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.  

Pasture Rejuvenation, Drones & Soil
The KBFA program kicked off March with a lineup of online networking events. We heard from five Kootenay producers at the Pasture Panel about their trials to rejuvenate pasture, incorporate legumes and increase soil carbon. During our discussion on agricultural drones for land mapping and livestock management, we discovered how the future can be friendly! Finally, we shared knowledge about East Kootenay soil properties with retired District Agrologist Mike Malmberg. Learning from each other was the consistent theme throughout these events including folks who have farming for decades and new farmers.


The online world has helped us share information across regions such as this pasture panel with producers from the East Kootenay and Boundary. We appreciate our producers willingness to participate and share virtually through this interesting learning curve!
Photo: Pasture Panel, March 2

In This Issue

Headlines: Farm Visits | Food Hub | Basin Food Expo | Buy BC
Events: Soil Technical Series | Seed Starting | Soil Sample Collection | Irrigation Series | Grazing 
Kudos to our Farmers: Calving Season | Salix & Sedge Farm | BCAFM Awards
Local Dirt: Basin Mixer Recap | Producer Wage Subsidy | Skill Development Grants
Ministry of Agriculture: NEW Slaughter & Abattoir Regs | Human Resource Webinars


KBFA Farm Visits this Spring!

We want to hear from you! KBFA will be meeting one-on-one with producers (outdoors) to learn and see what you are working on this season. Farm visits are usually about 45 minutes, confidential, and are a great way to find out what services are available and what new things are happening in the region. We will be actively reaching out to you, but you can also contact us to book a farm visit by emailing Rachael at coordinator@kbfa.ca or calling 778-771-5851.


NEW Food Hubs for Greenwood & Creston

Fields Forward in Creston and Boundary Community Ventures Association  have received funding from the BC Ministry of Agriculture to develop food hubs that will create opportunities for local producers and food processors. Read about the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s initiative to fund food hubs across the province and the food hubs coming to Greenwood and Creston. Congratulations to our community organizations for pursuing this unique opportunity! 


Basin Food & Buyers Expo: April 9, 2021

On April 9, farmers, food producers, chefs, grocers and food industry-supports will gather virtually to reflect, learn and connect at the annual Basin Food & Buyers Expo. This year’s event will offer a host of new opportunities for producers and buyers to market their products and grow their food businesses. 
Learn more and register here.


Cost Shared Funding for Product Marketing

The Buy BC Partnership Program supports marketing producers’ agricultural products within the province helps build a greater awareness of, and demand for, local food and beverage products. This is made possible through the Buy BC Logo program and cost share funding grants. Applications for the cost share close April 7, 2021. 
Learn more

kbfa-agricultural events

Lunch & Learn Technical Series: Soils in the Central Kootenay

Online (Zoom): Tuesday, April 13

Join the second part of our Lunch & Learn soil series with forage specialist Ken Van Driesten of NutriSource. We’ll be walking participants through soil test reports from the Central Kootenay and discussing soil chemical properties & nutrient management strategies.
Learn more
Find information from the East Kootenay testing here. 


Virtual Field Day: Seed Starting with Wild Flight Farm

Online (Zoom): Tuesday, April 6

Join Wild Flight Organic Farm on a virtual tour of  their greenhouse to learn seed starting techniques, as well as efficiencies and timing for specific crops. Participants will also view outdoor season extension areas where crops planted in the fall are ready for harvest now. 
Learn more

Soil Club: Soil Mapping and Soil Sample Collection

Nelson: Wednesday(s) April 7 & 14

Soil Club is a ongoing initiative with market gardeners to investigate soil management practices and share experiences for nutrient management. Join soil scientist Dr. Bill Chapman and commercial market gardeners at two farms to map and and strategize soil sample collection.
Learn more


Online Irrigation Series with Bruce Naka

Online (Zoom): Wednesdays April 14 & 28, May 12 & 26

Save the date(s) to join irrigation specialists Bruce Naka and Andrew Bennett to 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


Basin Business Advisors: Hire and Retain Workers on the Farm

Online (Zoom): Thursday, April 15

Join the Basin Business Advisors Program for a free workshop on building a strong farm team. Key topics discussed will be attracting the right talent, human resources policies and compensation. 
Learn more

Field Day: Grazing Management & Soils with Norm Ward

Kimberley: Tuesday, May 18

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: Fencing Systems with Little Fork Ranch

Online (Zoom): Wednesday, June 16

Join us to hear from three ranchers about 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


Calving Season with C & C Ranch LTD - Wardner

Interview on MyEastKootenayNow
Catch a glimpse into the busy spring season on a cattle farm! Tyler and Scott Morrison provide a window into a rancher’s life and the Morrison children share stories about farm life.

Listen to the full interview here. 

Garden Greens with Salix & Sedge Farm - Salmo

Article from Country Life in BC
Brendan Parsons and Cali Olleck of Salix & Sedge Farm in Salmo are extending their growing season, even with the Kootenay winters. How? The pair are producing high-value crops with a heated year-round greenhouse!
Read the full article here. 


Salix & Sedge Farm in Salmo “exists to grow healthy, high quality food for our local community.” Find resources from our tour of the Salix and Sedge greenhouses here. 

BC Farmers' Market Award Winners!

Local farms and organizations were recognized in 2020 by the BCAFM:

Congratulations to Tegart Farming of Radium Hot Springs as a finalist for vendor of the year. Kristina Metzlaff of Bird Tree Urban Farm in Revelstoke received the the Mary Forstbauer GrantColumbia Valley Community Economic Development was awarded Farmers’ Market Champion of the year.


Kristina Metzlaff of Bird Tree Urban Farm in Revelstoke was the lucky recipient of the Mary Frostbauer Grant at this year’s BC Farmers Markets Awards. Photo: BC Farmers’ Market


Young Agrarians Basin Mixer Recap

Watch recordings and find resources from the Columbia Basin Mixer that took place in January 2021. The recap includes a regenerative grazing panel, farm water management, cost of production and employee management and training. Also included is the list of opportunities made for farmers by farmers! 
Find the recap here. 


Basin Food Producer Wage Subsidy

Apply for the Basin Food Producer Wage Subsidy through Columbia Basin Trust. The program provides flexibility for farmers to hire employees as needed throughout the 2021 growing and harvesting season. 
Learn more


BC Young Farmers Skill Development Program

Young farmers from BC (aged 19 – 40) can enrol in a BC Young Farmers professional development program to subsidize the cost of select events, conferences and workshops.
Learn more and apply here


Pasture Rejuvenation Resources

The Beef Cattle Research Council has produced a great guide on pasture rejuvenation for producers. Find the guide here. 
The BC Forage Council Forage Management Knowledge Transfer Series presentations are available for viewing here


Abattoir Changes and Training for Rural Operators

A newer, simpler licensing system is on the horizon for BC abattoirs as reported by Country Life in BC. An abattoir training program has also been updated for rural abattoir operators in BC. This program is offered online to enhance skills in food safety, slaughter hygiene, facility and equipment design/sanitation, animal welfare and more. 
Learn more 

AgriServiceBC: HR Webinar Series

How to manage your workforce needs
Jennifer Wright of the Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council walks farm businesses through tips and tricks needed to manage workforce needs. Topics include recruitment & retention, planning & performance, policies & compensation, and health & safety.
Learn more

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