ichelle Koski is the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C.’s new executive director. She accepted the position after serving as deputy director of Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada’s B.C. region for the past nine years. She also has an extensive background in regional economic development, international trade and program design. Prior to joining the federal government she worked as an economist in the dairy industry. IAF is a not-for-profit organization that works with industry and government to invest in ideas and projects that enhance the competitiveness, profitability and sustainability of B.C.’s agriculture and agri-food sectors. “Michelle brings a wealth of senior management experience that will serve the foundation and the needs of industry today and long into the future,” said IAF chair Ken Bates. Koski’s appointment was made following the announcement last May that, after 12 years as executive director, Peter Donkers would be retiring by the end of 2017. Koski will maintain an office in Victoria and in Vancouver, where she


resides with her family...


Is your family farm in a state of transition? Are you looking to start the succession conversation? Yes? Then consider

participating in Farm

Management Canada's

‘Bridging the Gap’


workshop. The workshop gives participants an

opportunity to work with renowned farm family coach Elaine Froese and farm management consultant Cedric MacLeod to address some of the elephants in the room that are preventing or hindering transition planning on the farm. The workshop is set for March 6 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sandman Hotel and

18 British Columbia Berry Grower • Spring 2018

Suites, 32720 Simon Avenue in Abbotsford. For more information: services/btg/ Members of the Ontario Berry

Growers Association are the newest users of Croptracker, a traceability software for the agricultural industry. Croptracker was selected after working with the organization during a yearlong process to develop berry crop processes and strategies, according to a news release. Berry growers can use this software to track employee labor and payout calculations, the release said, as well as manage and adjust piecework rates.“Croptracker is a very intuitive program that provides growers with food safety traceability and so much more. It is an Ontario product that understands the needs of growers,” Kevin Schooley, executive director of the association, said in the release. The program is free to members of the association... Still in Ontario, berry and other growers are having to adjust to the province’s new $14 per hour minimum wage, up from $11.60. Some are decreasing their acreage and workforce to offset the additional costs .“We’re expecting there to be about a 25 per cent decrease in overall acreage,” Kevin Howe, a member of the berry growers association, said in a recent interview. Howe employs about 400 people each year to help with harvest of several commodities but estimates he could cut production by 30 per cent and reduce the number of employees to offset the additional wage costs and potential profit loss.

“We have to be cost-competitive with all of the imports,” he said. “Last summer, consumers could buy a quart of imported strawberries for $1.87, so some growers even had to dump their products. We’re unable to tax or limit any imports so we’re on the open market as price takers.” Ontario now has the country’s highest minimum wage, followed by Alberta at $13.60. Last September, the B.C. minimum wage rose to $11.35. The provincial government has announced they will appoint a Fair Wages Commission to recommend future increases in an effort to address the difference between the minimum wage and what is termed the living wage... CanadaGAP has announced appointments to its stakeholder advisory committee for 2018. The committee meets annually to provide advice and recommendations to the board on the technical components of the national good agricultural practices program. Those appointed are: Mariana Black, B.C. Tree Fruit Cooperative; Joanne Driscoll, Prince Edward Island Horticultural Association; Nadene Gurulé, Agrifina Services; Grant Hackman, Peak of the Market; Jeff Hall, Canadian Produce Marketing Association; Terence Hochstein, Potato Growers of Alberta; Stéphanie Levasseur, Au Coeur de la pomme; James Sefton, Sefton Food Safety Consulting/Coaching; Quinton Woods, Gwillimdale Farms; and committee chair Stephanie Larivière, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers/Erie James Ltd...

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