The Coombs Farmers’ Institute may not do as much lobbying as it used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s in any way dormant.
In fact, says president Colin Springford, the 100-year-old agricultural association is very much alive and well, as anyone will be able to tell when they hold their signature event, the annual livestock auction, slated for April 21 at the Coombs fairgrounds.
The event — the only one on Vancouver island —is more than just a chance to replenish stock. It’s also one of the biggest social events on the agricultural calendar, with farmers and ranchers chewing the fat over whatever issues have come to the fore in the season.
Money raised by the auction goes towards two scholarships awarded to students enrolled in agriculture-related studies.
That’s the big splash, but the institute does more than that behind the scenes. They do some lobbying on agricultural issues and mediate — among other things — boundary disputes between farmers.
The institute also holds information nights on issues such as farm taxes, farm safety and beekeeping.
There’s no doubt the institute has faded somewhat and its mandate has morphed over the years as Vancouver Island becomes more and more urban, but in one form or another, the Coombs Farmers’ Institute is likely to be around for a good while yet.