BC Dairy Association members were in Victoria this week for meetings with government representatives, with ice cream distributed to the public at the legislature on Tuesday.
But dairy is also the most valuable agribusiness in Abbotsford, according to a report released last week by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.
The report estimates the economic impact of the agriculture sector in Abbotsford at more than $3.8 billion, with dairy accounting for more than $1 billion in economic activity.
The report notes that Abbotsford benefits from being a hub for the agriculture sector, thanks in large part to processing and support activities, with 45% of agribusiness activity driven by farms outside the city.
“Dairy production and processing contribute greatly to the economic activity in Abbotsford,” Phil Vanderpol, president and CEO of Abbotsford-based Vitalus Nutrition Inc. says in comments accompanying the report’s release. “Abbotsford truly is the hub of agriculture in the Fraser Valley, including agriculture support services and value-added businesses.”
The report notes that agriculture has increased in significance to Abbotsford in the 14 years since the last study was done. A report in 2008 pegged the economic impact of local agriculture at $1.8 billion. Over the period, the city has drawn in more agribusiness activity and increased the percentage of its workforce employed in local agribusinesses.
The latest report notes that Abbotsford also remains the most productive farming region in the country. While it relies on 2016 census data for the claim, it’s backed up by the 2021 census of agriculture.
The census reported that Abbotsford had farmgate revenues of $43,446 per hectare in 2021, while Niagara was at $12,025 per hectare.
The economic impact report was written with academic guidance from the University of the Fraser Valley and UBC, and financial support from the City of Abbotsford and TD Bank.