Kootenay Farmer newsletter is an initiative of the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors to communicate with farmers and ranchers, and to grow and support the agriculture sector.  

A Beautiful Spring but the Soils are Dry!
The KBFA team visited farms throughout the region this spring and although it has been nice to get into the fields early, producers are starting to wonder if the rain will ever arrive. Turning on irrigation systems early can be costly and it’s also worrisome for producers who draw from small water systems. Everyone is thinking about fire season! You will find resources for wildfire preparedness in the recordings section of this newsletter. 


Yaqan Nukiy Farm, Creston Valley, May 2021.
The East Kootenay received rain last week, but everyone else has been pretty dry!

In This Issue

Headlines: Irrigation Resources | Food Coop Finds New Home | Tool Library | Funding Guide | IPM Guides for Small Farms
Events: Fencing Field Day | Conservation Resources | Grazing Field Day | Grow your Herd Locally
Kudos to our Farmers: Land Match Success | Boundary Farms | Asparagus Season
Local Dirt: Health Benefits for Farmers | Local Food Guide | RDCK Plan | Columbia River Treaty
Ministry of Agriculture: Farm Water Storage & Groundwater License | 2021 Ag Census | ALR 


Tis the Season to Irrigate!

Put your feet up and indulge in some recent irrigation tutorials from well-known and respected irrigation specialists in BC!

Irrigate Better: 4-Part Irrigation Webinar Series with Bruce Naka
Based on common problems and great solutions across the Kootenay and Boundary regions, these webinars condense the fundamentals of good design and management. Register for the last session on June 9, and watch recordings on the KBFA Youtube Channel.

Drip Irrigation & Online Tools with Ted van der Gulik
Ted gives a presentation to the horticulture sector which includes the demonstration of free and practical online water management and irrigation tools that are useful to every sector. Watch here.


New Location for the Kettle Valley Food Co-op

The Kettle Valley Food Co-op (KVFC) is thriving with an increasing number of producers and consumers! In the past 4 months, the KVFC has added 6 new producers who offer items such as beef and mushrooms, designer cookies, and natural cleaning products. The new location in Grand Forks offers a storefront with mountain views and a fresh interior. The shelves are stocked and the incredible producers of the Boundary are continuously updating the local food market place online store with new products. 
Learn more


Kootenay Tool Lending Library Blossoms!

The Kootenay Local Agricultural Society (KLAS) has launched a new online booking system for the Kootenay Tool Library making it even easier to rent tools from Krestova, Kaslo, and Creston. The popular fleet of BCS walking tractors and implements are heavily utilized as these tools quickly prepare the soil and incorporate cover crops. The KLAS Tool Library was formed in 2009 to improve access to necessary equipment for increasing local food production. Thank you to the amazing volunteers who keep this valuable service going. 


Funding Opportunities for BC Farms

Find a detailed list of funding opportunities available to food producers and farmers. The Funding Opportunities Guide contains funding eligibility, details, and contact information. Prepared by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Learn more


NEW Small-Scale Farmers Pest Management Guides

Climate & Agriculture Initiative BC have released Integrated Pest Management (IPM) guides tailored for small-scale vegetable and berry production. New IPM strategies exist for carrot rust fly, spider mites in greenhouse cucumbers, downy mildew in onions, yellow rust in raspberries and more!
View the guides here. 


NEW FarmFolk CityFolk CSA Map

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) listings in BC can be easily identified by buyers on the new FarmFolk CityFolk Map. 
View the map and add your CSA farm here.


kbfa-agricultural events

Online Irrigation Series with Bruce Naka

Zoom: Wednesday, June 9

Join us for the last session in the Irrigate Better Series! Irrigation specialists Bruce Naka and Andrew Bennett discuss ways to save money and optimize irrigation on your farm. This series is based on examples from the “On-Farm Water Conservation project.
Learn more

Field Day: Fencing Systems with Little Fork Ranch

Greenwood: Wednesday, June 16

Join us for a fun day of fencing demonstrations with three experienced ranchers on various adaptable fencing systems for multi-livestock operations. We’ll discuss tried and true lessons on where to invest your energy and dollars!
Learn more


Conservation Tools & Resources for Farms and Ranches

Zoom: Wednesday, June 23

Learn about FREE incentives, resources and experts that are accessible to private landowners. Featuring the Kootenay Conservation Program, this event focuses on the Stewardship Solutions Toolkit that showcases free local resources.
Learn more

Field Day: Grazing Management & Soils with Norm Ward

Kimberley: Wednesday, July 14

Rancher, entrepreneur, and soil enthusiast Norm Ward will discuss his approach to holistic and regenerative land management. Participants will be refreshed on the principles of grazing and introduced to new concepts such as the soil microbiome.
Learn more


Field Day: Integrated Vegetable, Herb, and Fruit Tree Systems - a Permaculture Approach

Grand Forks: Tuesday, July 20

Join Dieter and Elizabeth Bay at their 38-acre organic farm on the North Fork to learn about integrating vegetable, herb, berry, and fruit tree production using biodynamic and permaculture principles. 
Learn more

Field Day: Growing Your Herd Locally: Genetics, Traits, and Characteristics for Local Beef Production

Burton: Thursday, July 22

Attend this field day with local farmer and rancher Forest McCormack to hear about his experience growing his beef herd through the last decade. Forest will draw on his local knowledge and provide information regarding desirable traits for breeding, size, resilience and animal health. 
Learn more




Save time, save money, and grow more. Catch the first three parts of the Irrigate Better webinar series on the KBFA Youtube channel.


Wildfire Preparedness Workshops for Farms and Ranches

Watch the two-part workshop series for farmers and ranchers on the potential wildfire risks to agricultural operations and the measures to prepare for, and mitigate, those risks.
Recording here


Soils of the East and Central Kootenay

Seed Starting with Wild Flight Farm
Watch a virtual greenhouse tour at Wild Flight Farm that highlights seed starting techniques, timing for specific crops, nutrient management, and season extension.
Recording here


Seed Starting with Wild Flight Farm

Watch a virtual greenhouse tour at Wild Flight Farm that highlights seed starting techniques, timing for specific crops, nutrient management, and season extension.
Recording here


Relocalizing Food Systems

Arba Brynne, Executive Director of the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council, speaks on the challenges and opportunities of relocalizing food systems. 
Recording here


Land Match Success at Tulaberry Farm - Passmore

Article from Certified Organic Associations of BC

Tulaberry Farm in Passmore, BC has found success with the BC Land Matching Program. Owners and operators Judi and Alex connected with young farmers Emily and Nathan in 2019 who are developing Confluence Farms market garden and CSA.
Read the full article here.


Tulaberry Farm is a certified organic farm producing eggs, raspberries, strawberries, garlic, and mixed vegetables. 

Spring Visits to the Boundary

KBFA Blog Feature

KBFA advisor Andrew Bennett toured the Kootenay-Boundary region this spring and shared some highlights from his tour. Read on for updates from Westbridge, Greenwood, Bridesville, and Granby River. 
Read the blog here.


Glen Millar of Westbridge has 2 acres of blueberries flourishing once again after a 2015 fire. 

Asparagus Season at Sutcliffe Farms - Creston

Article from Certified Organic Associations of BC

Article from Country Life in BC
Creston-based Sutcliffe Farms in the Creston Valley represents one-third of total asparagus acreage grown and harvested in BC. Although a profitable crop, Doug Sutcliffe reflects in this article on why purchasing asparagus direct from the farmer might be more expensive than the grocery store due to the globalized market place: “I figure with the price of asparagus that they are importing now, there’s no way a Canadian Grower can compete with that.”
Read more


Sutcliffe Farms is the largest producer of asparagus in BC with about 100 acres harvested this season. 


2021 Columbia Valley Food & Farm Guide

Take a look through the Columbia Valley Food & Farm Guide that features local farmers, producers, and ranchers. Farmers in the Columbia Valley have the opportunity for their businesses to be listed in the guide and distributed at Farmers’ Markets and events. 
Check out the guide here


Tangible Actions for Improving Weather Monitoring & Tools for Agriculture in BC

A new report outlines a roadmap providing clear, actionable steps for establishing and maintaining a sustainable agricultural weather monitoring program in BC. The report was published by the BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network and Climate & Agriculture Initiative BC, 2021.
Read the report


Enhancing Support for Basin Agriculture

Columbia River Treaty to Investigate the Effectiveness of Existing Agricultural Programs
Residents of the Columbia Basin have identified several barriers to agriculture in the area including land access, financial aid, and irrigation. As such, the BC Treaty Team will investigate existing programs to address these barriers. Agricultural producers are encouraged provide their feedback on this matter.
Learn more


Hot Off the Press: Central Kootenay Food Security Action Plan

The Central Kootenay Food Policy Council was in close contact with the Emergency Operations Centre of the RDCK in the early months of the pandemic. As the year progressed, the Council was invited to submit a proposal to research and create an Interim Food Security Action Plan for the Central Kootenay. This work has been underway since the summer and wrapped up in the spring of 2021.
Read the Food Security Action Plan final report here. 


Kootenay Livestock Association Offers Benefits

Through the Integris Credit Union, Kootenay Livestock Association members now have access to group health benefits along with opportunities for commercial insurance, estate planning, business succession, and ICBC Autoplan. Coverage options are available to all KLA members, regardless of size of operation. 
Learn more


Factsheet: Farm Water Storage

Do you store water on your farm? Refer to the recently updated factsheet on farm water storage.
Learn more here. Reminder: deadline to apply for an existing use groundwater license is March 1, 2022.


Changes to the ALR

Article from Country Life in BC

Property owners in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) are now able to have a secondary dwelling without Agricultural Land Commission approval. This amendment was made to allow for more flexibility to both landowners and non-farmers living in the ALR. 
Read the article here.


2021 Census of Agriculture

Cenus of Agriculture forms were distributed to producers across Canada this spring. The census provides valuable data to all levels of government for tracking the growth and development of the farm sector across the country. The Census of Agriculture takes place every five years. The 2016 census can be viewed here

About The Author

Recent Posts