortages and water concerns have all played a part in the year so far. This, coupled with changing markets and additional growing regions, makes it the ideal time to engage in a new strategic direction exercise, he says. “We haven’t done one in quite a few years,” he notes. “Our growing area has increased signicantly and our presence in the North American market has changed. We have to recognize that the world is changing and there’s dierent growing methods. We have to stay relevant to our members.” The addition of non-regulated products into the membership in 2021 brings another element to consider in the planning process, being led by Vancouver consultant Mary O’Callaghan, principal of Devonshire Advisory. “It’s a process an organization takes to dene its direction,” she explains of the strategic planning exercise. “It kind of helps you make decisions and it helps you to evaluate progress. It provides a basis for making aligned decisions.” Growers will be contacted for condential discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of the association as well as thoughts on its direction. “You’ll get various answers, but from a lot of answers, you’ll get common themes,” she says. Vander Meulen hopes growers will give their thoughts freely when contacted. “This is a very important time in our organization’s life, I believe,” he says. BCGGA is currently strategizing regarding the new direction. This will be followed by planning, execution and continuous improvement. O’Callaghan reminded the group that no matter how good the strategy is, the association will always need to be exible. “Sometimes you need to make adjustments,” she says. One of executive director Linda Delli Santi’s projects is a prime example of the kinds of adjustments that need to be made. Work to facilitate greenhouse vegetable exports to China stalled due to politics and was further held up by the pandemic. Now, as that project sits on hold, others such as the draft Protected Agricultural Stewardship – National Auditable Standard, an industry-formulated national standard, have come into play. Organizations behind the new standard include the Canadian Horticulture Council, Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, CropLife Canada, Cannabis Council of Canada, Mushrooms Canada and Flower Growers Canada. Greenhouse growers with closed chemigation systems must be audited and certied for the use of all chemistries labelled for greenhouse use, regardless of chemical or application method. Certication under the standards will be required to purchase greenhouse labelled products as of January 1, 2024. Additionally, Delli Santi says the US International Trade Commission’s decision in March that blueberry imports weren’t negatively impacting US growers has eased challenges from a similar inquiry regarding bell peppers. “But they have until 2023 [to proceed], so we’ll see,” she says. Heather Little was brought on as research and industry development manager in January to help manage the workload. One of her current tasks is the Delta greenhouse water supply risks and options project which looks at the level of risk and likelihood of greenhouse water limitation from drought-imposed water restrictions. By looking at current and future greenhouse water demand, there will also be an identication of alternate water sources. BCGGA’s 60 members now have 3,387,633 square metres of production space, including 212,427 square metres of unregulated growing space for strawberries, eggplant and propagation. Growers of these crops have been included as voluntary members. BCGGA treasurer Ray VanMarrewyk said grower levies would stay the same for 2021. “We’re not recommending an increase for this year, but we may have to look at that for next year,” he says. The proposed 2021 budget comes with a shortfall of more than $75,000, similar to that of 2020. However, with COVID, expenses in 2020 were less than expected, reducing that year’s shortfall to $35,282. There were three positions available in the election and the incumbents, Vander Meulen, Jos Moerman and Ravi Cheema, were elected by acclamation. Greenhouse growers undertake strategic planAssociation faces changes as new crops become eligible for membershipBC Greenhouse Growers’ Association president Armand Vander Meulen. RONDA PAYNE
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 17Six years in, Delta dairy farmer Jerry Keulen says diversifying his dairy operation to produce renewable natural gas was a good move. FORTISBCYOURHelping YouHelping YouSignSign up today forfor freeupy eeWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATESKATE AYERS DELTA – With BC working to reduce its use of fossil fuels, some farmers see renewable natural gas (RNG) as an opportunity to add a new income stream to their operations. Seabreeze Farm owner and dairy farmer Jerry Keulen is among them. He was intrigued by the possibility of reducing his farm’s greenhouse gas emissions while upcycling the manure his cattle produce. Unlike conventional natural gas, RNG is derived from biogas, which is the product of decomposing organic waste from landlls, agricultural waste and wastewater. Biogas is collected and cleaned to create RNG. When ARDCorp put out a call for producers interested in RNG technology, Keulen agreed to participate in a feasibility study in 2010. The farm’s proximity to the energy grid and consumers made it an ideal spot to test out a new biogas project. Keulen decided to continue developing the project following the study and the complete waste management facility became operational in 2015. “We were interested in RNG because the buzzword at the time was diversication, so we wanted to diversify with another income stream,” says Keulen. The farm’s biogas is puried to pipeline quality natural gas and is then sold to FortisBC as RNG. This renewable energy is dierent from the previous biogas options available to producers because it can feed into the existing natural gas distribution network, says FortisBC’s RNG supply manager Scott Gramm. “You have the option to put it into the existing natural gas system,” he says. He notes that the price is often better than electricity. “Options of the past were to directly use raw biogas to burn for heat or potentially generate electricity. In our program, we oer a fairly high price for this source of energy that we can use to displace conventional gas.” Keulen feeds his anaerobic digester with the manure from his 400-head milking herd and organics from o-farm sources, including oils and grease from restaurants across Metro Vancouver. In total, Seabreeze Farms produces 45,000 gigajoules of RNG – enough energy to heat 500 homes for a year. Turning manure into renewable energyCapturing biogas good for the planet and the bottom lineFarm and Rural Residential Properties in the Peace Country are our specialtyAnne H. ClaytonMBA, AACI P App, RIAppraiserJudi LeemingBHE, AIC CandidateAppraiser250.email@example.comIn addition to Seabreeze Farms Ltd. in Delta, FortisBC works with local suppliers including the Surrey Biofuel Facility as well as landlls in Kelowna and Salmon Arm. See FORTIS on next page oBremer Farms45 Salts Road, EnderbyPlease RSVP to the Sila Grow Oce.*As per Covid Health Protocols are implemented or removed, we will update the event on our website.
18 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCFORTIS offers long-term contracts nfrom page 17CLAAS 860 SP FORAGE HARVESTER 12.5’ PICKUP & 6 ROW CORNHEAD $93,700 CLAAS JAG 870 SP FORAGE HARVESTER CALL FOR DETAILS CLAAS 970 SP FORAGE HARVESTER 10’ PICKUP & 10 ROW CORNHEAD CALL FOR MORE DETAILS/PRICING CLAAS 4000 4-ROTOR RAKE CALL FOR DETAILS FELLA TS 880 CENTER DELIVERY ROTARY RAKE CONSIGNMENT UNIT $16,000 X 2 FENDT 930 MFD CAB TRACTOR CALL FOR DETAILS KRONE SWADRO TC 760 CENTER DELIVERY ROTARY RAKE COMING IN!!!!! NH BB340 LARGE SQUARE BALER CALL FOR DETAILS SUPREME INTERNATIONAL 700T MIXER WAGON TWIN SCREW CALL FOR DETAILS VEENHUIS MANURE TANKER TRIPLE AXLE WITH BRAKES $140,000 Pre-owned Tractors & EquipmentCLAAS Early order on now!www.caliberequipment.ca STORE HOURS MONDAY-FRIDAY, 8-5 SATURDAYS 8-12604-864-2273 34511 VYE ROAD ABBOTSFORD More Crops. Less Ash.FortisBC has also signed a 20-year contract with EverGen, a publicly listed RNG infrastructure platform headquartered in Vancouver. As one of its largest customers, FortisBC will buy up to 173,000 gigajules of RNG annually from EverGen. FortisBC does not have a minimum production threshold for farms supplying it with RNG, but Gramm says the economics have to make sense. “My experience tells me that you want to be in the range of at least 200 milking cows plus some other organics to make the economics go round,” he says. A farm that isn’t producing enough waste on its own can partner with neighbouring farms to produce the tens of thousands of tonnes of waste needed to feed the RNG system each year. Farmers are responsible for installing the required RNG infrastructure on their properties and then FortisBC oers long-term contracts to farmers. “You don’t need to go season-to-season but rather you can sign 10-to-20-year agreements,” he says. At Seabreeze Farms, the byproducts from the RNG process include hygienic bedding for the cattle and a nutrient-rich digestate that can be used as fertilizer. “Because we’re bringing in more nutrients and o-farm products onto ag land, the ministry of ag was concerned about how we were going to handle more nutrients on land that already has a lot of phosphorus,” says Keulen. “So, we now do a whole nutrient extraction. We collect all those nutrients, put them into a tight package and that allows us to move them o farm in a practical way to other land bases that need nutrients and spread those nutrients over a larger area.” Those with RNG facilities on their farms need an approved nutrient management plan. The project does not come without potential challenges, though. Challenges “There is a fair amount of work involved. We tried to run it alongside the farm the rst ve and half years,” says Keulen. “But we recently realized it’s a much bigger task, so we have a plant manager now who has taken over the daily operations. You can’t just turn on a switch and away you go.” In addition, location is a determining factor in project viability. “If you want to put renewable natural gas into the existing natural gas system, you have to have natural gas close to your farm,” says Gramm. “Sometimes that is a challenge for producers who have large properties and the gas line is far away. It can make the economics a little more challenging.” Through all the lessons learned since they started the project in 2010, Seabreeze is excited about the technology’s contributions to a decarbonized economy. “Collecting methane, the RNG program and putting nutrients into a tight package – there are a lot of really good aspects to it. I think they can work together perfectly and there have been a lot of new developments and technologies,” Keulen says. After six years in operation, “we are no less excited about the potential of how RNG can work for us as dairy farmers and what the future holds.” Producers who are interested in RNG projects on their farms can visit FortisBC’s online supplier guide and the Canadian Biogas Association’s website, which has a farm-to-fuel guide on biogas projects. Over the last few months, the province has committed a considerable amount of money and dedicated several programs to lowering its fossil fuel emissions. On July 6, the government announced the release of its hydrogen strategy, the rst of its kind in Canada. The plan outlines how renewable and low-carbon hydrogen will create new jobs and push the province towards its net-zero emissions target by 2050. As part of Budget 2021, the province is investing $10 million in the BC Hydrogen Strategy over three years as part of the CleanBC initiative. The province and Shell Canada have each committed $35 million towards the new BC Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy, a July 16 provincial release says. The federal government has also agreed to provide up to $35 million in support. The centre will bring together partners and industry experts to accelerate the commercialization of BC-based clean-energy technologies, the release adds. In addition, the province has made changes to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Clean Energy) Regulation, a July 2 provincial release says. The amendments allow utilities, such as FortisBC, to increase the amount of renewable natural gas, green and waste hydrogen they can acquire and sell from 5% to 15% of their total annual supply of natural gas. In addition, as per the regulation, utilities can pay third parties to produce natural gas and the current price cap of $31 per gigajoule of these fuels can increase with ination, the release says. These updated allowable amounts of RNG acquisition line up well with FortisBC’s target to reduce customers’ greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030. As part of this ambitious target, the company strives to have 15% of its natural gas supply be renewable by 2030. —Kate AyersBiogas gets a boost with changes to regulations
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 19Blueberry growers welcome higher berry pricesShort crop means higher prices for good-quality fruitJoe Gill along with his partner Satnam Dhesi at Fraser Valley Packers in Abbotsford. SARBMEET SINGHField to ForkChallenge:up to $400 in prizemoney and a recipebook!Photography Contest:Cash prizes andcalendar 2022highlight!Keepsake Ornament 2021:Announced mid August!Stay tuned!4-H BC Contests4-H BC Contestsvisit www.4hbc.ca/contestsFOR BAGGED or BULK ORDERSDarren Jansen Owner604.firstname.lastname@example.orgCertified by Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd.SARBMEET SINGH ABBOTSORD – Fraser Valley blueberry growers are cheering the higher prices packers are paying for both fresh and processed berries this year. In previous years, growers typically received more than a dollar a pound for fresh berries while processed berries fetched 45-60 cents a pound. However, the situation is quite dierent this year, thanks to reduced yields from both blueberry scorch virus and high temperatures. “This year we have witnessed a 40% to 45% decline in blueberry yields,” says Rajinder Singh Lally of Lally Farms in Abbotsford, which farms 500 acres. “The heat wave and scorch virus are largely to be blamed for this. I am involved in farming since 1978 but have never experienced this kind of heat.” Lally Farms is a packer as well as a grower, with a packing capacity of 5 million pounds. It packs fruit for shipment to stores across Canada, including those of Loblaw. “We have paid from $1.25-1.50 per pound for fresh blueberries this year. Similarly, the processed blueberry price is also up this year,” says Lally. Joe Gill, president of Fraser Valley Packers Inc. in Abbotsford, says prices of processing berries are also up this year. “The heat wave not only resulted in a decline in yield but also in small size of the fruit. Additionally, the pollination was also not great this year,” he says. Started in 1989, Fraser Valley Packers deals in both fresh and frozen berries. Its plant can handle up to 25 million pounds a year. It receives berries from farms in both the Fraser Valley and across the border in Whatcom County, and has been willing to pay extra to secure good growers able to supply high-quality fruit. Due to the higher prices to growers, Gill is worried about reduced prot margins this year. “We largely depend upon the growers so we want them to be happy, as growers have various kinds of expenditures. However, our margin is also very tight,” he says. Since its berries are priced in US dollars, a stronger loonie this year has made for challenging times. A year ago, the US dollar was worth $1.35 Canadian; this year, it was worth $1.25, or nearly 10% less. “A slight variation in dollar price costs us dear,” says Gill. There are about 600 blueberry growers farming about 27,000 acres in BC. The industry is concentrated in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland and produces about 160 million pounds of berries each year. The higher prices for processing fruit is good news for the greater number of growers relying on mechanized harvesting this year. Growers usually reserve machine harvesting for processing fruit, while fresh market berries that require a gentler touch are hand-picked, a more expensive method because of the labour costs. “I believe more crop is harvested with machines this year. We bought four new machines this year and almost all our berries were picked with the machines,” says Lally. “There is still a labour shortage.” High temperatures this summer have also made mechanical harvesting a preferred option. “Amid the heat wave, it was not possible for workers to pick the berries. We preferred machine picking,” said Abbotsford grower Harjit Kaur. While hand-picking costs around 50 to 60 cents per pound, mechanical harvesting costs just 15 to 20 cents a pound. Hand-picking is also much slower in comparison to mechanized picking. On average, one picker can pick up to 400 pounds of berries whereas a machine can pick up to three acres in a day, or upwards of 60,000 pounds of berries. Langley blueberry grower Gurprit Brar said this year’s higher berry prices is a function of supply and demand. He believes that reduced yield led to increased prices, even for machine-harvested fruit. “There is reduction in the yield but that not only varies from variety to variety but also with the location of the farm even in the Fraser Valley. This year the growers are getting good prices for machine-picked berries, too,” he said. But even if machine-harvesting is more ecient, it’s not for everyone. “Machine-picking is cheaper, so more farmers relied on the machine-picking (this year),” he says. “However, there are still many farms that aren’t suitable for machine-picking.”
20 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BC
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 21Westwold rancher and feedlot operator Andrea van Iterson has worked to prepare her property against wildres, and she's ready to stick by her animals if wildre ever approaches. BCBEEFExpertise like ours – is Rare CUSTOM SLAUGHTER SERVICES PROVIDED PROVINCIALLY INSPECTED ABATTOIR BC#34 PROUD 4-H SPONSOR for the 2021 PACIFIC NATIONAL EXHIBITIONashiq@meadowvalleymeats.com 604/465-4752 (ext 105) fax 604/465-4744 18315 FORD ROAD PITT MEADOWS, BC V3Y 1Z1• BEEF • VEAL • BISON • LAMB • GOAT • DEERMEADOW VALLEY MEATSRanchers, farmers on the wildfire frontlinesRanchers say decision to stay on their ranches makes sense JACKIE PEARASE & TOM WALKER FALKLAND – Ranchers and farmers have played a valuable role on the frontlines of this summer’s several interface res, protecting not only their homes but their communities. Despite a tongue-lashing from BC Public Safety minister Mike Farnworth, who blasted residents who deed evacuation orders to defend their properties, ranchers like Andrea van Iterson of Westwold View Farms in Falkland say their skills make a dierence. While urban politicians like Farnworth and even Falkland re chief Troy Rickard have criticized the approach of many rural residents, van Iterson says the province needs to work with farmers and ranchers. “Farnworth needs to recognize the skills and resources we have and what we are ghting to protect,” she says. The province’s report on the 2017 wildre season recommended closer collaboration with local stakeholders, and Farnworth’s tirade showed how much work is left to do for rural property owners to be recognized despite the progress made to date. Van Iterson’s property was never under an evacuation order this summer, but she says it would have put the family-run farm in a dicult position. The ranch and feedlot just o Hwy 97 had around 1,400 animals last month, a mix of its own stock as well as those evacuated from other areas. “We have our own animals as well as several liners of cows from the area of the Inkameep re that we are holding for ranchers impacted by the res down there,” says van Iterson, noting that the logistics of moving hundreds of animals on short notice would be extremely complicated. “How would we organize enough liners? Where would we nd a facility to move them to? How would we accommodate the special feeding diets that they are on? How would a move impact their health and their weight?” she asks. The number of wildres in the region means that her property is one of the safest, as most alternative locations were either under evacuation orders or on alert. “There simply aren’t a lot of options when the entire southern half of the province is burning,” says van Iterson, who is also the rancher liaison for the Lytton Creek re. Sheltering in place and protecting her operation complete with the animals is the only viable option, something van Iterson has prepared her feedlot to do. A buer zone of approximately 500 metres on one side separates her pens from the surrounding forest. The other three sides are irrigated elds that supply forage and provide a natural re break. Should re blow in, she’s prepared to move her animals down from the pens near the forest, and increase the buer zone. “We would pull down those pens so they wouldn’t be a re hazard,” she says. “We have used our bulldozers to build more reguards and we have a very good water supply. And we have built escape routes.” See RIGHT on next page o
22 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCRIGHT to protect from page 21Marketing 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®SIX MILE CREEK RANCHVERNON BC7,650 FEET OF FRASER RIVER WATERFRONT - LONGWORTH, BCSO MANY POSSIBILITIES! LOG CABIN PUB - SPENCES BRIDGE, BCCUSTOM LOG HOME ON ACREAGELIKELY ROAD - 150 MILE, BCROCKING HORSE PUBNANOOSE BAY, BCHATCH A BIRD FARMPOWELL RIVER, BCHIGH-END SELF-SUFFICIENT ESTATEBRIDGE LAKE, BCSIDNEY ISLAND OCEANFRONT - LOT 94SOUTHERN GULF ISLANDSBEAVER DAM LAKE RANCHCARIBOO PLATEAU NW OF CLINTONMODERN HOME WITH SHOP AND COVERALL ON 160 ACRES - ROLLA, BC203 acre ranch, with a 3,125 ft2 beautiful home and secondary home. Many outbuildings are suitable for horses, riding rings, paddocks, and corrals. Outstanding industrial-style building. Excellent irrigation water licenses. Ideal for a cherry orchard conversion. $2,750,000 Outstanding 232 acres has 7,650 ft of the Fraser River on both sides & a Crown land peninsula with a sandy beach to the south. Enjoy complete privacy & breath taking views of the Fraser River, Rocky & McGreggor Mountains. Several cleared areas, about 30 acres that once was in hay, the balance wildlife habitat. $259,000The Log Cabin Pub presents many opportunities: carry on with the pub business (45+ years), convert to a family restaurant, start a winery, cidery or craft brewery & grow your own fruit / hops on 6.44 acres, convert to an equestrian estate with a 4,000 ft2 log home, create a licensed event venue, or . . . ? $688,0002.5 storey custom built log home on 5.12 acres just 15 minutes from 150 Mile House on the Likely Road. Nicely tree, private, fenced acreage with a 2 bay detached garage and sauna. Plenty of room for a hobby farm. Excellent location surrounded by endless outdoor recreation. $649,900Well established Country Pub on 5.31 acres located in an area of equestrian acreages. Licensed for 134 inside and 38 patio occupants + off-premise sales. Upper level contains a newly renovated suite, ofce space and storage. 26 stall, 7,000 ft2 horse stable. Great upside potential! $2,300,000Well established organic farm on 24.4 acres within the ALR with city services. Includes 5 bedroom main home, 2 bedroom home for farm hand, 2.5 acres of market garden, a market store, 6 greenhouses, pasture for livestock, 2 barns and numerous other outbuildings. $1,599,000100 acre quality-built homestead. Quad-Lock ICF construction and quality nishings. Great views. Massive heated 3 bay machine workshop / garage. High producing gardens with 2,000 ft2 heated commercial greenhouse. 2 wells and creek water rights. Very well set up. $949,0002.59 acres SW facing property with nearby access to beautiful sandy beach & Dragony Ponds conservancy. Already in place is a small 16 x 24 ft non-conforming cabin for use while you upgrade or build something larger. Property has magnificent arbutus trees & septic system installed. $749,000A gorgeous lakefront acreage on 3 separate titles. 178 acres in total. Land is mostly at with some gentle rolling pasture and pockets of forest. Picturesque views of the Marble Range. Property is fenced with some cross fencing and fronts on Beaver Dam Lake. Several cabins and outbuildings. $1,100,000Modern residence, recently renovated (2015), on 160 acres of highly productive farmland. 28 x 30 ft shop and 44 x 70 ft coverall building. Gracefully nestled amongst a grove of aspen, 145 acres in production. Grains and hay grow well in the region. Land lease agreement in place. $688,000RICH OSBORNE 604-328-0848Personal Real Estate Corporationrich@landquest.comJOHN ARMSTRONG 250-307-2100Personal Real Estate Corporationjohn@landquest.comROB GREENE email@example.comFAWN GUNDERSON 250-982-2314Personal Real Estate Corporationfawn@landquest.comKEVIN KITTMER firstname.lastname@example.orgJAMIE ZROBACK 1-604-483-1605 JASON ZROBACK 1-604-414-5577SAM HODSON 604-809-2616Personal Real Estate Corporationsam@landquest.comDAVE COCHLAN email@example.comMATT CAMERON firstname.lastname@example.orgCHASE WESTERSUND 778-927-6634Personal Real Estate CorporationCOLE WESTERSUND 604-360-0793Visit our WebsiteVan Iterson says staying and protecting her operation not only makes business sense, it protects a family legacy. “Like many ranching operations, this is an intergenerational institution, and we have the resources to work as a family and as a community to protect it, as well as to protect our neighbours,” she says. Community spirit Julia Smith of Blue Sky Ranch near Merritt wasn’t under an evacuation order, so she was able to help Bar FX Ranch bring cattle o range in mid July. Despite widespread criticism of the BC Wildre Service, Smith witnessed a team eort as ranchers, loggers and professional re teams worked side by side. “There was a good community eort and feeling,” she said. “Our experience was that people with boots on the ground have been absolutely phenomenal. There has been so much respect for everybody and what they’re doing up there, respect for ranchers trying to save their properties, cattle and their local knowledge.” She hopes the experience will encourage the province to see those living and working on the land as assets rather than obstacles. “I hope that what comes out of this is that those resources will be factored in for the future. I just don’t know how you can bring in somebody from outside of the area and not use these resources that are available,” she says. “That’s not the system we’ve had to date but we need to change that system. That is the conclusion everyone is coming to and I hope we get there.” Poultry, dairy on alert, too Ranchers aren’t the only ones that need to stay put. The region’s egg producers have also been put on the defensive. “We have a handful of farmers who are close to the areas that have been placed on evacuation alert or order,” says BC Egg Marketing Board communications director Amanda Brittain. “These farmers are irrigating the land around their barns to reduce the risk of re.” North Okanagan dairy farmers face challenges similar to beef producers. Dairy herds have suered heat stress from the summer’s extreme temperatures while thick smoke from nearby wildres has made breathing dicult. Kamloops Okanagan Dairy Association president Henry Bremer of Cliview Farms in Enderby and another local farmer were able to take in some cows from a local herd that were put under evacuation orders. They have since returned home, but many other animals have not. While small-scale evacuations within the Armstrong-Enderby-Salmon Arm corridor are manageable, Bremer worries about how KODA would handle a large-scale evacuation. “If [herds] had to go farther, to Alberta or the Fraser Valley, then that would be a far bigger issue,” he says. Bremer says reghters deserve thanks for the dicult work they are doing, including helping farms unable to evacuate. The support has helped position farmers for recovery, says BC Dairy Association executive director Jeremy Dunn. “It has been a very challenging summer for everyone in the Okanagan, including dairy farmers,” he says. “Everyone is thankful for the support of emergency crews. Hopefully the worst is behind us and farmers can take stock of any losses and work to repair and rebuild.” With les from Kate Ayers & Peter Mitham Heat stress has been an issue for many livestock producers this summer as temperatures reached historic highs. With many regions limiting water use, keeping livestock comfortable has been challenging, but some stock has held up better than others. “The British and Continental breeds seem to hold up very well in the heat. We made sure they had access to lots of fresh water where they were grazing and set up a cooling station at the end of June,” says Brad Chappell of Heart of the Valley Farms in Courtenay. “The biggest problem is insects. They take o in drought. We applied an extra topical treatment to protect against horn ies and biting insects.” Dairy cattle in operations with cooling infrastructure are also faring well in the current conditions. “We have sprinklers in the barn to keep (the cows) cool and comfortable. They go out to pasture at night, which helps cool them down, too,” says Island Milk Producers president Mickey Aylard of Brackenhurst Farm in North Saanich, which milks 100 cows. The drought situation exacerbated the challenges of keeping poultry cool. “We were doing everything that we could to keep our barns cool,” says Cammy Lockwood of Lockwood Farms in Cobble Hill, which operates two barns with 6,000 laying hens. “For us that included creating irrigation systems to go on top of and in our barns.” — Kate AyersWater and fans keep cattle cool
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 23Province halts livestock watering reg updateRanchers want dugouts and off-stream watering addressed BCHA Secretary Janice Tapp 250-699-6466 BCHA President John Lewis 250-218-2537 email: email@example.com: firstname.lastname@example.org Kinchant Street, Quesnel, B.C. V2J 2R5Producers can apply for an advance on calves, yearlings, lambs, bison, forage and grain up to $1,000,000.00 with the rst $100,000.00 being interest free. Plus, interest relief through the Advance Payments Program is available to association members on their feeder cattle purchases.TOM WALKER KAMLOOPS – The province has responded to criticism of its proposed livestock watering regulations by postponing the process by at least a year. “I was abbergasted,” says Linda Allison, water sub-committee chair with the BC Cattlemen’s Association. “They said, ‘Oh, so you don’t want to accept any of this intentions paper? Well, too bad. We don’t have time to meet with you for another year.’ It was very blunt.” BCCA has been working with the government on new regulations since 2009, and the latest delay frustrates Allison. “After all that time, we are no further ahead,” she says. The new regulation aimed to protect BC livestock owners’ right to water their animals under the Water Sustainability Act that took eect in 2016. Surface water licences for stock watering have been in existence since the late 1800s, and BCCA expected this would continue. “Our original expectation with the livestock watering regulation was that we would be able to continue watering with the volume that cows and other livestock currently drink and in the manner that they drink,” she notes. “We are not asking to do something we have not already done. We are just asking to secure what we are currently doing.” But the province’s latest intentions paper, published a year ago in July 2020, did not address the use of dugouts or o-stream watering systems. This meant BCCA could not support the three-tier licensing system it proposed. The intentions paper proposed allowing Tier 1 users to water up to 20 cattle on private land without registering with the province. Tier 2 users would need to register and could water between 20 and 200 animals on both private land and Crown range. All larger users would fall into Tier 3. Both Tier 2 and Tier 3 users would pay water rental fees and be regulated on the basis of their priority date of use during times of scarcity. Tier 3 applications would also need to submit approval from Indigenous governments and users could be subject to environmental ow needs. Allison says she can’t pinpoint one particular reason for the province’s refusal to discuss the issue with industry. “When we were rst embracing this it seemed that the government was willing to work with us to develop regulations that would protect the general public but also give us water security,” she says. “We are the same ranchers that have been at the table since the beginning, but ministry sta has totally changed over. It seems like we are the bad guys and now we have to be regulated to death.” There is no timeline for resuming discussions. With access to groundwater also coming to the fore, BCCA is urging government to resolve both issues to give ranchers certainty over access to the water needed to care for the animals and operate their ranches. BC farm sales set new monthly recordSales surge as pandemic restrictions liftPETER MITHAM ABBOTSFORD – BC farm property sales hit record levels during the rst half of 2021, with June being the most active month of the past ve years. Property transfer data from the BC Ministry of Finance began being published in 2016, following concerns over the volume of foreign investment in BC real estate. During the second half of that year, farm property sales totalled 428. But this year, the market went gangbusters as a whopping 1,104 properties changed hands. The month of June alone saw 251 sales, more than in any other month during the previous ve years. “Through COVID, a lot of people expected things to slow down and in fact they just boomed,” says Sandra Behm, senior appraiser with Farm Credit Canada in Abbotsford. “With a pandemic and all these other conditions pooling together, it’s quite a unique scenario, and it’s denitely spurred the activity.” Whatever steps the province took to cool foreign investment, the domestic market has more than taken up the slack. Behm credits low interest rates and the high cost of residential real estate for the activity. It also reects a rebound in the broader market. With many pandemic restrictions lifted and business condence returning, deal-making has increased. Sales in the rst six months of 2020 totalled 632, down 11% from 711 a year earlier. But this year, sales volume is up 75%. The most active market in the province during the period was the Fraser Valley, with 141 sales, followed by Metro Vancouver (132 sales) and the Thompson Nicola (110 sales). The three districts account for nearly 35% of all sales in the province this year to date. The fact that they’re all within four hours of Metro Vancouver underscores the active market for rural properties that emerged during the pandemic. FCC made a similar observation in its farmland values report released earlier this year. The report noted that residential buyers were a key driver of land deals in the Lower Mainland last year. Other regions also saw demand from buyers “drawn to what they considered aordable land and the opportunity to escape the more populated areas.” “There’s a lot of competition now for the land,” says Behm. “It’s not just farmers anymore. You’ve got people interested in a rural residential estate component, as well as investors.” The activity in the Thompson Nicola region is particularly notable, because it was not only one of the most active markets in the province but also among the hottest, with sales in the rst half of this year 189% higher than in the same period a year ago. The hottest market of them all, however, was the North Okanagan, with sales rising 263% to 87 during the period. Similar increases, though o much lower bases, were seen in other markets just outside major population centres. On Vancouver Island, the Comox Valley saw sales up 200% to 12 while the Cowichan Valley saw sales up 189% to 26. The Capital Regional District saw sales up 187% to 423. The greater activity closer to population centres was matched by a decline in activity in more remote regions. While northern BC has seen active property markets over the past two years, activity in the Fraser-Fort George and Northern Rockies-Peace regions fell 38% and 15%, respectively. Nevertheless, the Peace remained among the most active markets in the province with 99 sales this year.
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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 25AgSafe prepares to launch new tools and resourcesAgSafe's superintendent of eld operations and ranching safety consultant Reg Steward believes mental health is a vital part of health and safety on BC farms and ranches. SUBMITTED Join us on www.dlms.ca Soft close Sat, Sept 18, 7PM , BC time1212th A Annunual Onlal Onlinine Sae Salele Don & Leslie Richardson 250 - 557 - 4348 email@example.com www.richardsonranch.ca HEIFER CALVES, BRED HEIFERS, MATURE COWS, EXPORTABLE EMBRYOS September 17 –18, 2021 Producer Check-o Supports Beef Industry Projects.www.cattlefund.net 1.877.688.2333www.cattlefund.net 1.877.688.2333SANDRA TRETICK WILLIAMS LAKE – Growing crops and raising livestock are not only physically demanding, the seemingly endless uncertainties that go along with the work can take a toll on mental health. Between wildres, drought (or oods), extreme heat, crop and livestock losses, nancial concerns, changing regulations, COVID-19 and family expectations, there’s a lot that could keep you awake at night. “There’s a tremendous amount of stress right now,” says AgSafe superintendent of eld operations and ranching safety consultant Reg Steward. “A lot of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, frustration and anger.” Where do you turn if you reach the tipping point in your ability to cope? Google lists page after page of links to programs, resources and studies oered by a wide variety of organizations. On the plus side, it shows that mental health is nally something people are talking about. On the downside, few of those links provide access to immediate help. Farm Management Canada (FMC) executive director Heather Watson says farmers are more likely to participate in mental health support programs oered by providers familiar with agriculture and the unique needs of farmers. “Lack of access to mental health support in rural Canada remains a critical gap in supporting public health,” says Watson. Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms, a 2020 study by FMC, indicated that 76% of Canadian farmers reported mid to high stress levels. The leading causes were unpredictability, workload pressures and nances. AgSafe has just wrapped up its own evaluation of the situation in BC as part of the rst phase of a project to study available programs and support for farmer mental health and welfare. This included a review and comparison of existing programs and interviews with industry to identify which models would work best for primary producers in BC. In-person events and digital resources scored highly. The second phase of the project is now underway and will establish a mental health strategy for BC farmers. AgSafe also piloted a series of half-day mental health workshops in May and June called In the Know, developed by the University of Guelph. These workshops will likely be oered again in the future, but AgSafe is considering a dierent format to better t producers’ schedules. Steward says the project is built around four pillars: creating awareness of the situation, reducing the stigma, providing self-help tools and providing access to available resources. While industry associations are much more aware of the urgency of the situation than they used to be, the stigma issue still remains. “There’s a lot of reluctance to identify that I am struggling with this, or I am stressed, or I am frustrated, or I am angry,” says Steward, who admits that he’s also fallen into the “Suck it up, buttercup” mentality. “We tend to, in industry as a whole, see these things manifest themselves but not be articulated. If I had a damaged body part, I wouldn’t hesitate to nd a person to help me deal with that, and we need to reduce the stigma so that we have that same comfort level that says it’s okay to have that conversation [about our mental health].” Stigma is a topic that BC Grain Producers Association vice-president Jennifer Critcher echoes. “There’s been this stigma that you just deal with it, you don’t talk about it,” says Critcher, who was part of the rst phase of the AgSafe project. “I’m glad there’s more discussion about it for sure now, going forward. But when there’s so many things out of your control and you’re working so hard every day, it makes it really disheartening.” Bulkley Valley Dairy Association president Lindsay Heer, also a director of the BC Dairy Association, says summer is always challenging for dairy farmers. They’re spending long hours in the eld while trying to balance business and family demands. “Burnout isn’t spoken widely about, but it’s present in the farming community, especially during this season,” says Heer. “On top of all that, recent weather has added a layer of uncertainty. Extreme heat, drought and wildres are contributing an extra layer of stress.” Livestock producers are especially susceptible to burnout because there is no downtime. Even when dairy farmers have bad days, they still have to get up to tend to their animals. The dairy and grain associations have both oered mental health workshops for their members, and the Bulkley Valley Dairy Association had a mental health speaker at its annual general meeting last year. Canadian Cattlemen’s Association scheduled a virtual mental wellness event for its members in late August. “We need to meet farmers where they are,” says Heer. “Some are comfortable attending a seminar with their peers, and others prefer to take in a webinar on their own time.” Mental wellness resources meet a growing needSee FINANCIAL on next page o
26 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCFINANCIAL stress nfrom page 25Your business has hundreds of moving parts – each as important as the next. With an eye for detail and personalized approach, trust MNP’s horticulture specialists to provide the accounting, consulting and tax advice you need.MNP is a proud participant of the 2021 Grow West Coast Horticulture Trade Show on September 15 and 16. We look forward to connecting with you there at booth #239.TrustMNP.caAt the weekly Talk it Out sessions put on by Saskatchewan’s Do More Foundation, common concerns are drought, weather, supporting someone struggling and stigma. These sessions, oered on Zoom, Instagram Live and Twitter, are open to any farmer across the country. For Critcher, nancial stress is the elephant in the room. “Financial stress is the No. 1 stressor because it’s something that can basically crush you,” says Critcher. “Farmers don’t shy away from a heavy physical workload; it’s the nancial stresses that seem to be the most burdening on their mental health because it’s something that weighs on them a lot.” FMC recommends developing a farm business plan as a means to create some peace of mind. It’s not about predicting the future; it’s about planning for it. The BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries points to the suite of business risk management programs under the Canadian Agriculture Partnership that farmers and ranchers can access. These include AgriStability, AgriInvest and AgriInsurance. In the growing eld of mental health, you can expect to see new tools cropping up for BC farmers from time to time. There are a couple already in the works. The Do More Foundation is currently fundraising to launch a national 24/7 agriculture-specic support line. Its community fund will accept applications beginning in September to bring its half-day mental health workshop, Talk Ask Listen, to rural communities across Canada for free. AgSafe is set to launch a mobile app this fall called Avail that is a social media-style platform that will include mental health checks, links to resources and networking. “It’s not like building a safe work practice for a round baler, where pretty much once that’s dialed in it doesn’t change very much,” says Steward. “This is an ever changing eld. There are improvements and new resources all the time.” Steward says the agriculture industry is a family that wants everybody to succeed. “We are in this together,” he says. “There are producers facing the same kinds of challenges and dilemmas. You never have to walk alone.” If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health issues or substance use, check out these resources or nd a trusted friend, colleague or family member willing to listen. Learn more about mental health Talk It Out: domore.ag Free online Zoom sessions every second Wednesday to chat about mental health. A partnership between the Do More Foundation and Farm Credit Canada. BounceBack: bouncebackbc.ca A free guided self-help program for people experiencing depression, low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. Bounce Back teaches skills to help people improve their mental health. Here To Help: heretohelp.bc.ca Find mental health information, learn new skills, and connect with key resources in BC. Heads Up Guys: headsupguys.org An online resource developed by the University of British Columbia that supports men in their ght against depression by providing tips, tools, information about professional services, and stories of success. In the Know A four-hour mental health literacy workshop created by the University of Guelph in Ontario to educate the agricultural community. Contact AgSafe for information about delivery in BC. Talk Ask Listen Contact the Do More Foundation in Saskatchewan to nd out about hosting one of these agriculture-focused mental health sessions in your community. Talk to someone The hardest part is making the decision to pick up the phone and call. BC Crisis Line (24/7): 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) Mental Health Support (24/7): 310-6789 Also, check out AgSafe’s website for a list of mental health counsellors familiar with the issues faced by farmers and ranchers.Mental health resources
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 27BC consultant Colin O’Leary and family literally watched their home and his home ofce burn down, helplessly. He says any type of business can be caught in an unexpected horrible situation but planning ahead can make things easier, if people do it. COLIN O’LEARYMYRNA STARK LEADER KAMLOOPS – Businesses with the best chance of weathering a crisis successfully address the risks they can manage and draft plans to respond to those they can’t. “I think 95% of businesses don’t have business continuity plans,” Kamloops-based consultant Colin O’Leary told 70 people attending a recent Community Futures event outlining steps in business emergency planning. “Emergencies and disasters are unavoidable and are happening more and more frequently in BC. Although you can’t predict, you can prepare,” says O’Leary. O’Leary knows. In 2019, he and his family watched in disbelief as their home on an acreage 20 minutes outside of Kamloops burned to the ground. “It went from what looked like a potentially controllable re to an uncontrollable one in about seven minutes,” he recalls. While helpful tools such as Community Futures’ downloadable emergency preparedness plan framework exist, O’Leary says people don’t invest time to do it. Today, O’Leary’s rm, O’Leary and Associates Ltd., is working with Community Futures BC to roll out an online version of the tool and the helpful templates it oers. O’Leary outlines seven steps in emergency planning. Step one is creating a crisis communications plan. Business owners need to think about who they need to communicate with when a crisis strikes. This could include suppliers, customers, employees and family. Who will lead communications? What channels will be available? While people think a crisis has to be a major event, O’Leary says it’s often something else that interrupts a business’s regular ow, like losing access to a key roadway. Knowing what will trigger an emergency response, including communication, is important. These can include a business closure for more than a certain number of hours, stang below a certain level or an evacuation order. Creating message templates before a crisis hits can save time in the moment and ensure clear messages. O’Leary encourages time and date-stamping all outgoing communication so people know which is the most up-to-date. The second step is identifying trusted sources of information, such as government sites and news outlets, and how one will collect valuable information. O’Leary suggests bookmarking important websites like [www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca] on computers and phones. “Misinformation is a big issue, so setting it up in advance is really important,” he says. A step-by-step evacuation guide which designates an evacuation lead, as well as a backup is also important. Devise a system for accounting for everyone, including livestock and pets. Document and organize important activities by listing emergency procedures so they can be systematically completed quickly. Securing all buildings by locking doors and windows may prevent theft so it shouldn’t be overlooked. Insurance “People don’t realize that the onus is on them as a policy holder to make sure their insurance policy adequately covers their needs – with some buer for inevitable unforeseen costs,” advises O’Leary. He cautions that one cannot apply for the Provincial Disaster Financial Assistance program if insurance was available for a particular loss and the business chose not to apply. “Insurance is what is going to nancially bail out your business from a catastrophic loss. You cannot count on government programs,” he says. Because the onus is on claimants to prove their loss when making an insurance claim, he advises taking pictures or a video of everything. “Only a small portion of businesses hold business interruption insurance, for example,” he says, but losses can be signicant if emergencies last any length of time. O’Leary advises keeping nancial records and other important documents in the cloud, enabling easy access from anywhere. A backup drive next to the computer is no good if it’s inaccessible. “Some business owners are intimidated about the cloud, but chances are they are already using it and don’t know it – a good example are emails you haven’t deleted in your inbox. Once les are stored on the cloud, losing your computer isn’t a big deal since you can buy or borrow one and be back up and running instantly.” He also advises having grab-and-go bags for everyone, including employees, with prescription medicine, solar blankets, some food and water, a battery-operated radio and also some cash for sundry items if credit and debit machines go down. Ideally, these bags are kept in your vehicle. And his last, but perhaps most important point, is to remember mental health. “Over two-thirds of youth in Fort McMurray show signs of PTSD in the wake of the 2016 re disaster,” says O’Leary, explaining that disasters and emergencies have short and long-term emotional impacts. Mental health support shouldn’t be an after-thought. He cites tools like the Canadian Mental Health Association’s free, one-page online resource [https://cmha.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/CopingThroughaNaturalDisaster_2017.pdf], their Mental Health Meter as well as BC CMHA’s COVID-19 Mental Health Check-in tool. As wildre season winds down and another COVID wave approaches, there’s no better time than the present for businesses of all sizes to create or update their emergency preparedness plan. Templates of many of the documents can be found at [https://olearyandassociates. ca/resources] . Saving the farm business hinges on planningGood planning can minimize downtime when disaster strikesProvide your feedback on a proposed regulation to manage emissions from open-air burning of vegetative debris in the Metro Vancouver region.Learn more & submit feedback by October 31, 2021.metrovancouver.org (search “open-air burning”)USED EQUIPMENT BE-IGN150 59” TILLER, BED SHAPER ATTACHMENT . . . . . . . . . . . 2,950 N/H FP230 27P GRASS HEAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17,500 CLAAS VOLTO 1050 8 BASKET TEDDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,500 USED TRACTORS KUBOTA T2380 2017, 48” DECK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,500 KUBOTA BX2360 2010, 1,900HRS, TRAC/MWR . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,750 KUB F3680, 2006, 72” DECK, GRASS CATCHER, DUAL HYD VALVE 16,900 KUB B2650HSDC 2013, CAB, 175HRS, R4 TIRES . . . . . . . . . . . 24,500 NEW INVENTORY: *NEW* GREENWORKS COMMERCIAL CORDLESS BLOWERS, CHAINSAWS, STRING TRIMMERS, HEDGE TRIMMERS, LAWNMOWERS. 82/48 VOLT NEW MODEL- JBS MISP1436 IN THE YARD KUBOTA RAKES, TEDDERS, MOWERS, POWER HARROWS . . . . . . . . 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28 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCHurry, offer ends September 30, 2021. Stop by today or visit nhoffers.com.From skid steer loaders to loader backhoes, New Holland construction equipment delivers the power, visibility and reliability you need on every job. Get more machine for the money and save with special offers. See your New Holland dealer today for more details.MAKE EVERY JOB MORE PRODUCTIVE DURING THE HARVEST DAYS SALES EVENT. PAY LESS.SEE MORE.DO MORE.0% for 60 Months* PLUS Cash Back!*For Commercial use only. Customer participation subject to credit qualiﬁcation and approval by CNH Industrial Capital Canada Ltd. See your participating New Holland dealer for details and eligibility requirements. Down payment may be required. Offer good through September 30, 2021. Not all customers or applicants may qualify for this rate or term. CNH Industrial Capital Canada Ltd. standard terms and conditions apply. Canada Example: The interest rate will be 0% per annum for 60 months. Total contract term is 60 months. Based on a retail contract date of July 1, 2021, with a suggested retail price on a new 300 Series CTL of C$69,530, customer provides down payment of C$13,910.00 and ﬁnances the balance of C$55,620 at 0% per annum for 60 months. There will be 60 equal monthly installments of C$927. The total amount payable will be C$69,530, which includes ﬁnance charges of C$0. Taxes, freight, setup, delivery, additional options or attachments not included in suggested retail price. Offer is nontransferable. Offer subject to change or cancellation without notice. © 2021 CNH Industrial America LLC. All rights reserved. CNH Industrial Capital and New Holland are trademarks registered in the United States and many other countries, owned by or licensed to CNH Industrial N.V., its subsidiaries or afﬁliates. ARMSTRONG HORNBY EQUIPMENT ACP 250-546-3033 CHILLIWACK ROLLINS MACHINERY LTD 604-792-1301 CHEMAINUS ROLLINS MACHINERY LTD 250-246-1203 FORT ST JOHN BUTLER FARM EQUIPMENT LTD 250-785-1800 KELOWNA ROLLINS MACHINERY LTD 250-765-8266 LANGLEY ROLLINS MACHINERY LTD 604-533-0048 WILLIAMS LAKE GRASSLAND EQUIPMENT LTD 250-392-4024 VANDERHOOF GRASSLAND EQUIPMENT LTD 250-567-4446Decades of delivering great service in the Peace Country. 9008 - 107 Street, Fort St John 250-785-1800 butlerfarmequipment.ca PAY LESS.SEE MORE. DO MORE.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 29Hot potatoesHeat puts potatoes to the test in variety trials1.800.282.7856 Find out more at terraseco.comFiXaTion CloverFrosty CloverCrimson CloverDC Red CloverHybrid CloverWinter PeasFiXaTion CloverFrosty CloverCrimson CloverDC Red CloverHybrid CloverWinter PeasTerra Seed Corp GROW YOUR OWN NITROGENRONDA PAYNE DELTA – If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. And for some potato varieties in the BC Potato and Vegetable Growers Association’s eld trials, this summer’s extreme heat meant they won’t be welcome back in next year’s trials. A hundred varieties were part of this year’s potato trials, and the preliminary results were showcased at Felix Farms in Delta on August 18. Planted on May 14, the spuds were in the ground 96 days before being harvested for inspection the day of the event. “They were irrigated three times, plus had three-quarters of an inch of rain,” says Heather Meberg, president of E.S. Cropconsult, which manages the trials on behalf of the association. The annual eld day allows growers to examine new varieties and express interest in the ones they think show the most promise. It also indicates what’s viable in the Lower Mainland climate and which varieties should be removed from future trials. This summer’s high temperatures oered a new test for the trial varieties. Some potato varieties begin to shut down at 30° C. When temperatures in late June topped 40°, temperatures in the hills reached upwards of 50°. This resulted in misshapen, unmarketable tubers. But the ones that came through unscathed indicate varieties that may be more tolerant to extreme heat. “There’s visible signs of heat stress, which is not surprising,” says Meberg. “But it’s good because we can see there are piles that don’t have visible heat stress. We’re going to revisit those [varieties].” When considering new varieties, Felix Farms co-owner John Guichon is looking rst for yield and a consistent, marketable size second. His farm grows all kinds of potatoes: red, white, yellow, russet and Kennebec. Last year, with a reduced demand from foodservice operators, Kennebec plantings were pared by about 20%. This year’s planting is down just 5% from normal. “We move varieties around a little bit,” he explains. “We’re trying new varieties all the time.” The trials included a broad range of potato types with various mixes of skin and esh colour. Russets accounted for the greatest number of plantings, with white-eshed varieties and yellows following. While some varieties looked good in terms of size consistency and yield, appearance is also important. A case in point is FV16604, a new variety from the federal breeding program at the Fredericton Research and Development Centre. “It’s too light for a russet, too rough for a white,” says Meberg. “It’s got good yield, good uniformity, but it’s not marketable.” Russ Van Boom, kneeling, of Edmonton Potato Growers inspects how an EPG variety fared in this summer’s eld trials at Felix Farms in Delta. RONDA PAYNEField day visitors included a contingent from the Edmonton Potato Growers Cooperative, which supplies seed to BC growers. “We sell seed into this area, so we’re visiting customers,” says EPG seed grower Russ Van Boom. “We’re trying to get a feel for what they need.” The variety trials help Van Boom understand how seed performs in the Lower Mainland versus other growing areas. BC growers harvested 2.2 million hundredweight last year, and this year’s harvest is widely expected to be lower due to the season’s hot, dry weather. Westham Island grower Noel Roddick expects “very light” yields this year, with harvest earlier than usual due to planting occurring ahead of schedule. The social aspect of the event wasn’t quite a return to pre-COVID behaviours, but food, drinks and chatting with See POTATO on next page oYOURHelping YouWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATESYOURping Youpingpgpping YouiWSWSSign up for FREE todayCOMMITTED TO AGRICULTURE in BRITISH COLUMBIA 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 • 220.127.116.113 . 3306 Smiley Road KELOWNA • 250.765.8266 . #201 - 150 Campion Street TRACTORS JD 5090GN 900 HRS, CAB, 4WD, BERRY TRACTOR [U32597] 64,900 JD 4040 9400 HRS, 2WD, CAB TRACTOR [CNS782] .............. 22,000 NH 8560 4WD, 6,250 HRS [U32312] .................................... 45,900 NH WORKMASTER 60 & LDR [N 32272] .................................. 45,775 NH TS6.140 [N 31303] ......................................................... 93,500 NH TS6.120 [N 31340] ......................................................... 86,500 NH T6.145 LDR READY, CREEPER, AUTO SHIFT, NEW [N31878] 117,150 NH T6.145 AUTOSHIFT, CREEPER, 40 KM, NEW [N31920] ...... 110,150 QUALITY USED EQUIPMENT CUB CADET LAWN TRACTORS NEW 2021 UNITS, RIDE-ON, O’TURNS . 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30 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCFarmers produce crops, and loads of plasticsBut on a national scale, BC is a minor contributor to plastic wastePlastic bale wrap, used to store livestock feed such as silage until it is needed, can now be recycled in some regional Cleanfarms pilots. SUBMITTED POTATO trials nfrom page 29others went hand-in-hand with additional washing stations, sanitizer and reminders to stay physically distanced. “Hanging out with people is the best part,” says Brian Faulkner, vice-president of business development and marketing with distributor BC Fresh. He inspects potatoes to see what looks good from a growing perspective (yield, uniformity, size, skin appearance) then takes some home for cooking trials. “I take home so many bloody varieties and my family is subjected to taste and taste and taste again,” he says. The combination of eld data and cooking performance can lead distributors like BC Fresh to add a new variety to its oerings. This is what happened with Pacic Pearl, a white variety that was on trial about seven years ago. “It performed well, it looked good, tasted good, yielded well. We actually bought the Western rights for it,” he says. Detailed results from this year’s variety trials won’t be available until November, when they’ll be presented at the BC Potato and Vegetable Growers Association’s annual general meeting. The meeting was delayed from its usual date in late February due to pandemic-related restrictions.SANDRA TRETICK ETOBICOKE – A new report from industry-led stewardship organization Cleanfarms estimates that Canadian farms generate nearly 62,000 tonnes of agricultural plastics every year. This is the rst such study of plastic waste in the agriculture sector, and the good news is that BC is a minor contributor to the industry’s plastic waste stream. BC accounts for just 7% of the national total, or 4,236 tonnes. While this is up nearly 18% over a previous estimate of 3,600 tonnes, it’s minor compared to other regions. More than half of the national total, about 53%, is generated in the Prairie provinces. Ontario and Quebec together generate another 37%, while the Maritimes produce just 3%. One tonne is roughly equivalent to the amount of plastic that could be crammed into a 20-foot shipping container. The report also includes estimates by sector, by plastic type and by resin type, and includes regional breakouts. Dierent commodities and farming practices create dierent types and amounts of ag plastics. Nationally, eld crops, which includes grain and oilseeds as well as hay and fodder for livestock account for 59% of the total amount generated annually in the form of grain bags, silage wrap, bale wrap, baler wrap and bunker covers. BC estimates indicate that eld crops and greenhouse vegetables produce the most plastic, accounting for 39% of the provincial total. Propagation trays and greenhouse lms used in greenhouse vegetable production account for 20% of the provincial total, more than double the national average of 9%. When plastics are measured in kilograms per acre, however, the numbers are reversed. Greenhouse vegetables top the list at 1,147 kg/acre with eld crops coming in at a mere 1.37 kg/acre in BC. What tops the list of ag plastics generated in Canada? Bale wrap makes up 24% of the waste stream nationally at 15,055 tonnes and 25% in BC (1,043 tonnes). Only plastics destined for disposal at the farm or growing site were included in the study. Packaging, such as the plastic clamshells used to transport produce to consumers, was excluded. Cleanfarms executive director Barry Friesen noted that ag plastics are central to modern agriculture and said this data comes at an important time. “There is considerable activity at the global level aimed at changing the ways that plastics are managed,” says Friesen. “Closer to home, we can now measure our progress just as new initiatives are put in place that complement both established and high performing recycling programs and the ongoing commitment in the farming community to do even more.” The report is the culmination of 18 months of research to identify the types and amount of agricultural plastics used across the country. It provides a benchmark for the industry going forward. Cleanfarms’ current programs collect about 10% of the plastic waste farms across the country generate. “Cleanfarms currently collects about 6,000 tonnes of ag plastics annually through its existing programming. This gure is up from about 2,000 tonnes in 2015,” says Friesen. “We anticipate we’ll see the recovery numbers climb year over year.” The other 90% of plastics are managed by reuse, on-farm disposal, return-to-vendor and landlling. Friesen adds that farmers want to recycle and it’s up to organizations like Cleanfarms to make convenient, customized programs available for them. It is currently conducting three pilot programs in BC with the aim of giving farmers more management options. Cleanfarms is a national industry-led organization based in Ontario that develops and operates programs to recycle agricultural plastics, packaging and products. The report, Agricultural Plastic Characterization and Management on Canadian Farms, was published in August with funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada. 604.291.1553 firstname.lastname@example.orgOver 30 0 Exhibitors Showcasing Innovative Agriculture TechnologyJanuary 27 - 29, 2022
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 31Susan Russell thinks the future of Barnston Island lies with the Katzie First Nation. RONDA PAYNE BC AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY GALAWEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2022Clarion Hotel & Conference Centre36035 N Parallel Rd, AbbotsfordFor information on ticket sales and more event details, visit: bcac.ca/galaticketsSAVE THE DATE!RONDA PAYNE BARNSTON ISLAND – Barnston Island will remain an agricultural oasis in the heart of Metro Vancouver for the foreseeable future, even though many local landowners say the vision is increasingly untenable if things remain as they are. A key reason is the archaic ferry from Port Kells that residents say limits the agricultural potential of the 1,400-acre island. Metro Vancouver commissioned Ione Smith of Upland Agricultural Consulting – and a commissioner with the Agricultural Land Commission – to prepare an agricultural viability study of the island in 2018. The report aligned with the Agricultural Land Commission’s decision in 2006 to reject an application to remove about 85% of the land outside of the Katzie reserve from the Agricultural Land Reserve. The purpose of the study was to “protect the island as part of the ALR and work with the ALC, the Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural industry representatives, and other agencies to complete a comprehensive study on how to improve the viability and potential of agriculture on Barnston Island.” But the report’s recommendations to support farming on the island, which is accessible only by ferry, have not been implemented. “A lack of capacity for the current ferry system to support agricultural equipment and transportation needs seems to be the greatest challenge in attracting investment to the agricultural sector of Barnston Island,” Smith says. Improvements considered Metro Vancouver electoral area and environment manager Marcin Pachinski says the rst recommendations in the study were to improve ferry service and road safety. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure continues to consider the improvements island residents requested to the “drive-on and back-o” ferry, which has a load capacity of 40,000 kg and lacks 24-hour service. “They are responsible for deciding the type of the ferry that will service the island through their process,” says Pachinski. “It’s slated to happen within the next couple of years.” That’s good news to John and Susan Russell, who have been raising sheep on the farm since the early 1970s and now focus solely on their wool for textiles rather than meat production. They also oer garden space for a Surrey-based Mayan family. “A bigger ferry would help,” says Susan. Wes Gilmore of Painted River Farm has lived on the island since 1966, when his parents bought what was then a 100-acre dairy farm. They shifted to beef cattle in the early 1970s. Gilmore and his wife Donna Mitchell and his mother Barbara Gilmore live there today alongside 50 beef cows, 300 laying hens and hay production. The lack of a bridge is one of his biggest complaints. The ferry means a lot of trips back and forth across Parsons Channel for farmers and also prevents a vet and other emergency services from reaching the island in the middle of the night. “We had a cow die last year. She prolapsed,” he says. The railway crossing on the south side of the island from CN Rail’s intermodal yard in Port Kells wastes more time for farmers. If trains are running, trac to and from the island is blocked. But Smith says the island’s isolation has helped protect it from development. “Certain development pressures have been minimized as a result of Barnston Island farmers face uncertain futureLack of reliable ferry service or a bridge is hurting agricultural viabilitySee BARNSTON on next page o
Wes Gilmore has beef cattle and laying hens on Barnston Island. He wants a bridge to replace the ferry service that he says is inadequate to meet the needs of the farming community, especially in an emergency. RONDA PAYNEBARNSTON lifestyle nfrom page 3132 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCTRACTOR TIMEVICTORIA 4377C Metchosin Rd. 250.474.330130 minutes from Victoria and 15 minutes from Highway#1 in Metchosin.trac tortime.comPREMIUM TRUCKPRINCE GEORGE 1015 Great Street 250.563.0696WILLIAMS LAKE 4600 Collier Place 250.398.7411premiumtruck.cahandlersequipment.comHANDLERS EQUIPMENTABBOTSFORD 339 Sumas Way 604.850.3601HOUSTON 2990 Highway Crescent 250.845.3333Mahindra 9125with TillerMOREBUILT-INWEIGHThe says. Recommendations included strawberries, lavender and mushrooms among other suitable crops, but it requires farmers able and willing to take on the Barnston Island lifestyle. “Based on soil, water and climate, the diversity of what can be cultivated on Barnston Island should not be underestimated,” says Smith. “In order for the agricultural vision of Barnston Island to be realized, farmers will need to collectively decide if they want to leverage the agricultural potential of the island and support investments in infrastructure.” That future is unlikely to include the Russell ospring. Susan and John Russell, now 75 and 78, respectively have children who aren’t interested in taking on the farm, and Susan wonders who will continue looking after the land. She thinks the island’s future lies with the Katzie First Nation, which has 135 acres on the southeastern side. The Katzie use their land to grow food and support their members who live on the island. The band did not respond to requests for comment. The Katzie supported keeping the island in the ALR in 2006 when developers pushed to remove a large portion of the island. Russell says the band worked with other stakeholders to campaign against the exclusion application. “We had workshops where we were making signs together,” she says. “They’ve always supported the farming community and were in full support.” Character Barnston Island Herbs owner Peter Homan would like to see Barnston retain its rural character, but be supported in doing so by the province. He says this would require a bridge and clearing some of the unused portions of land for agriculture. “I’d hate for it to go the way of Annacis Island,” he says. “It does need support though. It should be kept agricultural, but it should be done in a manner that’s sustainable. Once you pave it, you’re done.” Emri Group principal David Emri owns about 55% of the island. His long-term intentions for it are unclear, and he declined to speak on the record though he did indicate his properties are all actively farmed. Gilmore watches and speculates on the future. “The reality is, and I’ve told these guys at Metro Van, … you’ve got one individual buying up all the land. It’s only a matter of time,” he says. Barnston being a ferry access-only community,” says Smith. “That has helped keep the agricultural character of the island intact.” A few other agricultural communities in BC are accessible only by ferry, including Salt Spring Island and Powell River, but the vessels serving them are more advanced than Barnston Island’s. While the ferry has preserved the island’s charm, it’s also made farming there more of a lifestyle choice rather than a viable enterprise. “The way it is right now, is it the right way to farm?” asks Gilmore. Pachinski says the 2018 viability study included recommendations for new farming operations, detailing how much it would cost to set up certain types of farming ventures. “It’s a practical reference document for both existing and future property owners,”
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 33Dan and Helen Oostenbrink of the Local Harvest in Chilliwack practice no till farming methods to supply their on-farm market and restaurant customers. SUBMITTEDSANDRA TRETICK CHILLIWACK – Local Harvest Farm and Market is a true family farm where Dan and Helen Oostenbrink have embraced innovative weed control practices to transform 37 acres of former pasture into a thriving market garden supplying local residents, restaurants and wholesalers. Tucked into a prime location just o Hwy 1 at the corner of Lickman and Yale roads near Chilliwack Heritage Park, the operation yields just about every vegetable it’s possible to grow in the region as well as herbs, fruits and owers. Greenhouses help extend their growing season. “We’re intensively vegetable farming about 25 acres,” says Dan, who says the farm cycles through two or three crops on each block every year. The Oostenbrinks arranged to take over the property from Dan’s father in 2013. They set about planting vegetables and constructing greenhouses on the former pasture, but their early vision of agritourism soon gave way to market gardening. Even though they started farming conventionally, the weeds were out of control. When they hired a farmhand in 2014 with experience in market gardening, he convinced them to get rid of their big farm equipment, chemical fertilizers and sprays and turned one acre into a market garden. Oostenbrink expanded the market garden the following year and thus began his own somewhat accidental experiments in weed control. He laid down compost in one bed, but didn’t do anything to the next bed because he ran out of time. He seeded spinach in both beds. The bed that was mulched had no weeds and really good germination. The adjacent bed, the one that had been tilled, was underperforming. Weeds were everywhere. He started to research no-till. “Not a lot of people were doing no-till at that time,” says Oostenbrink. “Now it’s all the rage in market gardening; everybody’s talking about it.” Since switching to no-till Market garden rises from battle of the weedsNo-till farming was secret to weed control for Local HarvestSee LOCAL on next page oStale seed bedding is the foundation of no-till vegetable production, says Chilliwack farmer and soil health advocate Dan Oostenbrink for those considering the switch to no-till vegetable farming. This involves power harrowing the top inch of soil weekly when the eld is dry. “This is the conundrum,” he says. “On the one hand we’re talking about no-till and how invasive and ruinous it is of the land, and on the other, that is how we get started.” But harrowing roots out perennial weeds and grasses and gives their seeds a chance to germinate. The next rounds of harrowing kill them. When the weeds in the top layer of soil are depleted, lay 3 inches of compost or mulch on top to cover the ground and prevent weeds from growing. Oostenbrink suggests planting potatoes as the rst crop, because they are very forgiving, or a fall cover crop, such as rye. Once the crop has nished growing, atten the bed with a ail mower and apply another one to two inches of compost. The next crop can be planted immediately. —Sandra TretickOostenbrink’s tips for no-till vegetables
34 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCDan Oostenbrink surveys a weed free, well-mulched bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs. SUBMITTEDLOCAL Harvest nfrom page 33KuhnNorthAmerica.comVisit your local British Columbia KUHN dealer today!INVEST IN QUALITY®www.kuhn.comMatsqui Ag-RepairAbbotsfordNorthline EquipmentPouce CoupeHuber Farm EquipmentPrince GeorgeSmithersMasterdrive ® GIII gearbox provides increased toughness and reliabilityRight-hand delivery maximizesoperator efciency and comfortHydraulic headland lift allows for quick and easy adjustments to eld conditionsDouble-curved tine arms are designed to form uffy and consistent windrowsPatented StandardUNIFORM, FLUFFY WINDROWSGA 4230 T & GA 4231 T Single-Rotor Rotary Rakes13’10” Working Widthfarming practices, Oostenbrink estimates weeding has dropped by 75% to 90% and soil health has greatly improved. Tillage reduces soil’s structural stability and results in severe soil loss through erosion. Since making the switch to no-till farming about six years ago, Oostenbrink has noticed that soil microbes are ourishing, moisture conservation is higher and yields are better. As an added bonus, he nds it easier to ip beds between crops. Oostenbrink credits his no-till practices with the minimal damage his farm suered during the extreme heat at the end of June, when temperatures at Oostenbrink’s farm hit 43°C. During the hottest days he watered in short bursts through the heat of the day – 20 waterings, ve minutes at a time. “Nothing was damaged,” says Oostenbrink. “[It was] hard to tell we had a heat wave.” Permits challenging With the weeds under control, the Oostenbrinks began ending up with more produce than they could sell out of a simple roadside stand. They ran into hurdles when a barn they had renovated without the necessary building permits ran afoul of Chilliwack bylaws and the Agricultural Land Commission. A purpose-built market completed in 2018 meant they needed to keep the crops growing year-round to keep the shelves stocked. Oostenbrink says the ALC was hesitant to allow a purpose-built facility on the farm to market al.l the product it was growing, and municipal building and safety requirements, which don’t distinguish between large grocery stores and small on-farm markets, were dicult to meet for a small business like his. “The costs become prohibitive and the wrangling with governments becomes really, really challenging,” says Oostenbrink. “It takes a lot of time.” Approval hinged on a split-zoning that saw the property designated 91% agricultural lowland and 9% agricultural commercial, but Oostenbrink says the market is still really small to handle the production from a 25-acre market garden. The ALC requires that 50% of the product they sell be grown on farm, but they have to bring in complementary products from o the farm to attract people year-round and keep the market nancially viable. “If we were to do it with just the product that we grow on the farm at this point in time we would not be sustainable,” says Oostenbrink, although he adds that they are getting there. “We’re able to satisfy the requirement of the ALC, certainly better than a lot of other markets have.” Their eldest son Dustin, now 21, runs a wood-red bakery on site where he makes sourdough breads during the week and pizzas on Saturdays. Daughter Courtenay, who’s 20, helps out in the market. Their next two sons are currently working o the farm, but their youngest daughter, 13, is also involved. They also employ a couple of full-time sta year round and hire high school students throughout the summer. The Oostenbrinks also have a couple of cows and a small herd of alpacas grazing on about six acres. Harking back to their original agritourism dream, the animals are there mostly for the enjoyment of visitors who come to the farm market, although the alpacas are shorn annually and the bre is sent o-farm for nishing. It makes its way back to the market in the form of socks. Not all of their produce goes to the market. Some is wholesaled and some sells at farm markets in Abbotsford and Invermere. Some makes its way to nearly 20 dierent restaurants, mostly in Vancouver, to which they personally deliver three times a week. COVID-19 hurt this part of their business, but it beats selling to large wholesalers and the big grocers. “They hold you to these contracts and you’re obligated, but they’re not,” he says. “We’re much happier selling to independently-owned markets and restaurants. It is about knowing the chef and getting them out [to the farm].” Demanding Before making the switch to farming, Oostenbrink, 39, was a math and physics teacher. He’s put that background to good use in sharing his passion about soil health and the soil food web. Oostenbrink oers a course on no-till gardening and recently partnered with Farm Folk/City Folk to conduct a virtual eld day on no-till farming. Oostenbrink says farming is a lot more demanding than being a teacher, with longer days and brutally hard work. He thinks ve to seven acres is the right size for a family farm, but isn’t sure that would be nancially viable. “My farm’s too big,” he says. In the virtual eld day, Oostenbrink advised those thinking of making the switch to no-till farming to start small and build from there. “Don’t take on too much. Do less and do it well,” he says.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 35 info@clhbidcom British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | ManitobaTurn-Key ExperienceWhen it comes to selling farm or ranch land, our full-service team works with you from your very ﬁrst call to handing you a cheque at closing. We walk the entire walk with you.Maximum ValueAnyone can create a sale but you need lasting lifelong results. We monetize your land in a manner to ensure maximum value for a lifetime of work.World-Class MarketingFinally: a specialized platform for selling agricultural land! All sales are seen worldwide, and are seen by all potential buyers - neighbors, friends, farmers, and investors.Strategic Packaging & ‘En Bloc’Instead of the “take all or nothing” approach, our innovative ‘En Bloc’ feature for selected sales allows certain bidders to also bid on individual parcels and/or the entire farm.Why CLHbid.com?Selling Farm Land, It’s All We Do
36 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCProudly offering quality farm equipment and wholesale farm product delivery across BC.Call, email or visit us onlineinfo@reimersfarmserv ice.com855.737.0110reimersfarmservice.comCheck 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 In February 2020, the journal Science published a paper from researchers at the University of Ottawa and University College London based on a study of 66 bumblebee species that said populations had declined by as much as 46% in North America and 17% in Europe. Their research applied occupancy models to dated historical collection data. But according to subsequent research by Simon Fraser University scientists, the losses may not be as bad as the paper described. SFU scientists looked at the work by Peter Soroye and his colleagues, and undertook what they claim is a more accurate modelling of the numbers that indicate a mere 5% decline in North America bumblebee populations overall. But at the same time, the SFU researchers acknowledged that some species have indeed suered serious population declines. “When we reconsidered the evidence, we found that it’s not all doom and gloom for bumblebees,” says Melissa Guzman, postdoctoral fellow in SFU’s Department of Biological Sciences and lead author of the latest paper. “Leithen M’Gonigle’s lab (where I am currently a postdoc) does a lot of work on occupancy modelling – the type of modelling that Soroye et al. used in their study. When the study of Soroye et al. was published [last year] we were very excited to read it and discuss it, and we were curious about the modelling. Thankfully, Soroye et al. published all of the code used for their analysis, so we decided to look into it and found that some of the modelling decisions needed to be studied further.” She writes in her team’s report, published in the journal Biological Conservation, that globally, bumblebees are highly important pollinators, especially in temperate regions, but evidence has suggested that many species are declining. Overstated In the past, scientists have relied on large datasets from museums, surveys and community initiatives for analysis. But often the data is collected haphazardly and the analysis has focused on a limited number of bee species without taking their ranges and records of other species into account, resulting in reports over-estimating declines in bee populations. However, Guzman’s team used simulated data to investigate the validity of the methods used. “The data used by Soroye et al. and us was the same,” says Guzman. “The problem is that this data is very heterogenous and a lot of it has been opportunistically captured. The data we used contains historic museum records, surveys done by researchers, and more recent community science records from iNaturalist.” The multi-species modelling done on European bumblebees was more in line with previous studies, but the decline was still lower than previous estimates (6% instead of 17%). A big challenge they found was how to reliably use the data to understand what is happening to bumblebees. One main problem was that, while the number of observations was the same or had increased through time, the data was not evenly distributed across the continent. “More recent data is biased towards large population centres where people are more likely to take pictures of wildlife,” she said. “In our modelling, we accounted for that bias.” She wrote in the report that their model provided revised and appreciably lower estimates for bumblebee community declines, with species-specic trends more closely matching classications from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and which can help inform future species-at-risk assessments. “One of the main results is that, by having averages across species, you do not have the entire story and it is important to identify which are the species that are declining then nd the cause of their decline. In our study, species like Bombus anis (the rusty-patched bumblebee) and Bombus bohemicus (gypsy cuckoo bumblebee) were two where we found steep declines.” B. anis is found in southern Quebec, Ontario and in the US northeast. Its demise has been the result of pesticide use, intensive farming and disease. The endangered B. bohemicus has a cross-Canada range but its population has dropped alarmingly by 73% based on the SFU modelling. The researchers continue to test more ideas to further improve their modelling. They are applying the new models to understand how other species have changed. A key benet of the modelling is that it helps species-at-risk assessments. Gusman writes in the report that while the populations of some bee species have declined, improved evidence gathering and modelling would allow conservationists to prioritize the bee species most at risk. Research by MARGARET EVANSBumblebee declines not as dire as study statesSFU scientists analyse results of a study and come to their own conclusionsSFU’s Melissa Guzman is the lead author on a paper that suggests previous studies overstate the decline in bumblebee populations. SUBMITTEDBUILT TO KEEP GOING. BECAUSE A FARM NEVER SLEEPS. 23390 RIVER ROAD, MAPLE RIDGE, BC V2W 1B6 604/463-3681 | vanderwaleq.com VAN DER WAL EQUIPMENT (1989) LTD.The Massey Ferguson® 7700 Series tractor is an ultra- dependable, low-maintenance machine in a class all its own. Visit us and arrange a test drive.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 37“Serving British Columbia proudly since 1946”Machinery LimitedROLLINS RToll Free 1-800-242-9737 www.rollinsmachinery.comChilliack 1.800.242.9737 | 44725 Yale Rd W Langley 1.800.665.9060 | 21869 - 56th Ave Chemainus 1.250-246.1203 | 3306 Smiley RdAre you READY for WINTER feeding?Chilliwack 1.800.242.9737 . 47724 Yale Rd W Langley 1.800.665.9060 . 21869 56th Ave Chemainus 18.104.22.1683 . 3306 Smiley Rd Kelowna 250.765.8266 . 201-150 Campion StToll Free 1-800-242-9737 www.rollinsmachinery.com email@example.comKat and Dan Saxton are now owners of Pilgrim’s Produce, a certied organic produce farm in Armstrong, right under the Eagle Rock, not seen behind them due to heavy smoke from forest res. JACKIE PEARASEJACKIE PEARASE ARMSTRONG – Dan and Kat Saxton’s farming journey began in earnest when they agreed to take over Pilgrim’s Produce from Rob and Kathryn Hettler in 2016. Kat began farming 20 years ago, working in the Ontario cut-ower industry. She continued her passion for agriculture after moving to BC, working in tree farming, ranching and produce farming. Twelve years ago, she worked for the Hettlers for three seasons when she met Dan and got married. The couple worked at a children’s camp in the Shuswap for two years before being approached by the Hettlers. “The deal with the Hettlers was to see if it would work, and take over the farm eventually,” explains Kat. The Hettlers started the 14-acre certied organic farm in rural Armstrong in 1991, growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. They included a food forest of fruit and nut trees and berries alongside a natural forested habitat planted between 2004 and 2007. The Hettlers partnered with young farmers prior to the Saxtons, wanting to pass along their farm, but the timing wasn’t right and those people moved on to their own farms. “It’s not like we never tried. It’s the usual story: we have four kids … none of them wanted to carry on the tradition of the farm,” says Rob. “Kathryn and I wanted to see the farm continue to be farmed and a service to the community.” Their next attempt with the Saxtons worked out for all involved. Dan embraced his wife’s love of growing food but with no agricultural background, he had a long row to hoe. “It was mostly getting Dan up to speed because he wasn’t a farm kid. Even if you were a farm kid … it’s an entirely dierent world the way we farm vegetables and organics, so many crops. And after we added the permaculture … it made it even more complex yet,” notes Rob. The Hettlers have mentored the Saxtons over the past ve years, with Dan taking on more responsibility every year. A non-family succession plan that workedYoung farmers benefit from past owners’ experienceThe Saxtons are grateful for the guidance and experience oered by the Hettlers that has made it possible for them to become farm owners this year. “Rob and Kathryn have this massive, strong passion to have this legacy carried on … to keep this farm continuing on in a similar fashion to what they started 30 years ago,” Kat says. “It was hard to nd but it worked out. I don’t think a lot of stories end that way … we want people to feel encouraged, that it is possible. It’s not easy but it is doable.” They all agree that the change-over was only possible because it was an existing business with producing land and equipment. “It’s frustrating to see how hard it is just to do the most basic thing of growing food. Generations before, everyone had a farm and now it’s almost impossible, which seems wrong,” says Kat. High land costs Okanagan land matcher Tessa Wetherill of Young Agrarians says knowledge, land and capital are the biggest barriers for new farmers. She says high land costs are beyond what most new farmers can aord. “It is simply, most often, not possible to cash ow a mortgage of that size with the type of revenue a new farmer can expect to make in their rst years,” says Wetherill. “Also non-traditional and creative transition scenarios like Dan and Kat have entered into at Pilgrim’s Produce are becoming necessary as we enter a time when lots of land will change hands.” Wetherill worked with Pilgrim’s Produce through their transition and has helped See LAND on next page oYOURHelping YouYOURHelping YouHelpingpingplpinYoulHHpingoeDon’t forget to RENEW your subscription toCountry Lifein BC
38 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCTOLL FREE: 1-877-553-3373 WWW.PRAIRIECOASTEQUIPMENT.COMPRINCE GEORGE 250-561-4260 | KAMLOOPS 250-573-4412 | KELOWNA 250-765-9765 | CHILLIWACK 604-792-1516 | NANAIMO 778-441-3210EARLY ORDER PROGRAMFOR LARGE FRAME TRACTORSORDER NOW for SPRING 2022!HUGE FACTORY DISCOUNTSGUARANTEED PRICING2022 FACTORY BUILD SLOTS ARE GOING FAST! TALK TO THE EXPERTS AT PRAIRIECOAST EQUIPMENT TODAY!LAND matching nfrom page 37Dan Saxton cuts open a watermelon grown at Pilgrim’s Produce in Armstrong, one of the crops doing well in this year’s heat. JACKIE PEARASEmany others through the BC Land Matching Program. Young Agrarians launched its land matching pilot project in 2016 and is now oering land matching services across BC with funding from the provincial government and regional funders. The program has worked with landowners and new farmers to make over 150 matches on more than 6,000 acres to date. Wetherill says more new farmers with no family farm backgrounds are showing an interest in farming since the pandemic. “Many of these folks are what I would label 'farm curious' and we encourage everyone, no matter where they are at on their journey, to begin.” With more farm succession plans involving a non-family transition, Young Agrarians launched a toolkit to provide support to people in such scenarios. “When considering a transition scenario, there is so much to think of, and relationship building is at the heart of what we do,” she notes. “When new farmers get in touch with me about looking for land to start their farm business, we assess their enterprise readiness, support with business planning and the dening of their land needs, and register them for the program and get to work making a match.” She says farm tax classication aids the landowner but most landowners are satised with simply seeing their land properly used, cared for and productive. The Hettlers say the Saxtons’ work ethic and dedication has eased a dicult process because it gives them condence in the farm’s future. “We were successful for 30 years and I don’t see why they couldn’t be,” notes Rob. “We’ve made it through the rst few months of succession, which for me was the hardest because I went from being the boss of everything to all of sudden not owning it.” The Saxtons are proud to be carrying on the tradition of providing organically grown, aordable produce for their local community. “It’s not a big money-maker but who cares? We want to do something where we can lay our heads at night and feel like we did something worth doing,” says Kat. “It’s important. We think more people should be growing food and feeding people.”
Reuben Houweling inspects pots of greenhouse-grown basil. He says consumers are showing a preference for living herbs – potted plants marketed in eco-friendly brown paper wrappers. SUBMITTEDCOUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 39Living plants are revolutionizing herb salesEnvironmentally friendly, fresher than cut, creates a win-winServing 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 250-838-6414RONDA PAYNE DELTA – When living herbs began making their way into supermarkets ve years ago, Houweling’s Group general manager Reuben Houweling saw an opportunity. “What we created was a living herb that is no longer seasonal,” says Houweling. “It has its home in the produce section, not in the garden centre section. The big hurdle to clear for that is that there is no irrigation by the retailer for our herbs. We’ve come up with a product that has a very high moisture retention capacity.” Houweling says the prospect of having the freshest possible herbs at home for use in the kitchen excited consumers. He now oers eight greenhouse-grown herbs including basil, parsley, cilantro, chives and dill. “We intend on displacing the fresh-cut herb market with living herbs 12 months of the year and this is where we’re seeing growth,” he says. “It’s at least 30% year-over-year, to be conservative.” The company recently started selling into Alberta and is moving into the Pacic Northwest in the US. Greenhouse automation as well as distribution teams experienced with handling fresh produce and the needs of grocery retailers help it compete. Some grocers have also embraced the trend. Sobeys Inc., which operates stores under the Safeway and Thrifty banners in BC, has contracted with InFarm for contained growing systems to stock living herbs grown in-store. The living herb model has taken o for three reasons, says Houweling. It oers better value, delivering the same or greater weight of leaf than a similarly priced clam pack, better shelf life and overall sustainability. Packaged in a simple water-proof brown paper wrapper, the minimally packaged herbs are low-waste and can be stocked at room temperature. “The store doesn’t have to refrigerate it,” says Houweling. “From a sustainability point of view, the more the store can do at room temperature … the better.” The foodservice sector is a tougher go for herb companies. Barnston Island Herbs owner Peter Homan has worked with the restaurant industry since his family bought the company in 1987. However, unlike the growth Houweling has witnessed in retail sales of living herbs, the food service sector has increasingly become price-sensitive. It’s now purchasing more herbs from international growers, despite what Homan says is a lower quality. “It’s been a progressive downturn over the last 20 years or so,” he says. Homan has reduced the volume of herbs grown and diversied into edible owers, peashoots and microgreens to meet foodservice demand. Herbs now account for about 30% of production. He had oered the living herb model to restaurants in the past, but space is always at a premium in foodservice kitchens. Despite many restaurants seeking herbs at the lowest price, he still has some loyal customers who he says value the quality that comes from locally grown produce. Small herb growers also cultivate a local market at on-farm stands and farmers markets. “When I rst started out, I thought I’d just do herbs, but you’re not going to make money doing that unless you sold them to other places, other stands and such,” says Joanne Dubick, owner of The Herb Patch in Kelowna. But this will be her last year in business. The eight acres she leases on Black Mountain are being converted to cherries and she and her husband Barry Herman plan on retiring. Specialty growers who incorporate medicinal herbs into their oerings or provide an agri-tourism experience may nd their own unique niche, but it’s unlikely these operations will grow to be signicant players. “There’s a couple places on [Vancouver] Island that are an herb farm and it’s an experience. You can come out and pick your bundle of treasures,” says Homan. “I can see that working, but that’s denitely not what I would call a commercial standpoint.” BC growers produce more than 1.8 million pounds of fresh herbs annually. The farmgate value was $7 million in 2019, according to Statistics Canada. But if Houweling has his way, that will increase in the future. “Our intention is to expand,” he says. “We have some bold oerings for retailers in the future. We don’t see why we can’t get into all leafy greens in a living format. That is a big leap in what has been happening for 50 or 60 years or more.” www.tubeline.ca 1.888.856.6613@TubelineMFGFind us onSPREADERSACCUMUL8 & BALE GRABSBALEWRAPPERS SILAGE RAKE
40 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCFood hub readies for fall openingSalmon Arm building under renovations, marketing underwayCALL 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 BCsales@baumalight.com | BAUMALIGHT.COMDale Howe 403-462-1975 | firstname.lastname@example.orgMFG A VARIETY OF ATTACHMENTS INCLUDING: BRUSH MULCHERS | ROTARY BRUSH CUTTERSSTUMP GRINDERS | PTO GENERATORS | AUGER DRIVES | TRENCHERS | DRAINAGE PLOWS | TREE SAWS & SHEARSTREE SPADES | BOOM MOWERS | TREE PULLERS | FELLER BUNCHERS | EXCAVATOR ADAPTERS | SCREW SPLITTERSOne of our best farm workers ever came back this week, 15 years after leaving to become a teacher. Happily for us, and sadly for the local school kids, she is taking some time o from the profession and intends to ll it with farm work. This good news story happens at just precisely the right time for salvaging my positive disposition, which was well past the beginning stages of agging. In addition to heat and drought, there are a few too many weeds in places they shouldn’t be, not quite enough help, and an ominously sti clutch in the loader tractor. If I dare lift my gaze from my navel and see what my farming colleagues in other parts of the province are facing, I am further mentally squashed. Basically, my outlook has been positive in name only. But with Tanya back, and my swimming pond failing to grow anything too swimmingly preventative (and in this heat, that means as long as there are no really large crocodiles), I think I can persevere. I can problem solve, be mechanically adventurous and nice to customers. The pivotal third prop for positivity, the recent gentle pitter-patter of raindrops on crackly dry leaves, seals the deal. Although it’s not the multi-day deluge of dreams, it’s certainly not the disappointing previous rain of some weeks ago – one of those ironic aairs where there were not enough drops falling to subdue the dust cloud created by the drops hitting the ground. Consequently, I can build this article around something other than complaints about the farming conditions. It was a close-run thing: with the submission deadline looming and my positivity plummeting, I could have gone quite dark. Absent the whinging, however, I can proceed to objectively present the issues of the day: we might need to hire some more help, the tractor needs mechanical attention, and what is with the weeds in the carrots? We are a very awkward farm to sta properly. We have made great crop planning eorts and equipment investments to avoid having to hire, which means we need a crew only sporadically part-time during August and September. It almost always works out but until Tanya turned up, I was preparing to take my chances with an appeal for help from the general population, either via a social media post or the local employment agency. This avenue has thrown up some real gems over the years, but this time I would actually prefer to remain short-handed. The conditions require, shall we say, an advanced ability to work while uncomfortable. I am too uncomfortable myself to deal with other people’s issues. The tractor clutch issue requires a “push, pull, wiggle and Google” session. I’ve never delved into a tractor clutch before and I would rst like to trace the various cables and levers to the point where it disappears into the tractor belly. There could possibly be an innocent explanation for the sti clutch. I would prefer to nd that myself. The weeds in the carrots are there because we don’t spray herbicides and abhor hand-weeding. Our mechanical weed control methods are far from perfect and maybe we need to make adjustments to the cover-crop program, and possibly the precision seeder needs attention. Interestingly, the weed pressure is not as impactful as it could be, given the wild, abandoned look of the eld: a suocating understory layer seems to be missing. So on the bright side, something is working. We just don’t exactly know what. Well. That’s the farm story from the depths of a possibly soul-crushing summer. I have no idea what’s going on, but some things are working well, and others are not. It’ll be okay. Anna Helmer farms and writes in Pemberton where even the cottonwoods are crispy. Good help at the right timeThings work out when the farmhands fitFarm Story by ANNA HELMERJACKIE PEARASE SALMON ARM – The food hub in Salmon Arm is a few steps closer to opening its doors. The community has been working in earnest to create a food hub since receiving $500,000 from the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries last December. The idea for a food hub started with a feasibility study Salmon Arm Economic Development Society undertook in 2018. The study included consultation with local producers and processors to determine the need and demand for such a facility. Gaps in local food processing infrastructure were identied as a barrier for new business development and the expansion of existing food producers. The Zest Commercial Food Hub will provide shared use of food and beverage processing equipment, production space and business development services. The food hub and its services will be available for use by those within 45 minutes of Salmon Arm, including Sicamous, Chase and Enderby. A 4,000-square-foot facility near Piccadilly Mall is being renovated to meet food and safety regulations before it opens. The location has excellent highway access. Zest executive director Jen Gamble says other work still to be done include sourcing equipment and nishing the marketing plan. A website [www.zestfoodhub.ca] has been launched to introduce the concept to the public and generate interest from local producers and processors. The Thompson Okanagan region accounts for 16% of food and beverage manufacturing in BC, which is valued at $1.7 billion and supports 5,600 jobs. Business development services will be provided through partnerships with the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre, Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur Program, Community Futures Shuswap and Okanagan College. A grand opening of the food hub in Salmon Arm is planned for this fall.
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 41Ben Glassen may be relatively new to farming but he has big plans to build not just one but possibly a network of abattoirs to serve small-scale farmers on Vancouver Island. SUBMITTEDKATE AYERS NANAIMO – As custom meat processing facilities dwindle on Vancouver Island, so do opportunities for small-scale farmers to build viable businesses. Fortunately, producers like Ben Glassen are working towards solutions in their local areas. Glassen hopes to open and operate a small-scale abattoir for poultry, turkey and other fowl in Nanaimo to process his animals and serve surrounding producers. Glassen’s journey into farming is dierent than most producers. Glassen grew up in Wenatchee, Washington and as a teenager, bought bull riding gear and rode steers. Captivated by the rodeo scene, he wanted to become Cowboy Ben, a rodeo circuit star. After crushing his spleen in a rough ride, he switched over to professional mountain biking to pursue the travelling pro athlete life. “[I] injured out of that sport and returned to school to start thinking about building businesses,” Glassen explains. Ag seemed to be a perfect t – closely associated with rodeo and strong family ties. “I came into this (industry) as a skipped-generation farmer. My great-grandfather raised Brabant draft horses in Minot, North Dakota until the 1910s,” Glassen says. “One of my great-uncles was a rodeo announcer and had a hobby farm. I’ve always had an inkling of (continuing) family farming traditions.” In February 2018, he started a farm business through ingenuity and perseverance. “I started raising quails in backyards in Port Moody while I worked for an events company,” he says. In 2019, Glassen moved to Nanaimo to be closer to his aging parents and started raising broilers on leased land. He now has a pasture poultry production system for chickens and turkeys, a forest pork system, a grazing system for sheep and a meat marketing business. Four principles Four regenerative agriculture principles underpin his approach, reecting his drive to farm with purpose. Firstly, he separates land ownership from farming by leasing land. Without a large capital expenditure up front, he can invest in his livestock and systems. Secondly, mobile infrastructure allows Glassen to easily transport equipment to new land bases and he can easily move his animals on a regular basis. Thirdly, modular infrastructure enables Glassen to scale up through experience and prot. For example, he can add more chicken coops as his ock grows or more fences as his sheep herd expands. The fourth principle is direct marketing of products to hold onto as much of the food dollar as possible, Glassen says. “Sell direct and build relationships with customers who value the additional management eorts that we put into our systems,” he says. Glassen strives for environmental and societal sustainability in every aspect of his operation. “There is real need for sustainable initiatives and solutions to sequester carbon,” Glassen explains. “Regenerative agriculture and livestock management takes underutilized and neglected pieces of land and puts them back into production in a way to not just be sustainable and reduce weight on the world, Small-scale abattoir in the works for IslandNanaimo farmer applies four principles to expanding operationSee ABATTOIR on next page oCarrie Nicholson PREC* 250-614-6766 DISCOVER PRINCE GEORGE!PRINCE GEORGE & AREA SUBDIVISION LOTS: R2599066; R2599013; R2599027; R2598853; R2598860; R2599054; R2610535; R2610527; R2610554; R2610531; R2610543 CRANBROOK HILL 77 acres w/dev potential minutes from UNBC. MLS R2599818 $1,500,000 HART HWY 54.95 acres. Current zoning incl agri forestry, intensive ag, cannabis, nursery, res single family and much more. MLS R2598804. $750,000. See adjacent lots for sale: MLS R2599544/R2599530 STUNNING LAKEFRONT Year-round home with over 1000’ of shoreline on Francois Lake. MLS R2605976 $444,000 A PLACE TO CALL HOME 5.25 acres w/hobby farm potential. 4 bed/3bath log home, 24x40 pole barn, next to Crown land. MLS R2606695 $399,000 LITTLE GEM Fantastic 3 bed/2 bath family home on 5.23 flat acres. MLS R2609051 $499,900 CLOSE TO DOWNTOWN 8.3 acres. MLS R2610880 $295,000 EQUESTRIAN/CATTLE RANCH. Outstanding 445 acre property w/~250 acres in hay/pasture, fenced/ cross-fenced. Updated 4 bed/3 bath home, heated shop, RV storage, lots of outbuildings. This attrac-tive home was extensively renovated in 1998 plus some recent updates. MLS R2604494 $1,650,000 STARTER HOME! 3 bed/1 bath ranch style home w/detached workshop/garage in rural PG. MLS R2609555 $249,900 160 ACRE parcel near Fraser Lake. Bare land waiting for your ideas. MLS R2610887 $294,900 310 ACRES on Leg Lake (Fort Fraser). MLS R2610870 $374,900 BUILDING LOT 16 acres 20 min from downtown PG MLS R2610875 $184,900 LARGE 5 bed/2 bath home on 1.6 acres. MLS R2601948 $389,900 74 ACRES w/ 20,000 sq ft bldg., storage sheds, weigh scale, 40 acres cultivated. MLS C8037690 $1,700,000 FANTASTIC find in Beaverley. 5 bed/3 bath home w/suite on 7.52 acres. Lots of updates. MLS R2590538 $549,900 ESCAPE the city. Two lots in Willor River, 22,500 sq ft. MLS R2591708, $49,900 BRING your ideas. 4.07 acre build-ing lot in Miworth. MLSR2593015 $175,000 STUNNING LAKE VIEWS. Executive home, 3 bed/4 bath. MLS R2593375 $769,900 PRIVATE acreage south of Quesnel. 5.9 acres, 6 bed/3 bath home, garage, barn, workshop. MLS R2594685. $355,000 145 ACRES Develop into a farm or private retreat. 5 bed/2bath home. MLS R2565420, $649,900 COUNTRY ESTATE 5 acres, 2,800 sq ft 3 bed/3 bath home; horselovers delight. 2-bay shop. MLS R2556910 $889,900 69+ ACRES ON RIVER Approx 50 acres in hay. River, road access. MLS R2569334 $785,000 RANCH PARADISE 700 acres, 5 ti-tles, 2864 sq ft ranch-style main house. Shop, barn, greenhouse, 160 acres in hay. MSL C8038028 $1,244,421 VANDERHOOF 5.15 building lot. R2575990 $79,900 GRAND FORKS 27.74 acres less than 5 miles to US border. MLS 2456824 $1,200,000 55 ACRES Development potential close to airport. MLS R2435958, $599,900 112.02 ACRES IN CITY LIMITS. Potential for development. MLS R2435725. $1,300,000 PRINCE GEORGE & AREA RURAL LOTS see MLS: R2531431; R2531443; R2603761; R2603767; R2603772; R2603775
42 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCABATTOIR plans pending permits nfrom page 41but to x climate change and be carbon-negative.” He now runs 15 sheep, 1,500 broilers and 30 hogs on a ve-acre parcel, in addition to part of the 50-acre Cline Agri-Health Centre, which is all leased land. Soon, he hopes to add cattle. “[It’s] where the Nanaimo FoodShare does their market garden and where they teach job skills to youth through farming,” Glassen says. “Anywhere FoodShare is not using, I can graze animals.” Next year, he hopes to start an internship program for people interested in practicing regenerative agriculture. Abattoir Glassen has built his farm on cash ow, reinvesting prots in the farm and avoiding debt. He plans to continue this as much as possible as he prepares to develop a much-needed small-scale poultry processing facility on leased property on Jingle Pot Road in Nanaimo. Called The Good Place Abattoir, it will be a fully licensed abattoir built from two converted shipping containers. He plans to kill, cut and wrap in this plant. “We are building the facilities to be as small as scally possible and be protable running three days a week, doing 300 birds a day,” Glassen says. If demand exceeds capacity, “we won’t expand this little plant, but we’ll build another one elsewhere, wherever the need is most. We are decentralizing the meat system by building smaller plants in dierent communities.” However, this project is in its initial stages and many hurdles stand between Glassen and the plant’s completion. The rst step is to receive approval from the Ben Glassen had hoped to have his abattoir up and running earlier this year but there are a lot of hoops to jump through. SUBMITTEDBritish Columbia: Okanagan, Interior, KootenayCleanfarms 2021Unwanted Pesticides & Old Livestock/Equine Medications Collectionis coming to your region this fall!Cleanfarms.email@example.com @cleanfarmsOkanagan, Interior, Kootenay – Oct. 12 to 22Look for details on locations & dates later this summer and check out Cleanfarms.ca – see "Unwanted/Outdated Products" under "What to Recycle & Where"Old Obsolete Livestock/Equine Medications Collection What’s InOnly livestock/equine medications used by primary producers in the rearing of animals in an agricultural context or horse owners• Identiﬁed with a DIN number, Serial Number, Notiﬁcation Number or Pest Control Product number (PCP No.) on the product label• Unlabeled animal health product – identify it by writing UNKNOWN across itWhat’s Not• No needles/sharps• No ear tags• No medicated feedUnwanted Old Pesticides What’s InOnly agricultural or commercial solid and liquid pesticides, insecticides & herbicides identiﬁed with a Pest Control Product number (PCP No.) on the label• Adjuvants: only open with partial amount le; no full, unopened containers• Unlabeled pesticide, insecticide & herbicide product – identify it by writing UNKNOWN across it• Seed treatment products• Growth retardants with a PCP numberWhat’s Not• No aerosols, even pesticides or animal health products• No treated seed• No rinsate• No household hazardous waste (residential waste, oils, paints, etc.)• No foam makers, sanitizers, soaps, iodine, acids, premise disinfectants• No fertilizer or micronutrientsLook for the PCP number on the label. If there is one, it's accepted; if there isn't, it's not!Partner2021_CF_OBSOLETE_COUNTRY_LIFE_IN_BC_8.167x9.indd 1 2021-07-21 11:57 AMAgricultural Land Commission for a non-farm use permit since less than 50% of the birds will come from his own farm. In a July 27 Regional District of Nanaimo board meeting, members agreed to endorse Glassen’s application for a non-farm use permit. If the application is approved by the ALC, Glassen will then need to apply for a temporary use permit, building permit, commercial water usage permit and develop a wastewater management plan. Glassen would have loved to have opened a processing facility earlier this year because many processing plants on Vancouver Island have recently closed or do not accommodate small producers, he says. Glassen must travel a fair distance to get his animals processed, costing time and money. But he’s glad the ball is now rolling and gathering momentum. Food security RDN board chair Tyler Brown expresses concern about local food security and a lack of support for local agriculture. “A lot of the regulations in place favour industrial or corporate agriculture. Conversations at the board level and work that Mr. Glassen and others are doing are so crucial. If we want to support local farmers and want to have local food production, food security and all the economic benets that farmers provide, we absolutely need to support these types of initiatives and push senior levels of government to change regulations that are skewed towards a model that isn’t the best for a variety of reasons,” Brown says. “At the end of the day, we know that in the Regional District of Nanaimo and on Vancouver Island as a whole, the food we are producing locally does not come close to matching the demands of our population.” The Good Place Abattoir promises to feed local demand. “My big goal by installing this plant is the same as on my farm. By doing this at a small scale and decentralizing farming and meat packing, (the abattoir) can be conducive to addressing all the concerns people have (about meat production) like smell, poor job quality, animal abuse and land degradation,” Glassen says. “I want to demonstrate how eciencies and protably are often put above communities and the animals. Instead, we can go back to more local food production.”
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 43Lydia Ryall of Cropthorne Farm in Delta says there’s still a demand for traditional red beets (for borscht!) but having something new and unique is good for sales. SUBMITTEDRONDA PAYNE DELTA – No one is coming to Lydia Ryall of Cropthorne Farm demanding a better tasting beet. But work from 2016 and 2017 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison regarding beet avour attributes will ensure growers have the varieties they need when consumers do start breaking down the barn doors for diverse tasting beets. “Having something unique is great, but that’s what brings people in,” says Ryall, who grows less than an acre of beets at her farm on Westham Island. “People still want red beets for borscht. I don’t think the consumer is clicking in yet for taste.” UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems postdoctoral research fellow Solveig Hanson led the work at Madison looking at the genetic contributions to beet avour as part of a larger ongoing study of the root vegetable. Once researchers narrowed varieties down to top performers from a farming perspective, they were able to zone in on avour. “Until recently, [beets] have been considered a simple food,” Hanson told a July 29 webinar Farm Folk/City Folk hosted for participants in the Canadian Organic Vegetable Improvement program. “It’s generally agreed that sweet, earthy, bitter and harsh are avour attributes of beets.” Her work set out to determine if the measurable avour compounds in beets could be tracked and ranked in terms of hedonic selection. Chefs, farmers and consumers tried a variety of beets including white, red, golden and chioggia over the two years of taste trials Hanson ran concurrently with the lab work. “I had a group of chefs who served as the core group of tasters,” she explains. She created a ballot and avour wheel to help participants categorize the avours they experienced. However, it seems that beet avour is more complex than identifying higher levels of the compound believed to create earthiness, or the relative sucrose levels. “We knew the top characteristics we wanted. We asked the chefs and consumer participants to turn their selection to avour,” she says. “Flavour evaluation can be helpful in identifying varieties that are well liked.” Some cultivars were perceived as sweeter than others though the sucrose levels were the same. The perception of earthiness didn’t track with the levels of geosmin, the compound responsible for that avour trait. “It’s how that sugar interacts with the other compounds in the beet,” she explains. “Geosmin concentration is not the one element that liking is controlled by.” While narrowing down what made for the ideal avoured beet was elusive and more complex than hoped, beets in taste trials were ranked by preference allowing for ongoing breeding and selection. This means taste trials continue to require a human element, not just lab tests. Red beets rule Leah Erickson, territory manager with Stokes Seeds, says beets have remained steady in her portfolio with red beets being the leader. Golden beets had increased in past years, but have since stabilized. Overall, BC’s fresh beet production has ranged between 4,174 and 5,209 tons over the past ve years. Growers harvested 4,279 tons in 2020. In 2018, the specialty beet variety trials undertaken as part of the BC Seed Trials by UBC Farm and Farm Folk/City Folk identied Yellow Sunrise, Touchstone Gold and Golden Grex as the best avoured golden varieties. In chioggias, Chioggia Guardsmark and a variety from Sunshine Seeds were tops in avour. “Taste is important, but so many people say beets taste like dirt,” says Ryall. “That’s kind of what’s exciting when you have breeders … starting to breed in avour again. People haven’t had that option.” Flavour is far from the most important element in beet growing, however. Farmers participating in eld trials told Hanson that high germination and the ability to outcompete weeds were also important. “One thing is actually storability since we sell year -round,” says Ryall. “We need something we can harvest end of September or October and still have good storage in, say, March or April.” She adds that germination is important as are nice tops that can dodge leaf diseases if they are destined for the fresh market. “You want the 10 out of 10. A stored beet that doesn’t soften or get disease. You want an unblemished, nice round shape,” she notes. “I’m going to tell you last, it’s taste, because we’re not pushed there yet. We don’t have a high enough percentage of consumers that are saying, ‘I need a better tasting beet from you,’ we just aren’t there yet.” Breeding better tasting beetsFlavour is one of a number of key traits
Subscribe44 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCWhen we left o last time, Susan had made it very clear to Kenneth that he was to make an appearance at Ashley’s graduation – and that it was to be a surprise. Rural Redemption, Part 138, continues. Susan broached the subject of a grad dress with Ashley the next day. “There’s no point, Grandma. They’re not doing the whole grad thing anyway.” “But you’ll still want to go when they hand out the certicates.” “I don’t need a dress for that and, anyway, they said they would mail them out if you didn’t feel like coming.” “But what about your mom and dad? And me? We all want a picture of your graduation, and I’ll bet the day would come when you’d regret not having one.” “I guess, but it seems like such a waste to buy a dress for one picture. No one ever wears those dresses again.” “It doesn’t have to be formal; we could pick out something fun that would be nice in a picture, and you could wear again after. I really want to do this. It’s the only chance I’m ever going to have to buy a dress for my granddaughter’s high school graduation. Please?” Ashley relented. “Okay, Grandma, but not something puy and formal, right?” “I promise,” said Susan. Back at home, Susan quizzed Newt about a photo she took from the desk in the study. “Who’s this dapper looking fellow standing by the old car?” “That’s Colonel Meldrum in his heyday.” “And his lady friend?” asked Susan looking at the vivacious young woman with her arm on the Colonel’s shoulder. “That would be his little sister Constance. She made a trip from England to visit him in 1928. He bought the car especially for the occasion. They drove all the way to Ban Park.” “They look delightful, and her dress is gorgeous.” “She was probably just like him. The Colonel was always a stickler when it came to his wardrobe. I’ve always fancied the picture because of how happy they look.” Susan said she had an idea and wondered if she might scan the picture and send someone a copy. Newt agreed and 10 minutes later the Colonel and his sister popped onto a computer screen at Vivienne’s Fine Fashions along with a request that Vivienne’s granddaughter Iris please phone Susan. Iris called immediately. They exchanged pleasantries and Susan asked if Iris had looked at the picture. “Yes, I have. What a gorgeous dress!” said Iris. “Isn’t it, though?” said Susan. “Do you have anything like it in the shop?” “Nothing quite like it, I’m afraid. We have some 20s things in the theatre rentals. What do you need, specically?” “It’s something special for my granddaughter’s graduation. Is there any chance one could be custom made?” “Of course. When do you need it?” Susan said in two weeks and Iris was silent on the other end of the line. “Perhaps I’ve left it too late. I’m sorry, Iris.” “No, no, it will be ne,” said Iris. “We’ll have to get right to it, though. I heard that you had sold the house and moved. How soon will you be able to get some measurements to us?” “How would it be if I bring Ashley to the store the day after tomorrow and you can take the measurements yourself?” “Perfect. Let me know what time you will be here,” said Iris. Susan talked Clay into letting her take his measurements by explaining it was so she could rent him a suit that would go with Ashley’s special dress. He said okay – as long as it wasn’t a tuxedo. What a good sport he was, she thought. She talked Ashley into a shopping trip to the city, and two days later Ashley found herself in the upscale tting room of Vivienne’s Fine Fashions being posed, quizzed, measured and replicated with an adjustable dress form by Yvonne, the shop’s most talented designer and seamstress. They arrived home the following day. Ashley couldn’t wait to tell Deborah about the dress. vvv A week passed and the party plans progressed in perfect secrecy. Ashley began to worry the dress would not arrive on time. Susan phoned Iris who promised the dress would arrive along with the gentleman’s suit the day before the graduation. Lisa promised she and her mom would make the best cake ever. Kenneth called and said he would come the day before and asked if Newt and Susan might spare him a room for a couple of nights. Everything was ticking perfectly toward the big day. vvv Kenneth arrived in the late afternoon before the big day. Plans unfold for the ride of a lifetimeWoodshed Chronicles by BOB COLLINSHe decided to come the long way around on several backroads so he could arrive without passing Tiny’s and tipping o Deborah or Ashley. He was on a lonely stretch of backroad not far from Jimmy Vincent’s pig farm when he found himself closing quickly on the back end of a horse trailer stopped on the road. He slowed down and swung all the way over to the left- hand shoulder to squeeze past. The trailer was a long one and as he crawled past it, a woman in a cowboy hat stepped from the front of the truck it was hitched to and agged him down. He stopped and rolled down the passenger door window. A pair of brilliant blue eyes and a big smile appeared. “Oh, darlin’, am I ever glad to see y’all.” “You have some sort of trouble?” asked Kenneth. “Ah sure do,” she said extending her hand through the window. “My name’s Delta Faye Poindexter. You can just call me Delta, or Delta Faye if it suits you better.” Kenneth gave her hand a brief shake and tried to let go, but she held on to his. “What can I call you?” “Ah, Kenneth Henderson.” “I’m pleased to meet you Mr. Henderson. I’ve got a brother named Kenneth. Kenneth Raymond. Kenny Ray, everybody calls him.” “Everybody calls me Kenneth. What seems to be your problem?” “My truck’s busted. It just quit right here. I wonder if you might do me the favour of looking at it?” “I’m not a mechanic,” said Kenneth. “Me neither. I guess we’ve got that in common then. But you must of noticed that mechanical stu usually comes more naturally to a man than a woman. I’ll bet you could gure it out in a minute.” “Well, it couldn’t hurt to have a look I suppose,” said Kenneth. In truth, Delta Faye Poindexter didn’t need anyone to tell her what the pool of transmission uid under her truck meant. What she really needed was someone with a one-ton pickup to haul her trailer and give her somewhere to keep her horses for a day or two. She stood on her tip toes and stuck her head under the hood. She peeked under the brim of her Stetson and watched Kenneth Henderson check out the name patch on the hip pocket of her jeans. She smiled and thought of her granddaddy who always said the secret to catching a big sh was to hang the right bait in front of him. ... to be continued CREDIT CARD # _________________________________________________________________ EXP _____________ CVV _____________ Thousands of BC farmers and ranchers turn to Country Life in BC every month to nd out what (and who!) is making news in BC agriculture and how it may affect their farms and agri-businesses! o NEW o RENEWAL | o ONE YEAR ($18.90) oT WO YEARS ($33.60) o THREE YEARS ($37.80) Your Name _______________________________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________________________________________________ City ________________________________________ Postal Code __________________________________ Phone _________________________ Email __________________________________________________ www.countrylifeinbc.com/subscribeMAIL TO: 36 DALE RD, ENDERBY, BC V0E 1V4 | firstname.lastname@example.org Please send a _______ year gift subscription to ________________________________________________ Farm Name ______________________________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________________________________________________ City ________________________________________ Postal Code ________ _________________________ Phone _________________________ Email _________________________________________________
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 45Young entrepreneur weaves new use for twineRecycling plastic twine is agri-business with a twistIsaac Knorr with his recycled rope at the local farmers market. JACKIE PEARASEJACKIE PEARASE ENDERBY – Twelve-year-old Isaac Knorr has roped himself a decent business idea utilizing a ubiquitous agricultural product – plastic baling twine. The tween is selling his home-made rope at the Enderby Farmers Market alongside products sold by his family from their Twig Creek Farm. The family moved to the small acreage north of Enderby 10 years ago and developed a mixed farm with pigs, heritage chickens, rabbits, garden starts, vegetables and fruits. Being homeschooled means Isaac can explore learning opportunities not generally available in a school environment. Rope-making caught his interest via his grandfather Frank Knorr, who had a rope-making machine fashioned from farm machinery parts. “He was done using it. He’s pretty old and he wasn’t using it much anymore so he gave it to me,” explains Isaac. Knorr ranched in Fort St. John for 36 years before coming to the Enderby area 20 years ago. He fabricated his rst rope-making machine using a pattern made from a neighbour’s existing machine. “I had some gears from my machinery and I do lots of welding so I welded it up,” says the 86-year-old. “We put an electric motor on it with a big pulley and belt to drive it. It came together as a rope machine.” Isaac took possession of Knorr’s second machine, one made after moving to the Okanagan, to make his rope from recycled baling twine. “My grampa, he takes it o the round bales and he ties it up, and I string it out and twist it into rope,” Isaac says. The machine removes the need to use muscle to twist up the rope but there is still eort required to stretch out the individual strands between the starting point at the machine and the nishing point, where the ends are locked to a tree. Isaac makes 25-, 50- and 100-foot lengths of rope. A three-eighths rope requires eight pieces for each of the three strands while a half-inch rope requires 16 pieces for each strand. “It’s just a lot of walking back and forth,” notes Isaac. It can take two to three hours to create the rope he sells for $15 and up. The individual strands are rst twisted together into three new strands. Isaac keeps the three pieces apart using sticks stuck in the ground at intervals and a watchful eye. He has to have a specic amount of extra rope so the end product is the right length after twisting. He must also watch the machine as it moves with the shrinking rope length so it does not topple. Once the initial twist is to his satisfaction, Isaac inspects the three strands and works any pieces left sticking out into the twist. This ensures the rope is free of weak spots. Issac then twists the three strands together, using a specially made tool to keep the three strands twisting evenly. The nished rope is then left overnight to set. “I set it because it’s twisted now and if I take it o now, it doesn’t hold its shape so much. When we set it overnight, I take it o in the morning and it takes on its shape.” He tapes the ends before burning them to prevent fraying. Knorr says the poly-twine makes nicer rope than natural bre, is easier to handle and can be made with dierent colours. Isaac’s sales are slow but picking up as people nd uses for his rope including tying up SEPTEMBER 24-27, 2021CIRCLE CREEK RANCH &EQUESTRIAN CENTRE; KAMLOOPS BCSAVE THE DATECOVID-19 FAIR UPDATES AVAILABLE @WWW.PROVINCIALWINTERFAIR.COM& AUCTION INFOLIVE -MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2021AUCTIONboats, as its plastic components give it buoyancy. His mother Opal says Isaac’s hobby ts nicely into his homeschooling as it covers many topics including life skills, social studies, science and math. “It’s one of those projects that the [education] ministry really likes because it covers a whole bunch of stu,” she says. “It’s not table work; it’s a little more exciting.” Knorr is pleased his grandson is carrying on a skill he’s plied for more than 30 years. “He’s doing a good job. Makes a nice job. He makes good rope. I’m glad he’s doing it,” he says. “He takes in interest in that kind of stu very well.”
46 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCThis is a nice spicy meat mixture that includes a healthy dose of tasty local vegetables. It heats up well, too. You may use all-beef or a mixture of beef and pork. 1 large onion 2 stalks celery 1 c. (250 ml) minced sweet peppers 5 large mushrooms 3-4 c. (750 ml) chopped spinach 2 cloves garlic drizzle of oil seasoning mix, as below Seasoning Mix: 2 bay leaves 1 tsp. (5 ml) salt 1 tsp. (5 ml) ground cumin • Combine seasonings in a small bowl. • Pre-heat oven to 350° F. • Finely chop a large onion, a couple of stalks of celery and a combination of coloured, sweet peppers, spinach and a few mushrooms. Mince garlic. Drizzle oil in a large frypan over medium heat and add onions, cooking until softened. Add remaining vegetables and garlic, sauces and plain, low-fat yogurt. Cook for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and cool. • In a large bowl, mix ground meats such as beef and perhaps some pork, to equal two pounds. • Beat two eggs and add to meat mixture with oat bran or crumbs. • Add vegetable and spice mixture and combine well. • Press into a couple of loaf pans. • Bake for about an hour. • Serves 6 or 8. SPICY MEATLOAFChocolate and peanut bars make a great after-school snack. JUDIE STEEVESSimpler eats for a new, normal SeptemberAfter a tumultuous year, everyone is ready for a return to routine – even in the kitchenI’m not sure if there is a normal any more, but if so, I’m really hoping that it might begin this September. Kids go back to school and many of us go back into offices or at least back to regular work. The smoke clears, the oppressive heat eases up, and threats to our health are brought under control. Perhaps recreational pursuits can return to normal, if the wildfires can be brought under control so we can get back to hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, team sports and other outdoors fun. I never imagined I would ever go through what we’ve gone through in the past year and a half, but I know we will all be relieved if it would just go away now, even if it does leave in its wake changes that will be with us forever. Some of those changes may even be for the better—like learning how to make sourdough bread, or how satisfying it is to cook a meal from scratch for our loved ones, or grow our own food. We use technology with more comfort now and communicate differently. But, more than anything else, it has been interesting to see how many people have looked at the past for tips on living in our new present. Many of us were already familiar with the rewards Jude’s Kitchen JUDIE STEEVESgained by planting a little seed and seeing a 10-foot tall beanstalk grow from it; or adding yeast or baking powder to the right combination of liquid and heat and watching bread, muffins, cakes and loaves pop up and out of the oven—aromatic, browned and delicious. But, for others, it was a These make a rich and delicious trail bar for a hiking, hunting or shing trip, a high-energy lunch box snack or a scrumptious dessert. I used unsweetened baking chocolate. 1/2 c. (125 ml) honey 1/2 c. (125 ml) molasses 2 c. (500 ml) chocolate chips or 12 oz. (350 g) baking chocolate 1 c. (250 ml) peanut butter 2 c. (500 ml) chopped, salted peanuts 1/2 c. (125 ml) oatmeal • Melt chocolate. I use the microwave: two minutes on medium heat and then stir until it’s all melted. Stir in honey and molasses, then peanut butter, stirring until smooth; then add peanuts and oatmeal or oat bran. • Press tin foil or parchment paper into the bottom of a 10x15-inch pan. • Pour mixture down centre and spread it evenly. Let sit on counter for a few hours to cool, then put in the fridge for 20 minutes. • Cut into squares and keep cool. • If you wish to make half this amount, put it into an 8x8-inch square pan. CHOCOLATE & PEANUT BARSnew experience, and one that won’t be forgotten soon. Preparing and eating our own locally grown food is good for our health and taste buds as well as our community’s economic prosperity, so I certainly hope that trend continues. We are incredibly lucky in BC. We have the farmers willing to do the work and the diversity in farm products to harvest most of our daily needs, from the dairy products and protein to the fruits and vegetables that grace our tables. There’s more diversity in the farming sector in BC than anywhere else in the country. Enjoy this beginning of autumn, with its bounty of fresh, local fruits and vegetables and lots of opportunities to get outdoors and play. 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) hot pepper sauce 1 tbsp. (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce 1/4 c. (60 ml) chili sauce 1/2 c. (125 ml) plain yogurt 2 lb. (900 g) ground meat (beef, pork combo) 2 eggs 1 c. (250 ml) oat bran or bread crumbs1/2 tsp. (3 ml) cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp. (3 ml) white pepper 1/2 tsp. (3 ml ground nutmeg
COUNTRY LIFE IN BC SEPTEMBER 2021 | 47couADVERTISING THAT WORKS!TRACTORS/EQUIPMENT TRACTORS/EQUIPMENTLIVESTOCKIRRIGATIONREAL ESTATEWANTEDFOR SALEHAYSEEDBERRIESFor Tissue Culture Derived Plants of New Varieties of Haskaps, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Saskatoon Berries and Sour Cherries, Please Contact:DISEASE FREE PLANTING STOCK OF NEW BERRY CROPS 4290 Wallace Hill Road, Kelowna, BC, V1W 4B6info@agriforestbiotech.com250.764.2224www.agriforestbiotech.com NEW POLYETHYLENE TANKS of all shapes & sizes for septic and water storage. Ideal for irrigation, hydropon-ics, washdown, lazy wells, rain water, truck box, fertizilizer mixing & spray-ing. Call 1-800-661-4473 for closest distributor. Manufactured in Delta by Premier Plastics Inc. premierplastics.com. Feeders & Panels that maintain their value!ROUND BALE FEEDERS BIG SQUARE BALE FEEDERS FENCE PANELS CATTLE & HORSE FEEDERSHeavy duty oil field pipe bale feeders. Feed savers, single round bale feeders outside measurement is 8’x8.5.’ Double round bale feeder measurement is 15’x8’. Silage bunk feeders. For product pictures, check out Double Delichte Stables on Facebook Dan 250/308-9218 ColdstreamFOR SALE1-604-768-9558 call/text email@example.com www.ultra-kelp.comREGISTRATION NO. 990134 FEEDS ACT Keeping Soil, Plants & Animals HEALTHY THE HEALTHY WAY! FLACK’S BAKERVIEW KELP PRODUCTS INC Pritchard, BC (est. 1985)GREAT SELECTIONQUALITY PRICETerra Seed Corp1.800.282.7856terraseco.comWANTED: FARM LAND TO RENT in N. Okanagan for conversion into organic alfalfa seed production. Alden 204-979-7457 firstname.lastname@example.org DON GILOWSKI 250-260-0828 Royal LePage Downtown Realty Ltd BUYING OR SELLING OKANAGAN FARM, RANCH OR ACREAGE? COURTENAY HEREFORDS. Cattle for Sale: yearling bulls and bred heifers. John 250/334-3252 or Johnny 250-218-2537.PYESTERDAY’S TRADITION - TODAY’S TECHNOLOGYMANAGERS Phil Brown 250-293-6857 Catherine Brown 250-293-6858 email@example.com www.coppercreekranch.com PRINCETON, BC Raising registered polled & horned Herefords & F1s. BREEDING BULLS FOR SALE.RAVEN HILL MEADOWS: Coneygeers bloodlines - call for seedstock. 250-722-1882. NanaimoIt’s the top linethat makes the Bottom LineBC SHORTHORN ASSOCIATION Scott Fraser, President Bob Merkley, BC Director 250-709-4443 604-607-7733ZcXjj`Ô\[j7Zflekipc`]\`eYZ%ZfdfiZXcc1-'+%*)/%*/(+C@E<8;J1),nfi[jfic\jj#d`e`dld(*gclj>JK#\XZ_X[[`k`feXcnfi[`j%),;@JGC8P8;J1),gclj>JKg\iZfclde`eZ_M[WYY[fjcW`ehYh[Z_jYWhZi$OCTOBER DEADLINE SEPT 25Irrigation 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 firstname.lastname@example.org HAYLAGE EXCELLENT QUALITY HAYLAGE Delivery available on Vancouver Island and along the Trans Canada Hwy corridor in BC. 250-727-1966FARM EQUIPMENT • FORD 4610 TRACTOR, 60HP, Nar-row, Low Profile 2wd, Nice Cond, $11,500. • CATERPILLAR 215 EXCAVATOR, Mechanical Thumb, Caged all around, $22,000. • NEW HOLLAND 8 row hyd fold corn head for a self propelled harvester, Claas style, can be fitted to JD, $12,500. • IH, GEHL, NH, JD,1 to 3 row corn heads, $750 to $3500 each. • FELLA TEDDER 6-Star, folds back, low acres, $5500. • KUBOTA FLAIL MOWER, 50” 3ph, $1950. • KHUN GC300G Disc Mower Condi-tioner, 10’ cut, low acres, $12,500. • NH 258 and 260 Rakes with tow bar, V-Combo set, $5900. • VICON WHEEL RAKES, 4 to 8 wheel, 3ph, drawbar and V Combinations, $350 to $2200. • HAY WAGON and Utility Trailer Chas-sis, $200 to $2000. • WELDERS and Air Compressors, all types and sizes. • HYSTER 3PH FORK-LIFT, Heavy Duty, $2300, Other Fork-Lifts and at-tachments. • JIFFY/CRAWFORD HYDUMPS, 14’, $2500 to $6000. • Fixer-Uppers and Antique Tractors, Massy, Fordson, Kubota. • LOADER ASSEMBLIES, FORD/NH, CASE/IH, ALLIED, TIGER. • HAY, 400-16’ by 18’ Bales on trail-ers, can deliver, OFFERS! CALL JIM FOR ANY HARD TO FIND ITEMS ABBOTSFORD 604-852-6148DeBOER’S USED TRACTORS & EQUIPMENT GRINDROD, BCLOOKING TO BUY 18’ BUMPER PULL STOCK TRAILER USED JD TRACTORS 60-100 HP JD 7810 75,000 JD 5105 2WD, 2006, 1,400 HRS 15,000 [ADD LOADER TO 5105 3,500 JD620 21’ disc dbl fold 20,000 KVERNELAND 7512 round bale wrapper w/3 spool valve 4,500 ED DEBOER 250/838-7362 cell 250/833-6699 CURT DEBOER 250/838-9612 cell 250/804-6147• 2015 INTERNATIONAL TERRASTAR 4WD extended cab, automatic trans, custom factory built flat deck with hydraulic lift gate, duel large under deck high quality polished stainless locking storage boxes. This truck is just like new out of the show room with only 17000 km. Perfect truck for any one who wants to improve their business efficiency with a better image. Ideal truck for farmers, land-scapers, traffic control business. Also great truck for delivery work for feed stores. This truck is a must see • POTATO HARVESTER converted to a heavy duty rock picker. Asking $3,500 Contact Carl 604-825-9108 or email email@example.comJD 4840 TRACTOR, 180 HP, excellent condition, dual p/s, 7,972 hrs. $27,500 250-428-6520 or 250-428-6453Top DORPER RAM LAMBS for sale; BORDER COLLIE pup for sale. Call or text 250-706-7077.BEAUTIFUL ACREAGE with GROWER-RETAILER BUSINESS FOR SALE . 6.35 acres with 13,000 square feet of greenhouses and giftshop . Warehouse with coolers and office . All equipment, small barn . Two homes - 1 has 5 bedrooms; the other 3 . 20 minutes to Victoria, $2,800,00 OWNERS LOOKING TO RETIRE CONTACT: BULKS@SHAW.CAMASSEY 510 combine in good running condition, always shedded $3500; MEADOWS STONE MILL (16”) with matching sifter, new electric motor, all in great working order $7900; 10” STONE GRIST MILL with electric motor, works great $900; Located close to the Victoria Interna-tional airport. 2506561819 or firstname.lastname@example.orgYOURHelping YouWEEKLY FARM NEWS UPDATESURg YougYouWS1-888-770-7333EQUIPMENT DISPERSAL • LOEWEN AGITATOR 18’, 100 HP prop, nice condition, $2,500. • LOEWEN SUB-SOILER 2-shank, big shoes, mint, $2,500 • NH 824 2 row corn head, $1,500 TONY 604-850-47182008 NH H7230 DISC BINE, $20,000. 250-845-7707 or 845-8772.850 LB ROUND BALES, $80/Bale. Delivery available, extra. Bulkley Valley. 250-845-7707 or 845-8772.SCOTTISH HIGHLAND BULLS for sale, phone 2505463646YOURHelping YouHelping YouHave You Movedemail@example.comOr has Canada Post changed your mailing address? We wonʼt know unless YOU tell us!PREMIUM HAIR SHEEP BREEDING STOCK FOR SALE. ST CROIX And ROYAL WHITE RAMS: parasite resistance, small bone/less fat, all sea-son breeding, premium meat, maternal excellence REGISTERED WHITE DORPER EWE LAMBS: vigour, rapid gain, high meat yield. All excellent health, clean genetics, ideal conformation. 250-682-8538
48 | SEPTEMBER 2021 COUNTRY LIFE IN BCIdeal for both the toughest construction jobs and the most precise landscaping jobs, the SSV Series is as agile as it is powerful. Featuring a large assortment of attachments, your SSV is a versatile base for grapples, rotary cutters, graders, tree pullers and much, much more.NEED A POWER LIFT?kubota.ca | 1521 Sumas Way, Box 369Abbotsford, BC V2T 6Z6(604) 864-9568avenuemachinery.caAVE010OLIVER GERARD’S EQUIPMENT LTD 250/498-2524 PRINCE GEORGE HUBER EQUIPMENT 250/560-5431 SMITHERS HUBER EQUIPMENT 250/847-3610 VERNON AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 250/545-3355 ABBOTSFORD AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 604/864-2665 COURTENAY NORTH ISLAND TRACTOR 250/334-0801 CRESTON KEMLEE EQUIPMENT LTD 250/428-2254 DAWSON CREEK DOUGLAS LAKE EQUIPMENT 250/782-5281 DUNCAN ISLAND TRACTOR & SUPPLY LTD 250/746-1755 KAMLOOPS DOUGLAS LAKE EQUIPMENT 250/851-2044 KELOWNA AVENUE MACHINERY CORP 250/769-8700 PROUD PARTNER OF