The provincial and federal governments have allocated up to $228 million in an effort to support B.C. farmers as they return to production following devastating floods last November.
The funds are intended to support the province’s food security and agricultural communities moving forward for the years ahead.
The funds are being made available to farmers through the newly announced Canada-BC Flood Recovery for Food Security Program, which will be delivered by the Government of British Columbia and will leverage the federal government’s AgriRecovery Framework and Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA).
The Canada-BC Flood Recovery Program for Food Security will help farmers who have incurred extraordinary expenses from uninsurable damages caused by massive flooding.
“The B.C. agricultural community has pulled together and demonstrated its strength and determination in the face of devastating floods,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “There is still a long way to go, but the Government of Canada will continue to work with the Government of British Columbia to support our farmers. We are here to help them rebuild so they can quickly get back to doing what they do best: producing high-quality food for Canadians.”
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Some of the extraordinary expenses that farmers are facing as a result of the floods include:
- cleanup, repair and restoration of land, barns and animal shelters, water and waste systems; returning flood-impacted land and buildings to a safe environment for agricultural production;
- repair of uninsurable essential farm infrastructure, reasonable repair of on-farm structures such as livestock containment fences, and the rental of temporary production facilities drainage ditches and riprap;
- animal welfare; replacement feed as well as livestock transportation, veterinary care and mortality disposal; and
- loss of perennial plants not raised for resale.
Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, calls the major floods last November as “the most impactful agricultural disaster ever” in B.C. and she refers to this new program as offering the greatest amount of support of its kind in the province’s history.
“We’ve worked closely with farmers and farming organizations to make sure we have a comprehensive response that will support their recovery, help them get their farms back in production, and continue our collective efforts to build a resilient food system and food economy in B.C,” said Popham on Monday.
The governments of Canada and British Columbia have also established a committee of ministers who are working together and with Indigenous leadership to guide immediate and ongoing support to British Columbia families, businesses and communities affected by the extreme weather events.
Farmers who have already undertaken any work are advised to keep their receipts, track the hours of work involved, and take pictures documenting the damage and repairs to support their application.
Farmers who are seeking assistance from the government can find more information online here: gov.bc.ca/agrifloodrecovery