Kootenay Farmer is a joint initiative of the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors and the Basin Business Advisors Agriculture Program – two initiatives to grow and support the agriculture sector in the Kootenay & Boundary regions. 

Welcome to Autumn!

It has been a season of trying new things for producers and organizations, including KBFA! This September we experimented with a virtual field tour at Wildflight Farm where owners Hermann and Louise Brunns used a smartphone to give Kootenay producers a tour and demonstration of their favourite tools for weeding and cultivating field crops and participants interacted virtually. KBFA is looking forward to using more of this user-friendly technology to document events and bring information to producers! View the recording.
However, nothing beats in-person field days, which were held in Creston and Cranbrook this September with participants having fruitful and meaningful distanced conversations!


Virtual field day& demonstration

Field tour in the East Kootenay 

In This Issue

Headlines: Irrigation Scheduling Tools \ 2020 Market Season \ Food HUB Survey
Events: Soils Field Day \ Riparian Restoration \ Commercial Seed Production
Meet Your Advisors: Rangeland Specialist, Hilary Baker, P.Ag 
Kudos to our Farmers: Heritage Grains 
Local Dirt: Apple Pressing \ Soil Research \ 2021 Columbia Basin Mixer \ Agricultural Land Prices
Ministry of Agriculture: Changes to Slaughter Practices in BC


NEW Tool to Track Your Irrigation Water Use

How much water do I currently use? The BC Irrigation Water Use Calculator is a NEW water management tool that serves as a free option for farmers (water licence holders) to track actual irrigation water use, so that they do not need to purchase a flow measuring device to meet requirements of their water licence.

How much water should I use? The recently enhanced BC Agriculture Water Calculator estimates crop irrigation and livestock water requirements based on your soil type, infrastructure and climate. Free, fun and easy to use!

Recap of the 2020 Farmers' Market Season

Farmers throughout the the Kootenay region saw varying levels of product demand and visitation this season. Read the KBFA blog post for interviews with farmers on how this year’s market season compared to others. 

Producers have also seen an increase in demand for CSA boxes and farm gate sales. Nyree Marsh with the Basin Business Advisors recaps how 2020 was a success for farm stands and offers support to producers looking to expand their product distribution. Read more

Would You Use A Central Food Processing Facility?

Kootenay Region – Input from farmers, ranchers and food processors is being collected to understand the need for regional food processing and distribution facilities (or “hubs”) and, if so, what equipment and services are needed. 
This information will inform the next steps for organizations in the Columbia Valley, Creston and West Kootenay who are actively pursuing the development of regional food processing facilities and food hubs.
Provide your input here with this 10 minute survey.
This project is a partnership between Columbia Valley Economic Development, Fields Forward Society (Creston Valley), and Kootenay Food (West Kootenays).  


NEW Blog and Digital Presence from KBFA

The Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors (KBFA) have expanded the team! Kylie Steedman has come on board as communications coordinator to enhance information sharing, website updates and social media presence including a new bi-weekly blog. The blog will share stories from across the region and discuss agricultural topics and issues that impact producers. Reach out to Kylie at kylie@kbfa.ca and check out the blog here.

Media release: KBFA services extended for a fourth season of operations into 2021. Read more

kbfa-agricultural events

KBFA in-person field days back! Events are held outdoors in spacious settings with lots of room for distancing. If non-essential travel bans return, the events will be will postponed. Stay tuned as we finalize plans for more fall events.

Field Day - Digging Deep into Soil Knowledge

October 5: Rock Creek

Soil scientist Wayne Blashill will lead us through a dynamic history of the soil profile and how soil physical properties impact drainage, nutrient availability and production.
Learn more 

Field Day: Riparian and Streambank Restoration in the Boundary

October 13: Grand Forks

Tour riparian restoration sites in Grand Forks and learn what works for stream bank stabilization and bio-engineering for local soils and climate. Practical considerations for plant varieties, cost, maintenance and managing livestock will be discussed. Registration coming soon. ​
Learn more 


Field Day: Commercial Seed Production as a Diversification Tool for BC Farms

October 22: Argenta October 24: Grand Forks

Join David Catzel, Seed Program Coordinator for FarmFolk CityFolk, to learn about commercial vegetable seed production in British Columbia and available resources for small scale farms. 
Registration coming soon. 
Learn more

Basin Business Advisors Webinars

October 15: Stay Profitable without Leaving the Farm (marketing) November 18: Agriculture Succession Planning

Attend free webinars hosted by the Basin Business Advisors this fall. Learn about marketing, branding and e-commerce and the basics of succession planning.
Learn more


BC Forage Council: Water Management for Dryland Production Series
October 6: Building Soil Carbon & Soil Tilth 
October 13: Forage Crop & Variety Selection 
October 20Water Authorizations & Dam Safety
Learn more

Climate and Weather Data for Agriculture
October 6: On-Demand Cloud Computing and Open Source Technology
October 20: Weather & Climate Tools for Decision Making
Learn more


Regional District of Kootenay Boundary: Watershed Management Webinars
October 21: Health & Our Watershed, presented by Interior Health Authority
November 24: Riparian Health & Protection

For registration and info, contact Kristina at watershedplanner@rdkb.com. property inspections and the appeal process.



KBFA Event Summaries and Recordings
KBFA past events can be found here including the recent virtual field day, the orchard mulching trial in Creston and the Sorghum sudangrass yield trial in Cranbrook. 

Webinar: Sharing Your Story with the Public
For producers – Sharing Your Story: How to Have Effective Conversations with the Public features social media tips, consumer research data and effective public communication strategies. Hosted by the BC Agriculture Council.  

Webinar: Soil Health Institute 
Achieving Net Zero Carbon Emissions in US Agriculture offers insight into new soil science research and collaborations in North America. Hosted by the Soil Heath Institute.


Creston Grain Growers Tap Demand for Alternative Wheat - Treasure Life Flour Mills

Article from Country Life in BC
For 13 years, Ben and Claudia Herrara have been researching and experimenting with unique heirloom and ancient grain varieties that cater to a niche market. In a normal year they have 3 full time employees but the pandemic caused demand to skyrocket. “I had to get a couple of my old mills up and running to keep up with demand,” says Ben. 
Read more: Page 1 Page 2

Hilary Baker, Environmental Scientist, P.Ag

Hilary Baker has joined the KBFA as the newest general advisor! Hilary is a University of Alberta graduate with a BSc in Agriculture majoring in Animal Sciences with a focus on vegetation and rangeland science. Hilary has worked with the Government of Alberta as a Rangeland Agrologist and Range Management Specialist and has led agriculture extension and outreach initiatives.
Based out of the Keefer Ecological Office in Cranbrook, Hilary will be supporting KBFA initiatives and outreach in the East Kootenay. Connect with Hilary at: hilary@kbfa.ca


Apple "PressFest" returns to the Slocan Valley for 2020 - With a Twist

PressFest offers an opportunity to non-commercial growers turn large quantities of apples into juice using the commerical-scale press from Fields Forward in Creston. This annual event brings together community, volunteers and fruit lovers to celebrate in the harvest and make the most of our region’s abundance! Saturday, October 3. Minimum volume of 200 lb/apples per order.
Learn more


Climate Resilient Vegetable Farming: Year-One Data and Results from the Kootenays

Four vegetable farms in the Kootenays have partnered with the University of British Columbia on a multi-year study to better understand soil nutrient management and water management on organic farms. This informal presentation reviews the results from year-one including soil test data. Read more about the project.


Local Study on Agricultural Land Prices in the RDCK

The Institute for Sustainable Food Systems  in partnership with the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council led a fascinating report that explores the intersection between land prices and the Agricultural Land Reserve in the  Central Kootenay. 
Read the report


Changes to Meat Processing and Oversight on Slaughter Practices

The Ministry of Agriculture released an intentions paper with suggested policy changes to meat processing in rural BC that include increased processing amounts and developing new models for licensing abattoirs. Feedback can be provided until October 19. 
Learn more

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