Agriculture continues to be of major importance in the Dawson Creek economy. Because Dawson Creek is centrally located in the Region it is naturally the service and sales centre for the agriculture community. There are more businesses in the City that directly service the agricultural community than any other single industry. That’s no wonder, with close to 2.5 million acres in production, the Peace Region is the largest agricultural region in British Columbia, and home to some 1,800 farms, producing well over $100 million worth of product annually.
Farms in the Peace Region enjoy the dual advantages of low land prices and low cost of production. The area’s proximity to West Coast grain terminals is also a significant cost advantage.
Of all the agricultural production in the Peace, livestock operations show perhaps the greatest potential. Abundance of space and quality feed have recently boosted both the hog and the traditional beef cattle industries, with cow/calf production now the largest in BC. Livestock production also includes dairy cattle, sheep, goats, and horses, with a growing diversification into game farming of bison and reindeer, and exotic livestock including llama, alpaca, fox, ostrich, emu, and wild boar.
The Peace is home to some of the largest bison herds in the province, producing nearly three-quarters of BC’s bison.
Areas of potential growth and diversification include livestock finishing, dairy and eggs, and expanded game farming. The only federally inspected slaughter facility in the region is located in Dawson Creek.
- Llama & Alpaca
- Game Farming
The dominant annual crops have been the traditional prairie crops; wheat, oats, barley, and canola. Almost 90% of BC’s grain and 95% of BC’s canola are produced in the Peace, as well as 90% of the dry field peas and 95% of forage seeds.
The Peace is a prime area for producing exceptional quality grass seeds. As one of Canada’s most northern farming regions, the Peace benefits from long daylight hours during the summer, allowing for the production of crops which require a high number of growing degree days.
The long days are also a benefit to the region’s 200 beekeepers, producing as much as three times more honey per hive than elsewhere in the province, and totaling, most years, 30% of the provincial honey crop. Peace honey is renowned for its exceptional flavour.
Generally favourable rainfall conditions make this region less prone to prolonged droughts often seen elsewhere on the prairies. This area has not been affected by droughts in previous years’, as have other Western provinces. In fact, unfavourable conditions in other areas have increased the value of local forage and cereal grains. Lower temperatures in winter greatly reduce insect populations, thus limiting the need for pesticides.
- Field Peas
- Flax seed Nursery products
- Greenhouse Products
- Grain Elevators
- Grain Elevators: Agricore United, Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd., Louis Dreyfus, Pioneer Grain, Agri-Source Ltd.
- South Peace Grain Cleaning Co-op
- Grass & cereal seed sale companies
The pristine environment in the Peace makes it very suitable for taking advantage of North America’s growing interest in organic crops. The region’s certifying body, the Peace River Organic Producers Association (PROPA), reports that a growing number of farms across the Peace bio region are now producing certified organic beef, bison, poultry, hogs, eggs, wheat, barley, herbs, hay, oil seeds, peas, as well as table and seed potatoes, with more than 50,000 acres in the organic certification program already. Organically grown grain is also ground into flour and specialty breads are produced and exported to Europe.
The Peace, with Dawson Creek at the centre of it all, shows plenty of opportunities for growth in the production of a myriad of quality products at a relatively low cost.
An active value added organization in the Peace promotes the departure from selling products as commodities, toward selling processed, differentiated products instead. The “Branding the Peace” Program has set the wheels in motion to develop a marketing strategy that will increase the value of products and services being offered by all sectors in the BC and Alberta Peace region. The concept is to promote the Peace’s relatively pristine environment and raise the profile of its products, thus creating consumer demand and commanding a premium price.
Clubs & Associations
- Rodeo Association
- 4-H Clubs
- Organic Producers
- Value-added Association
- Rope & Saddle Club
- B.C. Peace Forage
- P.C. Bison
- P.C. Reindeer
- Forage Seed Association
- Stable and Arena Users
- Fall Fair Board
- B.C. Cattlemen’s
- S.P.R. Stockmen’s
- South Peace Beekeeper’s
- B.C. Grain Producers
- Farmer’s Market
- Dawson Creek Sheep Breeders
- Peace River Soil Conservation
Ministry of Agriculture
1201 103rd Avenue
Dawson Creek BC V1G 4J2
Toll Free: 1-877-772-2200
Tel: 250 784 2601 Fax: 250 784-2299
Toll Free: 1-877-772-2200
Tel: 250 784-2236 Fax: 250 784-2299