I read with interest the economic questions the Observer placed to the prospective candidates for councillor of the City of Salmon Arm. It was a great surprise to me that not one of the 18 people vying for a seat at the city’s table mentioned agriculture as a possible solution to the economic problems.
Agriculture has shown year after year that it can and does grow equal to the population growth of the country. The dairymen of our area showed three weeks ago that the impact the farms in our area have on the economy of our region goes beyond the farm gate receipts. It goes to the services provided by local merchants and businesses that local farmers require to produce a glass of milk, a bowl of cherries or a Sunday roast. The impact is huge.
If you look at the land base of the City of Salmon Arm and surrounding Columbia Shuswap Regional District, you realize very quickly agriculture is the dominant private land use.
It was disappointing for me that not one of the mayor or councillor candidates considered agriculture as a factor in improving the local economy in the years to come.
To that end, I call on all the agriculture sectors of our area to join the dairymen and the two local farmers institutes in their call for the CSRD and the City of Salmon Arm to establish a joint agriculture advisory committee.
This committee of farm leaders, elected officials and local government staff would explore the economic strengths and weakness of the agriculture sector of our economy and develop an agriculture plan that determines what can be done locally to improve agriculture’s positive impact.
Lorne M Hunter