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

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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for east Vancouver Island area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us – maybe

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Victoria city council unanimously voted Jan. 21 to develop a one-time relief fund for businesses hit by vandalism. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
City offers relief funds for Victoria businesses hit by vandalism

Limited relief fund will come from 2021 contingency budget

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read