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BC Sessional Papers

FIRST REPORT BRITISH COLUMBIA MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE 1976 British Columbia. Legislative Assembly [1978]

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Full Text

  To Colonel the Honourable
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province
of British Columbia.
I have the honour to submit for your
consideration the Annual Report of
the Ministry of Agriculture
for the year 1976
Minister of Agriculture
Ministry of Agriculture,
Victoria, B.C.
  Report of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture
S.B. Peterson
To the Honourable James Hewitt
Minister of Agriculture
It is my pleasure to present the first Annual
Report of the British Columbia Ministry of
Agriculture for the twelve months ending
December 31, 1976.
This report is subsequent to seventy annual
reports prepared under the name of British
Columbia Department of Agriculture. This
document details branch functions and activities
carried out during 1976.1 commend the report to
your attention and consideration.
The year was marked by severe low prices in
some agricultural commodities, particularly beef
and some horticultural crops, while other sectors
such as dairy and poultry kept pace with current
economic trends nationally and internationally. In
general however, British Columbia farm input
costs continued to rise significantly in the face of
decreasing, relatively stable or modest increases
in farm produce prices.
The Ministry's Executive Committee consisting
of your Deputy Minister, Associate Deputy
Minister, and the Directors, continued to meet
weekly to plan the implementation and
administration of Ministry'policies. Senior staff
met once per month to discuss overall Ministry
programs and current agricultural trends.
Your entire staff continued to work assiduously
on numerous Ministry programs designed to
assist the farmer in his fundamental role of
producing foodstuffs in an efficient manner.
Many existing programs continued while other
new ones were implemented aimed not only at
farmers but also at the consumers to increase their
awareness of home grown B.C. quality
agricultural products.
I trust that efforts of your staff in working with
the farmers of this province through Ministry
programs will continue to see British Columbia
agriculture expand in a systematic and
prosperous manner.
Respectfully submitted,
S.B. Peterson
Deputy Minister
page five
1976 Agricultural Review
British Columbia farm cash receipts for 1976
totalled $414.8 million1, an increase of
approximately 6.6 per cent over 1975. The
increase results from greater production and
higher prices for some commodities which offset
the significantly lower returns for others.
Chart I shows the distribution of farm cash
receipts by major commodity areas.
Distribution of Farm Cash Receipts, British Columbia • 1976
$414.8 MILLION
Special crops
& other livestock
Cattle & calves    17.4%
TJoes not include income stabilization payments
page six
Source: Statistics Canada
 L->i\l 1 ltZ>l 1   K^KyL^tUflLJin  1*111 VliJ> 1 1\ 1    WI
British Columbia farmers continued to be
enveloped in a cost-price squeeze where total
operating and depreciation charges rose during
1976 by about ll1/^ per cent from 1975, while
farm cash receipts rose only 6.6 per cent over the
same period. This marks the second successive
year in British Columbia that total net income was
lower than the year previous. Chart II illustrates
the trend of net farm income in British Columbia
during recent years.
British Columbia Net Farm Income
Source: Statistics Canada
1 c*n
page seven
 In spite of larger gross income, significantly
increasing input costs resulted in a marked
erosion of net farm income.
Statistics Canada reports that the 1976 farm
input price index (Western Canada) rose to 229.4
(1961 = 100), indicating a sharp increase from the
previous year. By comparison, the index of farm
prices of agricultural products in British Columbia
rose less rapidly to 216.3 (1961 = 100) which
further exhibits the increasing cost-price squeeze
in the farm sector.
Chart III illustrates agricultural economic trends
occurring in British Columbia and Western
Canada in recent years.
Agricultural trends
Source: Statistics Canada
Farm Input Price
attfj&R* '
West. Canada M^^
M    ^^^^
Indices of Farm
Prices of Agricultural
Products - B.C.
page eight
 Recorded statistics indicate that 1976 receipts
from cereal crops in British Columbia decreased
slightly from 1975 levels. Despite excellent yields
per acre and increased acreage in some crops,
dramatically lower prices per unit resulted in a
total reduction in receipts of about 5 per cent from
1975 levels.
Combined receipts for all horticulture crops
showed an increase of approximately 15 per cent
due significantly to the very large 1975 apple crop
which was sold into 1976. However, the apple
sector, representing the bulk of the British
Columbia tree fruit industry, faced extremely low
per unit prices for the 1975 crop in the face of a
large world surplus. The 1976 apple crop once
again was very large and at year end was being
sold at more favourable prices.
British Columbia agricultural input costs, which
are influenced by economic forces outside the
sphere of this industry, continued to be higher
than those of competing countries. Inflexible and
obsolete import tariff policies, particularly for
horticultural products, encouraged the
importation of lower-priced commodities, to the
detriment of British Columbia markets.
Consumer Price Index - Vancouver 1976
Prices for slaughter cattle and calves continued
very low during 1976, resulting in a further
decline in total receipts from the already
depressed 1975 levels. This critical combination
of beef surpluses and low prices is a world wide
phenomenon in the beef industry. Prices for
calves and yearlings which constitute a major
portion of the B.C. livestock industry, continued
to be at unacceptably low levels during 1976.
Ranchers, forced to reduce their herd inventory
during 1976 in the face of low prices and high
feed costs, artificially escalated the total cash
receipts to a higher level than normal at the
expense of reduced inventory and investment.
Hog prices were satisfactory during the first half
of the year but declined during the last half,
resulting in a total reduction of cash receipts
during 1976. The dairy, egg and poultry meat
industries showed increases in returns since
producer prices were more directly related to
production cost indices.
Statistics Canada data indicates that the 1976
consumer price index for all items in Vancouver
was 9.7 per cent higher than the 1975 index
(1971 = 100). Individually, the food component
contributed the lowest proportion of the
increased index as shown in Table 1.
Per Cent Change from 1975
All items
+   9.7
+ 17.7
+ 12.3
Health and Personal Care
+   9.4
Tobacco and Alcohol
+   7.4
Recreation, Education & Reading
+   6.7
+   6.4
+   4.0
There were no new Acts or amendments to
legislation introduced in 1976. However,
regulations were put forward under a number of
Acts, thus introducing new aspects of certain
programs. During 1976, the British Columbia
Sheep and Wool Marketing Commission was
established under the Natural Products Marketing
Act. Under the Farm Income Assurance Act, new
programs were established for sheep producers
and blueberry growers. Metrication was also
implemented in British Columbia's milk industry
during the year.
Branch Reports
Activity continued high on all Ministry
programs as described on the following pages. It
is worthy of particular note that the Provincial
Land Commission was transferred to the Ministry
of Environment during 1976. The Ministry of
Agriculture will continue to liaise closely with
Provincial Land Commission activities by
providing technical assistance related to the
administration of the agricultural land reserves.
The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to
administer the farm land leasing policies of the
page nine
Executive Officer
The Executive Officer is responsible for the
administration of Fairs and Exhibitions and
Farmers' and Women's Institutes. The number
of fairs/exhibitions totalled 54 and there were 87
Farmers' Institutes registered in 1976.
A total of 75 Orders-in-Council were
processed. Legislation amendments were
proposed and finalized for submission to the
Legislature in 1977 regarding the following Acts:
Soil Conservation Act, Milk Industry Act, Farm
Income Assurance Act, Plant Protection Act,
Veterinary Medical Act, and Agricultural
Produce Grading Act. The Executive Officer sat
on many committees, functioning as Secretary
for the B.C. Fairs' Association, B.C. Farmers'
Institute Advisory Board, Senior Staff meetings,
B.C. Food Advisory Council and B.C.A.S.C.C.
Local agricultural fairs give city dwellers an opportunity to
become more familiar with agriculture activities and
businesses in their community.
page ten
 Special Services
The record level of milk production achieved in
1975 was maintained during 1976. It is estimated
that total production will again exceed one billion
pounds. The levelling trend in production reflects
the capability of the Canadian Dairy Commission
to control production through the application of
subsidies and levies. The number of approved
B.C. dairy farms is 1,267, which is a decrease of
70 during the year, compared to decreases of 26
in 1975 and 44 in 1974.
Seven-Year Production/Fluid Utilization Summary for Milk Board Areas
Approx. Millions of Pounds
Per Cent of
Per Cent of
528        j
1976 (est.)
During 1976, British Columbia dairy cows produced about
445 million litres of milk. About two-thirds was consumed in
B.C. as fluid milk while the remaining one-third wasprocessed
into dairy products such as butter, ice cream, cheese, powder,
and other products.
page twelve
Fluid milk sales increased by 0.8 per cent
during the first half of the year. This is in contrast
to the 0.8 per cent decline experienced during
1975. Butter production increased by 6.8 per
cent to 6.4 million pounds. Cheddar cheese
production remained the same as in 1975 at just
under 3.5 million pounds, and ice cream sales
were down 11,000 pounds or 2.8 per cent due to
the inclement summer weather.
Farm cash receipts from dairying are estimated
to be $107 million. Adjustment of federal subsidy
payments on the Market Share Program
scheduled for March 31, 1977 contribute to
uncertainty of this figure.
The dairy policy implemented by the Canadian
Dairy Commission on April 1, 1976 resulted in
less market share quota (M.S.Q.) being available
to milk producers. Th e former annual M. S. Q. was
allocated monthly and the over-quota levy
increased to $8.60 per cwt. from $4.00 per cwt.
These policy changes depressed production
unduly and on October 19, additional M.S.Q.
was allotted in an attempt to assure an adequate
supply of manufactured dairy products.
The milk quality program was continued
through farm premise and plant inspections as
well as product analysis performed by the Dairy
Laboratory. All field staff are now equipped with
portable temperature recorders to assist in
checking the performance of cleaning and
cooling equipment. A milk quality study to
determine the amount of water contamination
was undertaken and completed.
The branch continued the development of a
Provincial Mastitis Control Program. By means of
a screening test, the Dairy Laboratory identifies
the problem herds. The field staff then advise on
equipment and procedural adjustments required
to remove stress and improve sanitation. The
Veterinary Branch provide pathological
identification and control recommendations.
Metrication of the dairy industry is proceeding
on schedule with some of the approved retail
metric sized containers now available to the
consumer. Branch personnel have been
instrumental in organizing the advance
preparation of metric charts for all farm-holding
tanks. The metric system will be implemented
early in 1977 to calculate farm milk sales.
Branch personnel, in consultation with the
Engineering Branch, were responsible for the
identification of a fabrication defect in two milk
tank models produced by a major manufacturer.
Corrections were made to a substantial number
of tanks by the company under branch
The levy paid by producers into the Dairy
Products Promotional Fund was increased at
mid-year to five cents per cwt. to provide more
intensive dairy product advertising.
DATE Program
The DATE (Demonstration of Agricultural
Technology and Economics) program continued
to provide an excellent means of supporting
projects aimed at demonstrating advances in
agricultural technology. Separate reports are
available for the years 1974, 1975, and 1976
which give summary information on
achievements of each project. To date, over 50
A technique was developed to rapidly detect the presence of
Little Cherry diseases in trees. The cherries on the left show
disease symptoms.
page thirteen
projects have been activated under this program,
some of which have demonstrated such
promising results that higher levels of activity are
being funded through sources other than, the
DATE program.
Projects that merit special note are:
— The continuation of rangeland development
projects to demonstrate higher forage
production potential
— The development of a heavy-duty rangeland
cultivator to commence on a program of
rangeland rejuvenation
— Development of a technique for rapidly
detecting the presence of Little Cherry virus
which has the potential to wipe out the cherry
industry in the Okanagan if infected trees are
not removed
— The development and registration of a clover
species, particularly adapted to the growing
conditions in the Lower Fraser Valley
— The continuation of tax and estate planning
information series for B.C. farmers
— Making equipment available for detecting
mastitis in dairy herds
— The design of a commercial vending
machine for B.C. apples to make the product
more available to local consumers
— A study of virus disease occurrence within
poultry flocks
— The activation of projects to determine
benefits or irrigation and various irrigation
techniques in the Central Interior
— The start-up of an insect biological control
program on commercial orchards in the
Okanagan to minimize the use of chemical
— The support of a program to make
consumers, primarily at the school level,
aware of sophisticated food production
techniques used by B.C. farmers
Information on any of the above projects, plus
the many others that have been funded, can be
obtained by writing to the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Engineering Branch continued to provide
engineering advisory services to the agricultural
industry in British Columbia during 1976.
Programs were carried out in drainage, irrigation,
farm buildings, waste management, farm
mechanization, and land development from the
branch's four office locations: Victoria,
Abbotsford, Vernon, and Prince George.
A strong demand continued for planning
assistance on land development work involving
feasibility studies and topographic surveys to
improve drainage on some 4,000 acres of land.
Most of these improvements were financed
through the Agricultural Land Development Act.
A new drainage outlet program to provide
engineering and partial funding of improved
The Engineering Branch provides farm building and planning
advisory services to assist in constmcting buildings such as this
modem dairy bam.
page fourteen
drainage outlets for groups of farmers, is starting
to be used on a wide scale. Funds from the Fraser
River Protection Agreement and ARDA are used
to finance these projects.
The number and size of irrigation schemes
continues to increase to meet the demands for
forage production in the Interior regions of the
province. Engineering, consisting of individual
farm design, feasibility studies and checking the
adequacy of commercially designed plans was
carried out for 207 farmers involving 7,910 acres.
Irrigation of this acreage has the potential of
increasing forage production in the province by
some 20,000 tons.
Over 400 farmers and ranchers took
advantage of the farm building planning advisory
service. On-site farmstead planning and full use of
complete blueprint drawings are main features of
this program. With planning assistance now
available in most regions of the province, the
branch's advisory service plays a major
leadership role in the $25 million per year farm
building construction industry.
The Waste Management Advisory Service
provided farmers and ranchers with up-to-date
technical advice on waste management systems
including collection, storage, handling and
disposal of wastewaters, manure and dead
animals. In addition, the service carried out
co-ordination and technical support for the B.C.
Agricultural Environmental Control Program.
Through this unique program, the farmers in the
province have been given the opportunity to
police their own sanitation and pollution
problems. The program is a complaint-oriented
system, through which an attempt is first made to
"educate" a solution to farm waste management
problems, but by which a solution may be
"regulated" if necessary. Guidelines prepared by
the branch form the basis for evaluating the
adequacy of a farmer's waste handling practices
by other producers.
Mechanization continues to play a vital role in
all aspects of agricultural production. The
branch's mechanization advisory service covers a
broad range of items including general farmstead
mechanization, storing and feeding of forage, fruit
and vegetable harvesting, grain harvesting and
drying, equipment maintenance and spare parts
supplies. In response to the need for increased
production of high-quality forage to support an
expanding livestock industry, projects have been
initiated on range and pasture reseeding. Of
notable interest is the equipment development
project for reseeding Interior rangeland to
re-establish stands of bunchgrass.
Several special assignments and projects were
handled during 1976. Notable among these
include apple vending machines, a silo safety
program, aeration of swine manure for odour
control, trickle irrigation trials, Coldstream Creek
pollution problems, irrigation of municipal
sewage, and community pasture development.
Others include Serpentine-Nicomekl flood plain
development, hosting of the Canada Plan Service
annual meeting, and preparation of irrigation,
drainage and building plans for all properties
administered by the Property Management
The branch continued to provide insect and
pest control advice. Special programs designed to
minimize the use of pesticides for control were
actively supported.
Cool, wet growing conditions in the Interior
favoured some pests, causing them to be more
plentiful than normal, while other pest species
emerged later or had more prolonged emergence
patterns than normal. Delays in fruit and crop
maturity also complicated pest control
procedures. Aphid populations were high on all
crops. Slugs and snails were also numerous,
especially on vegetable and forage crops. A
prolonged cherry fruit fly emergency and delay in
fruit maturity caused problems in fruit production.
It appeared that the codling moths that
emerged early produced most of the fruit
damage; those emerging later were apparently
unsuccessful in reproducing due to adverse
weather. The ragged emergence of second brood
moths complicated controls, but no increase in
damage occurred due to the lower first brood
survival. European red mite populations
remained at high levels in orchards into August
because of the lack of hot weather. Few
complaints were received on grasshoppers, as
weather conditions kept damage on forage crops
and rangelands below economic levels.
San Jose scale, which had been plentiful during
1975, received extra attention by orchardists
during the season resulting in significantly less
damage to fruit crops. European fruit scale in
some northern fruit-producing areas also
received extra control measures which resulted in
better fruit quality. The leafroller-complex of
pests appear to have caused increased damage in
all Okanagan districts. Resistance to diazinon
sprays has been confirmed for leafrollers in East
page fifteen
 nniiidn columbih jvniviairsr ur numi^uL-iunt:
Kelowna cherry orchards and alternate chemical
controls will be recommended in 1977.
Monitoring of major pest insect species in five
Okanagan apple orchards reduced spray
applications to an average of 2.5, or
approximately one-half the usual applications.
Examinations of harvested fruit showed that fruit
averaged 97 per cent free of all types of insect
damage for all orchards. Most importantly, the
methods used to monitor pest species showed
accurately and dependably when chemical
controls were required.
A monitoring program was continued on eight
commercial pear orchards. Results showed
satisfactory fruit quality was obtained with a
minimum of sprays. However, savings in the
spray program did not appear to compensate for
the costs of monitoring the pests. Monitoring time
for pears is more than twice that required for
apples. The cost-benefit ratio may change in
favour of the program if more of the presently
recommended control chemicals have their
federal registrations cancelled.
Insect sex pheromones and traps were
evaluated for determining insect population
levels and economic control levels of codling
moth, peach tree borer, fruit tree leafroller,
European leafroller, European pine shoot moth,
cabbage and alfalfa Iooper, as well as for surveys
and as a means of providing advanced warnings
to growers.
Cherry fruit fly surveys were continued in the
Oliver-Osoyoos and in the Keremeos-Cawston
areas. New local infestations were found in both
Cattle backrubbers on self-treatment devices
for cattle paralysis tick control were also tested
under range conditions. The co-operative project
with Agriculture Canada on chemical trials for tick
control was continued.
Facilities were completed and operating for the
joint program of rearing and releasing sterile
codling moth as a biological control method in the
Cawston-Keremeos area. Due to late completion,
less acreage than originally planned for was
treated, but it is planned to treat the remainder of
the area in 1977 and beyond. Control in 1976
was excellent and gives additional optimism to
the whole project.
The survey for strawberry mites in the Fraser
Valley continued. Few predaceous mites were
present and control of two-spotted mites with
miticides was erratic. Post-harvest defoliation of
the strawberry plants may hold promise as a
control measure of the mites.
Entomologists monitor pest insect species to determine
correct spray applications by orchardists.
page sixteen
 unjjion K^KjL-uMDin iyum*-> 1 m \jr n^jm*-,vL-iur\L.
Inspection of nurseries was carried out in
respect to regulations governing pine shoot moth
and the sale of pinus. Data shows that nurseries
have a much smaller incidence of shoot moth
infestation than when the program started three
years ago.
The biting fly research program was primarily
concerned with the evaluation of new mosquito
control chemicals and the development of
biological methods of controlling mosquitoes.
Extensive evaluative trials were conducted on
insect growth regulating chemicals. They present
little hazard to nontarget organisms.
A mermithidnematode was found that shows
considerable potential as a biological agent. A
nematode parasite that is being mass-produced in
the United States is presently undergoing
laboratory evaluation for suitability under British
Columbia conditions. An insect that feeds on
mosquito larvae is also being investigated.
Starling trapping in the Okanagan again
demonstrated that local populations of these
birds can be reduced when traps are properly
located and maintained. These traps require
constant attention and thus growers are hesitant
to assume responsibility for the operation. Other
methods of controlling starling damage are being
evaluated, such as electronic systems for
frightening birds and electrocution devices. Bird
marking is being carried out to better understand
the migration and flight patterns of the starlings.
Mouse populations were at peak levels during
the fall-spring of 1975-76, but have returned to
normal levels. Testing of new chemicals and new
techniques against damaging mice species has
been continued. Pocket gopher control plots
have also been established to evaluate
commercial baits. The results of all testing
provides accurate local information on rodent
control and forms the basis on which
recommendations are made for B.C. farmers.
The direction of staff and legislation dealing
with pesticide sale, pesticide application and
pesticide residue analysis, was transferred from
the branch to a separate Pesticide Control Branch
in mid-year.
Pesticide Control
The Pesticide Control Branch was established
in 1976 to administer the Provincial pesticide sale
and use legislation. The principal objectives of the
branch are to ensure that the sale and use of
pesticides in British Columbia is carried out in a
knowledgeable and responsible manner, and that
where pesticides are used that adequate
consideration is given to public health and
environmental concerns.
The branch organizes and conducts training
programs to assist individuals in preparing
themselves for the pesticide applicator and
The Pesticide Control branch ensures that pesticides are sold
and applied safely. The branch also conducts training
programs for dispensers and applicators.
page seventeen
 antnon l,uluivjdi/a ivzu\ioi«r ur rtunn-ULiunn
dispenser certification examinations. Over 50
training sessions were held during 1976 and over
2,500 individuals are currently certified as
pesticide dispensers and 2,000 individuals
possess pesticide applicator certificates. Staff
members continually provide information on the
safe and proper use of pesticides to these
certificate holders as well as to agricultural and
other users.
A total of 195 firms involved in applying
pesticides on a fee for service basis and 675 retail
vendors of pesticides were licenced in 1976.
Firms licenced to sell or apply pesticides are
inspected on a regular basis and large scale
pesticide application projects are monitored to
ensure the requirements of the legislation are
being complied with. The branch endeavours to
investigate and report on all complaints from the
public pertaining to pesticide usage.
The branch also co-ordinates the activities of
the British Columbia Interdepartmental Pesticide
Committee. The committee is comprised of
representatives from the Provincial ministries
responsible for agriculture, environment, fish and
wildlife, forests, and health, and has a
responsibility to review all proposed large-scale
pesticide application projects by public or private
agencies within the province.
The Pesticide Analytical Laboratory carried out
residue analyses on 1,325 samples submitted by
the public and various governmental agencies
during 1976.
Plant Pathology
The Plant Pathology Branch has the
responsibility of providing plant disease control
information for all crops grown in British
Columbia. Staff and laboratories are located in
Cloverdale, Kelowna, and Victoria. During 1976,
over 1,500 plant disease specimens were
examined and diagnosed at the three laboratory
clinics. Demand for this service in the Fraser
Valley is growing rapidly as the urban population
continues to expand.
Surveys for plant diseases were continued to
determine the severity of existing diseases and
also to keep watch for diseases not known to
occur in the province. For example, the spread of
pear trellis rust in the Fraser Valley (a disease of
pears and junipers) is being mapped carefully
each year. Throughout the Okanagan and
Similkameen Valleys, cherry orchards are
inspected annually and trees infected with the
little cherry virus disease are removed. In 1976,
304 infected trees were taken out, 290 of these
being in one Penticton orchard. Other cherry
species or cultivars which are also little cherry
hosts, including Japanese flowering cherries and
trees on the Glen Dale 6 interstock, are surveyed
Onion white rot disease is continuing to spread
in the Fraser Valley. It is now occurring on four
additional bulb onion farms in Cloverdale and
five green onion farms in Burnaby and
Richmond. A total of 12 Fraser Valley farms are
known to have the disease.
Applied research is an ongoing branch activity,
often conducted in co-operation with Agriculture
Canada or one of the provincial universities.
Current projects include an apple scab trial in
Creston, a fairy ring lawn disease fungicide trial in
Kelowna,  and a number of orchard soil
Red Stele infecting strawberry plants is one of many diseases
examined by plant pathologists.
page eighteen
fumigation trials designed to overcome the apple
replant problem. In the Fraser Valley, an
extensive pea wilt control project is underway
together with an onion smut and maggot control
trials. A project undertaken with Agriculture
Canada was successfully completed during the
year in which a new laboratory method was
developed for identification of little cherry
The branch co-operates with other agencies in
order to expand the expertise available to the
British    Columbia    agricultural    industry.
Co-operating agencies include Agriculture
Canada Research Stations in British Columbia,
provincial universities, Canada Department of
Forestry and Environment, and various
agricultural commodity groups and associations.
Throughout the year, in excess of 100 training
conferences, field days and subject matter
meetings were attended and participated in.
Twenty summer students were used to good
advantage in projects concerned with disease
surveys, virus indexing, and research.
Soils Branch activities were concentrated in
five major areas: advisory services to farmers; soil,
feed and tissue testing services; inter-ministerial
resource related activities; administration of the
Soil Conservation Act, and technical service to
the B.C. Land Commission.
Specialist services were provided to a variety
of individuals and agencies. Advisory services
related to soil and agricultural capability
mapping were provided for a soil survey of
Southern Vancouver Island, landform mapping
in the Morice Lake area, preparation of a Soils
Resource Report for the North Thompson River
Valley, and a detailed soil survey of the
Pemberton Valley.
Advisory services to growers were provided in
the Southern Interior, Lower Mainland, and
Vancouver Island areas. Irrigation information
Soil specialists perform many advisory services related to soil
and agricultural capability mapping and soils sumeys.
page nineteen
was prepared for more than 1,000 soil samples
from irrigation workshops and commercial
designers. Drainage recommendations on tile
spacing were provided on 20 farms covering over
1,000 acres (1,000 acres less than in 1975).
Drainage construction was lowest since 1971.
Other advisory services were related to a variety
of soil problems including waste water
The Soil, Feed and Tissue Testing laboratory in
Kelowna, which was transferred from the Field
Crops Branch to the Soils Branch in 1976,
received 12,000 soil samples involving more than
100,000 chemical analyses. This represents a 35
per cent increase over 1975. Feed and tissue
samples increased from 3,700 in 1975 to over
5,300 in 1976, an increase of 43 per cent.
Extension and research activities related to the
laboratory are being maintained by participation
in projects with other branches in the ministry,
Agriculture Canada, and the University of British
Columbia. Approximately 15 per cent of the soil
samples and 35 per cent of the feed and tissue
samples are processed in support of these
projects. Fertilizer and nutrition recommenda
tions based on the laboratory service continue to
be of economic benefit to growers.
Specialists advised the Ministry of Agriculture
relative to inter-ministerial resource problems.
This involved reviewing a variety of
environmental reports, referrals from other
ministries and representing the ministry on
appropriate committees to ensure that
agriculture's concerns will be given adequate
Activities related to the Soil Conservation Act
(SCA) were concerned primarily with illegal
topsoil removal in Agricultural Land Reserves
(ALR). Local authorities (Regional Districts and
certain municipalities) were advised relative to the
SCA. Numerous on-site inspections were made
at the request of local government agencies
regulating topsoil movement. To more
adequately control illegal removal, revisions to
the Act have been formulated and submitted for
legislative action.
Technical services were provided to the B.C.
Land Commission. More than 170 (20 more than
in 1975) on-site inspections and reports were
prepared for properties under appeal to the
The Veterinary Laboratory in Abbotsford provides diagnostic
and disease analysis services to farmers who submit
specimens for examination.
page twenty
In 1976, branch specialists continued
programs in animal disease control, meat
inspection - to ensure the public of a wholesome
supply of meat from provincial abattoirs, and
brand inspection to minimize loss of livestock due
to rustling.
The provincial Veterinary Laboratory strongly
complemented animal health efforts by providing
diagnostic and disease investigational services.
An advanced virus diseases detection program
was further developed. A definitive diagnosis of a
viral disease (Reovirus) in young calves
encouraged the use of a vaccine which proved
very effective. The Aleutian disease eradication
program for the mink industry was continued and
expanded and will result eventually in an
increased number of disease-free mink ranches.
People who submit specimens to the
Laboratory eventually will be asked to pay 25 per
cent of the costs of providing diagnostic services.
Moving towards this goal, it was necessary to
increase laboratory fees substantially this year.
These increased charges have had little effect on
the number of submissions in that the aggregate
total submissions for 1976 was greater than that
of 1975.
Meat inspection activities continued briskly at
the seven provincially-inspected abattoirs in the
Greater Victoria and Fraser Valley areas. A
special low (4 per cent) interest incentive program
was offered to these abattoirs to help upgrade the
plants to full federal standards. It is hoped that
some of the plants will make modifications and
switch to federal inspection in 1977. Several
abattoirs outside of the designated Meat
Inspection Areas requested provincial inspection.
Their needs could not be met within the resources
available, therefore, alternate systems of
providing inspection are being considered.
Charges for meat inspection were increased
substantially to ensure that a fair share of the costs
are borne by the abattoir operators. The current
charge represents less than one-third cents per
pound of inspected meat.
The brand inspection service continued to
monitor cattle movement in the province in order
to minimize rustling losses. For the first time, a
record was made of cattle imported into British
Columbia from Alberta. For the first ten months
of 1976, this figure reached just over 24,000
head. There was an 11 per cent increase in the
number of cattle in the province processed
through licenced slaughterhouses that are not
under provincial or federal meat inspection.
Discussions continued with the British
Columbia Cattlemen's Association to streamline
the brand inspection system in order to reduce
costs of individual brand inspections to be more in
line with the revenue collected. Substantial
increases have been made to brand inspection
fees over the past three years. Further upward
adjustments will be necessary to make this service
50 per cent self-supporting.
Provincial veterinarians at agricultural offices
continued to inspect animals at saleyards to
minimize disease spread. The animal volume
moving through saleyards was similar to that of
There were three confirmed cases of Western
Equine Encephalomyelitis (Sleeping Sickness).
These took place in August and occurred in
individual horses at Revelstoke, Vernon, and
Winfield. The horse at Revelstoke died, while the
other two recovered. Approximately 6,300
horses in the Okanagan-Similkameen area were
vaccinated against the disease.
The staff of Health of Animals Branch,
Agriculture Canada, was involved in the
eradication of two "named" diseases in the
Federal Animal Contagious Diseases Act. There
was a serious outbreak of Brucellosis in the
Vanderhoof area and two ranches had outbreaks
in the Nicola area. In all, 28 ranches were
quarantined for reactors. As of November 26,
there were eight herds under quarantine with
only one herd considered to have an active
Bluetongue was found in cattle near Cawston
in the spring. The number of reactors of this virus
disease was found to be rather extensive and on
June 20, the Federal Minister of Agriculture
imposed a Bluetongue quarantine. This covers
the territory from Hedley to Rock Creek along the
International Border and north to the southern
boundary of Penticton. The federal Health of
Animals Branch reported that to November 19,
26,036 cattle were blood tested with 1,316
reactors found in 146 herds in the quarantine
area. A total of 723 sheep were tested with 13
reactors and 314 goats with 7 reactors. A British
Columbia survey of animals along the
International Boundary was carried out and
4,618 cattle were tested with 67 reactors in eight
herds. Twenty-eight deer were tested and all were
negative, 93 sheep were also negative and of 30
goats tested only one imported animal was a
reactor. The eradication program is nearly
complete and the quarantine will likely end in
early 1977. Ranchers in the quarantine area will
be compensated by the federal government for
losses incurred as a result of the quarantine. It is
evident that there was no active infection
occurring causing Bluetongue in 1976.
Bluetongue is an extremely severe disease in
sheep and has major implications for the export
market. It will be necessary for the Health of
Animals Branch to continue to monitor the cattle
in the area after the quarantine is cancelled.
page twenty one
Youth Development
4-H is an informal, educational, and
recreational program which has as its overall
objective, the personal development of young
people. Membership is open to young people
from 9 to 19 years of age. Clubs are formed
around a wide variety of projects with leadership
provided by volunteer adults. The Youth
Development Branch enrolled 4,305 members
and 840 leaders in 271 clubs during 1976.
During 1976, 4-H members participated in a
variety of travel and exchange programs in
addition to their regular project and club work.
Selected 4-H members participated in
discussions on how Canadian laws are passed,
Canada and her role as a food producer, and 4-H
on a national and international level. British
Columbia hosted the Western Provinces 4-H
Seminar in 1976. Forty-eight senior 4-H
members from the four Western provinces
participated. The theme for the seminar related to
space in the environment and how it is used.
4-H leaders are recognized and assisted in a
variety of ways. In 1976, steps were taken to give
the local 4-H organization more autonomy at
every level of the organization. Through
workshops and conferences, volunteer 4-H
leaders were given the opportunity to improve
their skills in all areas of youth work.
Through activities such as camps, conferences,
activities at fairs, travel programs, and club and
project work, the 4-H program is helping to
develop young people with positive attitudes and
definite goals.
A special project carried out in 1976 by 4-H
members was the installation of silo gas warning
signs on tower silos throughout the province. The
signs and materials for the project were provided
by the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture,
with the Dairy Committee of the B.C. Federation
of Agriculture paying the 4-H program an
installation fee on the basis of one dollar per sign
installed. The money raised went to the British
Columbia 4-H Youth Development Foundation.
This project was developed in response to the
deaths of three Fraser Valley farmers in tower
silos in 1975.
Farm Vacation Program
The British Columbia Farm Vacation Program
administered by the Youth Development Branch,
makes available a listing of farm families that are
prepared to host vacationers. The intent of this
program is to provide host participants with an
additional source of income while, at the same
time, giving urban people an opportunity to learn
about agriculture and food production.
In 1976, over 350 people took vacations on
British Columbia farms and ranches. Vacations
averaged five days for a total of 1,750 vacation
days taken.
International Agriculture
Exchange Program
In 1976, there were 41 I.A.E.A. trainees on
British Columbia farms and ranches. They came
from several European countries as well as
Australia and New Zealand. The program in
general was very well received and is expected to
grow in the future. In the fall of 1976, six young
people from British Columbia travelled to
Australia and New Zealand on the I.A.E.A.
Young 4-H members exhibit their crafts and in this case,
animals during 4-H Club achievement days.
page twenty two
 Production and Marketing Services
The year 1976 will long be remembered by
beekeepers in British Columbia as one of the
worst on record. Throughout the province, bees
were confined for most of the summer as the
result of cold, wet weather which resulted in a 50
per cent reduction in the honey crop. In the Peace
River district, adversity was compounded by
severe winter injury to nectar producing legumes.
A 60 per cent reduction in rapeseed acreage also
affected honey production in the Peace.
Active beekeepers in the province number
4,500, a gain of 535 new producers since 1975.
The number of colonies increased to 51,035 in
1976 from 45,855 in 1975.
The total honey crop during 1976 was
2,750,000 pounds, a decrease of almost 1.3
million pounds from the 1975 crop. This is the
lowest crop harvested in the province since 1967.
The wholesale market for honey was generally
slow although retail sales were good. In recent
years, honey producers from Alberta have been
moving large volumes of honey into British
Columbia and stocking fruit stands and retail
outlets with honey in 30-pound containers. This
honey is usually sold below the price of local
The price of No. 1 white honey in bulk
(660-pound barrels) to the packers ranged
between 40-43 cents per pound. Only about 30
per cent of the honey produced in British
Columbia is shipped in bulk to the packing plants.
The remained of the crop is marketed locally by
producers and producer graders through retail
outlets or on-farm sales. The on-farm price for
honey ranged between 65 and 90 cents per
The cost of equipment and labour continued to
escalate. A new hive with bees cost $127.39 in
1975 while the cost of the same hive and bees
during 1976 was $152.69, a 20 per cent increase.
Honey producers in British Columbia were
given some assistance against bear damage to
hives and subsequent loss of crop. This assistance
was provided under terms of the Beeyard-Bear
Protection Incentive Program which made
provision for financial assistance in the form of
direct grants to honey producers for the
construction of bear-proof electric fences.
Under the Bee-Yard Bear Protection Incentive program
honey crop loss is reduced with the construction of bear-proof
electric fences.
page twenty four
 oniiion <^KJL.ui"iDir\ muiioini urttura^uLiunt
Bee diseases were lower during 1976
compared with 1975 and 1974, although the
number of hives increased in 1976. Colonies
inspected numbered 11,219 compared with
12,213 during 1975.
Chalkbrood, a fungus disease of honeybees, is
causing some concern to honey producers
throughout Canada. This disease has been
endemic in Europe and the British Isles for many
years. Its occurrence in North America has only
been confirmed since the late 1960's.
Producer demand continues strong for
honeybees to pollinate tree fruits, small fruits,
cranberries, legume and vegetable seed crops.
The D.A.T.E. project for wintering honeybee
colonies in a controlled atmosphere building is in
its second year. This work is being carried out in
co-operation with two commercial beekeepers in
the Peace River district.
Because of the possible introduction of the
African-Brazilian hybrid bee into North America,
a honeybee stock control area and bee breeding
program is being established in the Sunshine
Coast and Southern Interior areas. Honeybee
strains which are especially adapted to British
Columbia climatic conditions, will be selected
from stock reared in British Columbia.
This program is particularly significant to the
province's honey producers and holds a promise
of substantial long range benefits to the honey
Development and Extension
Although many Ministry branches deal directly
with farmers, the Development and Extension
Branch staff forms a large portion of
government-to-farmer contact on a person-
to-person basis. The Development and
Extension Branch was engaged in a wide range of
programs of assistance and service to the
agricultural industry during 1976. District
Agriculturists located in 18 district offices in
agricultural regions of the province initiated
numerous district and regional extension
programs and responded to many inquiries from
Development and Extension field staff work directly with
farmers in all aspects of farm activity.
page twenty five
 nmiton i^vi^umnm mmioinr ur rtoraouLiunc
their farm clientele. Inquiries dealt with Income
Assurance programs, the Agricultural Credit Act,
the Agricultural Land Development Act, the Crop
Insurance program, livestock and crop
improvement programs, and other forms of
assistance to primary producers. There were
numerous requests for information on all aspects
of production, marketing and economics of many
farm commodities.
The branch co-ordinated a number of special
studies and projects related to the protection and
development of agricultural resources. Foremost
among these were:
(1) a study of proposals for drainage
improvement in the Serpentine-Nicomekl
flood plain
(2) a project to determine possible health
hazards from direct spraying of treated
effluent from the Vernon secondary
treatment plant on farm land
(3) an ARDA pasture research study
(4) a program to determine demand for
agricultural advisory services on the Gulf
District Agriculturists assisted in many problem
situations such as flooding of the Nechako River
in the Fort Fraser and Vanderhoof areas, surveys
of crop losses due to inclement weather and
outbreaks of livestock diseases.
Regional and district extension programs were
conducted for livestock and crop producers.
These programs included field days, seminars,
short courses, workshops, radio and television
releases, and distribution of newsletters and other
literature providing producers with information
on efficient production techniques. Regional
co-ordinating meetings were conducted to
involve other branches of the Ministry,
Agriculture Canada, the University of British
Columbia, and other agencies in discussion and
planning with regional and district staff. An
increasing number of the more formal training
sessions were developed and conducted in
co-operation with Regional Colleges. The
colleges assisted in organization and provided
facilities. Producers attended training sessions in
forage production, range management, animal
nutrition, animal health, animal breeding, farm
business management,  estate planning, tax
management, general farm economics, and other
subjects related to primary production.
Demonstration work on perennial forage and
corn varieties, soil fertility and livestock feeding
projects using alfalfa cubes and pellets provided
the focal point for many field days and farm tours.
The branch continued its heavy involvement in
regional and local resource management
planning. Field staff were assigned to various
committees to represent the agricultural sector in
co-ordinated planning with other government
Ministries and agencies. These inter-agency
committees concerned themselves with
developing comprehensive local and regional
resource plans, including range, predator
management, land management, community
pasture development, and technical planning for
Regional District Boards.
The branch continued to provide field services
for many ongoing Ministry programs. These
include various livestock Record of Performance
programs, forage and soil analysis and
recommendation programs, Youth Development
programs, weed control, bull control, farm
business management programs and others.
Farm Business Management advisory services
received high priority resulting in increased
farmer interest and participation in management
programs. District Agriculturists were involved in
counselling farmers and in interpreting data from
both the CANFARM business analysis program
and the Ministry's farm management program.
During the year various other aspects of farm
economics were emphasized including estate
planning, business organization, tax
management and the collection of producer
consensus data on costs and returns of various
farm commodities.
The branch also administered the
Federal/Provincial Small Farm Development
Program involving seven advisors suitably
located throughout the province. These specially
trained people worked closely with District
Agriculturists on farm economics programs and
provided intensive counselling to small and
developing farmers. This program is especially
important in British Columbia because of many
small and part-time farmers with marginal farm
income and some off farm earnings.
Farm Economics
The Farm Economics Branch provides
assistance to farm managers and to farmer
advisors in the Ministry who request guidance on
farm business planning or analysis of economic
data for use in business planning.
During 1976, the following information pieces
were    developed    to    provide    business
management resource materials in British
(1) A "Farm Business Management" factsheet
page twenty six
 was initiated and seven issued completed
(2) The "Advisors Guide" to "Taxation and the
B.C. Farmer" was finalized and released
(3) The publication "Sources of Farm Credit in
B.C." was revised and updated
(4) The "British Columbia Farm Business
Management Data Handbook" was finalized
and released in 1976
(5) Information has been compiled for two
television programs entitled "Planning your
Credit Needs" and "How to Apply for
In 1975, the use of the portable computer
terminal and computerized decision aids became
a reality.  Their volume  of use increased
substantially as shown in Figure 1.
Use of Computerized Decision Aids British Columbia • 1974 to 1976
USES 0        100        200      300      400       500
Decision aids currently offered to clients include:
(1) Loan calculator program
(2) Feed formulation and dairy mix program
(3) Cash flow forecaster and cashplan
(4) Machinery replacement planning program
(5) Machinery buy versus custom hire program
600 700 800 900 1000 1100
The branch offers the B.C. Farm Account Book
and the Canfarm record system to British
Columbia farm managers. A comparison of
enrolment for 1976 compared to 1975 is shown
in Table 1. A long term comparison of enrolment
is shown in Figure 2.
Comparison of 1975 and 1976 enrollment on British Columbia
Farm Account Book and Canfarm
Record System
Change as a
% of 1975
B.C. Farm Account Book
Canfarm (V2 and V3)
+ 12%
During 1976, three comparative analysis
reports were published for use by farm managers.
These were:
1975 B.C. Farm Business Analysis Report
1975 B.C. Dairy Farm Business Analysis Report
1975 B.C. Beef Farm Business Analysis Report
During the year, costs and returns were studied
for several commodities with the following reports
being published.
CDS 194 Barley, Rape, Alfalfa, Summerfallow -
Dawson Creek-Rolla Area
CDS 195 Cabbage, Sweet Corn, Lettuce, Potato
Production - Comox Valley
CDS 196 Pasture, Hay, Haylage - Cowichan
CDS 197 Alfalfa, Hay Production - Kamloops
CDS 198 Pollination and Honey Production -
Southern Interior
page twenty seven
Comparison of Enrollment on British Columbia
Farm Account Book and Canfarm Program 1969 to 1976 inclusive
A special study of input costs in British
Columbia compared to Washington State was
carried out. Costs of various commodities were
compiled for use by the Policy and Planning
Service of the Ministry.
In 1976, new computer systems and programs
were developed for:
(1) Calculation of interest reimbursement claims
under the Agricultural Credit Act
(2) Animal feed statistical analysis
(3) Silage analysis project
(4) Agricultural Directory
(5) Soil analysis project
Ongoing projects continued during 1976
included work on 4-H statistics, calf-loss study,
grain quality study, and the B.C. Farm Account
Book project.
Staff training sessions conducted by the Farm
Economics Branch during 1976 included:
(1) two three-day sessions on computerized
decision aids and Canfarm records
(2) a three-day session in October for Farm
Business Management Technicians on the
Canfarm Record System
(3) a one-week session (November) on business
organization and estate planning for
professional staff of the Ministry and officials
of the Farm Credit Corporation
During 1976, the Farm Economics Branch
represented the British Columbia Ministry of
Agriculture on several provincial, regional, and
national committees relating to the work area.
During the year, the branch participated in
meetings of the Canfarm Farm Management
Committee, Canfarm Advisory Committee,
Canada-B.C. Small Farm Development Program
Co-ordinating Committee, ELUC Data Services
Committee, and Western Farm Management
Extension Committee.
page twenty eight
Specially trained farm advisors examine computer printouts to
assist a particular farmer in making his farm management
Field Crops
Field Crops Branch staff is located
throughout the province to provide farmers with
specialized knowledge in livestock feed and range
production as well as other crops such as cereals,
potatoes, oilseeds, forage seeds, and a number of
minor crops. The branch is involved in weed
control by assisting districts with control
Numerous applied research and demonstration projects are conducted as part of
general extension programs in the various
regions. The branch works continuously with
other branches of the Ministry and with other
agencies such as Agriculture Canada and the
University of British Columbia.
The 1976 growing season'was a difficult one
for farmers. Below normal temperatures and
record summer precipitation delayed growth and
maturity of most crops and caused heavy losses in
many   districts,   especially   to   hay   crops.
Fortunately for all producers, the fall weather was
sunny and dry providing a good opportunity to
harvest crops.
Acreage devoted to cereal grains increased
from 293,685 acres in 1975 to 400,000 in 1976.
However, rapeseed acreage dropped from
82,800 acres in 1975 to 35,000 acres in 1976.
Hay production from 625,000 acres was
estimated at 1,700,000 tons. Although 1976
figures were not yet available, imports of alfalfa
hay and straw from Washington State were
reported at 167,823 tons in 1975, an increase of
100,000 tons since 1970. Silage corn acreage
was estimated at 23,000 with an average of 20
tons of green weight per acre. Potato acreage was
11,412 in 1976 compared to slightly more than
10,000 in 1975.
Prices received by farmers were down
considerably in 1976. Perhaps the hardest hit
were the potato growers who had to compete
page twenty nine
with large increases in production and low prices
in the Pacific Northwestern States.
Since British Columbia is a forage deficient
province, major emphasis was placed on forage
production projects. An alfalfa seminar was held
at Kamloops during the Spring to update
Ministry, university, research staff and farmers on
the latest research information as well as focus
attention on research and extension needs.
Alfalfa management demonstration plots were
established at six locations and various forage
variety and fertilizer trials were conducted on at
least 20 other sites. At Pelican Lake (southwest of
Prince George) for example, a soil-test
recommendation for fertilizer produced an
additional $79.80 worth of hay per acre at a cost
of $16.47 for fertilizer. In the Fraser Valley, an
extensive co-operative project was established to
compare common forage mixtures with those
recommended by the Ministry as well as to
compare methods of establishment. With the
co-operation of growers, corn variety
demonstrations were conducted on 21 farms
throughout the corn growing areas.
Range Specialists were heavily involved in
co-ordinated resource management planning
with a special Task Force Committee and other
people concerned in the development and review
of range management units. A number of those
have already been completed and others are
nearing completion. Support was given to the
Engineering Branch in the development of range
seeding equipment and to the Development and
Extension Branch in conducting a number of
educational meetings and tours.
Commercial forage seed production declined
sharply due to unfavourable market conditions
and winter kill of clover stands. Since there is a
general shortage of certified seed of many forage
varieties, a promotional campaign for more
pedigreed seed production is having some effect.
A new variety of Red Clover, "Pacific," was
licenced in 1976. It was produced at U.B.C. with
support from the Ministry and a farm
Weed control also received increased
attention. The policy of grants for approved
programs undertaken by Regional Districts and
Since British Columbia is a forage deficient province, major
emphasis was placed on forage production projects such as
alfalfa seminars, demonstration plots, and other co-operative
projects related to forage production.
page thirty
Municipalities has resulted in active weed control
programs in seven districts. Knapweed control
work in the Southern Interior was directed at a
containment effort to halt the spread to
non-infested sites. Of prime importance is halting
the spread along all corridors leading to the
Cariboo region. Weed research and
demonstration trials included 62 projects on a
wide variety of field and horticultural crops.
In the Peace River area, the branch has
conducted a grain quality study for the past four
years. Some 600 samples have been collected
each year along with production data. The
samples are analyzed for protein and moisture
content. The results will be published when data
processing is completed in 1977.
Work also continued on the U.S.A.-Canada
Large Area Crop Inventory Experiment, a remote
sensing project near Dawson Creek. A project
was also initiated in 1976 to determine the
acreage of Creeping Red Fescue using remote
sensing techniques. In co-operation with the
Beaverlodge Research Station, a 1,000 plot
cereal variety test was conducted near Dawson
Seed potatoes produced by growers in the
Seed Potato Control areas of Pemberton and the
Cariboo are in widespread demand. The very
successful virus-free program controlled and
administered by Agriculture Canada has resulted
in increased sales of seed stocks to both the
domestic and export markets. Regional variety
trials were again conducted at four locations as
well as several fertilizer trials. Two part-time
inspectors continued to check imported potatoes
for Bacterial Ring-Rot.
As in previous years, the staff was actively
involved in many extension programs, field days,
and inter-agency resource meetings. A number of
new publications for growers were issued dealing
with fertilizers, crop recommendations and
The Horticultural Branch activity during 1976
was largely responsive to the economic stress in
many horticulture sectors and increased
involvement with land use programs.
On the coast, the 1976 growing season was
generally poor for crop development.
Abnormally cool, cloudy and wet weather
delayed planting and subsequent growth of most
crops. However, excellent fall weather saved
many crops from ruin and allowed for normal
harvesting activities.
Weather also was the dominant factor affecting
horticultural crops in the British Columbia interior
during 1976. Following a mild winter, average
The largest crop of apples since 1946 was turned out in 1976,
amounting to approximately 8.5 million boxes.
page thirty one
temperatures were lower than normal in all
months from March to August. The fall was
relatively warm and dry but this came too late to
cause much improvement in heat-loving crops. It
did save the grape crop but quality was marginal.
Tree Fruit Crops
The apple crop was slightly larger than the
1975 crop, out-turning 8.5 million boxes
(shipped to the selling agency) and well over 9
million boxes total when non-agency sales were
included. This is the largest crop since 1946.
Higher prices than prevailed last year are being
The Bartlett pear crop suffered severely from
the cool, wet August. Although the set was the
heaviest in years, other growth problems
developed causing heavy cullage and forcing the
marketing agency to sell the crop in a short period
at lowered prices. Anjou pears were smaller than
usual but sales are good.
Despite adverse weather the main peach crop,
estimated at 34 million pounds, was of good
The sweet cherry crop was reduced by 10 to 15
per cent below the large 1975 crop by rain
splitting which affected cherries north of
The apricot crop was close to last season in
volume. Quality problems developed as a result
of cool, damp weather.
The prune crop was similarly affected. Prices
were down.
The grapes were among the crops most
seriously affected by the cool summer. A late
bloom was followed by a good set and estimates
as high as 14,500 tons were given. At the end of
August, sugar levels were below 10 per cent in
many vineyards and many blue grapes north of
Penticton had not turned colour. The warm
September weather greatly improved this
situation but not in time to save the low-sugar,
heavy-crop vineyards in the Kelowna-Vernon
areas. In December, a special government
purchase plan was set up to assist growers.
Berry Crops
The berry situation in British Columbia
brightened considerably in 1976 as prices were
much firmer than in 1975 due to adverse weather
in Mexico.
Strawberry plants in all areas survived the
winter in good condition. The 1976 price was set
at 34.5 cents per pound for processing berries
compared to 28.5 cents per pound in 1975. Fresh
fruit prices averaged 40 - 50 cents per pound for
picked berries and 30 - 50 cents per pound for
U-Pick sales.
Raspberries did fairly well in 1976 with the crop
responding to the cooler summer months.
Botrytis was somewhat of a problem as a result of
light showers during the harvest period.
Raspberry acreage decreased by 200 acres in
1976. Farm sales of fresh raspberries increased
significantly at firm prices in all areas of the
province. This was directly attributable to the
promotional program sponsored by the
Horticulture Branch, the Marketing Branch, and
the B.C. Raspberry Growers' Association.
Blueberries did poorly in 1976 as prolonged
rainy weather during the harvest season
encouraged the incidence of botrytis. Most
blueberry growers have joined the B.C.
Blueberry Co-operative and as members are
sntitled to participate in the provincial Blueberry
Income Assurance Plan which came into
existence in 1976.
Cranberries were only affected slightly by
weather conditions and a near normal crop was
harvested. Fruit set was good and the berries
sized and coloured well. Marketing of the crop
seldom presents any problems as production and
marketing of the major portion of the cranberry
crop is controlled by Ocean Spray Incorporated.
Loganberry production is confined to
Vancouver Island. The acreage continues to
decline and is now down to approximately 32
Vegetable Crops
Both production and quality of vegetable
crops, with the exception of peas and mid-to-late
potatoes, were impaired due to slow growth,
disease problems and late maturity. Late starting
sales caused growers to lose marketing advantage
over vegetables from the Prairies, as well as the
early local sales. Sales of fresh market vegetables
were also reduced by extensive consumer
shopping in Washington State.
Branch projects included: standard variety
trials for cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, and
onions; acreage surveys for transplanted lettuce,
celery, cauliflower, and green onions; a
comparison of a peat-like mix with a grower's soil
for growing celery transplants; familiarization in
the greenhouse with the fluid drilling of "chitted"
seed of onions and lettuce; liaison with Simon
Fraser University staff on a comparison of costs
of shed packing celergy versus field packing.
The process vegetable industry began 1976 in
distress. Low priced imports flooded our markets
because of over-production and lower costs of
production, particularly in the United States. A
reduction in inventories brought about by poor
crops in British Columbia and the United States,
and substantial wage increases in several
page thirty two
American processing plants, caused some
improvement in the processing industry by
year-end. However, growers continued to be in
serious trouble. Their gross incomes were down
while their costs of production continued to climb.
At year-end, growers were beginning to show an
interest in the need for income assurance
programs to keep them in business.
Cauliflower and broccoli variety trials provided
information for potential expansion and for a
more continuous supply of product to market.
A DATE project to find a pea variety resistant to
the races of pea wilt found in the Fraser Valley
was highly successful. Single plants from several
commercial varieties were found to survive in
severe wilt infested plots. Seed from these plants
proved resistant in greenhouse trials this fall. Field
testing must be done again in 1977 and seed
should be commercially available in 1978 or
There were 2,670 acres of vegetables
produced in the southern interior, excluding the
Kootenays. Asparagus production increased but
weather upset the fresh corn, slicing cucumber,
onion, and pepper crops. Quality of fresh and
processing tomatoes were not up to the usual
high standard.
Mushroom production for the year was down
because of fly damage. Sales of fresh mushrooms
were good on both local and prairie markets. The
outlook for 1977 is good and continued
expansion is expected.
Nursery Stock
Supplies of tree fruit nursery stock are
extremely short and the situation is aggravated by
a short supply in the United States. The first
Nursery Production Guide was printed in 1976
and distributed to nursery stock producers in
British Columbia. The Plant Protection Advisory
Council made some positive recommendations
leading to a better European Pine Shoot Moth
certification program and programs permitting
the growing of the pine Abies sp. The nursery
industry continued to expand during 1976, but at
a slower rate than in recent years.
Greenhouse Crops
A number of major tomato greenhouses in
British Columbia have changed from soil to
soilless culture. In each case, yields and crop
quality improved. Greenhouse cucumber
growers continue to produce heavy crops of high
quality produce. Two-spotted spider mites
created havoc in this industry.
Control of spider mites through the use of
predator mites (persimilis) was undertaken at the
Agriculture Canada Research Station, Sidney.
Previous work has been done using the incarcia
wasp as a predator to control the greenhouse
white fly. As a result of this work, the Horticulture
Branch, in co-operation with the Entomology
Branch, is planning to develop a program of
raising both mite and white-fly predators in the
spring of 1977.
A program of inoculating tomato plants using
attenuated virus was undertaken. Tomato
seedlings were sprayed with the inoculum about
two weeks after emergence. The procedure
worked very well and virus symptoms were
reduced to a minimum.
The greenhouse ornamental industry is
generally strong. Foliage plants have made great
inroads into the total market for ornamentals.
The extension horticulturist, Mr. Ian Brice on
exchange from New Zealand, contributed greatly
to the British Columbia horticultural extension
Allotment Garden Program
The Allotment Garden Program, instituted in
February 1974, has now reached a plateau with
1,433 plots on seven sites.
There has been some readjustment of plots as
some areas on the sites were unsuitable for crop
production and other very rough areas were
brought into cultivation.
Comparison of Sites and Number of Plots
Kent Road (Victoria)
Kenneth-Agnes Streets (Victoria)
Gordon Head Road (Victoria)
Wilkinson Road (Victoria)
Meadow Avenue (Burnaby)
No. 5 Road & Steveston Hwy. (Richmond)
Gilley Road (Richmond)
Total Plots
Management was provided on the various plot
sites by an agricultural officer in Victoria and one
in the Vancouver area. In addition, five summer
students were employed in each area from May 1
to August 31, 1976.
page thirty three
 Druiion L-L/Lumoirt mmi&inr ur /njnituLiunt
While the sheep industry has experienced a
year of increasing prices, prices to the beef and
hog industries were lower in 1976 than in
previous years. This was a continuation of the
downtrend in the entire beef industry caused by a
large inventory of cattle, high grain prices, and
heavy importations of "off-shore" beef.
The Beef Income Assurance program has
helped to stabilize the industry, although
producers will have to provide for adequate feed
supplies, culling of less productive animals, and
improving reproductive performance.
The sheep industry made significant progress
during the year following establishment of a B.C.
Sheep and Wool Commission, and an Income
Assurance Program. It is premature to make any
projections on their long term value except to
note that industry committees are actively
working in connection with each agency and
program respectively.
The Livestock Branch was represented at three
national meetings concerned with livestock
production testing programs.
Definite progress has been made with respect
to the Dairy Herd Improvement Division meeting
national standards for milk recording. The
province has requested certification from the
Board as of November 1, 1976 and this is
The Dairy Herd Improvement enrolment
decreased to 576 herds in 1976 from 622 in
1975. The decrease is attributed to farm
consolidations, changing federal Market Share
Quota (MSQ) policies, DHID fee increases, and
herd transfers to the federal dairy ROP program.
The Pilot Canfarm Dairy Feeding Advisory
Service was officially terminated on December
31, 1976 and is presently being evaluated by the
Ministry. It is expected an improved Feed
Advisory Service will be made available to
dairymen during 1977.
Farmer use of the feed analysis laboratory at
Kelowna increased by 82 per cent over the
previous year. More farmers realize the need to
assess the value of lower quality forage stored
during the fall.
Statistics from the Hog Quality Program
indicate that production patterns by B.C. hog
producers for 1975 were very similar to 1974.
Statistics for 1976 will not be available until 1977.
The beef industry continued to suffer very low prices during 1976.
page thirty four
 Dmncn ^vL-umDiMminioinr ur fluniLULiura:
This program has contributed to markedly
improved grades of British Columbia hogs in
recent years.
It is planned to begin a Swine Record of
Performance Program during 1977. This is only
possible because Agriculture Canada has agreed
to provide partial staff requirements.
Enrolment in the Beef Record of Performance
Program was 210 herds during 1976 involving a
total of 8,246 cattle. This was down two herds
and 935 cattle from 1975. Most of the reduction
in numbers was caused by reduction of
Administrative policy under the Domestic
Animal Protection Act was changed markedly
during the year. As a result, it is expected that
some Regional Districts will undertake their own
dog control by-laws in 1977.
The Marketing Branch was instrumental in the
establishment of the Sheep and Wool
Commission under the Natural Products
Marketing Act. Although no additional marketing
legislation was proposed in 1976, there were
regulation changes under the Fruit, Vegetable
and Honey Grades Act, to standardize grade
regulations to the federal Agricultural Products
Standards Act.
There were a number of commodity problems
dealt with by the branch including discussions
with the industry on the processing crops - peas,
beans, and corn. As well, support was solicited for
the various greenhouse crops, particularly
greenhouse tomatoes in the face of lower-priced
imports of field tomatoes from the United States.
Assistance was provided to B.C. grape growers to
market part of their crop through fresh market
channels. Also, the branch was involved in a
grape purchase assistance program to alleviate a
critical crop problem caused by poor weather.
Considerable effort was made to convince the
federal government to remove the threat of
low-priced potato imports from the United States
by imposing a surtax. This unfortunately was not
accomplished, however a favourable response
was received from the federal government under
the stabilization program. A more permanent
solution is looked for in 1977.
The Marketing Branch assisted in organizing a
tour in British Columbia for a Japanese
purchasing mission. Arrangements resulted in a
large sale of British Columbia Holstein-Friesian
cattle to Japan.
Work was carried on by the branch in
conjunction with the Horticulture Branch and
Beautiful and delicious strawberries are grown primarily in the
Lower Mainland area of British Columbia. Many top quality
B. C. home grown food products are marketed nationally and
page thirty five
 amuon t^ui^umnm muviomr wr namcuLiunc
producers to promote U-Pick programs in the
province. This was augmented through a market
development program formulated for the British
Columbia raspberry industry.
The branch became involved in a number of
federal-provincial matters during the year. A
position paper on "Agricultural Products in the
Multi-Lateral Trade Negotiations" was
developed in conjunction with the other three
western provinces. As well, the branch
participated in discussions with the Canadian
government Tariff Board to discuss upcoming
recommendations regarding tariffs on
horticultural crops. The branch co-ordinated the
annual Agricultural Pre-Outlook Conference
workshop and made a presentation to the
National Farm Products Marketing Council
stating the British Columbia Ministry position with
regard to the information of a national chicken
marketing agency.
The Marketing Branch is presently serving as
the co-ordinator for the development of
agricultural statistics within the province and
co-operating with federal agencies on an advisory
council on development of agricultural markets.
Food Promotion Program
The Food Promotion Division of the Marketing
Branch headquartered in Surrey has been
carrying out a program designed to:
(1) make British Columbians more aware of the
many food products produced and
processed in this province
(2) make British Columbians more aware of the
contribution of agriculture to the social and
economic well-being of the province
(3) develop an appreciation of the industry and
its participants by consumers and encourage
their support when making purchasing
decisions. This objective is met through a
number of promotion mechanisms briefly
described as follows.
The primary approach for 1976 was the
development of the B.C. Foodstakes '76
Promotion. This campaign was carried out in July
and August, promoting the purchase of Home
Grown B.C. Quality foods. B.C. residents
entered a lottery with $1,000 worth of B.C.
foodstuffs as the first prize. The promotion was
well received by both the industry and the
consumers as indicated by the high volume of
Further programs included a recipe sheet,
featuring one or two B.C. commodity lines, sent
out every two weeks through food retail outlets to
consumers. In total, over three million recipe
sheets were printed during the year.
Once again the two food demonstration trailers
were operated from shopping centre locations
and in conjunction with local fairs throughout the
province during the period May to September.
All forms of media were used throughout the
year with particular reference to the inclusion of a
weekly food cooking demonstration by Mona
Brun on the CTV Network Jean Cannem Show.
As well, a large number of effective radio
commercials were developed, one of which
received an award of merit at the annual
Canadian Farm Writers' competition.
The branch began a stepped up Food
Information Service during the year with the
hiring of a home economist. This staff operates a
number of food demonstrations at various
shopping malls in the Lower Mainland area.
The staff of the branch annual calls on a very
high percentage of the retail food outlets in British
Columbia soliciting their support for B.C.
produce and encouraging the use of Home
Grown B.C. Quality logos in the display of B.C.
The branch took part in the P.N.E., once again
staging twice daily presentations of popular
food-related shows. As well, displays and
demonstrations were carried on throughout the
year in numerous locations and for a variety of
The difficulties experienced with marketing of
poultry products in 1975 due to the establishment
of national marketing agencies were largely
overcome in 1976. Since the commodity board
or national agency involved sets the price the
farmer receives for his product, the price paid is
based on a cost of production formula, it is
understandable that prices to producers were
favourable in 1976. The weighted price paid for
eggs for the year was 69.6 cents per dozen at
grading stations, an increase of 6 cents from 1975
and about the same as 1974. Prices to producers
for chicken remained constant throughout the
year at 37V2 cents per pound live weight, an
increase of 1.4 cents per pound from 1975.
Prices to producers for turkey averaged 47.0
cents per pound in 1976.
Since the egg industry and the turkey industry
are each controlled by a national agency (CEMA
and CTMA), both commodities are subject to
page thirty six
 omiion <^vi~UMDm Mij-yjomr ur nanicuLiunc
import restrictions. Quota allotments, import
restrictions, and surplus removal program for
eggs have brought supply close enough to market
demand to allow approximately a 3 per cent
increase in egg quotas in 1976. This was
accomplished by allowing producers to market
eggs from 71 laying hens per case of quota, which
was increased from 69. The turkey quota also was
increased to 1,425,000 pounds in British
Columbia following the sharply reduced quota
allowance in 1975 because of excess storage
For some time, the chicken meat industry has
discussed the formation of a national agency
similar to those concerning eggs and turkey,
under the National Farm Products Marketing
Council. Greatly increased imports of United
States chicken into Canada in 1976 added
impetus to the discussions.
The Poultry Branch staff is composed of
specialists in egg production, chicken meat
production, turkey meat production, hatching
egg production, and diseases of poultry. This staff
plans and supervises a broad range of projects in
all areas of poultry production at the Poultry Test
Station. These projects are developed to
demonstrate and obtain information pertinent to
poultry production in British Columbia. The test
station facilities provide a means of problem
solving and demonstration to the industry.
Projects were initiated to demonstrate the strains
of chickens most suitable in this area for egg
production, chicken meat and turkey production.
Other projects included evaluating alternate
materials for use as poultry litter, a pilot study to
determine the feasibility of producing hatching
eggs from cage layers, a study of the nutritive
value of "purple wheat" when fed to laying
chickens and many other projects.
This project work provides a great deal of
information without excessive cost to
government. In the period December 1, 1975 to
December 1, 1976, the test station returned
$86,746 to provincial revenues from the sale of
poultry products. This income covered most of
the costs of production.
Disease problems are a continuing major factor
in poultry production. The problem is
accentuated in British Columbia because of the
high concentration of poultry in the Lower
Mainland. The Poultry Branch staff, particularly
the poultry veterinarian, works closely with the
Veterinary Laboratory and practicing
veterinarians in monitoring disease levels and
establishing control programs where needed.
The Poultry Branch staff is closely associated
with the Poultry production community through
their association as well as with the individual
producers. Dissemination of information derived
from experimental projects and research is
accomplished not only by direct farm contact but
also by group meetings. The staff organizes and
conducts an annual Poultry Conference where
prominent specialists from many parts of North
America are brought in as speakers. The staff in
conjunction with local community colleges,
presents short courses on various poultry
Projects were initiated at the Poultry Test Station in
Abbotsford to demonstrate the strains of chickens most
suitable to British Columbiaforeggproduction, chicken meat,
and turkey production.
page thirty seven
   orsi i ion uci-ujviDin minto 1 n i ur AiunjouL 1 ujie
Agricultural Credit
British Columbia farmers benefited from the
Agricultural Credit Act through three provisions:
(a) provincial government guarantees to
chartered banks and credit unions as
support security on low equity loans thus
making credit more accessible to otherwise
ineligible farmers
(b) partial reimbursement of interest paid on
farm loans to effectively reduce interest costs
(c) incentives to farmers through special interest
and/or principal reimbursement provisions
to encourage participation in special
agricultural programs
Since the inception of the guaranteed loan
program in July 1974, there have been 118
loans totalling $10,382,548 guaranteed by the
province. In 1976, identified as Loan Period 3,
40 loans to farmers were guaranteed
representing $4,333,631.
In 1976, $4,892,563 was paid to farmers
representing partial reimbursement of interest
paid by them in 1975 to approved lenders. Since
the inception of this program in July 1974,
$6,718,192 has been dispersed to alleviate high
interest costs. The effect of this reimbursement
was to reduce the farmers' net interest costs to
^gHM.< ^m
approximately 8 per cent on those loans not
guaranteed by the province and approximately
8V2 per cent where a guarantee to the lender was
in place.
There were two special programs implemented
to assist farmers in specific circumstances. The
Bulkley-Nechako Feed Purchase program was
set up to help farmers buy livestock feed during a
time of short feed supply. Forty-seven farmers
bought almost 4,000 tons of feed and received a
total of $28,954 in reimbursed interest. Under the
agricultural credit program, the farmers were
reimbursed interest paid on the loans such that
their effective interest rate was reduced to 4 per
A similar interest rate applied to Peace River
area farmers who obtained loans to purchase or
retain livestock as an additional enterprise to their
grain operations. Under the Peace River
Livestock Incentive program, 92 farmers
purchased or retained 3,176 animals and
received interest reimbursements totalling
In 1976, Agricultural Land Development Act
(ALDA) contracts totalling $2.9 million were
issued to assist farmers in financing primary and
secondary land development. The majority of
funds were spent on land clearing, breaking and
installation of irrigation systems.
Land clearing is carried on under the A.L.D.A. program to
assist farmers in financing primary and secondary land
page forty
Agricultural and Rural Development Programs
General ARDA
Irrigation systems, drainage, community
pastures, and range improvement through
Co-ordinated Resource Management Planning
projects were the main programs of General
ARDA during 1976.
In each ARDA project there is a local
contribution requirement which varies depending
on the project. Community pastures and range
improvement projects require 10 per cent local
contribution, irrigation and drainage projects
require 25 per cent and 33-1/3 per cent
respectively, and rural development projects
require 50 per cent local input.
Since the present ARDA agreement expires
March 31,1977, negotiations began in 1976 with
the Federal government for a new
Agricultural-Rural Development Sub Agreement
under the General Development Agreement to
cover a five to seven year period beginning April
1, 1977.
During 1976 under General ARDA, 26 projects
were approved for a total cost of $5,921 million.
The British Columbia and federal governments
each will contribute $2.4 million of approved
costs while local user groups provide the
A pilot project of major significance
implemented during 1976 was a series of
Co-ordinated Resource Management Plans for
range improvement in the East Kootenay region.
A cost benefit study showed a 13 per cent
composite annual return on investment. The
major beneficiaries are agriculture (cattle),
wildlife, and forestry. ARDA provided
$1,350,000 to improve cattle range, wildlife
habitat, and to thin tree stands on 12 range units.
In 1976, there were ten inquiries for rural
electrification in the Cariboo and Peace River
area. Final cost estimates on a number of these
have yet to be determined by B.C. Hydro. On
single-phase power projects, provincial share
comes from Rural Electrification Act funds within
the Ministry of Finance and administered by B.C.
Two rural electrification projects for agriculture
have been approved and are 90 per cent
complete. One project provided single-phase
power to the Tatla Lake area in west central B.C.
while the other provided three-phase power from
Williams Lake west to the Redstone Indian
Summary of General A.R.D.A. Approved Projects
January 1, 1976 to December 31, 1976
No. of
Total Cost1
Land Use and Farm Adjustment
Rural Development Service and Training
Alternate Income & Employment Opportunities
Irrigation, Drainage and Water Supply
$ 5,921,450
'Amounts are approved values and not necessarily expenditures at time of writing.
Special ARDA
Special ARDA, a supplementary program for
people of native origin, has approved 345
applications since its inception in 1973. This
represents a potential 474 jobs with a total DREE
commitment of $6.28 million. At year end, the
program has paid out $4,071 million of that
amount in assistance.
page forty one
s§n«iBf»'       • ■mmm*'
Co-ordinated resource management planning projects were
the main A.R.D.A. programs during 1976 which involved
improvements to cattle range, wildlife habitat, and to thin tree
Crop Insurance
The Crop Insurance Branch administers five
crop insurance programs covering alfalfa, berry,
grain, grape, and tree fruits. 1976 was the first
year in which the alfalfa program was available to
The weather in 1976 was highly variable which
is reflected in an overall higher incidence of claim
payments. This was in spite of unusually high
summer rainfall which resulted in large yields but
often poorer quality crops. Frosts in late spring
and early fall also reduced crop quality,
particularly of horticultural crops.
Only 20 B. C. farmers made use of the new pilot
alfalfa program. With over 7,000 forage
producers in British Columbia, the program has
the potential to become one of the largest crop
insurance programs offered by the branch. This
first full year of operation allowed staff to study
the operating mechanics of the program, consider
improvements and investigate other types of
forage crop coverage.
The 1977 berry crop insurance contract was
changed to a continuous contract which attracted
an increase in participation to 85 growers.
Although 1976 indemnities paid were larger than
in 1975, the premium income was sufficient to
cover losses as well as reduce deficits from past
A record 186,000 acres of grain were insured in
1976. High summer rainfall caused large yields
but hail loss in the Peace River area resulted in
indemnities paid to farmers which were slightly
above 1975 levels. However, premium income
sufficiently covered the losses as well as reduced
the deficit incurred from past years.
Cool summer weather caused below standard
sugar levels in the 1976 grape crop. In an attempt
to salvage more of the crop, some grapes were left
on the vines which then were subjected to early
fall frosts. Therefore, crop insurance claims were
more numerous than anticipated. Premium
income covered indemnities however.
page forty two
Although 1976 fruit crops were generally
similar to last year's production, the variable
weather resulted in considerably heavier losses
than in the very favourable growing season of
1975. Spring hailstorms in the North Okanagan
caused widespread damage to all crops.
Frequent rain showers coupled with local
hailstorms   during  cherry  picking   caused
considerable rain split damage, which produced a
large number of claims. The total indemnities
paid on cherries will exceed the total of all tree
fruit claims in 1975.
Crop insurance continues to be valuable
protection for farmers against unavoidable
natural hazards and total loss of crop income.
Raspberries in the Fraser Valley are one of many crops eligible
for crop insurance protection. British Columbia provides most
o/ Canada's raspberry production.
Farm Income Assurance
The Farm Income Assurance programs are
designed to assist producers by minimizing the
disrupting effects of extreme price fluctuations of
farm commodities whenever they occur. The
programs have strong incentives built into them
to maximize farm efficiency and maintain
aggressive marketing practices.
In 1976, the third full year of operation of the
program, the number of farm income assurance
programs increased to ten from eight, while the
number of farmer participants increased to over
5,600. The cost to government from March 31,
1976 to December 31, 1976 was approximately
$17.7 million, representing the government share
of the slightly over $24 million in indemnities due
under the program. By fiscal year end, the cost to
government is likely to exceed $27.0 million.
The programs currently in operation are dairy,
swine, tree fruits, field tomatoes, greenhouse
vegetables, broiler hatching eggs, beef,
commercial eggs, blueberries, and sheep.
Programs for potatoes and raspberries are now
approved following some delay in establishing
yields for each model.
page forty three
Federal programs under the Agricultural
Stabilization Act for certain commodities having
provincial farm income assurance programs
reduced the overall cost to the province but
introduced    new    complications    in    the
administration of the farm income assurance
programs. New program development will
recognize the essential need for compatibility
between provincial and federal programs.
....-■- ■■ ■■; ■ Z"
||«P*'* *ff*>*"
During 1976, an income assurance program was established
for the province's sheep producers.
Farm Products Finance
In the fall of 1973, the Farm Products Industry
Improvement Act was passed to encourage and
assist secondary agricultural industry in British
Columbia. To date, about $36 million in
assistance has been provided to 16 agricultural
During 1976,26 proposals were evaluated, out
of which five received approximately $4.6 million
in the form of loan guarantees, direct loans, or
share acquisitions. Types of projects assisted
include fruit handling, food processing, poultry
processing, and a fruit juice production firm.
Other proposals were not supported due to a
considered lack of financial viability or because of
insufficient beneficial impact on the agricultural
industry of the province.
A sum of $227,000 in purchase assistance was
given to the B.C. Grape Marketing Board to
purchase grapes which failed to meet minimum
winery sugar standards because of poor summer
growing conditions.
Assistance was provided for market promotion
of dehydrated alfalfa products and for a similar
promotion of raspberry products. Preliminary
planning began on a program to expand alternate
markets for certain types of grapes found less
suitable for wine production than other new
Arrangements were completed toward the end
of the year to utilize the B.C. Development
Corporation's financial analysis capability for
proposals with a potentially significant benefit to
page forty four
 unmoii \^\jL.ijirrium 1*1111101 r\ i  \jr nunj^yi-iunt.
This alfalfa dehydration cubing and pelleting plant in Dawson
Creek has a significant impact on the agricultural industry in
the Peace River area. This plant was established with the
assistance of the Farm Products Finance program.
• *
The Information Branch acts as a
communications resource centre for Ministry staff
in relating agricultural programs or policies to
various publics, who primarily are British
Columbia farmers. Communications tools
include news releases, technical publications,
factsheets, advertisements, and audio-visual
presentations. The main purpose is to inform
farmers of new or accepted methods of efficient
agricultural management and in turn, to produce
top quality, fairly-priced foodstuffs at a
reasonable profit. A second, lesser important
function is to create an appreciation of B.C.
agriculture among the non-farm sector of the
Information Branch staff worked with staff from
all branches of the Ministry during 1976 in
producing effective information programs related
to their activities. General responsibilities of the
Branch include serving as the agriculture
representative within an organized group of
inter-ministry information officers, and
maintaining liaison with communications officials
in the Premier's office.
During 1976 a total of 59 news releases were
issued to approximately 1,500 media,
government, industry, farm organization, and
individual recipients across Canada. Topics were
varied and dealt with staff appointments, new
program announcements, management and
research techniques of immediate significance,
and Ministerial statements.
Thirty-eight publications or pamphlets were
initiated and printed, reprinted or revised,
although others were developed for completion
in 1977. Among those researched but not printed
at year-end are four booklets in a series of six
booklets relating to agriculture in specific regions
of British Columbia. This is a major project which
hopefully will service inquiries from individuals,
schools, libraries, other provinces, and foreign
Factsheets are a popular system of relating
technique and management information to
farmers. Individual branches produce unique
factsheets related to their discipline. The
factsheets are co-ordinated through the
Information Branch and distributed to
commodity agencies or directly to farmers
concerned with the subject matter. Twelve
livestock, 12 animal health, 7 farm management,
and miscellaneous engineering factsheets were
produced to inform farmers. Poultry and field
crops factsheets were designed in late 1976 and
will appear in 1977.
Institutional advertisements were placed in
rural weekly newspapers, dailies, farm monthlies,
and special agriculture publications to promote
Ministry programs or advise farmers of timely
management procedures. Examples include
page forty five
 J'       1
Ply 4%l«4^'-* ^
/n addition to pub/ication preparation and general information
dissemination, audio-visual programs are prepared for use by
field staff in their extension activities.
interest reimbursement deadlines under the
Agricultural Credit Act, crop insurance deadlines,
vaccination procedures, farm safety techniques,
and seminar announcements.
The increased use and acceptance of
audio-visual presentations by extension specialist
staff in their advisory duties was dramatic in 1976
as compared to 1975. Slide-tape presentations
dominated overall usage because of their
versatility and relatively low cost compared to
16mm film. A total of 15 individual presentations
were produced by Information Branch staff.
Some topics included sheep on community
pastures, corn production, potato growing,
proper branding techniques, forage dehydration
products, silo safety, veterinary laboratory
operation, land clearing, range seeding, milk
metering  devices,  and others.   Numerous
Property Management
photographs were also taken individually for
special projects.
Film presentations were produced but are
designed for longer term projects. A series of
three films on livestock management subjects was
researched and partly filmed for eventual
television broadcast during the most appropriate
season in 1977. The annual tree-fruit television
shortcourse was again produced for Okanagan
fruit growers and is scheduled for airing January
31 to February 4, 1977. Other general films were
produced dealing with British Columbia's wine
industry, family farm vacation program, forage
dehydration products, and short public service
announcements covering a variety of subjects.
Also, assistance was given to the Ministry of
Environment in producing a film on aquatic weed
With the B.C. Land Commission moving from
the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of
Environment during 1976, 46 Crown-owned
properties under the Commission's jurisdiction
were designated for management by the Property
Management Branch of the agriculture ministry.
Also, 44 Ministry of Highways land parcels are
now being managed and leased to private
operators for agricultural use. Two other major
holdings in the Kootenays, Steeples Ranch and
Point Vee Bar Ranch, also are managed by the
Changes in policy being initiated by the Land
Commission will include lease provisions with an
option to purchase thus enabling tenants to
ultimately assume complete ownership of the
land resource component of their production
In addition to these more recent activities, the
branch continued to operate the two institutional
farms, Colony Farm at Essondale and Tranquille
Farm at Tranquille, British Columbia.
Special projects were initiated on four leased
properties in the Vernon, Armstrong, Rossland,
and Newgate areas. The types of projects include
sewage effluent disposal, ecological studies,
page forty six
 ljim > i  <^wi_wj»ii_»ir-i 1*111 uoi/ii   wi   nvjxuv^uL- j urii-
juvenile rehabilitation, and range development.
Major capital improvement projects were
carried out on four properties during 1976.
Drainage systems were installed on some
properties, hay shelters built, dairy and milking
barns replaced, water storage dugouts were
excavated, and land cleared. Pending changes in
Land Commission policy will result in the tenants
becoming increasingly involved in ownership of
the respective improvements.
This modem dairy bam replaces a dilapidated dairy facility on
one of the farms managed by the Property Management
page forty seven
Production &
Marketing Services
and Extension
Livestock &
Special Services
Pesticide .
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