Lidder runs an 80-acre fruit farm in Keremeos
By Diego Flammini
A fruit farmer from Keremeos, B.C. is British Columbia’s Outstanding Young Farmer for 2022.
Gurpreet Lidder, who runs an 80-acre fruit farm under the Lidder’s Produce banner, received the award during a regional event in Abbotsford.
He’s also involved in another 415-acre operation with his uncle.
Though he accepted the award, he shares the acknowledgement with everyone involved in the operation, he said.
“It’s not just me,” he told Farms.com. “I have a really great team with people who are passionate about agriculture. “This award is an example of what happens when everyone works together. I share it with them.”
The farm produces multiple fruits including apples, cherries, peaches, watermelons and pears.
He attributes the farm’s variety of crops to its soils.
“We farm on Class A land,” he said.
The soils in Keremeos are Snehumpton or Nighthawk, British Columbia’s Soil Information Finder Tool says.
Snehumpton soils are well-drained, have intermediate available water storage capacity and have pH ranging from 5.6 to 7.4, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says.
Nighthawk soils have a low available water storage capacity, are rapidly drained and have a similar pH range to Snehumpton.
Lidder uses precision agriculture to ensure the health and production of the orchard.
He uses soil, leaf and fruit tests to paint a comprehensive picture of what’s going on in the field. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, he said.
“It’s expensive to broadcast nutrients all over the field, especially when you might not get the results you’re intending,” he said. “With the tests we do, we’re getting a detailed picture of what’s happening with the trees and giving the trees only the necessary nutrients.
“Trees are like people that way. Their nutrient needs change, and so we provide the trees with what they’re lacking, not what they have high amounts of.”
Lidder is the second generation of his family to farm.
After immigrating to Canada, Lidder’s parents, Dave and Satpal, started working for other growers.
In 1992 they purchased 10-acres of land. The couple purchased another five acres a few years later and in 1995 set up a fruit stand where Gurpreet and his siblings would work and help on the farm.
Gurpreet attended Okanagan College to pursue a business degree in 2003. And it was there he realized he was destined to be a farmer.
“About halfway through my degree, working towards what I thought was going to make me happy, I realized I missed the passion for farming,” he said. “I missed farming too much and I decided I was going to come back to the farm.”
Because of his award as B.C.’s Outstanding Young Farmer, Lidder will compete in the national event with other regional winners later this year.
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer will be named during the national event in Saskatoon in November.