Recent History – 2000
Sept. 21, 2000
DAWSON CREEK — Garnet Berge, his partner Doreen, and his son James manage a third-generation family farm of 1850 acres north of Dawson Creek.
Berge’s grandmother, Rose, refuses to be 92 years old and is an integral part of all that goes on at the farm. Their farm has been direct-seeded since 1991 and they grow canola, peas, wheat and barley.
“I have found direct seeding to be one way to reduce my input costs, and at the same time, maintain or increase my yields,” said Berge.
He has been an active member of the BC Grain Producers Association (BCGPA) since it was formed in 1985. In the past, Berge was involved in the Barley Development Council, and presently, he is a member of the BCGPA’s Research Committee. Since 1991, he has chaired the BCGPA Canola Committee and been involved with the Canadian Canola Growers Association. More recently he has been active in the Canola Council of Canada and their initiatives. Berge is an active participant when he joins an organization or takes on a directorship.
When the Peace River Soil Conservation Association was formed in 1986, Berge was committed to the group and their objectives. Considered “crazy” and “whacko” at the time, this group of farmers promoted conservation tillage techniques and experimented with different equipment and management systems. He is still an active director and is helping the group to take on new directions and initiatives.
In 1996, Berge was elected to the BC Peace River Grain Industry Development Council (Levy Council) and two years ago was elected as Chair. This board makes tough decisions about how both the levy funds (collected from grain/ oilseed farmers in the BC Peace Region) and the Peace River Agriculture Development funds should be spent (This is PRAD, a mix of federal and provincial money).
“Farming is a business first, and a way of life second. However, with the commodity prices the way they are, it’s a good thing it is also a way of life.”
Known for his positive and proactive approach to problems and issues in agriculture, Berge said, “here’s hoping that prices improve so we can make farming a business again.”