Most farmers specialize in one or two crops. With so much of their livelihood bound up in a small market segment, they need the best, most up-to-date information on growing, harvesting, and selling their crops. Paul Gill, owner of Surrey-based M&M Pacific Coast Farms, knows exactly where to turn for that data: BC’s commodity councils.
Family owned and operated since 1979, M&M grows and sells blueberries – picked fresh daily, cleaned, packed, and ready to eat – along with blueberry jams, jellies, honey, syrup, and other products.
Paul recommends all farmers get in touch with the BC Agriculture Council as a first step.
“It’s a great resource for new farmers,” he says. The organization represents more than 14,000 BC farmers and ranchers, and close to 30 farm-sector associations across the province. In addition to advocating for its members, the council works hard to promote local products, providing programming, funding, and expertise to improve BC agriculture.
What’s more, almost every type of crop has its own BC commodity council: blueberries, apples, root vegetables – you name it.
“These groups are great, too, as they do a lot of farmer-based research and marketing,” says Paul. Their meetings give farmers a chance to get together with other growers, industry experts, scientists, and more. “They can be the point of contact if, say, you’re looking for someone to help monitor your fields, or to do custom work if you can’t afford to own certain machinery,” he says. “As a blueberry farmer, the amount of information the BC Bleuberry Council makes available to farmers is unbelievable.”