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


Vol. 106 No. 3


CANADA POST


Postage paid Publications Mail 40012122


POSTES CANADA


Port payé Post-Publications


FRUIT


CELEBRATION WEATHER


Fruit growers grapple with third year of losses Sold-out gala honours the best of agriculture Farm groups weigh in on climate change


7


11 21


2020 SEED GUIDE INSIDE!


1-888-770-7333 Quality Seeds ... where quality counts!


Going solo


Province gives $9 million boost to farm insurance


by PETER MITHAM ABBOTSFORD – The


province has stepped in to backstop farmers facing hard times thanks to a growing number of weather-related and market challenges. During comments at the


BC Agriculture Council’s annual gala in Abbotsford on January 29, BC agriculture minister Lana Popham announced changes to the province’s AgriStability program that she said would make $9 million available to producers. “We will eliminate the


reference margin limits, and we are going to increase the compensation rate from 70%


See HIGHER on next page o Growing more with less water Province pares ag budget by PETER MITHAM


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VICTORIA – Two years of funding increases for the province’s agriculture ministry came to an end with the February 18 provincial budget.


BC finance minister Carole James tabled the budget with a speech that touted the government’s pledge to create opportunities for businesses to succeed, calling out Vancouver crop protection company Semios and plans for food hubs among successes in the


province’s agriculture sector. But the budget itself cuts nearly $3 million in funding for the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s operating budget, with the biggest hit being taken by the agriculture science and policy budget, which will fall by $2.3 million. The budget for the ministry’s executive and support services is also set to lose $72,000. Offsetting the losses are


increasing: $70,000 for the Agricultural Land Commission and $16,000 for the BC Farm Industry Review Board.


The net result is a budget of $95.4 million, down from $98.2 million in the current fiscal year. The budget for the coming year remains above the $93.1 million allocated in 2018.


BC agriculture minister


Lana Popham has long relished having the biggest budget of any agriculture minister in the province’s history, funding that allowed her to undertake initiatives such as relaunching Buy BC as well as encouraging


See LESS on next page o The agricultural news source in British Columbia since 1915 MARCH 2020 | Vol. 106 No. 3


Perfect sleeper


Tony Neels of Mountain Shadow Acres in Rosedale hopes using chopped straw instead of sawdust will improve the health and comfort of his dairy herd. Neels made the switch while renovating his barn for robotic milking. Mountain Shadow Acres was one of six farms on the annual BC Dairy Expo Farm Tour, January. 29. David Schmidt’s story is on page 25. MYRNA STARK LEADER PHOTO


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