Skip to content

Agriculture minister brought up to speed on Delta farm issues

Norm Letnick gets bird's eye view of local operations
Local farmer Daryl Goodwin (left) gave Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick (right) and Delta North MLA Scott Hamilton a helicopter tour earlier this week.

B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick visited Delta on Sunday and Monday, taking the opportunity to tour the area and speak to some of the farmers and stakeholders in the agricultural industry.

The MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country is spending parts of July and August touring the province.

"My first stop really is Delta because it's one of the cradles of agriculture here in British Columbia," said Letnick. "It's important for me to understand what's happening here."

The invitation to come to Delta came from fellow Liberal Scott Hamilton, the MLA for Delta North who accompanied Letnick on his visit.

Discussions were held concerning the challenges with organic farming, diversifying operations and problems getting proper irrigation due to salinated water moving up the Fraser River.

According to Hamilton, the minister wants to make sure the water that was promised through the South Fraser Perimeter Road project will be delivered. "Salinity in the water is the last thing you need when it comes to irrigation in agriculture," he said. "Part of the South Fraser Perimeter Road project, one of the agreements in place was to upgrade the irrigation facilities for the local farmers. A lot of money and time has been spent, but it's not as quite finely tuned as it should be yet."

Local farmer Daryl Goodwin, who owns Enviro-smart Organics Ltd. and West Coast Instant Lawns, provided a 20- minute helicopter tour so the minister could see the diverse farming practices taking place in Delta.

Goodwin also showed the minister around his East Ladner facility, which turns organic waste into topsoil.

Letnick said the goal of his ministry is for agriculture to reach $14 billion in sales by 2017, up from just shy of $12 billion currently.

The minister recently returned from China where he struck a trade deal for B.C. cherries. He's hoping it will open up the market for blueberries as well.

"We have to make sure to continue to push those export markets to accept all that capacity," he said. "The last thing I want to hear from farmers is, 'Norm, we've got all the stuff in the bin and what are we going to do with it?' I want to make sure it's the other way around."