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Farmers, Volunteers Step Up for BC Cattle

An estimated 500 dairy cattle in the Abbotsford and Yarrow area of British Columbia likely died due to flooding – a relatively modest number considering the scale of the disaster.

In a release Tuesday, the BC Dairy Association said a further 6,000 cattle were evacuated to other farms in the Abbotsford, Chilliwack or Agassiz areas and are being cared for there, while an estimated 16,000 remained on their own farms. Sixty two farms in the Abbotsford and Yarrow areas were under evacuation orders at the peak of the flooding last week.

“While just one cow perishing in a natural disaster is disheartening, it is a credit to the tireless work of farmers, their families and volunteers that so many cattle were saved and so few lost,” said Holger Schwichtenberg, chair of the BC Dairy Association and a dairy farmer in Agassiz.

Schwichtenberg and his family operate one of the dozens of dairy farms which have taken in cattle from the flooded farms, ensuring they are housed, fed, and milked until able to return to their home farms.

Still, BC Dairy warned more cattle may yet be claimed. It is possible the number of deceased cattle will rise should more flooding occur or more animals need to be euthanized due to health problems caused by the flooding, it said. More heavy rainfall is forecast in the province this week.

For those cattle that remain on their home farm, BC Dairy said it is working with the province, transport companies, farmers, and volunteers to ensure they are housed, fed, and watered. ‘Significant amounts’ of grain and supplies have been transported to the affected farms, it added.

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