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Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
29 May 2020
Volume 20 Issue 6

Warning: Some of the facts in this publication may be used to persuade people to support the WFCA.

Readying the 2020 Planting Season for COVID-19 Leaves WFCA Short Funds

WFCA

Shouldering its share to get the 2020 planting season off the ground
has come at a cost to the WFCA.

The Western Forestry Contractors’ Association is accustomed to fighting out of its weight category when it comes to influencing policy and practice in B.C. forestry. But the heavy lifting it took to set standards, win public acceptance, and recover safety costs in order to plant trees during this pandemic has come at a price. Now the association is asking its members, and non-members who benefitted from its leadership, to help raise $70,000 needed to restore its 2020 budget and stay in the fight with COVID-19 in 2021. These costs have come from the additional WFCA political and safety consulting needed to enable the 2020 planting season to proceed and to support the silviculture sector as it dealt with COVID-19 risks. The WFCA is hoping that forestry field service employers who don’t pay the WorkSafeBC levy that supports the BC SAFE Forestry Advocate’s work, and non-members of the WFCA – particularly the wildfire fighting and planting contractors – will contribute. For more information on how to help email info@wfca.ca

BC Tree Planters Plant for World Hunger Day

WFCA

A well-spaced socially-distanced pod of Wildhorse Forestry Ltd. planters in the West Kootenay pose for a moment on Thursday World Hunger Day. Their crew raised a total of $800 for the Salmo food bank.

Yesterday was World Hunger Day and thousands of B.C.’s tree planters planted trees to raise money for food banks around the province. Employers agreed to match the dollars workers raised through their donated earnings. The donations are from a sector appreciative of the support it has received from rural community leaders and suppliers. The financial help is intended to assist families and individuals dealing with the financial uncertainties that COVID-19 has generated across many sectors of the province’s economy. Our province’s 4500 tree planters feel grateful to have work and are willing to share some of that good fortune with others who need help.

Will Planters Switch to Pickers This Summer and Fall?

WFCA

The BC Okanagan fruit industry is hoping weather-varnished and sunburnt tree planters will come and pick rosy-complexioned fruit this summer when planting winds down.

British Columbia fruit and berry farmers fear they may be short-handed thousands of pickers and packers this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on recruiting workers from out of province and the country. They are hoping that tree planters might lend their calloused hands to save the crop, put healthy food on plates, and keep this important agriculture sector solvent. We also should mention that unpicked fruit is not only profligate, it is hard on the fruit-bearing trees themselves. Few planters will be available for the start of the cherries in a few weeks. But other berry and fruit crops will be ripening during the summer and into the fall. Farmers in the Okanagan and the Fraser Valley are hoping then planters will migrate to their orchards and fields as tree planting work winds down. We have it on good authority that compared to planting, picking is relatively pleasant work, the weather is always fair, the load is light compared to seedlings, and the money and company can be good. General information on finding agriculture work can be found at www.bcagjobs.gov.bc.ca