Industry upheaval leaves grower association in the red

Uncertainty and upheaval in the tree fruit industry, along with government cutbacks, is pinching agricultural associations.

Upheaval and uncertainty in the tree fruit industry are reflected in industry organizations, as the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association deals with a budget shortfall that was even more than budgeted for last year.

BCFGA general manager Glen Lucas says this year’s budget, to be presented to members at the 124th annual convention Saturday in Penticton, will be a break-even budget for 2013, but he’s not sure how much they’ll be able to accomplish under such restrictions.

Changes in the membership of the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative, where most of the BCFGA members’ annual dues are checked off, has been part of the reason for the reduction, along with government programs which the grower lobby group has administered for government in other years, for a fee.

The BCFGA will administer the government replant program too, which begins this year, but Lucas said there’s a shortage of fruit trees for growers to replant, so funding from that quarter could be less than expected as well.

Import restrictions on trees from Europe has the replant program scrambling to find stock.

“Some growers may not find the trees to do particular replant projects,” said Lucas.

There’s lots of interest from growers in investing in replanting to new varieties, with some assistance from senior governments, but the actual replant may be 10 to 15 per cent below projections because of a shortage of stock, he said.

As far as other programs are concerned, Lucas said government is backing away from programs that normally would be available to stabilize the industry in uncertain times, so the BCFGA also feels the pinch.

Organizations such as the Canadian Horticulture Council are in similar positions, he added.

The BCFGA had budgeted for a $17,000 loss last year. Lucas wouldn’t elaborate on how much it actually was, but said that would be presented to growers at Saturday’s meeting.

The annual meeting has been reduced to a single day this year, so members will have a lot of issues to deal with in a short period of time, including whether growers should form an Apple Research and Promotion Agency to gather funds from all growers to put toward those services.

They would be funded through check-off levies to ensure that every grower fairly contributes to mutually beneficial projects.

A vote will be held on whether to hold a grower vote on forming ARPA, said Lucas. It’s a vital vote which he is very hopeful will be approved by the membership.

Growers will also hold elections on their executive for the coming year. Both Fred Steele of Kelowna and Jeet Dukhia of Vernon have been nominated for president, while Dukhia and former president Joe Sardinha of Summerland have been nominated for vice-president.

Although Kirpal Boparai of Kelowna was elected president last year, he resigned last month, so vice-president Dukhia is serving in that post at present.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

Just Posted

Kelowna Gospel Mission serves annual Christmas dinner

Between 700 to 800 meals were served Saturday to the community

The Paperboys visit Kelowna

Check out the Rotary Centre for the Arts Jan. 27

Let it snow in Kelowna

Snow is in the forecast for this week

Photos: Adventuring in Stuart Park

Have you seen Friday’s edition of the Capital News? Check out the photos featured

Rutland students help less fortunate

At Rutland Senior Secondary, students are helping the homeless this holiday season

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

Kamloops RCMP warning public to stay away from unfolding domestic dispute

The public is being asked to avoid Sabiston Creek Road off of the highway

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Lind nets three in Rockets win; Dube and Foote named to Canada’s roster

Kole Lind returns from national junior camp to lead Rockets to victory in P.A.

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Most Read