An Agricultural Year in Review: Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors
After the year of COVID-19 in 2020, followed by the extreme heat and wildfire in 2021, farmers were ready for a more predictable and profitable year. However, this year the rising cost of production, including farm inputs and labour, kept farmers on their toes to keep their farm business alive and provide food for their communities.
Through the year, Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors (KBFA) connected with producers by visiting 65 farms through the region, consulting with farmers on over 260 issues and making 77 producer to expert connections. Farm visits are a great way to understand a farm’s operation and allow KBFA advisors to listen to producers and then assess the tools, resources, and expert connections that could help farmers streamline their production.
Events and in-person connection were back in full swing in 2022 with 26 events through the Kootenay and Boundary regions. Events featured a mix of in-person events, online webinars, and collaboration with partner organizations to best support farmers. In June and July, in-person events were hosted in all four regions: a market garden tour in Revelstoke, a field day on the challenges and solutions for farming in ecologically sensitive areas in Creston, low-tillage market gardening in Winlaw, range and pasture revitalization in Fort Steele, and a ranch tour and celebration in Rock Creek. A Zoom webinar for small-scale poultry producers was accessible to the entire region.
The scope and scale of these on-farm activities across multiple agricultural sectors demonstrates the diversity of agriculture in the Kootenay and Boundary region. With diversity comes complexity, creativity and resilience which are key attributes that lay at the heart of any small farm in the Kootenays!
British Columbia’s food supply chain has taken a beating in the last few years with disruptions from the pandemic to natural disasters, and now consumers are feeling the skyrocketing costs of food at the grocery store, once again underlining the importance of supporting local farmers who have the skills and resources to produce food close to home.
Farmers and ranchers are committed to their sustainability goals in 2023 and are working hard to reduce waste, build soil and use resources and water more efficiently. This spring, the 12-part Farm Water Fix Series was launched to make irrigation concepts as clear as possible to help farmers tune up systems to optimize irrigation to save time, money, and resources on the farm.
KBFA and farmers have embraced keeping in touch digitally and in 2022 KBFA published 16 blogs and sent 6 issues of the Kootenay Farmer bi-monthly Newsletter. Stay in touch with KBFA and your local farmers by signing up for our newsletter and following our social media pages.