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Country Life in BC 36 Dale Road Enderby, BC V0E 1V4


Vol. 103 No. 4


CANADA POST


Postage paid Publications Mail 012122


POSTES CANADA


Port payé Post-Publications


OKANAGAN ADVERTISER


ORGANICS


Clock ticking on certification for producers


GROUNDWATER Province funds clean water for Hullcar residents BEES


Apiaries want credit for pollination services


3 9


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PLANTING TIME! SPRING IS


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The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 APRIL 2017 | Vol. 103 No. 4


Study puts FV flooding costs at $1 billion


by PETER MITHAM MISSION – John Kerkhoven farms 350 acres at


Deroche on Nicomen Island where he milks 100 cattle and runs a 60,000-square-foot cut-flower operation. Kerkhoven also chairs the Nicomen Island


Second-generation dairy farmer John Kerkhoven depends on diking around Nicomen Island to protect his farm, family and livelihood from the waters of the Fraser River. ANDREA WALKER PHOTO


Growing more with less water


Improvement District which oversees drainage and 35 kilometres of diking that protects residents from the Fraser River freshet each spring. The dikes are considered the most vulnerable in the region, being about a metre below the current standard, but Kerkhoven says they’ve served the community well. “Our dikes have withstood many fairly high freshets, up to about almost 23 feet at the Mission gauge,” he says. “Even in 1948, our present-day dikes would have been challenged but it’s really only the flood of record, which is from 1894, that would have overtopped our dike.” Water levels at Mission hit 26 feet in 1894 while in 1948 water levels reached 23.5 feet. The largest freshet of the past decade was 2007 when water at the Mission gauge hit 18 feet. This year, with a near-normal snowpack set to melt into the lower Fraser River, Kerkhoven isn’t worried. Weather forecasters are calling for a cool spring in the run-up to summer and snowpacks further up the river are well below normal. However, he knows it’s not just the size of the snowpack but the speed of the melt that determines flood risk. “You have to have a combination of warm temperatures, precipitation and a significant snow


See FLOOD on next page o Provincial budget disappoints


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received barely a mention in the province’s latest budget just a year after it trumpeted a 33% increase in funding for the Agricultural Land Commission. Finance minister Mike de Jong delivered the budget February 21, while proudly telling of growing up on a farm on Matsqui Prairie, but he was mum on reinvesting in the kind of community he credited with giving him a solid start in life.


While he confirmed $5 million in funding for small animal shelters operated by the BC SPCA, part of BC agriculture minister Norm Letnick’s file, de Jong offered nothing to support a public trust initiative the agriculture industry is pursuing. “Going into the budget asks last fall, we had one recommendation and that was to kick-start the public trust discussion, and our board is disappointed that government hasn’t stepped up to the plate,” Reg Ens, executive director of the BC


Agriculture Council told Country Life in BC. “While we need a strong regulatory body for animal welfare, it’s hard to call that support for agriculture.” A key talking point in


Letnick’s comments to industry groups around the province over the past year is boosting agri-food revenues to $15 billion a year by 2020 but Ens said it depends on people trusting farmers to do the right thing. BCAC’s public trust


See BUDGET on next page o


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