Jeff Kooyman (centre) of Westcoast Holsteins listens during a tour of his elite show cattle operation during the 10th annual Chilliwack Agricultural Tour on Friday.

Ag tour shows Chilliwack’s future

Chilliwack’s agricultural diversity was centre stage at a day-long tour last week, sponsored by the Chilliwack Agricultural Commission and Chilliwack Economic Partners (CEPCO).

Chilliwack’s agricultural diversity was centre stage at a day-long tour last week, sponsored by the Chilliwack Agricultural Commission and Chilliwack Economic Partners (CEPCO).

The tour, now in its 10th year, is aimed at highlighting the impact agriculture still has on the community, despite Chilliwack’s continued urbanization.

Agriculture accounts for 29 per cent of the local economic activity, said Ag Commission chair Walter Dyck before the two buses departed Friday morning.

Agreed Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz as she addressed the group during a lunch stop: “This is our bread and butter.”

This year’s tour not only highlighted that activity, but also demonstrated the range of farming operations in the city.

First stop was a farm near Rosedale that is tapping into the specialty chicken and duck market. V&H Joint Ventures, operated by Ken Huttema and Rob Vane, is producing Silkie chickens and a smaller number of broiler ducks. The Silkie chickens have a distinctive bluish skin colour and are popular in Asian cooking.

Down the road at Westcoast Holsteins, Jeff Kooyman was getting ready for the most important dairy show of the year. Westcoast Holsteins is an offshoot of the Kooyman’s 3,000-head dairy operation across the highway, but is focusing on breeding and elite showing.

Although Kooyman jokingly referred the 25-head operation as a hobby, the intent is to improve the herd for genetic purposes and future embryo sales. They’ll be taking 19 cows to show at the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin next month, where last year they sold a cow for $200,000.

At Little Mountain Greenhouses, Marc and Dianne Shane are taking a decidedly local approach. The couple purchased the operation six years ago and have since focused on the local market. Eighty-five per cent of the products Little Mountain grows are sold locally. That includes hanging baskets that are nursed from tiny slips to dramatic hanging displays. Currently, the greenhouse is getting thousands of poinsettias ready for the local Christmas market.

At JMC Farms, the tour group heard how Marc Dalton, a recent graduate of Sardis Secondary, earned a business degree in agriculture and has since joined with his brother to purchase the family farm. They’ve recently replaced their Holstein cows with Jerseys and expanded the operation to 80 from 20 cows.

If there was an unofficial theme at this year’s tour, it was youth. The group included staff and students from Sardis Secondary and Unity Christian School. They were joined by University of the Fraser Valley president Dr. Mark Evered, and Larry Stinson, chair of the UFV Board of Governors.

Stinson, speaking to the group during lunch, stressed the important role the university can play in shaping agricultural research and development in B.C.

That topic was picked up by Tom Baumann who talked about efforts to establish the Pacific Berry Research Centre.

“This is where it’s at when it comes to berries,” said Baumann.

Just Posted

Two more on witness stand accuse former Chilliwack youth leader of sexual touching

BC Supreme Court justice rules similar fact evidence allowed in trial of Codie Anderson

Grand opening set for Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery at Chilliwack

Ribbon cutting ceremony with Molson brass and family members set to celebrate the official opening

East Coast comedian Ron James bringing ‘Full Throttle Tour’ to Chilliwack Cultural Centre

James is at work on the first draft of his first book, ‘All Over the Map’

Multiple accidents on Highway 1 slowing morning commutes

One accident just past 232 Street in Langley, second is just East of Bradner Street in Abbotsford

PHOTOS: Chilliwack Terry Fox Run in the rain

Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits or enthusiasm for the annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Prosecutors to consider charges in human-caused 2017 B.C. wildfire

RCMP forwards results of its investigation into Elephant Hill fire to Crown counsel

Petition to rename park after teen overdose victim to get hearing

With 3,500 signatures so far, organizer is thinking of closing down online campaign

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Most Read