A NEWSLETTER FROM THE SALT SPRING ISLAND FARMERS' INSTITUTE This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for the early spring edition - who's kidding wh



This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for the early spring edition - who's kidding who, it's not exactly spring as I am sitting here with a toque on my head and a hand knitted nose warmer. We are down to our last few sticks of wood - SEND HELP!
There is a lot of reading in this issue re tax implication for Farmers concerning incorporation and all you wanted to know but were afraid to ask concerning new ground water licencing. The Agricultural Alliance has done a great job in outlining the water licencing issues. The feature article repeats in some areas also offering various links.
Please FOLLOW THE BLUE LINKS TO WEBSITES OR VIDEOS. Below is a handy content list. .


Events, Clubs, Updates
The Compost Pile....................................................Jokes For Everyone
Incorporation and Farming - The Impact............................by Tony Clement
Our Community Remembers........Peter Finer, Mike Larmour, Cynthia Tupholme
Ground Water Licencing...........................The New Water Sustainability Act
The Apple Core..........................................................by Conrad Pilon



Feb. 21st, 7:30

Guest speaker is Derek Masselink our new district agrologist.
Please join us and renew your membership. New members welcome.

seed pods

The Infamous SEED PODS Will Be There!


Events Feb. 8th,11th & 12th

Wednesday, February 8th, Seed, The Untold Story. 7-9pm at The Fritz Cinema

Saturday, February 11th, ING's Seedy Saturday 10am-3pm at the Farmer's Institute. Free Saturday workshops, Seed sale and exchange, Kids zone, Pancake breakfast, Local food vendors, Agricultural information and advocacy.
$5 entrance

Sunday, February 12th
Workshops at the Farmer's Institute

Apple Tree Grafting with Peri Lavendar of Salt Spring Apple Company.

9:30am-1pm downstairs
Cost $15

A Gardeners Season of Seed Saving
Instructors: Elodie Roger and Sheila Dobie

Full Day of immersion and instruction in seed saving for the home and hobby
gardener. Seed production, selection, harvest, and cleaning will be covered
for popular food plants.
10AM-12PM Seed Growing and Selection w/ Sheila
(12-1PM LUNCH)
1PM-3PM Seed Cleaning and Storage w/ Elodie
Cost $20

$10 for Organic Lunch (please preregister for lunch count –

museum meeting

Everyone Invited

Salt Spring Farmers' Heritage Foundation


Thursday March 2at 9:3O AM
The meeting will be held in the Bittancourt House Museum
All Farmers' Institute members and the public are welcome and encouraged to attend.....please RSVP to John at 250 537 4895 if you are able to attend.

plan to farm


by Elizabeth White

The Farmers’ Institute is an active participant in the Salt Spring Island Agricultural Alliance, which was established in 2008 to advance the Salt Spring Area Farm Plan. One of the key recommendations of the Area Farm Plan was to develop Salt Spring’s agricultural infrastructure. Therefore the Agricultural Alliance built and owns the Salt Spring Abattoir, leased to the Abattoir Society which runs the day-to-day operations. The next infrastructure project on the list is the Farm Produce Centre on Beddis Road, which is already well underway with an existing barn, a Site Masterplan and design for a new building “shovel ready” and awaiting funding. The SSI Farmland Trust Society is the landowner and project leader and the Agricultural Alliance is a project partner on the Farm Centre Steering Committee. In other words, the Agricultural Alliance directors are extremely busy being abattoir landlords, fundraisers, and assisting with the development of the new Farm Centre.

To further occupy the directors’ time, the Agricultural Alliance provides input to Islands Trust, CRD and the provincial government on local agricultural issues since decisions made can impact the implementation of the Area Farm Plan. A submission regarding the proposed changes to Island Trust bylaws on Agriculture in Drinking Watersheds was made in early January.

Also on the subject of water, the Agricultural Alliance and SSIWPA hosted a workshop January 18 on the new Water Sustainability Act and how the rules about groundwater licensing apply to agriculture. Pat Lapcevic and Faye Hirshfield from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations outlined the requirements and discussed various scenarios. The bottom line is that if water from a well or spring on your property is used for any agricultural or commercial activity, a well license is required and there is a minimum annual fee payable to the BC government. We learned that:
• A well license is attached to the land. Rights to water are based on “first in time first in line” so even if only a domestic user, registering the well protects your rights to the water.
• Well water used for domestic purposes is exempt from fees. ( “domestic” includes household use, water for pets, irrigation of adjacent gardens & lawns up to 1000 m2 as long as there is no income derived from them)
• If using well water for non-domestic purposes (e.g. for irrigation, for livestock watering, for the rental cottage etc.) you are required to apply for a water license, pay an application fee and pay annual water rentals.
• If the well was in use before February 2016, there is no application fee as long as you apply for the license before December 31, 2017 and provide information about the well, evidence of when the water was first used for the purpose(s) for which you are applying to have it licensed (something the government calls ‘beneficial use’).

• You do all this on line through FrontCounterBC but if you want to save your work and return to it later so you don’t have to complete the process all at once you will need a BCeID.
• Each application is reviewed by water authorizations government staff who will assist you to find and to verify evidence of first use, and to determine the applicable fees.
• If you have recently put in a well (i.e. since Feb 2016), or are planning a new well in the future, you must pay a one-time application fee for a non-domestic water license for that well (likely $100- $250 for farm use or $1000 for other commercial use depending on expected volumes)

• Water Rental fees are based on quantity used. There are minimum annual fees regardless of how little water is used. Most farm users on SSI will likely fall into the $50 minimum annual fee, but if the well serves rental buildings on the farm or any other commercial activity using the well water, the minimum is $200.
• There is an Ag Water calculator to help you figure out how much you use if you don’t know, as well as a Water Rent Estimator on the FrontCounterBC website as you go through the application process.
• There might be several different uses of water for one well. A well is assigned a date of first use based on the non-domestic purpose for which you wish to get the license, currently. Each non-domestic use on a well with multiple uses will have a unique annual rental fee rate and calculation. For example, if a well is used for irrigation of hay since 1956, and used for irrigation of orchard since 1980, then the owner of that same well will get two separate licenses and each license will be assigned a different “date of first use” and come with a different rental fee.

For more information about the Agricultural Alliance see www.plantofarm.org
or contact the secretary, Elizabeth White 250-537-2616 elizwhite@saltspring

SSIFarmlandTrustLogo-3 colour-02


Burgoyne Valley Community Farm

The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust has been busy at our 60-acre property in the Burgoyne Valley, renting garden plots so families can grow food, and leasing larger acreages to local farmers.

New Farm Centre

We are also working on an exciting new project on Beddis Road to provide a commercial kitchen, food processing and storage, so we can expand our community’s local agricultural production.

Check out our new website, which shows you all the things we are doing, going to do and want to do – and sign up for information bulletins or our newsletter.


Connecting Farmers, Farmland and Food.

Shaw Family Garden - Get On The Waiting list

(20’ x 50’) - $40 per year.
For info see www.ssifarmlandtrust.org
Review: Shaw Family Gardens Handbook
for rules and application form.
Email: shawgardens@ssifarmlandtrust.org


Getting Started with Ducks

The following is an exchange from the poultry club’s email discussion list. A bit long but a good read.
Hello fellow poultry enthusiasts, I am new to the island, having just bought a piece of land up on Mt Tuam on which to start up a farm and permaculture learning center, and have a questions about getting started with ducks. My question is whether we should let them free range during the day to then be locked up in a secure coop at night, or should we rotationally graze them within mobile electric fencing during the day and in the coop at night. I am leaning towards rotational grazing for several reasons. The first being that there are several seasonal ponds and one year round pond on the land that have frogs, the western redbacked salamander, a pair of native ducks and all sorts of insects living in and around them. I am worried that if we introduce a flock of 5-20 ducks that they will negatively impact the health of these existing creatures. I don't know if there are any endangered species in and around the ponds and don't want to harm the native ecology unknowingly by letting the ducks into these areas. The second reason is that there are many birds of prey in our area, as well as mink and raccoons and I imagine that being within electric fencing will give them a bit more protection during the daytime. Also it will be easier to get them inside their coop at night. The third reason for rotational grazing is that we want to capitalize on the positive ecological benefits that holistic/intensive/managed rotational grazing of herbivores can have on a landscape such as increased soil fertility, increased plant coverage and reduced pest populations. For more on this technique: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managed_intensive_rotational_grazing How do those who have ducks manage their flock? Does free ranging lead to reductions in native species populations, or higher flock losses due to predators? Does anyone else rotationally graze their ducks? Just wondering what things look like here on the island. Appreciate any feedback and suggestions. Nick
Alas, the eagles will love you, Nick. They specialize in domestic ducks. My wild ducks, mallards and mergansers and pintails swim in our front ponds. They're pretty clever and though there are regular attempts, they’re fast eagle dodgers. However, we picked up a couple of Muscovys which are notorious for being eagle target practice, hoping that they'd also be safe there as well. Not a chance. The two big fat slow-witted slow-moving domestic ducks didn't last through the first day. Even with the electrical fence rotations those ducks wouldn't be very safe, though that's by far the most excellent way to go. They need some kind of protector within the electric fence. My peacocks cluster nicely around the hen house, but they wouldn't in a field. Too boring for them. Maybe you can pick up a protector dog to lounge about out there during the day. If you don't lock them up every night you are merely raising racoon and mink feed. A weird note on protection. I bought a couple of those wonderful Buddhist prayer flags last year. For some reason I went for the black ones, more dramatic I guess, only Sharon thought they were two depressing. So, of course, they ended up in the chicken run. Not only do the chickens receive spiritual protection but we haven't had a single attack since I erected the flags early in the fall. I'm betting it's the dangling bits floating around. Between them and the peafowl, life has been relatively safe for the flock since the summer....Brian
Even better (perhaps) than prayer flags are all those unwanted CDs, each dangling on a string from overhead wires. Predatory birds do no not like them. Sally
We have ducks, 30 of them at present. This will be our 4th year of keeping them - mostly Indian Runners, Hook Bill cross, Harlequin cross and Muscovys. And we have had issues with the local wild life that sees them as dinner. So far we have had attacks by Eagles, raccoons, sea otters, river otters and either a mink or weasel. The latter was the most devastating, which happened last year and cost us most of our Muskovy flock, including 6 month old chicks. Despite all this we love keeping ducks and have developed an increasing number of ways to protect our birds. We have two acres area fenced against deer which seems to also be deterring raccoons somewhat as we don't get them in the yard too often now. Our Border Collie also plays a roll in this, I'm sure. The otters simply stopped coming and we haven't had them as a problem for nearly 2 years now. Within the two acre area we have a smaller fenced area where the ducks can stay when conditions aren't right for them to wander the rest of the larger fenced in area. Within this smaller compound is a fairly large, nice new duck house which keeps them safe from dusk till around 9 am in the morning. That also have a small pond there. The next level of security to be done will involve installing an over head webbing of lines with dangly shiny things to ward off the eagles that pass by, especially from now till April. We also hope this might deter the ravens that drop in to steal eggs from right under nesting ducks. We shall see as they are very wily. Anyway, there are definitely challenges to raising ducks but with experience and creativity these can be controlled if not stopped completely. We have come to accept that each new spring will bring nature to the duck door in the hope of providing for the various family needs they have. We will loose some of our flock to this cycle but in the interest of protecting the local fauna, this is a small price to pay. Feel free to come visit and see what we are doing here if you like. Blair
thanks, all for the advice. It seems like free ranging ducks isn't a good approach simply from the perspective of duck safety. I'm definitely interested in the hanging CD idea. And it's good to know that the ducks will require more than just electric fencing to keep the myriad predators at bay. I share your view that having ducks in a rural area is bound to involve losses and that is just part of the natural cycle that we are part of. I'd like to have a look at your setup before we attempt our own. very happy to be part of this group! Nick
I have had the though before that the poultry club should put together a "Protect Your Flock" essay. When I first saw this post my mind started working on a small booklet of hints and ideas about flock protection. But it was too much to try and write down at one time. We should start accumulating these notes into a permanently available form. List the critter, list the danger, list the protection. Brian mentioned that a protector dog might help. They certainly do, that is if people train them to work and not be a couch potato. What wasn't mentioned above about dogs is that they are possibly the top predator of poultry. Beware of your own or the neighbor's dog. Every year we hear of poultry being lost to dog/s. I think that attacks by some of the aerial predators (ravens and eagles) are more insistent in the spring when they are nesting and feeding their young. So there is a seasonal consideration as well. Hanging objects do help deter death from above, Eagles don't like hitting their wings so they are deterred by overhead lines and such but sharp shinned hawks and owls fly like bats and can home in on target like a heat seeking missile. Ravens? I think they could learn to pick locks. But they sure don't like seeing one of their own hanging from a scare crow's hand. Its a jungle out there. Michael
If you string monofilament (invisible fishing line) randomly about 8 feet high over your flock, then the first time that any bird tries to dive into the flock and then hits the fishing line, they will be startled and scared off by the invisible line they did not see. They will also remember that something they cannot understand was there deterring them from landing. Crows have a very good memory and logic pattern. Apparently it also works for cherry trees as well. Harry
My primary piece of advice for you is, and I say this with great respect to everybody here, as a first step to discount advice (including mine) and try your original idea for yourself. See how it works -- you're likely to be surprised. With respect to predators, Salt Spring is not a homogeneous landscape when it comes to predator distribution and behaviour. I live at 300 metres elevation, essentially up the hill on the ridge above the Farmer's Institute. What, on old maps, was called the Otter Range. I've observed an otter in a pond just 400 metres from my house, but in four years raising hundreds of ducks, these otters have yet to take interest in my flock. As for other mustelids, their abundance seems to decline with elevation (and I'd expect this with otters too). If you're on Mt Tuam, you may find that your weasel / mink / otter issues are minimal. On the other hand, you might find it to be an issue. As for eagles: It's all about the swoop zone. They have a hard time getting access to our ducks due to the apple orchard, and the wise habits of ducks. Ducks are quite intelligent creatures, certainly ahead of chickens in that respect. There is not an eagle that soars into view without my flock taking notice and edging towards cover. That said, I did almost lose one Indian Runner a few years ago. I came exploding out of my house yelling bloody murder as the raptor took flight with the duck in it's talons; I threw a rock towards the eagle it released the duck. It fell 30 feet and suffered a long open wound, but the duck, cared for indoors for a few days, made a full recovery. Aside from that, the eagles circle and seem aware of the flock, but don't often try to strike. I've stopped raising smaller ducks now as it's always been the smaller breeds targeted by eagles when they have struck our flock. In Brian's case, it may be that his pond, to which the ducks will gravitate, is an appealing strike zone for eagles. We get mating ospreys up here in the early spring as well and the odd hawk but none have gone for our ducks. Our ducklings free range after about 3.5 weeks and it amazes me that our cats don't eat them, but they leave them alone. The mortalities we have suffered, perhaps a few each season, are to raccoons. Around here, it seems that the raccoons are nocturnal, and it's when ducks create a sitting nest outdoors, as a few will try every year, that they're almost sure to be detected and eaten by a coon. The point I want to express by sharing this is simply that depending on your specific local conditions, you might, like me, suffer an annual mortality of perhaps 3% to predators. To me, that's an acceptable rate of loss. I don't have fences, a dog, or any artificial overhead deterrence. The ducks are entirely free range and make use of a few acres. We have a bigger problem with ravens eating our newborn goats than anything eating our ducks, thankfully! In our specific location, ducks are an incredibly low-maintenance livestock, and a joy to our family. All we do is open and close the duckhouse doors in the morning and night (keep it closed all day and they'll be keen to get in at night) and shovel out the pooped-on wood shavings a few times each season. Place your pond uphill from your garden and enjoy free liquid fertilizer you can siphon into your slug-free veggies. We have two duck houses, but only one in use during the winter. I am a huge proponent of ducks because they offer such great meat and eggs, are easy on the landscape, more disease resistant and far better suited to the climate than chickens, which we previously kept before discovering ducks. When I think about it, I lost more chickens due to culling because they were egg-eaters, than I now lose ducks to predation. So, don't be discouraged by other people's experiences, just try it out and see if your system works in your situation. No two free-range duck farms are the same. Good luck, Tim
It's important to remember the direction of assaults. A dog and an electric wire around the enclosure wire will do for the racoons and otters. The CD disks or my surprisingly successful prayer flags are good for the flying attackers, eagles and hawks -- and ravens too will go for chicks. I put a scramble of multi-coloured string up over the small enclosure which is about forty feet by thirty feet. It doesn't need much. An eagle is adverse into flying down into any area where it can't spread its wings on exit. So you can have big gaps in the spiderweb above the closure. CDs will also hang from them nicely. As for ravens stealing eggs - yes, they've taken goose, duck, and chicken from nests. I found that a few strings hanging from the bird door is enough to make any smart raven twitchy. Ravens, you should be warned, or young ravens in spring, more accurately, can and will and have take out whole flocks of meat bird chicks which are too stupid and slow to dodge the killing frenzies of the young ravens, who will attack despite the warnings of their parents. I have a deal with my ravens, they can pick up scraps from the compost and hen scratch and sheep tex, etc., and the occasional egg, but if they go after any live birds the deal is off, and they know that. Firing a round of .22 rat shot into the ground just behind their tail gets the message across real quick. They're smart birds. Great letter, Tim. And it's true about luck and location. My big ponds make the muscovys into sitting ducks, ahem. I'm desperate to raise some ducks but we're just too open. Geese are tough enough to fight off both coons and eagles. My big Gander, Lucifer, used to chase the horse merely for fun. They're even better guard animals than the peafowl. By the way, though the eagles might be cowardly, they can also be sneaky. My peacock once caught one striding purposefully through the door into the big chicken enclosure. Now that was a fight. The eagle took a bit of a beating, but the peacock was also looking frowsy as well, even though he ended up the victor. The peahens are much more pugnacious, actually, than the cock. I love the ospreys. Interestingly, the wild ducks recognize ospreys. If they see a goshawk they are instantly gone into the reeds. If it's an osprey they won't even ruffle a feather when an osprey hits the water two feet away from where they are swimming. They know the ospreys are fish eaters. Unfortunately, my giant goldfish aren't quite so smart. I don't mind particularly, I love the ospreys too much, and I have millions of very big fat goldfish, so big the herons can kill them but they can't swallow them which is a little annoying, though something else soon finds the corpses....
Our most valuable assets for chicken protection are the roosters. They alarm (using a graduated system depending on the severity of the threat – a short grunt for unspecified aerial predators, a more urgent call for an imminent attack e.g. a diving hawk or eagle, a sustained call and behaviour for mustelids – involving facing the predator, incessant alarms and standing on tip toe while eyeing the enemy). If an attack happens, a good rooster will attack the predator (I have seen them go for ravens, Cooper’s hawks and even mink, they usually win). The only casualties were John Lennon (a bantam cochin) who challenged a raccoon and lost, and another mature Welsummer who challenged a raccoon and was badly beaten. We select roosters for their valor. If there is an alarm I rush out to observe their response – if they run and hide they are for the pot, but if they stand their ground, they are keepers. It is easier to let the hens do the choosing since they spend more time with the roosters. High ranking females prefer to hang out with high ranking roosters so just watch the hens and you will know who is hot (and brave)! I have no experience with ducks and have no idea as to the behaviour of drakes when danger is imminent. I doubt that roosters would socialize with ducks in the same way. We have otters but I have never seen one go for a chicken. There are no Sea Otters in the Salish Sea (well there has been one sighting in the past 100 years) but I doubt they would have any interest in birds on land.

Our raccoons are mostly nocturnal – that’s why we invented hen houses. Our mink are almost always diurnal (we are close to the sea). We never have problems with owls (the birds are locked-up at night). The other aerial predators strike during the day. Only two eagle attacks in 15 years. Neither successful. Quite a few Cooper’s Hawk attacks (they prefer bantams and chicks). Many raccoon incidents usually at night when birds were not locked up – but two years ago I had a wily raccoon who decimated my meat birds (over a period of weeks and usually at 1:30 PM (I don’t know why always at the same time). A few raven attacks always repulsed by the roosters (we usually have 8 to 10 roosters for 70 to 90 hens). On the other thing the hens need is cover – I have live hedges in the runs. When they are free ranging they will make a bee line for cover if a rooster calls an “imminent threat” alarm. If the birds are cooped up in a fenced run or in the house they are much more vulnerable if a mink, hawk or raccoon manages to come in. Don’t use pepper spray inside the hen house unless you are wearing a mask. Good luck – I concur try it and see. I am way too lazy to even contemplate rotational grazing… Jean

Unfortunately Barred Owl do hunt during the day. I've chased off several, but they are probably responsible for a number of missing birds. I've also lost chickens to daytime mink and racoon attacks. There is still too much cover in my run and they can sneak up, but I'm working on at. Christine
I Love our prayer flags, a large fir tree came down, took out all our fencing, the duck house and the chicken coop. all birds survived, including our eggs. Pretty sure the prayer flags saved them......good insurance. Dorothy
And I know this was started as a discussion about free range vs. rotational grazing. Apologies for not discussing my thoughts on rotational grazing. Overall, after some experience, I now feel that rotational grazing has numerous advantageous over free range. But it is more cost and labour demanding and it is harder to have large numbers of birds without a large investment in fencing, tractors etc. The advantages to the land and the stock protection are the two main advantages that I found. Controlled stock rotation gives the ability to plant and manage cover crops, reducing feed cost and improving soil quality while also improving the quality of the meat or eggs. Michael



by Margaret Thomson

The yarnspinners of the local Weavers and Spinners Guild would like to invite you to learn how to make yarn on a drop spindle. All supplies are provided. All you need is one hour of your time on a Tuesday evening at the High School.

We also offer weaving experience on a loom that’s ready to use, and a variety of raw materials to create a small handwoven item that you can keep. This is also at the High School on Thursday evenings.

For these FREE opportunities please preregister at saltspringweaversandspinners.com after checking the dates on the events calendar. For anyone who gets hooked and wants formal lessons in spinning or weaving we can arrange more advanced teaching.

To find out more about Guild activities the public are invited to a special meeting on Thursday March 9 at 10.30 am at Artspring.


We will bee back



by Anne Macey

Salt Spring Abattoir
The Salt Spring Abattoir has attracted the interest of the Lieutenant
Governor and she will be making her second visit on January 31, 2017. We'll
show off the 2016 upgrades to the facility but unfortunately there will not
be much else to see as the Abattoir is currently closed for a winter break.
Thanks to the BC Association of Abattoirs and generous support from the
community, our Operations Manager Riley Byers is away in Kamloops on a 10
week training course until mid March. We expect to re-open for processing
early in April.

For the 2017 season bookings will be accepted for poultry, lambs, goats,
pigs and rabbits with beef to follow after a test kill. Last year June was
the busiest month for poultry and hopefully bookings will be more equally
distributed in 2017. It would be helpful if farmers would let the abattoir
coordinator know well in advance (e.g. as soon as birds are ordered) so
extra poultry processing days can be added if needed. Look for more
information on the website in March: www.saltspringabattoir.ca

There is now a website to connect Salt Spring meat producers with customers
who want to buy local meat. www.saltspringmeats.com. Thanks to the Salt
Spring Apple Festival for making this happen.




by Loretta Rithaler

Hello fellow Agriculture, Farming, SSI Community Partners, Supporters and Enthusiasts!

We are delighted to be able to update you with some great accomplishments by our 4H Members over the past months, from November through January.

November is traditionally the time to finish up projects and celebrate accomplishments and recognize community support with awards events and banquets. Our South Malahat District awards night celebrated the accomplishments of four of our senior members – Helena C, Joely W, Anna R – all received recognition for their accomplishments at the District Judging Field day. William R received the Val Trimble Award – a plaque which required a written essay describing why he enjoys the 4H program. William is the first Salt Spring Island Community Club member to have received this award in the 40 years since its inception. Congratulations Senior members!

November is also the annual SSI Community Club Banquet and Awards Ceremony where our new Executive was introduced, all of our friends, family and sponsors were recognized for their contributions to support our club members, and our members, themselves were honoured with recognition for their project and program achievements. Events began with our 4 Cloverbuds leading the 4H Pledge, and ended with the Candlelight ceremony.

Our club members took pride in assisting the Salt Spring Island Lion’s Club in December by serving the annual seniors’ Christmas Luncheon to approximately 150 appreciative seniors from our community. This has become part of our 4H events calendar. It’s great fun to do and fabulous to see all the smiling faces enjoying a lovely turkey dinner prepared and provided by the hardworking Lion’s club.

A short break in the month of December allows a bit of calendar planning for the coming year.

January 2017 has us busy beginning a fresh 4H year. We have had our first club meeting, focusing on Registration. It appears we will have 4 new Cloverbuds, and 3 new Junior members. Three of our senior members are applying for an opportunity to attend a week-long camp called Agricareer Quest, and 4 Intermediate members have applied to attend a leadership camp for 13-15 year olds, facilitated by our own Anna R as the team lead for approx 25 youth.

Our club will be offering projects this year in Poultry, rabbit/Cavy, Sheep, photography and Cloverbuds.

If you have friends, family or young people who may be interested in our program, or who are seeking an opportunity to volunteer by sharing knowledge or skills with us, please contact Loretta at lrithaler@telus.net. We would be happy to hear from you.

February will begin our Program skills, including 4H Public Speaking.

Looking forward to an exciting year ahead,

Yours in 4H,

funny cow


Young Chuck moved to Montana and bought a horse from a farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day. The next Day he drove up and said, "Sorry, Son, but I have some bad news, The horse died."
Chuck replied, "Well, then just give me my money back."
The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."
Chuck said, "Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse."
The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?"
Chuck said, "I'm going to raffle him off."
The farmer said, "You can't raffle off a dead horse!"
Chuck said, "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."
A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, "What happened With that dead horse?"
Chuck said, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a Piece and made a net profit of $898.00."
The farmer said, "Didn't anyone complain?"
Chuck said, "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back."
Chuck grew up and now works for the government.




by Tony Clement

The Board of Directors of the Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute is monitoring farming issues associated with the Salt Spring Island Incorporation Initiative.
It should be stated that the Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute is impartial regarding the Incorporation Study recommendation that a referendum be held and how one should vote. The study provides islanders with an objective assessment on the best form of governance to deliver local services to our community. One request by the Farmers’ Institute is that the Final Report of the Incorporation Study clarify any assumptions about tax increases on farms
Section 9 of the Salt Spring Island Incorporation Study Preliminary Report (released October 30th, 2015) recognizes that farm properties are unique, “as various different property tax exemptions apply to farm land, farm dwellings, and other farm improvements, depending on municipal status” and that “farm dwellings and improvements typically experience higher tax rates after incorporation”.
Tax Increases.
A farm building is any structure on the property including the residence, accommodation for seasonal labour, barns. and other farm related out-buildings.
Section 8.4.3 of the Final Study Report provides details on this topic.
• The current Provincial Rural tax exemption applies to both farm dwellings and other farm outbuildings. As noted in the study, other current taxes are applicable. If Salt Spring Island were to incorporate, the general municipal tax would apply to the farm improvements after a 5-year phase in period. Taxes would be phased in by an additional 20% every year for five years.
• A farmers’ dwelling would become 100% taxable for the general municipal tax.
• Prior to 2013, there was an exemption for general municipal taxes for the first $50,000 of assessed value for improvements other than farm dwellings. In 2013, the Province changed this exemption to be the greater of $50,000 or 87.5% of the total assessed value of farm buildings.
Section 9 of the Salt Spring Island Incorporation Study Preliminary Report (released October 30th, 2015) recognizes that farm properties are unique, “as various property tax exemptions apply to farm land, farm dwellings, and other farm improvements, depending on municipal status” and that “farm dwellings and improvements typically experience higher tax rates after incorporation”.
The key points in the Incorporation Study Report
Throughout the Province, farm dwellings and improvements continue to be assessed as Class 1 (Residential) as opposed to Class 9 (Farm). This ‘split’ classification applies regardless of local government status; however, the applicable tax exemptions are different (as noted below and in the Incorporation Study Report).
1. The key impact to farm properties is the tax exemption of farm dwellings and improvements (assessed as Class 1 Residential as opposed to Class 9 farm) under the current governance structure.

While all other applicable property taxes (including taxes for the CRD and the Islands Trust) are applicable for farm dwellings and improvements, they are exempt from the Provincial Rural Tax.
Under an incorporation scenario, this exemption would be removed, and the general municipal tax would apply to farm dwellings (fully) and to improvements (which would be exempt to a maximum of $50,000 in assessed value, or 87.5% of the total assessed value of the buildings, whichever is greater).

The value of the current tax exemption is approximately $56 per $100,000 of assessed value, as articulated in the Incorporation Study Report.
BC Assessment data indicates that there are approximately two hundred (200) farm properties that have a Class 1 (Residential) component exempt from the Provincial Rural Tax. The average assessed value of the Class 1 (Residential) component is approximately $350,000 (improvements only). For the average farm home, the total annual tax impact of incorporation would be $194.

2. Recognizing that farm dwellings and improvements typically experience higher tax rates after incorporation, the Community Charter provides for a 5 year phase-in period of taxes after an incorporation, as outlined in the Incorporation Study Report.
August, 2013, the Salt Spring Island Agricultural Advisory Planning Commission, the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society and the Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute reviewed a letter dated, August, 2013, from the District of West Kelowna Agricultural Advisory Committee (Property Assessment Rates on Farm Improvements) which linked incorporation to a rise in property assessment rates on farm improvements such as houses and outbuildings. Incorporation resulted in an average increase of property taxes of 17.5% and an escalation of farm property taxes in the ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) up to 240%.
3. The Board of Directors of the Farmers’ Institute understands that the Provincial Government has the ability to enforce a limit on municipal taxes that would apply to farm property and not increase as a result of incorporation. However, The Farmers’ Institute is not assured that farmers on this island are fully aware of the potential tax implications of incorporation nor of the mechanisms that would have to be in place for such limitations to be put into effect.
Please see http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/islands/municipal-incorporation/salt-spring-island/



Peter Trevor Finer

April 24,1957 – January 13,2017

Peter was born on April 24, 1957 in Calgary, Alberta to Richard Kelsey Finer and Dilys Olwen Finer. In 1972 he moved to Salt Spring Island when his father retired, entering grade 10 at Gulf Islands Senior Secondary and graduating in 1975. He worked through his high school years at Ron Lee’s Shell station, pumping gas and messing with cars. Moving to Calgary, Peter operated Finer Cedar Siding bringing west coast cedar east. Answering an ad in a Calgary paper he began working in the oil industry where he found an outlet for his talents as a trouble shooter and oil field engineer. He spent many years overseas working in Iran, Libya, Algeria, Kazakhstan, and other countries, returning to the island regularly. He is remembered by the crews he worked with over the years as a great boss, fair, kind and supportive.
Peter met Trene Kaye on Salt Spring and in 1997 they relocated to Venezuela, living there for 5 years, before moving to Texas for 3 then returning to the island. In the middle of the moves Peter and Trene were married in 2002 on Salt Spring. Peter continued to work offshore on rotation, most recently in Ukraine.
Peter was a great friend of the Farmers' Institute, always lending or leaving his heavy equipment for us to use.
Peter was an avid boater and fisherman as well as an inveterate tinkerer. He seldom gave up on a machine, stripping them down and reassembling to working condition.
Peter’s family wish to thank the staff at Lady Minto hospital for their kindness. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Peter to Lady Minto Hospital Foundation would be appreciated.
Peter is survived by his wife, Trene and sons Max and Awstin, siblings Bryn Finer (sons: Eben, Hugh and Daniel Finer) Glynis Finer (children, Evan, Rhian (Garrett) and Rhys Hardy), (grandchildren Kadence, Declan and Lochlan O’Dwyer) and John Finer (Tracy) (children Matthew and Kerry Finer).
A celebration of Peter’s life will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 93, 120 Blain Road on Saturday February 4 at 1:00PM. Please join us.


Mike Arthur LeBreton Larmour

April 3,1937 – Dec.11,2016

Mike Larmour died on Dec. 11, 2016, just short of his 80th birthday.
In 1997, I walked into the North Salt Spring Waterworks District office to meet Mike Larmour, the operations manager. I wanted to know more about the drinking water challenges the district faced.
Michael welcomed me into his cluttered office and gave me a generous 20 minutes of pertinent information to my question. I left with more than I had come for, the most important discovery being that here was an open, caring man trying to do his job the best he could in the face of real challenges.
He was a caring man. He cared about his work, the people he worked with and the public he served. Most of all he cared about the land and all of its constituents. Tom Gossett, founder of Foxglove Farm & Garden and the original Foxglove Farm on Mount Maxwell Road, once commented, “When Mike Larmour speaks, I listen.”
The banner which drapes the south entrance to town every summer reads, “Conserve Water ... every drop counts.” Michael was a born conservationist. The farm he nurtured on Beddis Road and its magnificent produce year on year are testament to this passion. He watched and learned, paid attention and read, worked for 33 years for the NSSWD at all levels of operation, and knew things that today decision makers are finally espousing as guiding management principles.
Principles such as “a licence to withdraw water does not guarantee its availability”; such as “water supply limits water demand”; and “water supply is about storage, not just precipitation received.”
Readers will recall Mike’s occasional drinking water submissions to the Driftwood. His were masterful, calming statements of fact: “The most consistently well-informed, recurring contributions to the Driftwood,” as one reader described them. He was well respected and patient that his views are finally being recognized as water has become one of the Gulf Islands’ highest political priorities.
Together with Tom Gossett, Mike helped found the Salt Spring Water Preservation Society in 1982, foreseeing the day when water would become a fundamental concern to the community. He was elected to the first Islands Trust Council in 1974. In 2009, he was awarded the Salt Spring Local Trust Committee’s first Community Services Award for a lifetime of dedication to the protection of island watersheds.
It is always difficult to see ahead, or to even want to try or care. Reality is an unforgiving teacher. Larmour was a visionary in this sense. A quiet one with a soft voice, but consistent and true.

Submitted by Ron Hawkins


Cynthia Constance Tupholme

Feb.4th,1959 - June 14th,2016

Cynthia Constance Tupholme, aged 57, passed away at Lady Minto Hospital after her long and tenacious battle with Multiple Myeloma.
Cynthia was born in London, Ontario, the daughter of William (Bill) Stanley Tupholme and Eunice Dorothy Couldridge.
Those who were fortunate to know Cynthia will always remember her strength and ingenuity, not to mention her artistic nature and incredible patience in teaching others. She was especially compassionate and knowledgeable, and she was known and very much loved as a mother, grandmother, and friend.
In addition to raising two children she was a passionate farmer and horticulturalist. In being raised on a farm Cynthia adopted the lifestyle even when she moved from Ontario to British Columbia, finally settling on Salt Spring Island in 1995.
For many years Cynthia and her family sustained a humble purebred sheep, poultry, a vegetable farm under the name of Cerdinen Livestock. Cynthia enjoyed teaching and helping others and did so, despite her adversity, until the very end.
Cynthia is survived by her two daughters, Kylarra Simmers and M Cali Belanger, as well as her grandson, Rowan Simmers. She will be remembered and loved forever in our hearts.
Join us for a Celebration of Life in memory of Cynthia. Saturday February 4th 2017 ~ 1:00-4:00pm at the Community Hall (Fritz Theatre), 901 North End Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2N5.
**Online condolences and memories can be shared on her memorial tribute Facebook group, “In Loving Memory of Cynthia Tupholme”.

GROUND WATER LICENCING The New Water Sustainability act.

Non Domestic Use of Ground Water Now Requires A Licence

well water home

Groundwater Licensing
If you divert and use groundwater for non-domestic purposes, you must now obtain a water licence and pay water fees and rentals. This change came into force with the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) on February 29, 2016. The first three years of the WSA are a transition period to bring in approximately 20,000 existing non-domestic groundwater users into the current water licensing scheme and its first-in-time, first-in-right (FITFIR) priority system. If you are an existing non-domestic groundwater user, you are encouraged to apply within the three-year transition period to maintain your date of precedence. If you submit your application on or before December 31, 2017, your application fees will be waived.

Domestic users
If you are a well owner and you use water for domestic purposes, you are exempt from licensing and paying provincial water fees and rentals. However, domestic groundwater users are deemed to have rights to the water they use for domestic purposes. Domestic groundwater users are encouraged to register their well. Registering your well creates a record of your water use and helps to ensure that your use is considered by the decision makers dealing with other licence applications.

Why apply for a groundwater license
Groundwater licensing establishes equity between stream water and groundwater users, and provides additional benefits.
If you are a groundwater user, licensing clarifies how much water you can legally use, and increases the security of your access to that water. Licensing establishes rights to groundwater based on the same priority scheme that currently exists for surface water, and will help to reduce conflicts between water users in times of scarcity.

Date of precedence
Senior licensees are given priority over junior licensees when it comes to exercising their full rights to water. If you are an existing user and you apply for a water licence during the first three years of the WSA (February 29, 2016 to March 1, 2019), you will be granted a date of precedence based on the date you began using groundwater, as determined by evidence submitted with the application. If you wait to apply until after March 1, 2019, you will be treated as a new applicant and given a junior priority date based on the date of your application.

If you require further information you can contact:
I have spoken to her, she actually returns phone calls.

Faye Hirshfield,
Senior Authorizations Specialist - Water
West Coast Region, Nanaimo
Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations
Office: 250.751.7024

Please use these links for more information

Licencing Groundwater Users
Information For Well Owners
Water Pricing
Applications For Groundwater Licences
Questions can be directed to FrontCounter BC: 1.877.855.3222, email: FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca
New Requirements For Ground Water Users


The Apple Core

World Wide APPFACTS, Part 1

by Conrad Pilon

Since Cultivated Farmer Newsletter was introduced in 2012, the Apple Core has covered a wide range of topics on fruit tree cultivation including: planting, pollination, harvesting and storage, causes and remedies for diseases such as canker and fireblight, the benefits of thinning fruit and applying bonemeal, root stock selection, grafting, growing apples from seed, pruning, recommending selected readings on growing fruit and an investigative opinion poll on Salt Spring Island's favourite apples.

A combination of Local orchardists and farmers, well read books and periodicals, my own experiences (both good and not so much) and of course the world wide web were contributors for the contents of these articles. As readers well know not all not all of the information on the internet is useful, reliable or accurate. One can be easily lead down the garden path, literally. Once while researching background material on best practices for maintaining orchard health from bacterial disease, the web let me right into the Apple Tree Yard . While this may sound idyllic: this is a BBC1 drama and best-selling psychological thriller, which “...promises to be gripping and gritty as a suburban mother's life spirals out of control.”

In the Apple Core of 2017, I will share with you some of the more, for the lack of a better word, interesting gems I inadvertently bumped into while trolling the the world wide web for fruit cultivation material to include in past articles. So, from my very own collection here is the first batch of what I call World Wide APPFACTS. The kind of conversation starters you may want to toss out at those social gatherings when there's an uncomfortable pregnant pause!


Inevitably, anytime you google the word apple for information on the tree fruit, Apple (of the Macintosh computer or IPhone varieties) will most assuredly appear near the top of the search results list. Only the wonderful wizardry of the internet can serve up an existential fusion of botany and the marketing of the latest technology. So, in one of my rare moments of distraction, I decided to dig up why Apple is called Apple.

In brief, this is what APPFACTS came up with: when Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak started their computer company in 1976 (in the garage of the home of Jobs’ parents in Cupertino, California) they wanted a fresh, non-traditional name for their new personal computer. In the recent biography of Steven Jobs by Walter Isaacson, the book details Jobs occasional tendency to eat only one or two foods, like carrots or apples, for weeks at a time. Jobs was an advocate of natural foods, and somewhat of a fruitarian, so when someone suggested “Apple” at a brainstorming session just prior to the deadline for filing a company name, it was an image that appealed to Jobs and the others.

Also, Jef Raskin, a former college professor and longtime computer hobbyist who worked for Apple, built in 1981 his own dream computer: inexpensive, portable, and as easy to use as an appliance. He called it the Macintosh, after his favorite kind of apple.

Ultimately, the logo was designed with a bite, so there would be no confusion with the cherry!

Many, many, many Varieties

If there is one subject that will get appleholics (yes, Virginia they do exist) really, and I mean really, animated it is the topic of varieties. Varieties come with names that sound like a combination of expensive wine, fine lingerie and rare dog breeds, with a soupcon of arrogance. All descriptions have a required preamble on the date (century/year) the apple was revealed, the original cultivator, the region where the variety was 'discovered' and most importantly its parentage. You want to sort out those bad apples early on in the chain of pomology evolution. Examples: Kamijn de Sonnaville, Esopus Spitzenburg, Eady's Magnum, Pixie Red Sport, Lord Derby Spur Type, Pigeon de Jerusalem, Purpurotter Cousinot, Yellow Ingestrie...You get the idea. APPFACTS reports that there are about 8,000 apple varieties grown world wide including more than 2,500 varieties in North America. The smallest apple is about the size of a pea while there are some large apples the size of a small pumpkin. The largest apple ever picked weighed 3lbs 2oz . My own 2016 harvest recorded a 1 lb 6 oz Mutsu and a 1 lb 3 oz Spigold.

At the 1915 Salt Spring Island Fall Far, prizes were offered for 24 different kinds of apples, one hundred years later, island orchards produced between 350 to 400 apple varieties. Most of these organically grown varieties are on display at Fulford Hall during the Salt Spring Island Apple Festival held annually in October. Not bad numbers for a small island on the BC coast.


250 Varieties Of Apple On One Tree

But wait, while researching varieties on the web APPFACTS came across a most peculiar 2013 article from the Daily Mail (UK) titled: “250 varieties of apple on one tree... thanks to a bit of hard grafting over the years”. That's right, Mr. Paul Barnett of Chidham, near Chichester, West Sussex, has 250 varieties available to pick – and astonishingly, they’re all growing on just one tree. From Granny Smith and Golden Delicious to Brownlees Russet and Wadhurst Pippin, if you like apples then Paul Barnett is your man. The horticulturist has spent 24 years meticulously growing his 'family tree' in his back garden by grafting on new varieties every winter.

I care to think that Mr. Barnett is a committed appleholic!


Sliced not Whole

In November 2014, the piece on the Arctic Apple addressed the promotion of the new apple that “will do great things for the industry by preserving more fruit throughout the production system — especially when it comes to the pre-sliced, ready-to-eat market”. I personally was not aware such a market existed, but then....

While researching for the article on the genetic piggy-backing of the Arctic Apple and its non-browning technology, APPFACTS collected this little piece from a group of researchers at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab: “ A clever tweak to how apples are sold is making everyone eat more of them”. The researchers at Cornell University knew that many of apples being served to kids as part of the National School Lunch Program were ending up in the trash, virtually untouched. But unlike others, they wondered if the reason was more complicated than simply that the kids didn't want the fruit. Specifically, they thought the fact that the apples were being served whole, rather than sliced, was doing the fruits no favour. And they were on to something.

A pilot study conducted at eight schools found that fruit consumption jumped by more than 60 percent when apples were served sliced. And a follow-up study, conducted at six other schools, not only confirmed the finding, but further strengthened it. Both overall apple consumption and the percentage of students who ate the sliced apples was 70 percent higher at schools that served sliced apples.

Thinking of investing in fruit slicers!

So, there you have it, the first batch of World Wide APPFACTS. Next issue: a different take on the origin of the apple; world wide apple production and a look at Malusdomesticaphobia (the fear of apples).


Feb. 2017