Farmer Mike Bose is passionate about Surrey. His family has been farming here for more than 100 years.
“Surrey has always been a great place to farm and it’s a great place to start a new farming business,” says Mike, who manages his turkey farm on top of vice-chairing the City of Surrey Agriculture and Food Security Advisory committee (not to mention serving as a director at Surrey Cares and Mutual Fire Insurance and coaching minor hockey). “It offers proximity to a variety of different markets if you’re a smaller scale operator.”
But finding land can be a challenge. That’s why Bose is also a fan of Surrey’s new land-leasing FarmableNOW website which connects landowners with farmers. “The cost of buying land in the Lower Mainland is high,” he says. “Resources like this one are going to help more farmers access land.”
The website comes at a time when many established farmers are thinking about retiring, yet they don’t always have successors to take the reins.
“While there’s a will to have the land farmed, much like its always been, the reality is the culture has changed. Not all farmers’ children want to farm,” says Mike. “Often, those who are most interested in your land and willing to pay immediately aren’t farmers.”
So it makes sense for established farmers to connect with newbies looking for land. “Established farmers can also provide invaluable information that is not always covered in farming programs, like knowledge of the unique terrain and weather of the Fraser Valley,” says Mike. As a fourth-generation Surrey farmer, he should know.