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

Published by 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.