Growers in British Columbia can apply for the next round of Hazelnut Renewal Program funding for the spring planting season, to help replace trees and establish new orchards with disease-resistant varieties.
“This is a great opportunity to help farmers get farming,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “We remain committed to supporting the province’s hazelnut growers. This important sector is getting back on track in B.C., and orchards around the province are being replenished with eastern filbert blight resistant varieties. I’m so excited that growers are accessing the funding and seeing results.”
The ministry has improved the program this year by expanding the amount of land that farmers can get funded for planting. This increase allows farmers to grow their businesses, and the B.C. hazelnut industry, faster than before.
Since the Hazelnut Renewal Program launched in 2018, the first two application intakes — fall 2018 and spring 2019 — resulted in 11,503 new trees planted (21 hectares, or 52 acres) and the removal of approximately 3,025 infected trees (10 hectares, or 25 acres). The results of the fall 2019 planting season are expected to be as successful and will be reported in February 2020 after field inspections are completed. New eligibility requirements that accommodate different planting densities are expected to attract more farmers into the program.
“As president of the BC Hazelnut Growers Association, I am pleased to say that as a result of the Hazelnut Renewal funding, we are seeing hazelnuts being planted in other parts of the province like the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands,” said Neal teBrink, president, BC Hazelnut Growers Association. “The program is bringing underutilized agricultural land into production for hazelnuts, which are a great source of protein and healthy oil for our diet. The program is helping build momentum in the renewal of the industry as a portion of province has the ideal climate for growing hazelnuts. We hope the program continues to be successful so the industry can reach the level needed to be sustainable.”
The B.C. government is providing the BC Hazelnut Growers Association with $300,000 over three years to help growers replace hundreds of acres of dead and diseased orchards with eastern filbert blight resistant varieties, and further expand hazelnut acreage in B.C. with new planting.
The program is accepting new applications until Feb. 7, 2020, for spring planting. B.C. hazelnut growers can apply here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/programs/hazelnut-renewal/2020-21_project_application-spring.pdf
- The Hazelnut Renewal Program’s ongoing goal is to offer greater flexibility and accessibility for farmers.
- The 2020-21 program eligibility changes include:
- The maximum eligible acreage for 2020-21 planting is four hectares (10 acres) for double (maximum 269 trees/acre) or single density planning, and eight hectares (20 acres) exclusively for single density planting (maximum 132 tree/acre) per farm operation.
- The B.C. hazelnut industry is comprised of approximately 40 growers with about 141 hectacres (350 acres).
- B.C. hazelnut farmers grow about 21 tonnes of nuts per year.
November 2019 news release for Every Chef Needs a Farmer, Every Farmer Needs a Chef event: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019AGRI0125-002152
Watch a video from the 2019 Every Chef Needs a Farmer, Every Farmer Needs a Chef event highlighting Fraser Valley hazelnuts and The Acorn and The Arbor restaurants in Vancouver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0ZG6u21B60
For more information about the Hazelnut Renewal Program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/hazelnut-renewal-program