Seventeen candidates have stepped forward to produce organic milk in BC as part of the BC Milk Marketing Board‚Äôs expansion of its New Entrant Program (NEP) to organic producers.
Unlike the regular NEP, a draw was not held to establish a short list of candidates. All applicants who submitted a completed application by the February 7 deadline were eligible.
The applicants have been given the go-ahead to provide documentation and a business plan for the selection committee to review prior to the scheduling of interviews. Once interviews are complete, candidates will be selected for invitations to enter organic production based on the organic certification status of their farms, production volume, and location (applications were only accepted from candidates in the existing organic freight zones of the Fraser Valley and Okanagan).
The number of candidates selected for invitations will reflect supplies and projected demand for organic milk.
‚ÄúThe remaining recommended candidates will be added to an organic waitlist, from which the Board may choose to invite candidates to farm in the future,‚ÄĚ BC Milk notes. ‚ÄúThe ones that are not part of the recommended list will have the opportunity to apply for NEPO in the future, whenever it is in effect.‚ÄĚ
Ten names were also drawn for the regular NEP program on February 10 out of a total of 33 completed applications received by the February 7 deadline. Of these eight candidates have agreed to move forward to the next stage of the selection process, which involves the submission of a written business plan by May 10.
Successful applicants for both the conventional and organic streams will be announced following interviews later this year.