Farmers will have access to up to $228 million in relief
By Diego Flammini
Help is on the way for B.C. producers affected by last year’s flooding.
B.C. Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Lana Popham and federal minister of agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau announced up to $228 million in federal-provincial support to help farmers recover and support food security.
“At the worst of it, there were over 1,100 farms under evacuation order or alert, and 15,000 hectares (37,065 acres) of farmland impacted,” Popham said Monday. “Our dairy, poultry, beef and hog farms experienced serious losses of animals and infrastructure. And more than 7,500 tonnes of field vegetables were lost.”
Total agriculture and related damage is estimated at about $285 million, Popham said.
The Canada-BC Flood Recovery Program for Food Security will support farmers who are faced with mounting recovery costs not covered by private insurance or current government programs.
These include returning affected land and buildings back to land suitable for agricultural production, replacement feed and livestock transportation, plant loss and more.
Farmers must apply for funding.
The B.C. ministry of agriculture will contact farmers who have already applied for Disaster Financial Assistance to assist with applying for this new support program.
Farmers who haven’t applied for the disaster assistance can use an application portal to get access to the new funding.
Producers who have already started recovery processes are also encouraged to keep receipts, track hours and take pictures of damages to support their applications.
B.C. farmers welcome the funding announcement, even if it may not be enough.
“It’s probably a starting point, Dave Martens, a chicken farmer from Abbotsford, B.C., told CTV Morning Live. “It’s definitely needed money, (so) we’ll see how the rollout process goes.”
“Honestly at this point, that’s really all we have to cling to,” rancher Rhonda MacDonald told Global News.
The federal and B.C. governments have also created a committee of federal and provincial ministers to work with Indigenous leaders to guide support to families, businesses and communities affected by extreme weather.