Series GR-0505 - British Columbia Farmers' Institutes records

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

British Columbia Farmers' Institutes records

General material designation

  • textual record

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1912 - 1992 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.4 m of textual records

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Ministry of Agriculture was established in 1894 under its first name, Dept. of Agriculture, with the enactment of the Department of Agriculture Act (SBC 1894, c. 1). Prior to 1894, all agricultural functions were placed within the jurisdiction of a single minister, who was responsible for both finance and agriculture. With the 1894 establishment of the department, the statistician became the first deputy minister.

One of the main functions of the department at this time was to collect and analyze statistics relating to agriculture in the province for the purpose of planning further agricultural progress. Although legislation established separate departments for agriculture and finance, a single minister continued to act as both the minister of finance and agriculture until 1916 when separate ministers were appointed. At this time, the BC Government enacted a new Department of Agriculture Act (SBC 1916, c. 53).

The minister of agriculture was responsible for the administration of the laws relating to agriculture, horticulture, and the pastoral industries. The functions of the department included the supervision of model and experimental farms, and of all agricultural, horticulture, livestock, poultry, and dairying associations and institutes receiving government aid. Marketing, and the collection and publication of statistics continued to be an important function. The work of the department was divided among the following branches in 1947: agricultural development and extension; field crops and seed improvement; horticultural; live stock; markets; plant pathology, entomology, and apiary inspection; and soil surveys. As well, the deputy minister was responsible for farmers’ and women’s institutes, agricultural associations, exhibitions, fall fairs, and agricultural statistics and publications. In 1976, the department was renamed the Ministry of Agriculture (OIC 3199/76).

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of B.C. Farmers’ Institutes records of several different types, including: records of Farmers’ Institute districts; records concerning the reporting of local institutes to the Registrar of Companies and the Dept. of Agriculture; correspondence of the Superintendent of Farmers’ Institutes (in the Dept. of Agriculture); and records of the Farmers' Institute Advisory Board ca. 1961-1967.

The series includes files regarding local Farmers' Institutes. These records document the function of the B.C. Registrar of Companies and subsequently the B.C. Dept. of Agriculture in their responsibility for B.C. Farmers' Institutes. The records document how each local institute registered as a society, carried out its annual reporting, and was dissolved. These files may include: a declaration of desire to form a society under the Societies Act, the certificate of incorporation as a society, constitution and by-laws, a list of first directors, the annual reports which include the institute's annual financial statement, and a memo to file regarding the local institute being struck off the corporate register and dissolved. Files may also include minutes and correspondence. A Declaration of Association includes the names, occupations and address of the local people who wished to form the association.

The annual reports include: a financial statement listing receipts and expenditures, balances, and names of auditors. It also includes the membership numbers, and names and occupations of officers and directors. Annual reports also consist of remarks, sometimes lengthy, about the nature of the local institute and its activities during the past year.

Records of Farmers’ Institute districts date from ca. 1961 through 1967 and from 1968 to 1980. These files include minutes of and resolutions from meetings and annual conventions, correspondence, and financial statements.

The series also includes miscellaneous correspondence ca. 1961-1963, in-going and out-going, from the office of the Superintendent of Farmers’ Institutes of the Dept. of Agriculture.

Where file codes exist on the files, these codes were created based on the number assigned to that institute at the declaration of association.

Annual reports and other corporate records were submitted first to the B.C. Registrar of Companies and subsequently to the B.C. Dept. of Agriculture. Prior to 1956, the Farmers’ and Women’s Institutes were administered under the Institutes Act and Societies Act, and they reported to the Registrar of Companies (the Corporate Registry). Registry files created by the Registrar of Companies documented the registration, corporate history and dissolution of all companies, societies and co-operatives that operated in British Columbia, and were dissolved between 1860 and 1993. Companies, societies and co-operatives that carried on business in British Columbia were required to register with the Registrar of Companies and regularly submit reports and other records to the registry office. For this reason, prior to 1956, Farmers’ and Women's Institute records were held by and in the provenance of the office of the Registrar of Companies. In 1956 the B.C. legislature passed a new “Farmers’ and Women’s Institutes Act” (an act initially dating from 1936). The 1956 act placed the institutes entirely under this act instead of being administered under the Institutes Act and Societies Act, and the institutes were now the responsibility of, and reported to, the Dept. of Agriculture.

Many records of the institutes initially held by the Registrar of Companies were transferred to the Dept. of Agriculture, and the Dept. of Agriculture continued to create records after 1956. Those records transferred to B.C. Archives from the Dept. of Agriculture and its successor, the Ministry of Agriculture, make up the records of GR-0505. Some Farmers’ and Women's Institute records remained with the Registrar of Companies and were transferred directly from that office to B.C. Archives. These records are located in series GR-1526 - Corporate registry files.

Container GR0505-0007 contains some files regarding the B.C. Women's Institutes, as follows:

Aberdeen Women’s Institute
Bonnington and South Slocan Women’s Institute
Carmi Women’s Institute
Christian Valley Women’s Institute
Deer Park Women’s Institute
Lasqueti Women’s Institute
Monte Lake Women’s Institute
North Fraser Lake Women’s Institute
Nukko Lake Women’s Institute
Peace Arch Women’s Institute
Pitt Meadows Women’s Institute
Tatalrose Women’s Institute
Telkwa and District Women’s Institute
Terrace Women’s Institute
West Langley Women’s Institute
Woss Lake Women’s Institute

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Accession GR-0506 transferred from Heather Street storage, 1978.


Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Associated materials

Related records:
GR-1526 - Corporate registry files : see Scope and content, above
GR-3755 - Rural Organizations Branch records

Related materials


General note

Accession number(s): GR-0505; 92-1447

General note

The series GR-0505 was previously described by BC Archives under the title "Annual reports and correspondence," creator, British Columbia. Dept. of Agriculture. Superintendent of Farmers' Institutes.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Accession area