Trees on Farms in British Columbia

This week’s release of the 2016 Census of Agriculture data provided an opportunity to check up on the use of trees on British Columbia (BC) farms for production and conservation. Unfortunately, there are no statistics gathered to help us determine what management systems are employed. Hence, the numbers presented here represent the use of trees in a blend of conventional horticulture, farm forestry and agroforestry.

Continue reading “Trees on Farms in British Columbia”

New ALR Tree Planting Rules Gets it Right

I’m skeptical of most government policies. And I can be guilty of viewing most compromises as deals that are bad for all involved. But I was pleasantly surprised with the balance and good judgement that has been shown in the new regulations governing tree planting on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in British Columbia (BC).

Under the new regulations, property owners in the ALR will need to apply to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to plant trees on properties larger than 20 hectares, if those trees are not intended for an accepted ALC farm use such as food production or agroforestry.

Continue reading “New ALR Tree Planting Rules Gets it Right”

New Home for Agroforestry BC Archives

It was my pleasure from 2004 to 2013 to facilitate the now defunct BC Agroforestry Industry Development Initiative. Which was also known as the ‘BC Agroforestry Initiative’, or simply ‘Agroforestry BC’ .

Until last month an archive of the projects completed under the Initiative were hosted on www.agroforestry.info. In a move of pure frugality I have shifted hosting to Google’s Blogger platform here:
http://agroforestry-update.blogspot.ca/

Here’s to keepin’ the agroforestry revolution alive in BC.

Ecological Services Initiative Review

Ecological goods and services (EGS) are the natural outputs and processes that create health, economic or social benefits. In British Columbia, as in many other jurisdictions, agricultural operations tend to occupy portions of the landscape both high in biodiversity and supporting key ecological functions. Agricultural lands have therefore become a focus for the development of payment for ecological services (PES) programs. These are used as a means to reward private-land stewardship that restores or maintains EGS.

The Ecological Services Initiative (ESI) was established in 2009 to demonstrate and test the concept of PES schemes for agricultural producers. As a next step to advance support of EGS from agricultural lands, the British Columbia Agricultural Research and Development Corporation (ARDCorp) undertook a strategic review of the ESI. This review explored options for the future support of EGS from agricultural lands in BC.

UPDATE: The Ecological Services Initiative is now known as the “Farmland Advantage” Project.

Access the review here.

AEI-GF2-ARDCorp logos and text

Nutrient Management Planning for Ranchers

The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture is sponsoring a research project to help better understand the amount of soil nutrients deposited on livestock feeding grounds in the interior of British Columbia. This information will be used to build reference values that can aid ranchers in understanding the carry-over fertilizer effects from manure and feed remnants deposited on seasonal feeding areas (sites used for pasture, hay or other crops during the growing season, and also for feeding, watering and bedding livestock in the dormant season). Through better nutrient management planning, producers can lower the costs for their forage production while minimizing any risk to the environment, through avoiding over application.

Fifty-eight ranching operations from Kelowna to Smithers, and points in-between will allow researchers to access their feeding sites this winter (starting January 2015) to take samples of beef cattle manure and/or feed remnants. These samples will be sent for laboratory analysis to determine the total nutrient content (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and its availability for crop growth.

Those participating in the study will be receiving, free of charge, the results of the analysis of the nutrients deposited on their own ranch, as well as the regional averages.

Expressions of interest to participate in this research project are now closed. Results are expected to be released in mid-2015.

Funding for this research is being provided through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

GF2