Kootenay Farmer newsletter is an initiative of the Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors to communicate with farmers and ranchers, and to grow and support the agriculture sector.  

Happy Winter Farmers
We hope that everyone is prepared for this quick transition to winter. The break is short for farmers with calving season and crop planning right around the corner!
KBFA is taking time this winter to prepare for the spring so get in touch with your questions and ideas for 2023 field days! Winter Zooms are back so we hope to see you online over the next few months. 

Flashback to frost seeding workshop in the East Kootenay, 2019. 
In This Issue
Headlines:  Weather Data | New Podcast | World Soil Day | On-Farm Climate Action Fund
Events: Avian Influenza | Cover Cropping | Scaling Regenerative Agriculture | Get to Know the Ministry of Agriculture
Kudos to our Farmers: Kokanee Fruit Tree Company | Granby Meat Co. | Confluence Farms
Local Dirt: Video Series for Market Gardens
Ministry of Agriculture: The First Sixteen Podcast | Livestock Emergency Response Trailers

Data is Now Available from NEW Climate Stations

In 2022, Creston has received 7 new agricultural weather stations and Grand Forks added one more. "Creston now has phenomenal weather data to support the sector with crop planning, irrigation scheduling and preparing for extreme weather," said agricultural meteorologist Andy Nadler.
Every 15 minutes, the top-of-the-line stations churn out 11 variables including temperature, humidity, solar radiation, rainfall, wind gusts, speed, and direction, as well as lightning strikes. Data can be accessed from Farmwest (updated daliy) and DAS (for fruit growers). Join Andy for a KBFA webinar on February 1 to learn how to access and interpret the data.
Register for the February 1 webinar here

Soils, Where Food Begins: World Soil Day

December 5 is World Soil Day (WSD), the United Nations date that celebrates healthy soils for a healthy life (#WorldSoilDay). The campaign "Soils: Where Food Begins" aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management. Watch: Healthy Soils | Learn more and find resources

Learning Opportunities for Horticulture Growers

The BC Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with various producer associations, academia and USA Extension have a number of upcoming opportunities for commercial growers:
  1. Financial Literacy & Foundations in Agricultural Management online courses available free to all producers. Partnership with the University of Guelph. 8 modules. 20 minutes each. Free. Register here.
  2. Fire Blight Workshops and Webinars in Partnership with USA Extension Services 1Fire Blight Webinar Series (Winter 2023)  2. Fire Blight Fruit School (Feb. 23)

NEW Podcast Shares Insights into Agricultural Research

Developed by the BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network, each episode of the AgResilience podcast opens eyes to agricultural research in BC, especially as growing conditions change. 
  1. Farmer-led research on innovative corn production
  2. Indigenous worldviews and Indigenous-led research
  3. Emerging agricultural technologies in sustainable food systems
  4. Finding answers on sudden apple decline in the BC Okanagan
Find the full podcast catalogue here

Cost-share Funding to Implement Advanced Grazing Practices

Are you interested in extending your grazing period, building soil health and improving your nutrient cycling? The On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF) program, delivered through Canadian Forage & Grassland Association (CFGA) with BC Forage Council (BCFC), provides cost share funding (up to 70%) for livestock fencing, water systems and pasture improvement. Apply for up to $20,000 per year. The BCFC has a network of Grazing Mentors across BC to help develop grazing plans to access the funding.
Watch the funding video | Visit BC Forage Council

The BC Climate Agri-Solutions Fund (BCCAF) opens again in January that will provide more funding for cover cropping, rotational grazing and nitrogen management. Stay tuned here. 
Information Session: Avian Influenza for Small Flock Owners
Online: December 5

Information session for small flock poultry owners to learn about the current North American outbreak of Avian Influenza (HPAI). Veterinary Specialists from the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Animal Health Centre will present an overview of HPAI and how to protect your birds.
Register here 

Online Workshop: Cover Cropping with Farmers for Climate Solutions
Online: December 5 & 12
Connect with farmer-mentor Owen Broad of Kettle River Organic Farm in Grand Forks to learn about innovations, challenges and successes with cover cropping. Identify how cover crops can fix some of the soil problems on your farm and help cut back on fertilizers, soil amendments and sprays, and add biodiversity to your farm. Hosted by Farmers for Climate Solutions.
Learn more and register here.
Discussion: Scaling Regenerative Agriculture 
Online: December 6

CityAge and the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food are coming together to define regenerative agriculture, identify practices, and explore whether regenerative agriculture can be scaled across the farming industry in a way that maintains profitability, land productivity and sustainability. 
Learn more and register

In-Person Workshop: Flock Health for Sheep Producers
Fort Steele: December 9

If you raise sheep, you don't want to miss this event that includes a film screening, disease prevention with Dr. Helen Schwantje and discussions about regional challenges and opportunities with sheering times and wool processing. Contact Jennifer Bowes: 250-219-9443
No registration. 11:00 am - 2:00 pm at the at the Wildhorse Theatre, Fort Steele Heritage Town

Get to Know the Ministry of Agriculture & Related Programs 

Online: January 18

Meet and greet Jeff Nimmo, your Regional Agrologist for the Kootenays. At this session Jeff will introduce himself and provide a brief overview of the Ministry of Agriculture departments, available resources and discuss programs available to producers. Plenty of time for Q & A. 
Register here

Soil Testing 101 with the Ministry of Agriculture 

Online: January 25

Should I test my soil? What can a soil test tell me? Where do I get my soil tested? Join Jeff Nimmo, Regional Agrologist for the Kootenays, who has a background in soil and nutrient management, for an overview on soil testing, how to interpret soil test results and discover where to access resources to test your own soil.
Register here

New Weather Data, Access & Utility 

Online: February 1

Creston has 7 new agricultural weather stations and Grand Forks has one more to help farms with crop scheduling, pest control, irrigation and planning for weather extremes. Join agricultural meteorologist, Andy Nadler, to learn how to access and apply the data to your farm and ranch. Andrew Bennett will be on-hand to answer questions about irrigation scheduling. 
Register here

AGM: Kootenay Organic Growers
Nelson: February 6

Join the Kootenay Organic Growers Society for their Annual General Meeting for mingling, discussion and presentations from Organics BC and the BC Ministry of Agriculture to hear about available support and programs for the organic sector. 
Learn more

Molly Thurston and Greg Evans - Kokanee Fruit Tree Company

KBFA Blog Feature 

Soil moisture and temperature information is available at 3 soil depths, at all hours of the day on the Smartphones of Molly Thurston and Greg Evans, owners of Kokanee Fruit Tree Company in the Creston Valley. The probes are a way to become more efficient in using resources like water and fertilizer. By being able to more accurately measure the soil temperature and moisture, there is both environmental and economic benefit. 

Read the full feature here
Greg Evans of Kokanee Fruit looks at real-time data of his soil moisture and temperature at 8, 16, and 24 inches on his Smartphone. 

Granby Meat Co. - Grand Forks

NEW Butcher Shop for Grand Forks
Grand Forks is getting a new Butcher Shop that is co-owned by local producers. Customers can expect excellent customer service, one-on-one help selecting the perfect cuts, cooking tips and access to the best local meat around! Congratulations to the local ranchers working behind the scenes. 
The grand opening is on December 10! Follow them on Facebook for more details. 

Confluence Farms - Slocan Valley

Shaw Spotlight Feature
"We're finding out that the healthier the soil is, the more healthy and nutritious your plants will be." Emily and Nathan of Confluence Farms in the Slocan Valley are featured for their no-till, regenerative agriculture practices to bring local food to the community. 
Watch the feature here
Confluence Farms offers veggies, cut flowers, seasonal pantry items and baked goods made with freshly milled flours. 

Must Watch Resource: Winter Crop Storage

‘Tis the season to brush up on your winter crop storage by watching KBFA’s past recording of a crop storage tour at Wild Flight Farm with Hermann Bruns. On this tour participants learn the best storage temperatures for winter squash, carrots, apple/pear, potato and onion/garlic. Watch the recording here.

Innovation: Riverside Farm Launches Wool Pellets

Jennifer Bowes with Riverside Farm in Brisco has been working tirelessly to develop and produce fertilizer pellets made from waste wool. This fall the long-awaited equipment arrived that converts waste wool into fertilizer. Jennifer is also an advocate and educator about domestic and wild sheep disease prevention and has spearheaded efforts to test domestic sheep. Watch here. Congratulations Riverside Farm!
Fact sheet: wool pellet trial with the University of Vermont 

Registration Now Open | FaRM Resilience Mentorship Program

Open to BC farms and ranches, FaRM provides free resources, mentorship, and peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities in these three Beneficial Management Practices (BMP) streams:

  1. Advanced Nitrogen Management
  2. Advanced Grazing Systems
  3. Cover Cropping
Learn more
The Canadian Forage & Grassland Association, Annual Conference 
Online: November 29 - December 2

Virtual event that offers educational sessions on a variety of themes including living labs, grazing management and exports. More information here.
BC Agricultural Research Network: Virtual Open House
Online: December 8

Have your say in the future of agricultural research in the province. Register here.
Pesticide Applicator's Course for Agriculture
Rock Creek: December 12 - 14 

Presented by the Boundary Invasive Species Society. Contact Erin Kitchen, 250-446-2232,
Pacific Agriculture Show & Horticulture Courses 
Abbotsford: January 26 - 28

The annual horticultural growers' short course presents dozens of high-caliber short courses for producers. Rebranded as the Regenerative Agriculture and Growers' Short Course, the event is presented by the BC Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association. View the schedule and program.


The First Sixteen Podcast

The First Sixteen is Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's new podcast series that explores the freshest ideas in agriculture and food. Each episode explores a single topic in depth—digging deep into new practices, innovative ideas, and their impacts on the industry. 
Episode 010: Mental Health on the Farm: In this episode we speak with Dr. Briana Hagen about tailoring mental health programs to the needs of farmers. Listen to the podcast here.

Mobile Livestock Emergency Response Trailers in the Kootenays

“The new mobile livestock emergency response trailers will equip producers in B.C. with the necessary tools to help ensure the continued care and safety of their animals in emergency situations," said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Each trailer will be equipped with livestock rescue supplies, such as horse and cow halters, sorting and corral panels, and tools.
Read the full news release here.

Thank you to KBFA sponsors. A collaborative partnership between three Regional Districts and Columbia Basin Trust.


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