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After that review, payments were calculated and paid. There is an appeal process, Withler said. He described the process for growers, beginning with the application deadline in November: First, applications are reviewed by BCFGA staff to ensure all the required information is there and that the applicant is eligible for the replant grant.

Then, five horticulturists review the application and score it based on varieties, density, maps, cash-flow etc. and a score out of 50 points is assigned to it. Successful growers are then notified by letter so they can begin preparing to plant. Unsuccessful growers might be notified a bit later that there is funding available to them, based on another grower’s inability to find the stock he’s looking for, or some other factor.

Withler advised growers to be sure and “tell your story, particularly if you want to do something different, like planting to cider apples or Macs.” He recommended growers make use of their hort advisers.

Don’t apply for replanting to different fruits on the same

application, he added.

And, “stick to your plan. Or, if you proposed to plant Ambrosias and end up planting some Galas, let the program know, or there could be delays when the inspector comes out.” Inspectors will be using a GPS to

map blocks for growers, and next year, plans are to do a review of the economic benefits of the program. If growers feel there should be some changes to the program, Withler suggested they recommend them to

the ministry.

A resolution was approved at this year’s convention calling on the province to increase funding for the program to help growers with the high cost of replanting to more-modern, more-popular varieties that will bring in higher returns, so all qualifying projects could be funded.

It was noted that the industry is in a period of expansion, and replanting is a vital part of renewing obsolete varieties and unproductive orchards.

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2016


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