Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Spring Cash Flow
The cash never seems to stop flowing out at this time of the year and nowhere near enough seems to flow in. There are capital projects to complete. Seeds, tubers and plants to order. Labour to pay. Fertilizer to purchase. And that is a story unto itself.
Our fertilizer supplier, Terralink, has raised the prices of organic OMRI approved fertilizers an average of 30% for the second year in a row. It turns out that while the organic marketplace is growing, the supply of fertilizer is not growing at the same pace. Organic growers in the Fraser Valley are using manure from the large Poultry operations which actually pay to have the manure removed from the area of the Abbotsford Aquifer. That same product, while available to us is enormously costly to Pemberton growers due to transportation costs and the need to acquire new equipment to age and apply the compost as North Arm has traditionally relied on a granular fertilizer products. We hope that a proposal currently before local government will be approved and compost made with sea to sky green waste will be processed at a facility in Pemberton. This would give a huge boost to the growing organic industry, many of whom have similar challenges with obtaining fertility.
Soil fertility is really what the whole farm program rests on. Healthy soil equals healthy plants. Maintaining and building the soil fertility, organic matter and in our particular case raising PH are overall objectives and we track this with an annual testing program set up to compare fields of like soil types year over year. Cheaping out on amendments can lead you to wear your soils out, essentially mining them, not at all a renewable practice.
We are essentially converting minerals and organic constituents into food using water and the sun as the catalysts. And then converting the food into cash. Quite a cool process actually, although it does take time. A minimum of a season to be precise. I guess money does kind of grow on trees... or beets or carrots or...