Northern Development approves $176,483 for 10 projects through the BC Hydro Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund

March 23, 2021

March 23, 2021

PEACE RIVER REGIONAL DISTRICT B.C. – Northern Development Initiative Trust announced today that $176,483 has been approved to benefit 10 Peace Region agricultural projects through the BC Hydro Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund (PACF).

This is the fourth time grants have been awarded from the $20 million bi-annual fund, which was established in 2018. Each project must fall into one of three categories: Events and Educational Initiatives, Farming Infrastructure, or Research and Demonstration Initiatives

Jody Watson – $7,407 for the construction of a commercial kitchen to make preserved and pickled products which are later sold to local retail stores. Currently, the products are being sold in Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope with inquiries from Dawson Creek and Chetwynd. This investment will improve business practices and allow the team to meet the high demand for their products with an increase in production and introduction of new products.

Gary and Kathy Ackles – $22,553 for the production of shrub berries and root vegetables on Sweetwater Farm to sell within 100 kms of the property. While the berries (Saskatoon and Hascap) will take a few years to start producing, the root vegetables will produce a crop this year. The intention is to begin with a 10-to-15-acre parcel in 2021 and expand to additional acres over the next two to three years.

Eric Hanna – $28,475 for a fence and greenhouse on Hanna Acres. The fence will enclose an existing two-acre field to protect it from deer and elk and allow the farm to grow additional produce. Making this space usable for vegetables will allow operations to continue and expand while allowing for healthy crop rotation practices. Secondly, the construction of a cold frame freestanding greenhouse will benefit the existing operation by increasing the space available for seedlings and permanent vegetation.

Six other projects were approved for funding through the BC Hydro PACF: $8,006 for Suzan Lapp’s riparian and stream protection project, $9,825 for David Braun’s east pasture rebuild, $13,293 for Rustic Market Garden’s high tunnel cold frame construction, $14,024 for Wollen Sons Ranch Ltd. for cattle handling expansion, $18,000 for Beaton Hills Orchard expansion and $50,000 for Summit Acre Farm to relocate a harvester silo.

For more information on the fund, including past recipients and application details, please visit and


Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust

“These are some exciting new project approvals for the Peace Region, and it is great to see the interest and commitment to providing locally sourced food to people and communities in the area. All of these projects will benefit not only farmers and ranchers, but local businesses and young people.”

Jody Watson

“Building this commercial kitchen space on our farm allows us to produce a value-added product at its peak season so we can provide local food year-round to our customers.”

Eric Hannah

The funding we are receiving through the BC Hydro Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund will fence an additional two acres of garden space and build a greenhouse to extend our growing season. As much as we love to see wildlife on the farm, its discouraging when they are eating your produce.  This helps to ensure Peace residents are the ones to eat our veggies! We so appreciate the opportunity this has afforded us to both expand our workspace and improve the farm’s efficiency. Its very exciting!”

Gary Ackles

“We are grateful to BC Hydro and NDIT for approving the grant that is enabling us to envision our property as a berry and root vegetable farm. We look forward to starting this phase of our project.”