Baldonnel family recognized for a century of farming

Sage Birley (left) with MLA Pat Pimm after receiving the Century Farm Award.

Farming ain’t always easy in the north, but one North Peace family is being honoured for keeping at it for 100 years.
The Birley Farm has been bestowed with a Century Farm Award today, an award that celebrates British Columbia’s agricultural history.

“The Birley family is proud to have continued to farm in this area for four generations, especially since farming in the North has always been a challenge,” Sandra Gunn, one of the farm’s three owners, is quoted as saying in a press release.

“We believe that now, more than ever, farmers must unite to ensure the longevity of food security, particularly in the Northeast.

“We hope that everyone will join us in celebrating a long tradition of agriculture here in the Peace region,” she said.

Kenneth Birley first broke his Baldonnel land in 1914 after moving to Canada from Australia, and choosing a homestead on a plateau above the Peace River valley.

He kept at it for years before handing the reigns over to his son, K. Douglas Birley, who expanded the farm, and ran a successful operation mixed with cattle, grain, and hay, according to the province.

Today, the original Birley homestead land is owned by Sally Birley, Susan Birley and Sandra Gunn.

Richard Birley purchased the surrounding land from Douglas Birley in the 1980s, and continues to own it today.

The farm earned official organic certified status in 1989, and Richard Birley is also a founding member of the Peace River Organic Producer’s Association, as well as being active in the Certified Organic Associations of BC.

Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm presented the Birley’s with their award.

“It is a real pleasure to present this Century Farm Award to a pioneer Peace region farm family,” he said in a release.

“Congratulations to the Birley family on their accomplishments and I wish them all the best as they continue their proud farming tradition in our area.”

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