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

Missing blood python named Nexxus returns home

‘He was just chillin’ like the villain he is,’ says owner after snake went on adventure in Chilliwack

Chilliwack FC hires Mark Lillicrap to oversee COVID return-to-play guidelines

Lillicrap will serve as CFC’s first-ever Health and Safety Officer

Huge month for Chilliwack real estate in July

Average selling price up 12 per cent with sales numbers not seen since boom of 2017

OPINION: Grade school students don’t have a voice during COVID pandemic

As adults weigh pros and cons of returning kids to school, is anyone asking kids what they think?

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic hihg-water levels that halted migration runs

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

COVID-19 exposure at Surrey rave prompts warning from Fraser Health

Party was held at Royal Beauty Supply in Whalley

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read