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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. 

Farmers learned about on-farm food safety for fresh fruit and vegetables at a recent workshop in Creston delivered by Elsie Friesen, Food Safety & Education Specialist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture. Food distributors, such as grocery stores, are increasingly interested in their suppliers being on-farm food safety certified.    

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In This Issue

Headlines: Actions for Adaptation,  New Food Policy Project, Drop-in Coffee Talks
New BBA Program Manager Brings Agricultural Expertise
Events: Irrigation, Food Safety, Pasture Rejuvenation 
Local Dirt: Invasive Weed Success Stories, Farm Job Postings

Actions Identified for Agriculture to Adapt

Warmer and drier summer conditions, increasing wildfire risk, variability and spring flooding are climate impacts facing Kootenay & Boundary farmers. Producers and stakeholders gathered in Creston on March 11 for a workshop with the BC Climate Action Initiative to identify actions for the sector to adapt.  These actions could include tools and resources for irrigation efficiency, resources to support the development of on-farm water storage capacity, wildfire preparedness planning and support for demonstration crop research. $300 K has been allocated to implement strategies identified in the Kootenay & Boundary Regional Adaptation Plan, which will be finalized early summer. 

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KBFA Hosts Drop-in Coffee Talks in the Region

KBFA will be visiting farms and hosting coffee talks around the region this spring. Join us to chat about your farm and agriculture in the region!

8:00 am – 10:00 am (coffee on us):

Grand Forks, April 24 (Wooden Spoon Cafe)
Rock Creek, April 26 (Trading Post)
Revelstoke, May 3 (La Baguette)
Golden, May 4 (Jita’s Cafe)
Windermere, May 5 (Winderberry & Edibles Cafe)
Jaffray, May 6 (First Perk Coffee House)
Creston, May 7 (Creston Valley Bakery)
Winlaw, May 15 (Sleep is for Sissies)
Nakusp, May 16 (Gabi’s Fairytale Cafe)
Meadow Creek, May 17 (Meadow Creek Cafe)

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NEW Food Policy Development Project Launched

The Central Kootenay Food Policy Council has launched a new project to develop an evidence base for policy development to support local agriculture and sustainable land use. The project will analyze the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s GIS and LIDAR data, and the Agriculture Land Use Inventory and cross-reference the findings with existing Plans, Land Use Bylaws and other relevant policies. The project outcomes will identify policy amendments that can support sustainable food system development, vibrant agriculture economies, and climate adaptation.
 

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Cost of Production Resources on the Horizon

Do You Really Know How Much Money your Farm is Making?

Workshops on cost of production for local meat and vegetables are in development for the fall of 2019. The BBA Agriculture Program can also help farmers now with resources or by pairing you with a consultant to work with you one-on-one to implement cost of production calculations for your farm business.  For more information, contact Tracey Fredrickson, Agriculture Specialist at tfredrickson@bbaprogram.ca; (250) 352-1933 ext. 111.

Agricultural Webinars for Knowledge Transfer

Many organizations and businesses find webinars a powerful tool for accessing a wide range of agriculture information. This is a short list of webinars that you may find useful to your farm business. Let us know if you have recommendations!
Beef Cattle Research Council (cover crops, water quality, animal health)
BC Ministry of Agriculture (market trends, diversification, small flock health)
Cornell Small Farms Program (veg production, farm energy, finances, markets)
Ben Hartman (market gardening, essential farm tools, crop planning)

Rick Miller, Oasis Ranch

Rick Miller is revitalizing the three-generation family farm, Oasis Ranch, using the principles of holistic farm management that include environmental and business sustainability.  

“I’ve learned that if you’re willing to reinvent yourself to align with modern practices and
market demand, there are many programs and services out there to support agriculture.” Read more

Three generations at Oasis Ranch, Grassmere, BC. 

Bent Plow Farm: Young Agrarians Farmer Profile

This is a recent blog post from the Young Agrarians‘ farmer profile.

Emma and Scott of Bent Plow Farm grow a wide range of certified organic vegetables for local farmers’ markets and CSA customers.“We need to work together to innovate and create spaces for new farmers as well as help established farmers become more successful.”  Learn more

Bent Plow Farm is tucked away in a flat, sunny oasis, just outside of Nelson.

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Presentation: On-Farm Water Management & Irrigation Design

Invermere: April 2 Creston: April 3

The Ministry of Agriculture’s Water Management Specialist will share expertise on plant water demand, irrigation system design & efficiency.
Learn more

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Workshop: Food Safety Certification for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Grand Forks: April 24 (introduction) Grand Forks: April 25 & 26 (intensive)

One-day introductory workshop followed by two-day intensive CanadaGAP workshop with the BC Ministry of Agriculture.
Learn more 

Workshop: Pasture Revitalization with Nicole Masters

Greenwood: June 6 & 7

Agro-ecologist and soils consultant, Nicole Masters, will dive deep into improving soil health, growing quality pastures and revitalizing microbial populations to enhance your ranch’s resilience and productivity.
Learn more

MISS AN EVENT? ARCHIVED AND EVENTS HERE

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Farm Job Postings

The Young Agrarians website has become an active space for farmers to post jobs for upcoming summer positions. Recently posted positions include Edible Acres Farm, Windermere (as seen in this photo), Hummingbird Farm, Slocan Valley, and Ravine Creek Farm, Winlaw. 

A central location to post all local agricultural jobs has been flagged as a tool that would be useful for farmers. Stay tuned as we work on this issue!

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Share Your Invasive Weed Success Stories

The East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC) is asking farmers for success stories or advice on invasive weed management. If you have experience with best management practices, techniques or research, EKISC wants to hear it. Stories submitted will be published in a local stewardship brochure highlighting the efforts of the agriculture community. Learn more. 

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NEW Program Manager for Basin Business Advisors

Alison Bjorkman is the new Program Manager for the Basin Business Advisors Program (BBA), the program that oversees the Agriculture Business Advisement program coordinated by Tracey Fredrickson. Alison grew up on a farm in Alberta and has lived in the farming hub of Creston since 2005, bringing a hands-on understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing Kootenay farmers to her role. She will be relocating to Cranbrook in the coming year. Contact Alison at abjorkman@bbaprogram.ca; 250-489-4356 Ext. 110 .

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Beekeeping Workshop Introduces New Expertise

KBFA welcomed Gil and Karen Pedersen of Saskatchewan’s Pedersen Apiaries for a full-day workshop with the East Kootenay Beekeepers in early March. The father-daughter duo hail from a long line of beekeepers who have had to experiment and change their operation many times to remain successful. They shared their trade secrets openly with more than 50 beekeepers at the workshop including how to overwinter your hives and queen breeding. A summary of the event and resources are posted on the KBFA website. Best of luck for your hives in 2019!

 
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Changes to the ALR Include Elimination of Zone 2

On February 22, 2019, the Agricultural Land Reserve Use Regulation was approved by BC Lieutenant Governor in Council, bringing into force changes to the Agricultural Land Commission Act under Bill 52. Changes include a new definition of Farm Use and the elimination of Zone 2. 
Read more: Agriculture Land Commission
Read more: Young Agrarian Summary 

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