The Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. (IAF) is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Award of Excellence for Innovation in Agriculture and Agri-Food. This award celebrates B.C.'s agriculture and agri-food leaders who have implemented specific projects or initiatives leading to economic, environmental or social benefits to British Columbia and the industry in general, or to a specific sector. The award is open to agri-food producers and processors; retail, food service, agri-food and/or private sector businesses; industry associations and organizations; input, technology and support service providers; academic institutions; regional districts and local governments. Applicants must have a head office or be registered in B.C. Innovations will be evaluated for their: Originality and uniqueness; Degree of economic, social and/or environmental benefit to British Columbia; Extent to which the project has advanced the industry or sector. Nominations close January 31, 2018. The 2018 award winner will be announced on April 12, 2018 at the IAF Project Showcase and Luncheon in Abbotsford.
Recently the seasons aren’t as short as they used to be, and they tend to be wetter, leaving farmers wondering what to do with all that excess moisture. That’s just one reason why cover crops might make sense, says Yvonne Lawley, a cropping systems researcher at the University of Manitoba. Cover crops are being used as green manure for organic production, as catch crops to prevent nutrient leaching, to improve soil organic matter and nutrient cycling, break up hardpan, protect soils from erosion and to increase the productivity of grazing systems. But Lawley said the soil health benefits of cover crops go beyond those traditional objectives. “If we think about the whole chain of microbes that exist in soil, they’re really being fed by the inputs and cycling of nutrients within the agro-ecosystem. If we can have plants growing for a longer period of time, capturing more sun, we can provide more input through either organic matter or exudates from roots that feed the fungi, bacteria and nematodes that then feed the higher trophic structure like earthworms.”
Following a year impacted by wildfire, flooding and invasive species, farmers and ranchers around the province can recover some of their lost income with the Government of British Columbia’s new AgriStability Enhancement Program. The enhanced AgriStability Program was developed because of the unusual losses in 2017. Broader coverage was required in order to protect the 40-50% of B.C. farmers and ranchers not enrolled in the regular AgriStability program. Under the AgriStability Enhancement Program, B.C. farmers and ranchers can enrol in the regular program late and without penalty. AgriStability is a federal and provincial government program that protects farmers and ranchers from margin declines resulting from increased costs or decreased revenue. Payments are made if the farmer or rancher’s current-year margin falls more than 30% below the average of prior years. The AgriStability Enhancement Program is 100% funded by the B.C. government.