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

Surrey councillors say halt policing transition as 2,000-plus workers laid off

City of Surrey has reportedly laid off 1,900 part-time auxiliary workers and 140 full-time employees because of the pandemic

‘Shocking decision’: Surrey soccer club won’t offer refunds to 350 teams for cancelled tourney

Registration fees would top $171K for Surrey Mayor’s Cup, called off due to COVID-19

Boundary Bay Airshow latest Delta event cancelled due to COVID-19

Airshow joins the Delta Triathlon, Tour de Delta and North Delta Family Day on list of cancellations

Thousands of ‘PPE’ donated in Surrey, where one care home is ‘preparing for the worst’

SafeCare BC’s Operation Protect drive involves drop-off dates in Guildford

White Rock announces more COVID-19-related changes to parking

Additional, temporary measures about safety, access: mayor

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Captain America joins friendly Abbotsford Spider-Man to take down trash

Local garbage crew bringing smiles to city amid pandemic

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

Most Read