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prunings W

ith the largest crop of blueberries ever this year in the Fraser Valley,Debbie

Etsell of theB.C.Blueberry Council has been travelling theworld in an attempt to open newmarkets and expand existing ones for B.C. berries. She joined government trademissions to France,Holland and Shanghai and she’sworking to gain access to China,where there’s high demand. Unfortunately, the Chinesewill consider only one commodity group at a time and access for cherries is currently on the table, so blueberries are in line. Etsell also has been toHong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo and Korea, meetingwith editors, chefs and manufacturers spreading the health message and other information about B.C. blueberries... Five berry industry research

projects are among 29 to receive financial help fromthe Investment Agriculture Foundation ofB.C. (IAF). The foundation providesmoney on behalf of the provincial and federal governments, and the latest batch totals more than $1.5million, It includes research into invasive plant reduction, pestmanagement, novel crop development and adaptation, biosecurity and emergency planning, among others. TheB.C. Cranberry Marketing Commission received IAF support for three projects: $8,766 for continuing efforts to find an effective treatment for controlling fireworm; $4,025 to testwhether racemic pheromone canmonitor flight activity of cranberry tipwormadults, which could lead to amore targeted and sustainable approach for applying insecticides for tipwormmanagement; and $1,750 to determinewhether a naturally occurring root pathogen can be applied as an effective control agent for Yellowloosestrife. This could potentially reduce the use of chemical herbicides to combat the pest. The B.C. blueberry Council was awarded $40,000 for efforts to overcome production challenges for the newLiberty, Aurora andDraper cultivars. These cultivars have potential to improve yields, quality and marketability, but because theywere developed outside the B.C. climate and production systems, a number of production problems have emerged in early plantings. This projectwill allow the council to conduct trials to determine and characterize these production challenges, aswell as

experimentwith solutions. The Raspberry IndustryDevelopment Council,meanwhile, received $20,000 for research inmature ‘Meeker’ raspberry fields to determine whether biological, physical and/or management factors are causing declines in plant vigour and yield. The project is aimed at teaching growers innovativemanagement strategies to help improve yields and quality, extend the lifetime of raspberry plantings, reduce unnecessary input costs and boost grower profitmargins... On another front, the IAF is

accepting nominations until the end of November for the 2013Award of Excellence for Innovation in Agriculture andAgri-food. The award is open to producers, processors, agri-business owners or operators and other industry leaders. Innovationswill be evaluated for their originality and uniqueness, degree of economic, social and/or environmental benefit to the province and human interest potential. Thewinnerwill be announced at the Agri-Food IndustryGala in Abbotsford in January.Nomination forms are available The galawill be held on the eve of the

15th annual PacificAgriculture Showat the Tradex Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford, Jan. 24-26. Aswell as showcasing the latest andmost innovative equipment and technology for the industry, therewill be a series of horticulture growers’ short courses, featuring experts on topics of interest to growers, and the agri-energy forum. The gala is set for the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre in Abbotsford, starting at 5 p.m. Tickets are available at theB.C.Agriculture Council office, by phone at 604-854-4454, or by e-mail at

TheRaspberry Industry

Development Council has submitted its proposal for a national red raspberry organization to the FarmProducts Council of Canada. Stakeholder hearingswill be scheduled across the country and the results forwarded to the federal agricultureminister for a decision on formation of a national council. If the decision is positive all growers in the countrywill be assessed a levy per pound of fruit to go toward research,marketing and promotion of raspberries. In addition, all raspberries imported into Canadawill be assessed the same per-pound levy. It’s estimated $350,000 to $400,000 could be raised if a levy of a half cent a poundwas set, according to SharminGamiet, executive-director of the RIDC... During the first half of 2012,

farmland values declined slightly in B.C., evening out a slight increase from the second half of 2011. The figures are in a FarmCredit Canada semi- annual farmland values report released this fall. B.C.’s drop contrastswith Ontariowhere valueswere up 16.3 per cent in the first half of the year, following a 7.2 per cent increase in the previous sixmonths. In fact, B.C.was the only provincewhere values decreased. The national average overall was an 8.6 per cent increase in values. In the LowerMainland, urban pressure eased slightly, though demand for rural acreage properties came from non-producers aswell as farm producers. The FCC reports that strong blueberry prices continued to create demand for farmland, although transactions reflected a cross-section of agriculture enterprises.Overall demand, sales volumes and values remained stable during the first half of 2012, the report concluded...

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British Columbia Berry Grower • Winter 2012-13 15

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