Editorial:The value of agriculture

Throughout Summerland’s history, agriculture has played a huge role in the community’s growth and development.

Throughout Summerland’s history, agriculture has played a huge role in the community’s growth and development.

On Saturday, the Pacific Agri-food Research Centre, an integral factor in local agriculture, marked its 100th anniversary.

Over the past century, the scientists at the centre have developed some fruit varieties designed to grow well in our climate. They have also done other research into tobacco and cattle at various times over the years.

Many of the common apple and cherry varieties in the province are the result of plant breeding efforts at the research facility. Other developments, not always as noticeable to the consumer, have also helped to increase production and improve efficiency for farmers.

Today the Okanagan Valley is becoming known for grape growing and wine production and the centre’s scientists are working on some developments and research to assist with this branch of agriculture.

Without the ongoing work of the research centre, farmers in the Okanagan would be at a disadvantage. Ongoing research is needed in order to ensure our fruit and grape production is workable, sustainable and economically viable.

While the face of agriculture has changed over the years and will continue to change in the future, the importance of a strong agricultural sector cannot be ignored. And as new challenges face farmers, new solutions will be needed.

The continuing work of the centre, in whatever form it takes in the future, will ensure a strong agricultural presence locally and beyond, for many years to come.