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

Police seek Hedley prowler

Mischief takes place at night

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Neighbours ‘save the day’ when Jeep starts on fire

Damage could have been much worse if neighbours hadn’t pitched into help with Jeep fire in Keremeos

Okanagan wineries back to business as usual

“It’s business as usual,” said Jeff Harder, owner of the Lake Country winery, Friday morning.

Region takes a leading role in film

Okanagan Film Commission shines in 2017

President praises nearly 1,800 volunteers at B.C. Games

Ashley Wadhwani sits down with the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games President Niki Remesz

Snowfall warning, travel advisory in effect for Coquihalla

Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt to receive 10 to 20 cm of snow Sunday

Police watchdog probes B.C. man’s taser death in alleged parental child abduction

Independent Investigations Office called in after one male dies

PHOTOS: Harnessing diverse abilities on the court at the B.C. Games

Basketball is one of two Special Olympics events at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

B.C. VIEWS: Our not-so-New Democrats don’t rock the boat

Finance Minister Carole James takes the wheel, steers similar course

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canadians all smiles after record medal haul

Team Canada is taking home a record 29 medals from Pyeongchang – 11 gold, eight silver, 10 bronze

‘All of us should be ashamed’: Calls for change after jury finds Raymond Cormier not guilty

Jury acquitted Raymond Cormier in the death of Tina Fontaine after 11-hour deliberation

NHL official from Penticton celebrates milestone

Shane Heyer will officiate his 2,000th NHL game on Feb. 25

B.C. girl hopes DNA drive will help her find birth parents in China

Isabelle Smit, 10, is one of 20 international adoptees from Chongqing looking for DNA samples

Most Read