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Agriculture Sector

Agriculture continues to be of major importance in the Dawson Creek economy. Because Dawson Creek is centrally located in the Peace 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. As well, the area surrounding Dawson Creek has excellent growing conditions and proximity to west coast grain terminals is also a significant cost advantage.

Grain & Seed Crops

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 Region is a prime area for producing exceptional quality grass seeds. As one of Canada’s most northern farming regions, we benefit from long daylight hours during the summer, allowing for the production of crops that require a high number of growing degree days.

Generally favourable rainfall conditions make this region less prone to prolonged droughts often seen elsewhere on the prairies. 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.

Types of Crops & Food
Grown 
in the Peace Region
Resources Available for Grain,
Seed & Forage Producers
 
  • Wheat
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Canola
  • Fescue
  • Alfalfa
  • Rye
  • Field Peas
  • Berries
  • Greenhouse Products
  • Field Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Forage

Grain Elevators:

  • Agricore United
  • Louis Dreyfus
  • Richardson International
  • South Peace Grain Cleaning Co-op
  • Various grass and cereal seed sale companies
  • Agri-Source Ltd.
  • Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd.
  • Viterra

 

 

Livestock

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 as well as exotic livestock including llama, alpaca, fox, ostrich, emu and wild boar. The Peace Region 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 further diversification include livestock finishing, dairy and eggs and expanded game farming.

Lawrence Meat Packing, a provincially inspected slaughter facility in the region, is located in Dawson Creek. There are also poultry processing plants at South Peace Colony and Peace View Colony. The South Peace Colony is also a proud producer of 100% BC beef.

Types of Livestock Production in the Peace Region  

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Llama & Alpaca
  • Sheep/Lambs
  • Goats
  • Game Farming
  • Horses
  • Hogs
  • Bison

Honey

The long summer days are also a benefit to the region’s beekeepers, producing as much as three times more honey per hive than elsewhere in the province. The Peace Region accounts for 30% of the provincial honey crop. Peace honey is renowned for its exceptional flavour.

Organic

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. 

Adding Value:

BC Grain Producers Research Facility

One goal of the BC Grain Producers Association (BCGPA) is to improve the viability of the grains and oilseed industry in the BC Peace River region. The BC Grain Producers Association have been conducting field crop research in the area for over twenty years and opened an excellent new research facility in Dawson Creek in 2009. The researchers now have access to offices, a spacious warehouse and labs. One lab is used for seed handling and features proper vacuum ventilation for working with treated seed and the second lab is designed for handling harvested materials.

Current field research studies the potential of crops new to the region and ways to improve yield and maturity for existing commodity crops. Such work involves partnering with a dozen public and private plant breeders across Canada. With this new high-quality research facility, the BCGPA can continue to carry out important research for the betterment of agriculture in the Peace Region.

Agricultural Groups

  • Dawson Creek Exhibition Association (Agricultural Fair, Rodeo & Exhibition)
  • BC Grain Producers Association
  • BC South Peace River Stockmen’s Association
  • Certified Organic Associations of BC
  • Peace Region Forage Seed Association
  • Peace River Forage Association of BC
  • Northern Cohort
  • South Peace Feeder Cooperative
  • South Peace BC Bred Heifer Cooperative
    Association
  • Sweetwater Parkland Farmers Institute

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

Production Insurance
Toll Free: 1-877-772-2200
Tel: 250 784-2236 Fax: 250 784-2299

Agriculture Statistics (2016)

Land use Number of farms reporting Acres
Land in crops (excluding Christmas tree area) 9 366 238,163
Summerfallow land 9 19 2,263
Tame or seeded pasture 203 79,566
Natural land for pasture 227 201,668
Woodlands and wetlands 10 229 39,459
Area in Christmas trees, woodlands and wetlands 10 230 39,488
All other land 9 327 14,973

Source: Statistics Canada.  Table  32-10-0406-01   Land Use

 

Hay and field crops Number of farms reporting Acres
Alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures 216 58,072
Canola (rapeseed) 47 53,042
Total wheat 54 49,692
All other tame hay and fodder crops 114 22,092
Dry field peas 44 21,873
Barley 32 16,206
Oats 89 14,664
Total rye 3 200
Potatoes 5 11
 
Animal Number of farms reporting Number of animals
Cattle and calves 168 33,789
Sheep & Lamps 34 4,975
Horses and ponies 186 1,854
Bison (buffalo) 4 1,124
Pigs 21 861 *
Goats 23 417
Llamas and alpacas 22 103
Rabbits 10 57
Hens and chickens 57 20,560
Turkeys 11 3,216
Other poultry 25 2,616
Honeybees 19 1,913 (colonies)

* Some sub-sets of data suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act. Actual total will vary.

Sources: 
  Statistics Canada.  Table  32-10-0428-01   Poultry inventory on census day
  Statistics Canada.  Table  32-10-0424-01   Cattle and calves on census day
  Statistics Canada.  Table  32-10-0425-01   Sheep and lambs on census day
  Statistics Canada.  Table  32-10-0426-01   Pigs on census day
  Statistics Canada.  Table  32-10-0427-01   Other livestock on census day