B.C. extends organic extension funding

British Columbia farmers will have an organic extension agent for at least another two years under extended funding announced Wednesday.

The provincial ag and lands ministry, which provided $100,000 last year for the Certified Organic Associations of B.C. (COABC) to offer farmers an organic extension agent (OEA), has now committed $225,000 over two years to fund that position.

“Our province is the leader in
Canada’s organic farming industry, and this grant will help more British Columbia producers to become
certified organic and provide even more options for consumers,” Ag Minister Pat Bell said in a release.

“Moreover, two-year funding will allow our OEA to perform long-term planning and work, while helping to increase the capacity of the organic farming and processing sectors, which in turn will help B.C. producers fill the increasing demand for certified organic food,” said COABC president Peter Johnston in the same release.

The OEA, Rochelle Eisen, reports to COABC’s president and is meant to work with the province and other educational and research organizations to provide information to the province’s organics sector.

According to the province, quoting the 2006 Census on Agriculture, organic farms account for 16.3 per cent of all farms in B.C., leading the other provinces and easily beating the national average of 6.8 per cent.

The COABC oversees B.C.’s Certified Organic program and accreditation system and also works on development of national production standards.

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