Saturday, February 25, 2017

Coddling moth program finding success

by Richard Rolke - Kelowna Capital News Kelowna posted Feb 25, 2017 at 8:00 AM
A region-wide initiative remains focused on keeping a tiny bug under control. The Sterile Insect Release program reports that the use of pesticides for codling moth was down 94 per cent in 2016 and 93 per cent of all apple acreage had less than 0.2 per cent of damage from the insect. “The program is realizing success. We keep getting progressively cleaner,” said Melissa Tesche, acting general manager. SIR was started in 1991 and the goal is to control the impact of the invasive codling moth on the apple and pear industry in the Okanagan and Similkameen regions. The program includes the use of sterile moths and mating disruption, as well as population monitoring, enforcement and education. Along with orchards, SIR also ensures codling moth isn’t in residential trees. There are about 2,600 buffer sites between orchards and urban areas, but very few were infested in 2016. “It’s not that we don’t want backyard trees, we just want them clean,” said Tesche, adding that moths in residential trees can spread into nearby orchards. Tesche believes the general public supports SIR because it leads to reduced pesticide use in their neighbourhoods. “People desire this pastoral lifestyle and living among orchards.
There is increased environmental awareness and people care about how their food is grown,” she said. Moth infestations can also negatively impact the tree fruit industry, which is economically important in many communities. “Agricultural pests are a regional problem that need area wide control. There is a relevancy to the program,” said Tesche. During a recent survey, most of the 506 respondents were willing to pay for SIR through property taxes (the program is also funded through a parcel tax on orchardists). There is no tax increase planned for 2017 and the last hike was 2010. The program’s annual operating budget is $3.2 million, and alternate funding sources such as selling moths to other countries, such as New Zealand. “We are trying to get some senior government grants back into the program,” said Tesche.
Don Quixote Note:

Below is a data analysis of the SIR Tax Requisition. All participating areas at RDNO (Vernon, Coldstream, Armstrong, Spallumcheen and Areas B & C are charged on the basis of land value assessment only. That is how it arrives on your property tax bill. (Nord1 assessed land only in Vernon.) Total in 2016 $294,272. Vernon's share in 2016 $191,142 (64.95%). My personal share on my property was $12.09 in 2016.

The actual fruit growers acreage to which this program applies is charged on the property tax bill is a per acre charge of $139.26. Total acreage for the RDNO fruit growers is 1079.29 acres and a total charge of $150,297 in 2016. Vernon fruit growers had 136.65 (12.68%) of the total acreage and were taxed $19,030.

If the taxpayers of Vernon were charged on the basis of fruit acreage in their jurisdiction rather than assessed land values as is the present formula the taxes required would be reduced by $153,582. In 2009 the difference was calculated to be a $157,906 reduction.

Naturally if this formula changed to Fruit acreage only other areas would be effected.

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