As the price of putting food on the table continues to climb, some local farmers have dug up a way to churn out support from field to farm to family.
Okanagan Valley Feeds (OVF) broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art feed mill in Spallumcheen on June 16.
A mill to this standard hasn’t been built for 50 years.
“I know this because my family built it,” said Jon Couch, who has started OVF with his brother Todd.
It was their family that first built the only other mill of that standard in Grindrod years ago. Since then, few mills have cropped up in the province, making it harder for farmers to afford to feed their animals.
“It’s been 20 years since a new feed mill has been built in B.C., that’s in the Lower Mainland,” Jon told a crowd of upwards of 200 at the groundbreaking.
OVF is investing $35 million into the new mill and hopes to have it up and running in about 18 months.
The five-acre plot will house the extensive mill, which will house 10,000 metric tonnes of food and support 15,000 cows, plus all the other animals.
Looking to partner with local farmers with grain fields, OVF’s mission statement is ‘From Field to Farm to Family.’
“This feed mill is important not just to agriculture but to locals,” said Jon, adding that feed mills are important, “if you had a little cream in your coffee, butter on your toast or perhaps some bacon and eggs.”
Plus, “every one of us here has seen our grocery bills go up.”
Agricultural Minister Lana Popham, who showed up to the groundbreaking, is pleased to see the project moving along.
“Consumers are putting farmers up on pedestals and there’s a real understanding that if we don’t support our farmers we’re in trouble,” Popham said.
“I have a lot of hope for this spot. This mill is going to support this community.”
Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser is equally joyed to see OVF’s success, since the Township purchased the more than 100-acre site with the goal to preserve it for some sort of agriculture. OVF is situated on a five-acre plot.
“This has been about four years in the making and it’s going to be a great start to our agricultural hub,” Fraser said.
Spallumcheen’s motto is Open for Business and the Couch brothers and families feel that fits perfectly with OVF.
“We will not only build a feed mill, we will build community,” Jon said.
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