As I look out over our snow-covered fields across, the fertile Coldstream Valley, it appears to be just another dreary early February day, when winter starts to leave us, bringing the new life of spring to the Valley. But wait, it’s March 14 and the golf courses are supposed to be opening! The crocus, tulips and daffodils are supposed to be breaking through the ground. The early green grass should be dominating the landscape, not snow?? Yes, it appears that the groundhog has cursed us with at least an extra six weeks of winter…
Well if you are a farmer, either a large scale commercial producer or just, a small potatoes hobby farmer, like myself, sometimes the farm just can’t wait for the spring to arrive. On the weekend we had our first thoroughbred baby of the year, a beautiful long-legged filly. As well, my meat chicks arrived yesterday. Those need to be in and out of the brooder house before the laying hen chicks, while the turkey poults arrive in a few weeks. Large operations like the Coldstream ranch, have been calving for a few weeks. Those poor little calves are now playing in the snow and mud instead of the nice spring grass.
Agriculture Is Economic Driver
Agriculture in the North Okanagan region is a huge industry according to the 2016 Agriculture Census. Our region consists of almost 5000 farms that provide almost 15,000 jobs. That makes up 32% of all the Agricultural jobs in BC. These numbers have been steadily increasing thanks to long time operations like the Coldstream Ranch. New farming partners are flocking to the region. Two newer operations are Coral Beach Farms which grows, sorts and packages cherries for international markets and Vegpro International. They recently purchased 700 acres of farmland and will grow salad products. Not only gro, but process in their new 70,000 sq. ft. facility that they will be building on site. Investment from operations like these continue to discover the benefits of our beautiful, fertile region.
The farming industry put over $9 billion dollars, spent on equipment and capital improvements, into the local economy. That generates over $600 million in farm receipts annually and provides employment opportunities with the companies that service the industry.
So, as I lament the delay in springs arrival and the difficulty that this has created for myself and my animals, I take solace in knowing that my little farm operation is part of, and contributes to, such a big and important industry in our area.
Craig Demetrick is Priscilla & Company’s acreage and farm expert. Call him today (250-549-7050) if you are interested in purchasing, selling, or just have questions about the amazing opportunities in the North Okanagan.