LETTERS: Commited to keeping agrifoods sector growing

Williams Lake Tribune readers are as passionate about local food as other British Columbians.

Editor:

Williams Lake Tribune readers are as passionate about local food as other British Columbians, and with recent articles focussing on growing our agrifoods sector, I wanted to ensure that readers were aware of the B.C. government’s collaborative efforts with farmers, ranchers, and the seafood and food manufacturing sectors to develop policies and programs that encourage agrifoods in B.C.

First off, our collective efforts are working. B.C. set a record for agrifood revenue in 2015 of $13 billion, that’s the highest ever.

That’s a 25 per cent increase since 2010, or put another way, $2.5 billion more in the hands of B.C. farmers and agrifood companies.

To build on that I hosted the B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Conference in November and led more than 300 delegates in discussions how B.C. can strengthen food supply security.

More than 35 experts, including entrepreneurs, tech leaders, distribution and retail company representatives, and research and policy leaders from around North America shared their knowledge how to help maximize productivity, minimize inputs and create greater value from B.C.’s farmland.

The B.C. government applauds the 20,000 B.C. family farms that cover 2.6 million hectares and produce more than 200 commodities, and are doing our best to make sure they operate in a business environment that supports their success.

With more land in the ALR today than when it was created in 1974, and with more than 32,000 net-new hectares added to the ALR since 2001, we recognize the ALR is key to supporting and sustaining food production in B.C., our farming sector, and those who work in it. That’s why the province provides the ALC with $4.5 million in annual funding, and that’s why we modernized the ALC Act and its regulations to ensure the commission has the tools and resources it needs to continue making independent land decisions, help farmers grow their businesses, and support food production for future generations.

I recognize that agricultural impacts were included in the decision making process around Site C, and though 2,774 hectares of Class 1-5 land were removed from the ALR, and another 941 were temporarily removed, I want to assure Tribune readers the Peace will continue to be a key agricultural region in our province. More than 99 per cent of Class 1-5 agricultural land in the Peace region will not be affected by the project, and BC Hydro will take appropriate action to address the ALR lands that are affected, including a $20 million agricultural compensation fund.

Site C will provide more than a century of affordable, reliable and clean power that will keep rates low, support our quality of life, and enable increased investment and a growing economy, including local food production.

British Columbians recognize the importance of local food production and the B.C. Government shares this passion.

Through programs that support local products like our $8 million Buy Local program, to the soon to be running Grow Local program that encourages communities to work directly with their residents in helping grow their own food, to multi-million dollar investments to encourage innovation, stewardship and market growth for B.C. agrifood producers, we are seeing results. 2015 brought record revenues for the sector, and an interest and entrepreneurial spirit around local foods that is the highest ever, and it’s my commitment to keep that spirit, and our agrifoods sector growing.

Norm Letnick

B.C. Minister of Agriculture

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

Just Posted

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

The Fraser River is seen west of Williams Lake from Doc English Bluff Ecological Reserve. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Tsilhqot’in National Government appeals Gibraltar Mines’ permit to discharge into Fraser River

Permit amendments fail to adequately protect the environment and human health, says TNG

The Horsefly Community Hall will be the site of a mobile vaccine clinic March 19, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Six COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open in Cariboo Chilcotin

100 Mile, Alexis Creek, Big Lake, Horsefly, Williams Lake and Tatla Lake

A Williams Lake area family living on Knife Creek Road lost everything to a house fire on Wednesday, March 3. (Photo submitted)
House fire destroys rural family home south of Williams Lake

The Macdonalds built their home on Knife Creek Road about 30 years ago

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Public input sought for B.C.’s police act review

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

Most Read