Up to 50 local politicians and municipal staff from various North Okanagan communities will be putting on their rubber boots and visiting a dairy farm in Enderby today.
The tour has been organized by Ralph Van Dalfsen, the owner of the farm on Trinity Valley Road, and the local dairy farmers association.
Van Dalfsen says they want to educate the elected reps about dairy farming, so they can be more informed in their decision-making.
“In this day and age there is very few people who have a farming background anymore, so our decision makers, they need to have a bit of an idea how we operate so they can actually talk with their own constituents, and to know who to ask questions of in the industry.”
The guests for the tour will also include MP Mel Arnold and local MLA’s Eric Foster and Greg Kyllo.
Association chair Henry Bremer says they want to build relations with the elected reps.
“We’re giving them an understanding of what actually happens on the farm, and hopefully have a bit of a conversation how regional decisions affect dairy farmers in the area.”
Bremer says they did similar events five or six years ago in Vernon and Salmon Arm.
Van Dalfsen says there are about 80 dairy farms in the region, with most of those between Vernon and Salmon Arm.
He says the milk is sent elsewhere for processing.
“A lot of the milk ends up in the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford area. It gets processed and it comes back. That’s one of the things we also would like to accomplish is to encourage more processing to happen here as well,” says Van Dalfsen.
Van Dalfsen expects concerns about the impact of a Spallumcheen dairy farm’s liquid manure system on the Hulcar water system to come up, but he says that’s not why the tour is being held.