Sixth generation dairy farmer Devan Toop talks to attendees at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Sixth generation dairy farmer Devan Toop talks to attendees at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

VIDEO: B.C. dairy farmer says Trump doesn’t understand the industry

‘They need supply management just as bad as we need to keep it’: sixth generation farmer Devan Toop

With free trade between Canada and the U.S. a hot-button issue of late, the mention of Donald Trump on a tour of a dairy farm is like throwing a match in a gas tank.

“Oh, how much time do you have buddy?”

That was sixth generation Chilliwack dairy farmer Devan Toop when asked how concerned he was about Trump’s comments about supply management amid ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations between Canada and the U.S.

Trump has called Canada’s dairy system a subsidy and an example of Canada’s unfair trade practices.

• READ MORE: Trump attacks target Canada’s supply-managed dairy system

“I really wish that he truly knew the source of the problem,” Toop explained briefly on the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour on Friday in between questions about his animals and his high-tech robotic milking apparatus.

“It’s all politics. He just turned Wisconsin into a red state and he’s trying to give them something.”

Attendees visit with the cows at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Toop explained that the state of Wisconsin alone milks 1.3 million cows.

“There is one million cows in all of Canada,” he said, pointing to the over-production of American dairy farmers, which leads to dumping and waste.

(See below for more photos from the tour.)

“The problem with their milk system isn’t having enough places to put it, it is that they are over-producing on such a grand scale. They are dumping milk left, right and centre.”

• READ MORE: Chilliwack dairy farmer responds to Trump’s warning

“He doesn’t know what the real problem is. They need supply management just as bad as we need to keep it.”

Politics, of course, was not the point of the Chilliwack Agriculture Tour, a popular event attended by local politicians and other guests, many of whom work with farmers on the business side of agriculture: realtors, lawyers, accountants, bankers.

The event is a reminder of just how important agriculture is in Chilliwack, with 67 per cent of the land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and $462 million in gross farm receipts in 2016.

Chilliwack generates the second highest gross farm receipts out of all B.C. municipalities, and it’s growing all the time. That $462 million in 2016 is up from $360 million in 2011 and $253 million in 2006.

Construction in the sector is booming pointing to growth and modernization. In 2017 city hall issued 100 agricultural building permits worth $21.4 million. That’s up from 73 permits worth $13.8 million in 2016 and 55 worth $12.5 million in 2015.

Before visiting Toops Farms and his 310 milking cows, the agriculture tour guests stopped at Poplar Farms in Yarrow. This 25-year-old broiler breeder hatching egg facility has six barns and uses modern technology for ventilation and egg collecting.

After Toop Farms, which has milked robotically since June 28 and is the largest BouMatic Robotics farm in Canada, the tour stopped at the Pacific Dairy Centre, a supplier of equipment to dairy farms across B.C.

Last stop was at Quik’s Farm, a second-generation cut flower farm on Prest Road at Highway 1. Quik’s operates over 10 acres of state-of-the-art glass greenhouses used for year-round indoor growing, and another 20 acres of outdoor field growing.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Dairy cattle at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Dairy cattle at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

City of Chilliwack councillor Chris Kloot visit with calves at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

City of Chilliwack councillor Chris Kloot visit with calves at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Attendees visit with the cows at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Attendees visit with the cows at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Sixth generation dairy farmer Devan Toop talks to attendees at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Sixth generation dairy farmer Devan Toop talks to attendees at Toop Farms on Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

A Toop Farms calf, Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

A Toop Farms calf, Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
UPDATE: West Kelowna fire crews rescue injured mountain biker

The injury took place at the top of Smith Creek Road

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read