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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 30, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 16 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, April 30, 1974 Competition helps prosper growers By DOUG SMALL BRADFORD, Out. (CP) After nearly a decade, plows are again at work in this market garden region transforming new stretches of bland marsh into rich, sootblack cultivated land. The area that produces a major portion of the country's anrual 2.7- billion-pound vegetable crop is spreading like an ink stain over the decomposed sedge and marsh grass. Farmers and shippers agree that the expansion illustrates a marked improvement in the vegetable business. Manager Glen Henderson of the local Ontario Produce Co. Ltd. division, a 25-year in- habitant of the region, said most of the 350 growers here have prospered, particularly in the last few years. World food supplies have dropped, demand has in- creased and the market for Holland Marsh vegetables has spread around the world. Farmers, who last broke substantial areas of new land in the 1950s, are again clearing new acreage. But this time, "they're a little more Mr. Henderson says. ANDERSON SUPPLIES LTD. WARNER, ALBERTA SALES 642-3845 PARTS 642-3944 GM DIVISION SPECIAL MINOR TUNE-UP Plus Parts Carburetor Job Plus Parts _____ Plus Parts For Goly 642-3933 Warner USED UNITS 1965 FORD TON Four speed. Nice field and farm 1971 GMC V8'. three speed. Rebuilt engine. 1971 GMC TON V8. speed. 197TDATSUN COUPE DEBRE Between 1951 and 1956, farmers set up a marketing board to sell their produce. The idea was that the board would solve the problems of matching supplies with demand and would free farmers to grow as much as possible. Board failed But as production ex- panded, the farmers were soon faced with price-crip- pling surpluses and the board collapsed. Now, aside from seasonal tariffs that protect local vegetable farmers from low-priced imports during the growing season, the industry operates on traditional free-enterprise principles. Farmers own their own storage facilities and parcel out their harvests of celery, lettuce, carrots, beets, potatoes, parsnips, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant and other products during the year. "It's pretty well a daily buying said Mr. Henderson. "Over the years, there have been deals made between shippers and farmers where a shipper will agree to buy a whole crop. In that way, a shipper who liked to gamble felt he could perform a little one- upmanship on the market. "But it's pretty hard to outguess the marketplace and most find it's better to buy rrom farmers from day to day." Ontario Produce is only one of a number of shipping, or packing, companies that buy the crops of the Holland Marsh and Mr. Henderson said the competition has helped maintain the prosperity of most farmers. As well, he said, the in- creasing cost of shipping vegetables in from other Seepage blamed after cattle die PRINCETON, B.C. (CP) Seepage from a copper mine's tailings pond is blamed for the death of cattle on two ranches near here, and has forced the ranchers to fence off their herds from a creek that normally provides them with water. Bill Ferguson has penned up more than 200 cattle in a corral on his ranch about eight miles south of Princeton, keeping them away from their usual water supply, Wolfe Creek, and the lush pastureland along the creek. The Fergusons penned up their cattle after losing five cows and seven calves in recent weeks. Further down the valley, the larger Abe Willis ranch has lost about 15 cows and 16 calves. The two ranchers blame the contaminated waters of Wolfe Creek for their losses. They say compounds seeping under a dam that backed up the tailing pond of the Similkameen Mining Co. Ltd. have found their way into the stream. "What else could it be? We've never had this kind of trouble before. These cattle just seem to be poisoned, they were dead in no Mr. Ferguson said. Mining company resident manager Alex End aid? KAMLOOPS, B.C. (CP) The Canadian Cattlemen's Association said this week it will ask the federal government to remove the beef subsidy. Gordon Park, president of the association, said that although the subsidy has provided short-term help for the Canadian rancher, it is bad for the rancher and the consumer now. Bisset admitted at a meeting of the Princeton Fish and Game Association that conditions similar to those in the tailings pond have been found in Wolfe Creek. BLAMES STREAM He blamed an underground stream, which, he said, apparently flows in the area of the tailing pond, for mixing with the compound and carrying some of it into the creek. doing the best we can to this problem, but it won't be he said. The provincial pollution control branch entered the controversy earlier this month and got an agreement from the mining company for interim measures to aid the ranchers. The agreement requires the company to see that fences keep cattle out of the creek and requires it to truck water to the ranches and provide feed until the herds are moved to high summer pastures. Mr. Bisset said the company is sinking relief wells in attempts to tap the seepage, but admitted further wells may be required to locate the underground spring believed to be causing the contamination problem. Myrna Bosomworth, president of the Princeton Scientific Pollution and Environmental Control Society, said the mining company assured them four years ago there would be no pollution. But she said the company did not carry out all the studies needed to be sure of this. The company has been operating the copper plant for about three years. Mr. Bisset said studies will be carried out on the atfected ranch lands by agronomists and veterinarians later this week. countries like the United States has improved local fortunes. Still, farmers in the region, who work plots ranging from 10 to 200 acres, tend to regard their prosperity warily. Most said they feel the need for tough government measures to keep out imports that threaten prices. Fresh vegetable imports last year, for instance, amounted to about 10.7 billion pounds, while exports were only about 164 million pounds. Of the total domestic vegetable production of about 2.7 frillion pounds, two-thirds was grown in Ontario. Market expands Despite the gap between exports and imports, Mr. Henderson industry "can't yell too loudly" about shipments into the country. It would be difficult to move into new markets if one could not take a little in return. Farmers, he said, tend to "bring their products up to the back door" and then forget the complexities ot the market place. But shippers were responsible for getting the products to places as diverse as British Columbia, Newfoundland and overseas. Still, the major problem confronting farmers in the region continues to be one of periodic surpluses in an industry that can expand quickly when market conditions appear buoyant. While the growing region could easily be expanded by between and acres, fears of surplus production will probably limit the growth to much less. "Another acres could hurt bad if things said one farmer as he watered the eggplants in his greenhouse. Specialists in all types of ENGINE REBUILDING CYLINDER BORING AND RESLEEVING CRANKSHAFT REGRINDING Ask about our Guarantee ENGINES WISCONSIN ENGINE Sales and Service Centre Custom Engine Parts Ltd. 1605 3rd Avenue South Phone 328-8181 ;