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.
Smoke & Drought Test Producer’s Resilience
This summer is measuring way above climate norms and farmers are feeling it. The moisture deficit in Creston is already 21% higher than the historic average, Grand Forks is 19% higher and Cranbrook is 18% higher according to Farmwest data. Soil moisture deficit incorporates maximum temperature, evaporation and precipitation to give an indication of the soil moisture loss, meaning that producers need to irrigate more and for longer periods this season. The heat and smoke are also impacting crop development, worker conditions and winter feed supplies for livestock. Hang in there farmers and tip your hat the next time you see your local producer!
KBFA Summer Field Day Recap
KBFA hosted two in-person field days this summer before the fires postponed further events. Rich discussions and networking were had on the topic of regenerative grazing in the East Kootenay and integrated fruit, herb and vegetable systems in Grand Forks.
Farmers Alys and Eric wear masks to protect themselves from the thick smoke at Ravine Creek Farm in the Slocan Valley. “The smoke has been the most oppressive issue that our farm team has faced and has impacted our productivity more than other farm and weather challenges. The unrelenting need to problem solve this season has been exhausting!” – Alys Ford
In This Issue
Events: Market Production | Cashflow | Farm Tour | Seed Cleaning
Kudos to our Farmers: Hawthorn Creek Farm | Cutter Ranch | 3 Crows Urban Farm
Local Dirt: Climate Data | 2021 Farm Directory | Ecosystem Services | Food Hub
Ministry of Agriculture: Housing Flexibility in the ALR
Water, Soil & Livestock Resources for Dry Conditions
- Livestock, soil and effective irrigation management strategies during a drought by the Ministry of Agriculture.
- Resources and tips for drought management for livestock owners by the Beef Cattle Research Council.
- Sector specific resources for dry conditions and drought by the Climate & Agriculture Initiative
Livestock Relocation During an Emergency
Reference this guide from the Ministry of Agriculture for considerations of animal welfare and potential hazards in event of an emergency.
Extreme Weather Hits Producers
June saw unusually cool weather with crop-killing frosts. Then in July, the heat dome smashed records, while the ongoing drought and forest fires challenge livestock producers, market gardeners, and tree fruit growers. The unrelenting need to problem solve is testing producer’s resilience.
Read a short summary from the KBFA team about how producers are being impacted and adapting.
NEW Local Project Links Farmland & Agricultural Values to Floodplain Restoration
A new project wants to hear from producers about farming in flood prone areas and how producers deal with excess water flow. The goal is to identify additional supports needed to ensure continued successful agricultural production in the floodplain while enhancing ecological values. The Climate & Agriculture Initiative has undertaken this project to identify how local government can better support producers to maintain/enhance riparian vegetation.
Holes in Your Root Crops?
Management for Cabbage Root Maggot
Damage to root crops this season? We asked KBFA’s expert advisor Linda Gilkeson for her advice and management strategies for Cabbage Maggot that impacts turnip, radish, Chinese cabbage and other smaller Brassicas. According to Linda, there is nothing more effective for than insect netting. The netting has to be in place before the seedlings germinate and the edges have to be in tight contact with the soil, so that flies cannot walk under. Weeding can take place midday with the netting off because the flies lay their eggs at dusk. ProteckNet can be purchased wholesale through Dubois Agroinovation. The 80g weight is ideal for durability and ease of use. How about Biocontrol? The use of nematodes on root maggots isn’t really an option, because it is questionable that they work outside of a laboratory, are extremely expensive, and have to be applied every year.
Workshop: Farm School
Kimberley: August 8 & 29
Join the Kootenay Livestock Association for a farm school at Apple Quill Farm to learn how to successfully produce food in a forest environment. Don’t miss this opportunity to visit Apple Quill’s incredible and diverse farming operation. Aug. 8: Tomatoes | Aug. 29: Berries. Email to register:
Webinar: Cash Flow 101
Online: August 31
Join this one hour webinar with the Basin Business Advisors for an overview of how to create a simple cash flow plan. You’ll learn some simple tricks for managing your cash to make sure you can always meet your commitments and know how much ‘extra’ money you have.
IN THE WORKS: KBFA FALL 2021 EVENT LINEUP
Field Day: Overwintering Hives
September, Grand Forks
Legendary bee keeper, Liz Huxter, will share over 30 years of experience and knowledge about raising bees locally and overwintering hives. Stay tuned for details.
Field Day: Growing Your Herd Locally
Visit the McCormack Farm to hear from Forrest McCormack about his experiences growing and raising his beef herd through the last decade.
BC PRODUCED PODCASTS & RECORDINGS
Sheep and Goat Producers: Johne’s The Disease and Testing Small Ruminants Webinar
With Dr. Glenna McGregor with the Ministry of Agriculture. Watch here.
PODCAST: Peace River Forage Association “May the Forage Be With You”
NEW Two-part series on “Healthy Soils + Healthy Farmers” Listen here
PODCAST: Waikikahei Ranch from Greenwood “Respect the Beef”
Farmer-produced podcast about regenerative agriculture and local beef production! Listen here
Hawthorn Creek Farm - Castlegar
Article in Country Life in BC
Louisa and Bill Chapman operate a 26 acre market garden near Castlegar. Bill has a doctorate in forest soils and applies this knowledge to agricultural soils. “‘One of the joys and curses of living in this area is that the soil changes every 100 feet — or less,'” says Bill.
Read the article here pg.1 and pg. 2
Cutter Ranch - Fort Steele
Article in BC Local News
Sacha Bentall and Tyler McNaughton of Cutter Ranch in Fort Steele have been producing local food since 2008. By incorporating regenerative agriculture practices, the family farm operation has seen great success operating in the Kootenays.
Read the article here
3 Crows Farm - Cranbrook
Article in Cranbrook Daily Townsman
With a backyard described as a “buzzing, green oasis” the Kimber family has found success with their urban farm. 3 Crows Farm in Cranbrook makes the most of city space with their market garden right in town.
Read the article here
Food Co-op does the Marketing for Local Farms
Article from Country Life in BC
With a reputation for providing fresh and affordable local produce, it’s no surprise that the Co-op receives more than 80 orders per week!
Food Hub Launches in the Creston Valley
Fields Forward Society is launching the Kootenay Farms Regional Food Hub in the Creston Valley. Renovations are currently underway at the 4,000 square foot facility; jamming, bottling, labelling, lot coding and mobile vegetable washing equipment have been purchased. The purpose of the Food Hub is to help Kootenay food and farm businesses to grow and innovate by giving them access to community-based processing equipment and facilities. Contact the Food Hub Manager at [email protected] for more information about how how it could serve you and your business.
Provide Your Feedback: Agriculture and the Columbia River Treaty
Individuals and organizations are invited to make a written feedback submission by September 15 about gaps that may exist in the report: “Columbia River Treaty Discussion Paper: Overview of Agricultural Interests in the B.C. Columbia Basin and Existing Initiatives or Programs.”
This is your opportunity to have your say about future support programs for agriculture. Email your written submission to: [email protected]
2021 Food & Farm Directory!
The 2021 edition of the Central Kootenay Food & Farm Directory is live and print versions can be found around the region. This publication is a great resource for eating locally and learning about what food is produced in your region.
Columbia Basin Climate Source: The Heat is On!
Basin and Boundary communities are experiencing hotter, drier summers and lower summer streamflows. Compared to the 1960s, this region’s average summer temperatures are projected at 2.0 to 2.3 degrees Celsius higher in this decade. Interested to learn more about how our Basin climate is changing? The Columbia Basin Climate Source is your one-stop source for credible climate information.
NEW Program Provides Compensation to Farmers for Ecosystem Services
The Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF) has officially launched Farmland Advantage to support BC farmers and ranchers to improve ecosystem services on their land. Dave Zehnder of Invermere spearheaded this project years ago as a way to compensate farmers for protecting their natural assets while producing food. Read about the journey to Farmland Advantage.
IAF news release
From Paper to Action: Implementing A Food Security Action Plan
The Central Kootenay Food Policy Council (CKFPC) has developed a detailed IMPLEMENTAION PLAN to guide the work of the Food Security Action Plan. The objective is to have people look over the plan, see a role for themselves and become formal or informal partners in making it happen.
See a role for yourself or your organization? Contact the CKFPC
Increasing Housing Flexibility in the ALR
New rules will allow property owners in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) increased housing flexibility, helping farmers and non-farmers support their families and businesses. ALR landowners are now allowed to have both a principal residence and a small secondary residence on their property with a streamlined approval process.
Read the news release
Read the Country Life in BC article