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BSC2009 – Sustainability Trends in Primary Agriculture – Steve Thompson

Steve Thompson from the BC Agriculture Council (BCAC) speaks from a position of representing 12,000 producers and 90% of farm cash receipts in BC.  BCAC aims for a collective set of policies that represent organic, non-organic, large, small producers to assist in provincial agricultural sustainability.

PLOWING AN ALFALFA FIELD BY TRACTOR.Agriculture needs to be a solution provider to sustainability, here are some of the recent trends in sustainability in BC agriculture:

Economics

  • Net farm incomes have declined
  • the introduction of the carbon tax ($9.6M in 2008)
  • input costs of fuel, fertilizer, feed
  • public spending on ag is not keeping up with costs
  • Profit – how do we ensure there is a potential for strong economic returns?
    • Farmer empowerment
    • co-operative marketing systems
    • direct farm marketing
    • farmer’s markets
    • value added production
    • utilization of by-products
    • investment in research

Environmental Trends

  • Access to land and water
    • Tax structure
    • water policies that recognize agriculture as a priority user
    • Land Conservancy
  • ag, urban and wildlife interface
  • Environmental Farm Planning – BMPs
  • Utilize By-products
  • Climate Change
    • Action Initiative
    • Alt Energy –
      • Cogeneration
      • Biomass
      • Biofuel
    • Energy Crop Production

Social Trends

  • Animal Care
    • Farm Animal care council being formed
    • work to proactively and collectively increase awareness
  • Food safety and traceability
  • Ag awareness and education
    • buy local
    • branding BC products
    • ag in the classroom
  • Aging farmers – succession planning?

[ad#200-left]Social reality vs dream

  • high quality safe food
  • environmental stewardship
  • innovators
  • cannot be done with antiquated farming practices

Top Priorities

  • Farm Profits / Business risk management
  • Carbon Tax mitigation
  • Climate Action Initiative for Ag
  • BC Branding

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.