Organizers of the Islands Agriculture Show are very pleased after a strong turnout this past weekend at their annual event in Saanichton, B.C.
Farmers from across Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the coast converged on the Saanich Fair Grounds for the two-day event.
President of the show, Cory Vanderhorst says this is the first time they have hosted it there.
“It’s great to see the turnout and the fresh faces that we haven’t connected with in the past, we also saw an expansion of the trade show and the speakers,” said Vanderhorst.
He points to the fact they rotate the shows location each year as a strength.
“Every second year we are in the Cowichan Valley and in the off years we rotate around, we’ve been in the Comox Valley, we were in Port Alberti two years ago.”
Vanderhorst says they also had a couple hundred elementary, middle and high school students come out and ask farmers questions about the industry, see what it is about and why they should consider a job in the industry.
The theme of this year’s event was “Prospering in a time of uncertainty.”
Vanderhorst says the sessions really reflected that theme.
“We’ve had some sessions on trade regulations and how that is going to impact our farmers, a lot of sessions on the government programs or programs with the banks on how to access capital, start-up sessions for young farmers so they can get into agriculture and also some on land linking and land leasing.”
Vanderhorst says the hope the sessions will help farmers deal with issues that are on the horizon for their operations.
“We have a population of older farmers on the island and the question is how do we keep that land open for the next generation?”
He says land is very expensive or prohibitive for the next generation to buy and get into it.
”We’re hoping some leasing programs will keep the land farmed and keep the industry going.”