VICTORIA – The governments of B.C. and Canada are providing financial support for B.C. farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses through wildfires, record heat and prolonged drought in 2021.
The support is being delivered through several programs to help sustain farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods, family farms and contributions to the province’s food security.
“The B.C. government has a dedicated team working closely with ranchers and farmers to respond to emergencies like wildfires and to create programs that help preserve their businesses and our local food supply,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “The losses B.C. farmers and ranchers have experienced this year have been heartbreaking, and recovering from them will take time, commitment and support, for which the B.C. government will be there for the whole way.”
The governments of B.C. and Canada are creating a federal-provincial AgriRecovery response to help producers who are experiencing extraordinary recovery expenses due to fire and drought.
“We are working closely with the Province to get B.C. farm families the support they need as soon as possible,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “By unlocking more AgriStability funds through interim payments and invoking late participation, we can get more cash in hand for farmers who are making tough decisions in a difficult situation. We will continue to support farm families to get them through the challenges we face today, and position them for a sustainable future, since we know climate change will continue to pose challenges.”
The Province has also taken steps to provide farmers and ranchers with additional and immediate support by implementing “late participation” in the federal-provincial AgriStability program for 2021. The program provides funding to farmers who have experienced income declines due to crop or livestock losses or market conditions. Late participation means B.C. farmers not enrolled for the 2021 program year can apply to enrol until Dec. 31, 2022.
Farmers enrolled in the AgriStability 2021 program year will be eligible to receive a much higher interim payment within a few weeks of completing the application forms. Increasing the maximum interim payment from 50% to 75% of the estimated final payment will improve cashflow for farmers and help them continue operations this year.
B.C. ranchers and farmers who have suffered a decrease to their available feed supply and require emergency support as a result of this summer’s wildfires may also be eligible to receive hay through the Emergency Feed Program established by the Province, ensuring continued care for their animals.
The 2021 Wildfire Emergency Feed Program will provide emergency feed support for up to 14 days for commercial livestock businesses unable to access their normal feed supply, or if their current forage has been burned or is unsafe. The program will also support businesses forced to use forage or feed resources normally required to feed livestock through the rest of their yearly production cycle.
Agricultural producers who require emergency assistance or information, including assistance with livestock relocation, emergency feed, permission for re-entry into evacuation-order zones, or other emergency issues related to the wildfire situation, should contact their First Nation or local authority for the area where their operation is located. Local authorities and First Nations are responsible for emergency management decisions within their areas of jurisdiction and are supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and the Emergency Management BC Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre.