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B.C. expands perennial crop replant program

March 20, 2024  By Government of British Columbia

More B.C. farmers producing grapes, cherries, tree fruit and berries will receive support to replant their vineyards, farms and orchards to make them more resilient to climate change.

“There are few things better than locally grown fruit and locally crafted B.C. wine,” said Premier David Eby in a press release. “We’re taking action to support farmers who have been hit hard by a changing climate with a new task force and replant program, which will help about 1,000 more growers revitalize their farms and protect their businesses. The security of our food and our economy depend on the strength and resilience of our farmers.”

A new enhanced replant program will provide as much as $70 million in support to help producers replace damaged, diseased and low-producing vines, plants and trees with climate-resilient varieties that produce in-demand, premium fruit.


“Our government is here for B.C. producers who are facing challenges from severe vine and orchard damage from extreme weather, as well as those impacted by pests, plant disease and changing consumer and market demand,” said Pam Alexis, minister of agriculture and food. “This historic investment will help producers replant for a changing climate with more support than ever before, which will strengthen our economy and ensure people can enjoy B.C. fruit and wine into the future.”

The new funding builds on the $15-million Perennial Crop Renewal Program launched in spring 2023, which has helped more than 200 producers remove diseased and unproductive plants and replace them with higher quality crops.

JMC Farms in Chilliwack received $70,000 to remove 14 acres of Elliot blueberry plants infected by scorch virus and revitalize the soil to prepare for replanting.

“The crop-renewal program was easy to apply for and allowed our farm to avoid a serious financial burden from the removal of our blueberry plants,” said Marc Dalton, owner and blueberry farmer, JMC Farms. “The program helped our farm to be set up so we could adjust to changing market and climate conditions and allow us to be successful in the future. I am pleased to see the program will be expanded to include more replant costs since it provides good value to support farmers.”

Government staff will work with industry associations to develop planting guidelines to ensure replanted varieties have enhanced adaptability and performance in the face of climate change, pests, disease and market pressures. Producers will make replant choices based on the best available agronomic science to ensure they can handle extreme-weather events. Application information will be made available as soon as the guidelines are established.

As part of this investment, the government is also establishing a B.C. wine-grape sector task force to develop a research and varietal road map for an economically viable B.C. wine-grape industry. The task force will run for two years and provide practical recommendations to producers and the industry about how to remain profitable and resilient. It will be comprised of Canadian and international experts with members anticipated to be identified this year.

“Minister Alexis’s announcement is confirmation of this government’s commitment to resiliency support for B.C. wine growers,” said Miles Prodan, president and CEO, Wine Growers BC, in a press release. “The ongoing climate change effects on B.C. farmers, highlighted by recent freeze events, is real and directly impacts individuals and families that make up our industry. We look forward to working with the ministry to ensure B.C. vineyards come back better than ever to continue to produce the quality wine consumers have come to expect and that the B.C. wine industry continues to be a significant driver for the B.C. economy.”

Additionally, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is working with manufacturers, with a specific focus on wineries, to support better experiences for visitors and promote tourism. In response to industry feedback, B.C. is working to implement a suite of policy changes to enhance visitor experiences at wineries and other liquor-manufacturing sites in time for the summer. This work was informed by in-person visits to more than 30 liquor manufacturers.

“Our government remains committed to partnering with B.C. wineries and grape growers to guarantee the long-term sustainability and success of an industry that forms a fundamental part of the province,” said Roly Russell, parliamentary secretary for rural development, in a press release. “We know what a difficult time the last few years have been. These improvements for the sector will help give our B.C. wineries more flexibility to deliver the tailored and world-class visitor experience that they provide.”

The new changes in development include:

  • supporting better guided-tour experiences that allow people to sit and enjoy a glass of wine while on a tour;
  • allowing sales in more places on site, including on tours;
  • allowing more flexibility around sampling so manufacturers can customize sampling experiences; and
  • allowing manufacturers to sell their product in picnic areas and host people more effectively.

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