PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Northern Development Initiative Trust has approved funding for 10 Peace Region agricultural projects through the BC Hydro Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund.
Established in 2018 and distributed bi-annually, $20 million funds projects that fall into one of three categories: Events and Educational Initiatives, Farming Infrastructure, and Research and Demonstration Initiatives.
“These are some exciting new project approvals for the Peace Region, and it is great to see the interest and commitment to providing locally sourced food to people and communities in the area. All of these projects will benefit not only farmers and ranchers but local businesses and young people,” says NDIT CEO Joel McKay.
Golden Eagle Enterprises is receiving $4,900 for the Miyho Pimatasowin farm diversification project. This project will build Indigenous youth training in agriculture, including an introduction to Peace Region farming, farm safety, and Indigenous land management among others.
Jody Watson is receiving $7,407 to build a commercial kitchen for preserving and pickling products for sale in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, and Hudson Hope.
Gary and Kathy Ackles will receive $22,553 to produce shrub berries and root vegetables on Sweetwater Farm. The intent is to develop a 10 to 15-acre plot this year, with a plan to expand over the next three years.
Eric Hanna is receiving $28,745 for a fence and greenhouse on Hanna Acres to protect crops from deer and elk. The greenhouse will increase the available space for seedlings and permanent vegetation.
“As much as we love to see wildlife on the farm, it’s discouraging when they’re eating your produce. This helps to ensure Peace residents are the ones eating our veggies,” says Eric Hanna.
Suzan Lapp’s riparian and stream protection project will get $8,006, David Braun’s east pasture rebuild will get $9,825, a sum of $13,293 will go to Rustic Market Garden for high tunnel cold frame construction, Wollen Sons Ranch is getting $14,024 for cattle handling expansion, $18,000 is headed to Beaton Hills Orchard expansion, and $50,000 will go to Summit Acre Farm to relocate a harvester silo.
According to Northern Development, the fund reflects BC Hydro’s recognition of the role agriculture plays in the Peace River region and the potential effects of the Site C project on the industry.