Chronicle: 1985 Continued

  • In June, Westbank Packers, the smallest of the member packing houses, decided to become an independent organization.
  • In an attempt to rebuild a united voice for tree fruit growers, the B.C.F.G.A. Executive offered a non-voting associate membership status to independent tree fruit producers. The B.C.F.G.A. offered to represent them in matters of quality control, and in negotiations with various levels of government. Some B.C.F.G.A. members were displeased.
  • In the early summer, the general manager and the company marketing manager of B.C. Tree Fruits Ltd. left to form their own marketing and brokerage company. They offered their tree fruit marketing expertise to the independent packing houses and a number of other individuals in the Okanagan who were now selling to offshore markets.
  • The side effects of the apple tree growth hormone, Alar, were questioned in Canada and the United States. The chemical reduced pre-harvest drop in McIntosh.
  • The 1985 crop was smaller than in recent years but of much higher quality.
  • The federal government promised to place an indefinite moratorium on all farm foreclosures by the Farm Credit Corporation.
  • A federal government report on the Okanagan fruitlands stated that the Agricultural Land Reserves had saved land for agricultural purposes, and had had their greatest impact in the Central Okanagan. It noted that fruit growing would likely remain predominant in the Southern Okanagan and Similkameen areas where there is a superior climate, higher capability land potentially available for fruit production, and less urban pressure on existing fruitlands.
  • The Executive of the B.C.F.G.A. presented a brief to the provincial government in December with the reminder that there was a need for some government assistance to help make tree fruit growing an economically viable industry. The F.I.I. program was failing badly. There was also a need for an orchard renovation program to replace aging trees and to meet consumer demand for new varieties. The request for more effective assistance was consistent with the promise which had been made by the provincial government in 1973, when the Agricultural Land Reserves were established: that farming would become an economically viable way of life.

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