A federal beef packing plant in British Columbia is seen as an opportunity to expand the province’s feeding industry.  |  File photo

B.C. packer study gets funding

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The British Columbia beef industry is conducting a study into the viability of constructing a federally inspected packing plant. Recently announced funds from the provincial agriculture ministry will allow for further consultation. B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced $450,000 in funding at the B.C. Cattlemen’s annual meeting in Smithers earlier this year. […] Read more

South Kamloops rancher Gillian Watt says her llama and Akbash guard dog help protect her sheep from coyotes.  |  Tom Walker photo

B.C. Livestock Protection Program praised

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The Livestock Protection Program that the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association launched last spring has the support of the province’s ranchers. “It’s a good program and a necessity,” said Ian Mitchell, who ranches in the North Thompson area. “I don’t remember my parents talking about wolf problems around the kitchen table 30 years […] Read more

4-H student named to PM youth council

KELOWNA, B.C. — A 4-H member from Penticton B.C., recently named to the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, says one of his priorities is improving access to health care for rural residents. Macgregor Tebbutt is a third year mechanical engineering student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, an 11-year member of the Penticton 4-H club […] Read more

John Church demonstrates a DJI Phantom 3 at the Canadian Bison Association field day near Chase, B.C.  |  Tom Walker photo

VIDEO: Drone use shows promise as ranch helper

Researchers look to ‘precision ranching’ to help cattle producers carry out basic tasks and pasture management

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Research designed to develop drones to help with routine ranch work has been given a $664,000 grant. John Church, Innovation Chair in Cattle Industry Sustainability at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, and his team are working with drones to carry out basic ranch tasks. Those include searching for, monitoring and herding cattle, […] Read more

Lisa and Hans Dueck stand near the on-farm sausage processing machine bought used when their sausage maker retired. | Tom Walker photo

Poultry producers move from mainstream to niche market

Couple sells commercial broiler operation to build abattoir, sausage kitchen as they switch to specialty products

FALKLAND, B.C. — North Okanagan specialty bird producers are helping others to farm and giving their children a business education. Hans and Lisa Dueck moved from commercial chicken production to specialty birds for direct sales to consumers and restaurants. “I bought my first quota from my dad and spent 26 years in the business,” said […] Read more

Bison don’t need a high grain feed ration to produce tender meat.  |  File photo

Grass versus grain finishing debated for bison

Although bison that are grass fed produce meat that is higher in vitamins, the short growing season poses a challenge

CHASE, B.C. — Feeding bison can be a complicated business, a recent bison field tour near Chase, B.C., was told. John Church, B.C. Innovation Chair in Cattle Industry Sustainability at Thompson Rivers University, said it can be challenging to deliver a consistent market weight animal with the nutritional attributes that consumers want. “In my mind, […] Read more

Hops production migrates from Fraser Valley

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — British Columbia’s Fraser Valley was a major hop growing region up until the 1970s. However, growers left the area around Chilliwack because many of the sites were not suitable, said Ian Matthews, production manager at Hops Canada near Kamloops. Several Fraser Valley growers moved to the Yakima Valley in Washington state, which […] Read more

Hops producer aims high in B.C.’s interior

The 240 acre operation on First Nations land near Kamloops is expected to be Canada’s largest hops farm

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A dry patch of river bench land on the outskirts of Kamloops is being turned into Canada’s largest hop farm. “This used to be a horse pasture,” said Ian Matthews, operations manager for Hops Canada. The 240 acres of TK’emlups Indian Band land stretches nearly two kilometres along the North Thompson River. […] Read more

B.C. coupon campaign gives farmers markets a boost

KELOWNA, B.C. — Farmers markets are booming in British Columbia, and coupons and wine are getting the credit. The number of farmers selling at markets has increased from 1,000 in 2009 to 1,400 in 2014, while direct sales increased 11 percent last year from 2014. “We estimate that this is equivalent to an increase of […] Read more

Barry, left, Michael and Irmi Critcher check canola on their Dawson Creek, B.C., area farm. They say they have been witnessing climate-change related effects on their farm.  |  Critcher Family photo

B.C. introduces climate action initiatives for Peace district

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — Climate change appears pretty obvious to Dawson Creek grain farmer Irmi Critcher. “We walked our fields this afternoon and it was just a crust of ice and a skiff of snow, nothing like what we should be having this time of year,” she said. “If we don’t get any of the […] Read more