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around the Okanagan.” Byland supports B.C. agriculture everywhere he buys. “Even at the grocery store I always look for B.C. products and ask for them if I can’t find them,” he says.


However, he believes larger farm operations are needed for viability. As well, diversity is needed and farmers must be creative and innovative these days. There also needs to be come flexibility about the Agricultural Land Reserve, by both farmers and government.


JUDIE STEEVES


Leticia, one of the Mexican workers at Byland's Nurseries, ties up a group of cherry trees with gel-coated roots, ready for transport.


complete with the latest technology in efficient, space-saving, ceiling- mounted tracks that carry hanging baskets for the nursery past a fertigation spitter so each gets the precise amount of water and nutrients without a hand being lifted by a staff member.


Plant matter, including tree trunks and landscapers’ prunings are also recycled into a rich mulch and composted to be re-used on plants and in soil mixes.


Byland’s has come up with unique ways to package plants for transport and the operation owns its own trailers for shipping, part of a fleet of 100 pieces of equipment used by the nursery.


In fact, decades ago, it was one of the first nurseries in the country to begin growing plants in containers, lengthening the season during which plants could be sold from just spring to all year round.


Innovation is important to a successful operation.


Although Byland’s began by growing fruit trees for the orchard industry, it has expanded far beyond that.


To continue growing fruit trees, the family-owned nursery depends on a vibrant industry. “We’ll always be a


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niche market producer,” noted Byland.


Personally, he said the orchard industry is what he grew up with. He saw the orchards in blossom all around him in spring and enjoyed the harvest in summer and fall. “It’s a part of my youth. I hate seeing the bare patches on hillsides


Above all, there must be support for each other, he believes. The nursery industry is a service industry, and here it’s not the cheapest option around, with land and labour costs high, so it’s important it develop on the personal service side of things, he believes. At Byland’s they do that by providing added value with excellent service, he explains. That includes having


knowledgeable staff; being flexible; providing efficient shipping; and by ensuring careful packing and helpful administration service each customer well.


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