UFV teams up with Dutch university to host agriculture symposium

When you’re onto a good thing, you like to share it.

The University of the Fraser Valley Agriculture department is teaming up with the HAS Den Bosch University, Netherlands, to present a one-day symposium on the horticulture industry.

When you’re onto a good thing, you like to share it.

The University of the Fraser Valley Agriculture department is teaming up with the HAS Den Bosch University, Netherlands, to present a one-day symposium on the horticulture industry.

Modern technology has changed the way we farm in B.C., says UFV Dean of Trades and Technology Harv McCullough, noting that the agriculture industry in the Netherlands often leads the way when it comes to new technology and farming expertise.

“With this partnership between HAS Den Bosch University and UFV,  we’re hoping to share information and perhaps learn more about how today’s technology can help our farmers become more productive,” he says.  “But it’s not a case of reinventing the wheel; we want to see what technology they are using, how it works, and how it will work for Fraser Valley farmers.”

The symposium, which takes place at Chilliwack’s Coast Hotel on Wednesday, March 23, is open to all stakeholders in the B.C. agriculture industry. McCullough has invited politicians, farmers, university instructors, and people who supply, design, maintain, and deliver farming equipment and technology.

“We are hoping we get representatives from all over the region,” he adds. “This is a great opportunity for anybody associated with the agriculture industry to hear what people are doing in the Netherlands, and how their ideas can be incorporated or modified to work here.”

Key note speaker will be Esther Venneken, a professor at HAS Den Bosch University, Netherlands. She will speak about Greenport(s) Holland, a network that represents a cluster of Dutch businesses related to horticulture including arboriculture and floriculture. The discussion will revolve around local and remote food production, innovative ideas, knowledge, research, development, food technology, exports, and renewable energy.

Other speakers include Ministry of Agriculture production specialist Dave Woodske, and agriculture consultant Christine Koch. Woodske has an MSc degree in Horticulture Science from the University of Saskatchewan and is currently responsible for the nursery, floriculture, and greenhouse vegetable sectors in B.C.

Koch comes from a family of greenhouse floriculture growers — her parents grew greenhouse-grown cut orchids and roses in Langley. During her 12 years with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture she was the provincial floriculture specialist and later senior manager, horticulture industries.

UFV chancellor Brian Minter, who founded Minter Gardens and has a strong background in the horticulture industry, will be the special guest speaker. The day will wrap up with a panel discussion about the agriculture industry in both countries and a closing reception hosted by the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation.

“This is really an excellent opportunity to share ideas with a country that is cutting-edge when it comes to agriculture and horticulture technology and development,” adds McCullough. “We encourage people who are connected to this industry in this region to attend and see what is happening in the Netherlands.”

While the day-long symposium is free to attend, UFV requests that you RSVP if you’re planning to attend, so arrangements can be made for seating and refreshments.  Contact Karen Power at Karen.Power@ufv.ca or call 1-888-504-7441, local 5701.