Support farmers to protect farmland

Government and consumers must support farmers if they are to preserve land for farming in the future says orchardist Steve Day.

Kelowna orchardist Steve Day stands in front of a new block of his apple trees

While not ungrateful for the $2 million provincial contribution toward a replant program—an announcement staged in his orchard Wednesday afternoon—Steve Day says what’s needed to keep agriculture afloat is far more support from both government and consumers.

Standing amongst rows of young apple trees, but with an apartment building under construction in the background on what was once farmland, Day admits that future generations will damn us for putting concrete and asphalt over such good growing land.

But, he says it should not be on the farmer’s shoulders to protect farmland for future generations.

“We should be supported. We’re protecting farmland for the future,” he commented.

Yet farmers have to pay to protect their crop from the weather by buying crop insurance to preserve some income against whatever Mother Nature throws at them, he says.

Farmers have to compete in global markets and at home against fruit that doesn’t have to be grown under our labour laws, with our environmental regulations, he points out.

“We compete against fruit that’s grown cheaper and with less regulation than ours is,” he says.

“If we’re going to grow fruit in Canada and sell it in Canada there needs to be support for a Canadian market,” he adds.

Instead, imported fruit is brought in, even though it’s not grown under the same restrictions, and it competes in the market with locally-grown fruit, which costs more to produce. That results in inadequate returns for Canadian farmers.

B.C. farmers are tied to the Agricultural Land Reserve and have to pay for a government-supported pest control program, the Sterile Insect Release program, instead of it being fully government supported, he noted.

Despite being tied to the land, farmers also have to pay taxes on irrigation to farm it, and then on packing facilities to pack the fruit, while growers in other countries receive subsidies for such services.

Most people go to the grocery store and pick out their produce based on its price, but if they only bought B.C.-grown fruit, it could have a huge impact on local farmers—and the farmland they are protecting, he said.

The Day family has been farming in Kelowna since the 1800s. Steve Day’s grandfather came to Summerland in 1884 and moved to Kelowna some years later.

Currently, Steve and his brother and mother farm 120 acres on Byrns Road in Kelowna.

Other members of the Day family still own and operate farms in other parts of the city.

“It’s in your blood. It’s who you are,” commented Day, explaining why he still farms, even though the returns are low.


Just Posted

World Down Syndrome Day: The up side of Down

A Kelowna family’s journey with Down Syndrome: ‘There is tremendous beauty in these kids’

Kelowna cops crack down on drivers using cell phones

Drivers caught talking or texting behind the wheel now face a fine totalling $543

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

West Kelowna mayor meets finance minister to protest speculation tax

Doug Findlater presents Carole James with booklet of info outlining tax’s impact on his city

Kelowna celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

More than 50 people gathered in Kelowna to bring awareness to diversity and difference

Crook’s Corner

Arts and entertainment highlights this week across the Okanagan

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

Rockets’ Foote a finalist for top WHL D-man

Cal Foote named the Western Conference top defenseman; Foote and Dube named all-stars

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Shots fired in Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP are investigating a report of shots fired and a possible explosion at a trailer court

Most Read