Five programs receive ‘crops innovation’ funding

Grants provided through Agriculture Enhancement Grants Program in Abbotsford

Shown are representatives from the five programs that have received funds through the Agriculture Enhancement Grants Program.

Shown are representatives from the five programs that have received funds through the Agriculture Enhancement Grants Program.

The Abbotsford Community Foundation (ACF) has announced grants totaling $143,357 to five projects through the Agriculture Enhancement Grants Program, a joint initiative between the foundation and the City of Abbotsford.

The focus of this year’s program is “crop innovation.”

The largest grant, $50,000, was given to the BC Hop Co. to help it produce a “made in B.C.” variety of hops.

“If we can prove that Abbotsford produces a superior hop … we will drive demand for our trademarked hop that will, in turn, drive field installation and new revenue sources for local Abbotsford farmers,” said Dwayne Stewart, general manager.

The BC Hazelnut Growers Association (BCHGA), working with Holster Farms, received $33,620 to develop new varieties of hazelnuts which are resistant to eastern filbert blight (EFB). The hazelnut crop in the province has been severely affected and almost completely halted by EFB.

“This project will establish a hazelnut orchard that will resist EFB, produce a viable amount of marketable hazelnuts, and help educate the public and future hazelnut growers about the potential for viable farming on small lots,” said BCHGA president Neal te Brinke.

A grant of $29,737 was awarded to Nutritech Solutions for its “Cardoon Cropping and Feeding Project,” which presents an alternative that could significantly reduce or even eliminate the need to grow corn for dairy cattle consumption.

“The successful growth, cropping and feeding of cardoon would be extremely significant to agriculture in Abbotsford because cardoon is a crop that could yield approximately the same as corn silage but is a perennial plant. This means that one seeding will yield plants for as long as 10 to 15 years,” said Brian Janzen, technical services manager for Nutritech.

UFV’s Agriculture Centre of Excellence received $25,000 to re-introduce diversity in the form of innovative crops and to develop a supply of regionally adapted vegetable seeds.

Specifically, the project will focus on vegetables that have a cultural heritage used in the cuisine of first- and second-generation migrants of South Asian, Filipino and Persian descent. These vegetables include multiple varieties of okra, bitter melon, beans and eggplants.

The Fraser Basin Council received a grant of $5,000 to support its project to encourage blueberry farmers to reduce the unnecessary use of anticoagulant rodenticides.

“This project will educate growers on recognizing vole damage (versus insects), and encourage them to use more effective, efficient integrated pest management strategies that will save them time and money. This will also enable growers to be more environmentally responsive and sustainable while protecting biodiversity in the Fraser Valley,” said Christina Toth, assistant regional manager.

For more information about the grant program, visit abbotsfordcf.org