B.C.'s number one agricultural commodity by value is dairy products; second is farmed salmon.

B.C. food product sales set record

Value of food products growing, but number of family farms flat at 20,000 as new generation eyes other careers

B.C.’s farm and food product industry is growing, even though the number of farmers isn’t.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick hosted farmers and food producers at the B.C. legislature Tuesday to mark B.C. Agrifoods Day and announce that sales of B.C. food products set a record of $12.3 billion in 2014. That’s up 5.9 per cent from the previous year, which was up 3.5 per cent from 2012.

“Local people are buying local products, that’s a big part,” Letnick said in an interview. “Our exports are increasing. We’ve had a record year, just under $3 billion in exports.”

Two thirds of B.C. export sales go to the U.S. China is second with $264 million in sales, and Japan bought $199 million worth in 2014.

“Our number one agri-food product continues to be dairy,” Letnick said. “Number two is farmed salmon, so that might be news to a few people.”

Abbotsford dairy farmer Jared DeJong attended the ceremony and offered a plea to the next generation of B.C. residents to stay with their family farms.

“Today there are many multi-generational family farms where the future is in doubt, as the next generation ponders what they’re going to do with their career,” DeJong said. “We need to not only secure the current generation of young farmers, but also attract new bright young talent to agriculture and into the thousands of key agriculture jobs across the province in the years to come.”

With family farms and new farmers, is B.C.’s farm base growing?

“We’re holding our own,” Letnick said. “We’re at about 20,000 farm families, which has been pretty steady. There are about 55,000 people employed in agriculture and agrifoods, again that’s pretty steady. We are seeing higher productivity on the land, so that helps.”

He said the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement bodes well for B.C. It proposes phasing out tariffs in Asian countries on B.C. salmon, halibut, herring, crab, geoduck, blueberries, fresh and frozen vegetables, pork and icewine.

 

Just Posted

Bulkley Valley tourist industry adjusts to salmon closure

Businesses maintain philosophy of cooperation and enthusiasm as tourists begin arriving in Smithers.

Northwest family doctors win awards for B.C. launch of CHANGE Program

Northwest family doctors win awards for B.C. launch of CHANGE Program

Employer health tax may strain local governments

RDBN on the hook for an extra $24,000 by 2020

UPDATED: Horgan says B.C. defending its interests in Trans Mountain pipeline

Canadian finance minister’s update comes the same day Kinder Morgan shareholders plan to meet

Houston working around the clock to address flooding

River Forecast Centre upgrades advisory for Houston

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Most Read