Pre-COVID, farms report record sales in 2019: B.C. government

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Like many industries relying heavily on labour during the pandemic, the farming sector has been particularly hard hit.

Facing challenges in getting temporary foreign workers into the country and encouraging local labour into the market, farmers know all about covid-19.

So the news of a record $3.9 billion in sales last year may temper some of the adverse effects no doubt coming down the pipe later this year and beyond.

Areas of growth included a close to $300-million increase in cannabis sales, along with a $47-million increase in dairy sales, a $25-million increase in beef sales and a $17.5-million increase in field vegetable sales.

The figures represent an increase of more than 13 per cent, or $462 million, more than 2018.

Indeed, the B.C. government hopes 2019’s bumper sales in the farming industry is a sign of a strong recovery in the future.

"For the past three years, our government has been focused on helping farmers farm and strengthening food security,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture.

“We know the pandemic has impacted farmers greatly this year, but the farming sector's record economic growth in 2019 sets the sector up for a strong recovery.

“COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the importance of our province's self-sufficiency. I urge everyone to continue to show their appreciation for our farmers and support our local food system by making a special effort to Buy BC."

As government works on the overall economic restart, more British Columbian farm workers are still needed to ensure B.C.'s agriculture sector remains strong.

"Connecting more British Columbians to agriculture jobs and careers is more important than ever as we work to restart the economy and keep this momentum going," added Popham.

“We are working together with industry as we focus on restarting our farming sector."

In May, government launched the BC Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector and a digital campaign is underway to further promote these job opportunities for the summer.

* Farm cash receipts refer to the revenues from the sale of agricultural commodities, program payments from government agencies and payments from private crop and livestock insurance programs.

* Other sectors/commodities with increased sales include:

* eggs - $14 million;

* nursery - $14 million;

* chicken - $12 million;

* blueberries - $7 million;

* grapes - $5.6 million; and

* grains and oilseeds - $2.7 million.

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