May 15, 2019
by PETER MITHAM
BC berry growers are celebrating the official announcement of renewed funding for breeders seeking to develop new varieties of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.
The new funding will support researchers working to improve berry genetics to the tune of $200,000 a year over five years, or $1 million. Administered by the Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association (LMHIA), the funding will support the development of superior berry varieties suited to BC.
“The program is expected to lead to improved crops, higher fruit quality and increased pest and disease resistance,” the federal and provincial governments said in a press release announcing the funding.
The funding is being made available through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the successor to the Growing Forward 2 program that ended March 31, 2018. LMHIA had applied for about $2.5 million in federal and provincial funding for the period 2018-2022, but official confirmation of continued support for the berry breeding program was months in the coming.
“We have been running a barebones program the past year using our own resources,” berry grower and LMHIA director David Mutz told LMHIA’s annual general meeting in January. “It’s very difficult to budget when you don’t know when you are going to get funding and what the ratio of industry to government funding will be.”
The official announcement of new funding is a vote of confidence in the future of an industry that faces significant competition from imports and high input costs relative to other growing regions.
LMHIA began coordinating berry breeding in BC in 2013, taking over from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Vol. 105 Issue 5
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
What on earth?
Opposition slams ALC bill
Sidebar: Protection & pushback
Editorial: Truth in labelling
Back Forty: So you don’t believe in climate change
Viewpoint: Don’t blame the cows for global warming
Ag council’s lobbying efforts produce results
Learning a new skill
Foundation’s nest egg for funding projects increases
Province will hold the line on piece rates
New CEO aims to kindle team spirit at co-op
FIRB decision prompts rethink of pricing scheme
Beekeepers see potential in technology transfer
AgSafe markes quarter century
Raspberries hit hard by harsh February
Blueberry growers anxious for new varieties
Biological controls for pests in demand
Sidebar: Pesticides in play
Growers urged to focus on fresh
Westgen celebrates 75 years of excellence
Top seller was no-show at Holstein sale
Spring show attracts exhibitors from Quebec
Cheesemakers unite to grow niche market
Range use permits under greater scrutiny
Sidebar: Range use plans go digital
Market Musings: Top bulls sell for top dollar at spring sales
Grapegrowers share sustainability objectives
Grape specialist honoured for dedication
Hazelnut production expands across BC
Sidebar: Pest pressures
Supporters take to AITC’s Sips & Sprouts
Research: Cultured meat fails to impress researchers
UAVs undergo testing for pesticide delivery
Sustainability goes beyond saving farmland
Father and daughter roll with the last of the steel wheels
Woodshed: Susan Henderson is warming to country life
Wannabe: Farming is more than just a job
Surplus, cull fruit finds new purpose as tasty snacks
Jude’s Kitchen: Special food for special moms