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with the help of a new $500 million federal loan program. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) President and CEO Greg Stewart unveiled the program in mid-April. It offers qualified producers under 40 years of age loans of up to $500,000 to purchase or improve farmland and buildings. Features of the FCC Young Farmer Loan include variable rates at prime plus 0.5 per cent and special fixed rates, and no processing fees. FCC officials say the interest rates will be attractive compared to what a young producer might otherwise be paying. Financial institutions, including FCC, base their loan pricing on risk. One component of risk is financial history. Often, young producers don’t have a track record and therefore the rate they receive may not be as low as someone else with experience. For more information, visit Newly-elected to the board of the Raspberry Industry Development Council at the 2012 annual general meeting March 29, was Arvin Neger, who was also selected as vice-chair of the board, and Mike Boot, of TerraLink Horticulture. The other executive members remain the same: chair David Mutz, treasurer Rudy Janzen, and directors Rhonda Driediger, Mel Sidhu, Steve Phillips, Sukh Kahlon and Mark Sweeney from the provincial agriculture ministry...


The B.C. Blueberry Council will hold its annual general meeting June 21 at the Delta Town and Country Inn, 6005 Highway 17 in Delta... Growing blueberries is reported to be gaining ground quickly in California. “Production two years ago was 29 million pounds,” Alex Ott, executive director of the Fresno-based California Blueberry Commission, said in a recent interview. “This past season it was 44 million and still climbing. “It wouldn’t be surprising if California tops 50 million pound of blueberries in the next couple of years.” Growers or marketers new to the more. California blueberries start in late April in Arvin and move from there to Delano and Kingsburg. Unusually cold temperatures forced frost prevention measures in March that proved successful. “Consumption

oung and beginning farmers could find it easier to start and expand their farm businesses

is going up in other countries. Japan is a very good market for us,” said Ott. “We’re interested in expanding. Oregon opened up trade in South Korea, and California is working on doing the same.” Other targets include China, Southeast Asia, Australia and India. The California commission is talking to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council about opening up those areas, Ott said. “We need to put together a unified export strategy for blueberries. Our job is to help open up markets like South Korea that don’t already have it.” B.C. Berry Grower Associate Editor Judie Steeves is in the running for a national prize. Her cookbook, ‘Jude’s Kitchen,’ has been nominated in the regional cookbook category for the Taste Canada Food Writing Awards. It's up against the likes of Canadian Living, Bal Arneson, Roger Mooking and David Rocco, as well as seven others, “so I'm not holding out hope it will win, she says, “but I'm delighted it's been

nominated.” There were a total of 73 books entered. Jude has amassed hundreds of B.C.-flavoured recipes that have appeared in a regular column she writes for several publications. Her favourites have been compiled for the cookbook. They include adaptations of traditional dishes from family and friends, with a focus on using fresh, local ingredients, in season to produce nutritious, simple good food all year long.” It’s available at many bookstores, or you can check her website at

A load of blackberries was stolen in March from C.H Robinson Co. Ltd. in Milton, ON. The blackberries were packed in clamshells under the Berry Lovers label, and had been shipped from Laredo, TX. An online report of the incident drew this comment from one reader: “Does anyone find it funny that BlackBerry cellphone company is from Canada? You think maybe the robbers thought they were heisting a truck full of BlackBerrys? LOL”...

Still with blackberries, new varieties bred to increase the harvest window and geographic range has earned John Clark this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association. Clark, a professor of horticulture at the University of Arkansas, describes his work as “controlled evolution.” In addition to running what the university’s website says is the “world’s largest blackberry breeding program,” Clark also oversees testing and breeding programs for blackberries in Europe,

Central and South America, Japan and Australia. Incoming NARBA president Nathan Milburn said in a release announcing the award that Clark is the breeder behind many of the leading varieties of blackberries grown today. In particular, Clark’s primocane varieties — Prime Jim, Prime Jan and PrimeArk 45 — are of interest to North American growers because they were bred for longer fruiting seasons and commercial production. The NARBA membership includes growers and researchers in more than 35 states, eight Canadian provinces and five other countries...


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