Awards presented by B.C. orchard industry

The cherry breeding program at the Pacific Agri-food Research Centre in Summerland was honoured with awards for its work.

Outgoing BCFGA president Joe Sardinha (left) presents a copy of an historic photo to Vernon Morning Star senior reporter Richard Rolke

He’s the second generation of his family to be made a life member of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association, following in his father’s footsteps.

Jamie Kidston Sr. was named a life member in 1985, and Jamie Kidston Jr. became one last week during the annual awards reception held in the historic Laurel Packinghouse by the association. He is still growing apples on the family farm in the Coldstream area.

Vernon Morning Star reporter Richard Rolke was also honoured with the press award.

The awards were presented by outgoing president of the BCFGA Joe Sardinha, so he was somewhat taken aback when he was presented with an award himself by general manager Glen Lucas thanking he and his wife for his 11 years of service on the executive, seven as president.

Awards of Merit were presented to four members of the cherry breeding program at the Pacific Agri-food Research Centre in Summerland, including researchers David Lane and Frank Kappen and technicians Richard MacDonald and Hans Schmidt.

The program was recognized nationally in 2009 and has also received international recognition, since 80 per cent of new cherry varieties have been developed at PARC.

All four are now retired, and the cherry breeding program has been combined with the apple breeding program.

That’s something that concerns the valley’s cherry growers, and all delegates to this year’s BCFGA convention Friday passes a resolution calling governments and horticulture organizations to deal with the decline in research capacity and the withdrawal of extension services that are needed to sustain family farming in Canada.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com