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B.C. farmers to get tools to cut costs

March 16, 2011 – BC Farmers will soon have new tools to help them identify potential energy savings and tap into green energy revenue streams thanks to support from the Government of Canada and other industry partners. An investment of over $122,000 was announced by Member of Parliament Ed Fast (Abbotsford) at the British Columbia Agriculture Council’s (BCAC) annual general meeting.

“Farmers understand the importance of running their businesses efficiently and sustainably,” said MP Fast on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Through this investment, the Government of Canada is helping farmers save on energy costs and adopt new technologies that diversify revenue and reduce potential environmental impacts.”

Garnet Etsell, Chair of BCAC and an Abbotsford area turkey farmer, said farmers will “see not only where they could cut energy costs, but also whether they can further improve their bottom line and their sustainability by using an anaerobic digester.”

This investment will be used for two projects:

* $36,520 for Phase II of the BC Farm Energy Assessment Pilot Project, led by BCAC’s Climate Action Initiative, will expand upon a tool for identifying potential on-farm energy savings. This project will: develop a module to evaluate clean energy opportunities on BC farms; incorporate a broader range of commodities; facilitate access to energy assessments; improve knowledge and information regarding commodity and region-specific energy and fuel issues; and communicate the potential benefits of implementing energy efficiency measures through the development of case studies. 

* $86,000 towards Benchmarking Anaerobic Digestion Feasibility across BC’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector, led by the BC Agricultural Research and Development Corporation (ARDCorp), to help turn on-farm challenges into revenue streams that support the sector’s economic viability and environmental sustainability. This project seeks to: determine the feasibility of installing anaerobic digestion systems on demographically and geographically diverse agriculture and agri-food operations in BC; facilitate implementation of these digestion systems by providing technical, economic and logistical benchmarks; and provide revenue stream estimates to meet return on investment targets.
Founded in 1997, BCAC is an umbrella organization that aims to provide leadership and to take initiative in representing, promoting and advocating the collective interests of farmers and ranchers across the province. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the BCAC, ARDCorp administers a number of programs and projects that help secure the long-term sustainability of farmers and ranchers in BC.
“We’re proud to have partnered with the BC Agriculture Council to develop the Climate Change Action Plan, which provides the BC agriculture industry with the necessary strategies to meet the challenges of climate change,” said Peter Donkers, executive director of the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. (IAF). “Flowing from this plan, these projects will help farmers address climate and energy issues without sacrificing their economic viability.”
The investments are delivered through the Government of Canada’s $163-million Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In British Columbia, CAAP is delivered by the IAF. Additional support is provided by Terasen Gas, BC Hydro, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and producers.
For more information on CAAP, please visit To learn more about the IAF, please visit