Hazelnut growers in B.C. can improve the health and increase the size of their orchards through new funding available under the Hazelnut Renewal Program.
“We are beginning to see positive results of the program as hazelnut production has almost tripled since it launched and that’s very encouraging for growers in the province,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “The funding is supporting both new and established hazelnut farmers, giving them the flexibility to treat their orchards as needed, which is growing the industry and the supply of local hazelnuts throughout B.C.”
The industry has seen a significant increase in the production of hazelnuts grown in B.C. since the program began in 2018. In 2021, farmers grew 33 tonnes of hazelnuts, close to 73,000 pounds, which is up from approximately 11 tonnes (25,000 pounds) grown in 2017. Hazelnut trees take approximately four years to begin producing. Trees that were planted and replaced through the program are leading to measurable growth in the sector.
“We are excited that the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture has continued to support the B.C. hazelnut industry,” said Steve Hope, president of the BC Hazelnut Growers Association, hazelnut grower and co-owner of Fraser Valley Hazelnuts Ltd. “The Hazelnut Renewal Program has helped renew and revitalize the industry in B.C., and with the continued support of the ministry, the hazelnut industry has a bright future in our province.”
The B.C. government is providing $100,000 for two intake periods in spring and fall 2022. The funding will help growers replace dead and diseased orchards with eastern filbert blight-resistant varieties and further expand hazelnut growth in B.C. with new planting.
“When we heard about the Hazelnut Renewal Program, we were very interested as we had been looking for a new agricultural product to invest in. Having the opportunity to plant disease-resistant varieties and help build back a great agricultural industry in B.C. is wonderful to be a part of,” said Terry and Bonnie Ludwig, Vancouver Island hazelnut growers. “We have been very encouraged by the support of this government program. At Coastal Black Winery, we strive to provide quality local products and believe hazelnuts are an exciting new commodity to offer our local community and the whole of Vancouver Island.”
Since launching in 2018, the renewal program has resulted in approximately 55,000 new trees planted on more than 100 hectares (247 acres) and the removal of approximately 6,300 infected trees from approximately 21 hectares (52 acres).
- Spring intake is accepting applications from Feb. 2 to March 28, 2022, for planting or for removal projects that will occur between March and June 2022.
- Fall intake is accepting applications from Aug. 9 to Sept. 30, 2022, for planting or removal projects that will occur between October and December 2022.
- The Hazelnut Renewal Program allows a maximum eligible acreage planting of four hectares (10 acres) for double-density planning (maximum 269 trees per acre) or single-density planning (maximum 132 trees per acre) and eight hectares (20 acres) exclusively for single-density planting per farm operation.
- The B.C. hazelnut industry is comprised of approximately 40 growers with approximately 141 hectares (350 acres).