He has also found that Delta’s
farming community is a tight-knit family. It has banded together more than once to counter the outside pressure from development.
“We’ve lost farmland here to roads, power lines, transportation corridors and so on,” commented DeBoer in exasperation. However, because the farm community worked together it has achieved some successes, such as mitigation in the most recent farmland incursion, by the South Fraser Perimeter Road, which has taken 250 acres out of agriculture.
A new irrigation system is one victory for farmers, as is a series of overpasses so farmers can get from one part of the community to another without getting tied up in traffic. Efficient transportation routes are particularly important for the dairy industry, which has to move milk out and feed in.
Clarence DeBoer with the farm’s irrigation pump system.
a municipal council largely made up of urbanites who do not understand farming, “yet they’re very opinionated about what goes on in the farming community.”
Residents love the farmland setting, but they want farmers to maintain it without any payment for that, De Boer notes. If people want to save the foodlands,
they must create a climate in which farmers can operate, he adds.
A certain amount of a farmer’s time has to be set aside just to sit on committees or the farm community will lose out, he says. Most important, farmers must be united, or they will suffer from the decisions made by non-farmers. Already, he predicts that within 35 years there won’t be much conventional farming in urbanizing areas of the valley like Delta.
What farmers in Delta are going
through today is what farmers in more distant parts of the Fraser Valley will be going through in the coming years, so “our issues become issues in other valley communities,” he says.
“Cranberries and blueberries make more sense here now because there’s not so much movement of materials involved,” explained DeBoer, adding, “Conventional farming becomes unsustainable.”
He has watched as Delta grew more and more urban around his farm, and he has found it frustrating dealing with
In addition, farmers today must not only know how to farm, which has become much more technology-based than ever before, they must also be knowledgeable in areas such as business management, human resources and marketing, noted DeBoer.
It’s no longer enough just to be a good farmer.
Recycle your empty pesticide containers IT’S FREE AND EASY!
+ Triple or pressure RINSE RINSE Caps and booklet, leave the label on REMOVE 12 British Columbia Berry Grower • Fall 2012
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Publication:BC Fruit Grower
Issue: Spring 2011 Size:1/2 p 7.5 x 5
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