Damaged by floods Farmers and ranchers across BC are cautiously optimistic ahead of Monday’s joint federal and provincial announcement of what is being billed as the “largest agricultural revitalization program” in the province’s history. .
On January 24, BC’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries said a flood recovery program would be announced soon and the provincial government was urgently working with the federal government to develop a package of financial assistance. comprehensive key to assist farmers in troubleshooting.
BC ranchers devastated by floods say emergency cash is slow to arrive
Furniture rancher Rhonda MacDonald said she was a bit skeptical but still hopeful about the potential flood recovery money.
“Honestly at this point, that’s really all we have to hang on to,” MacDonald told Global News Sunday.
MacDonald and her husband Wayne, beef cattle rancher and hay farmer at Bar FX Ranch along Highway 8 between Merritt and Spences Bridge, joined dozens of other ranchers as they rode to Merritt Sunday for a Long-awaited pro-agriculture rally – funding recovery.
This couple lost 20% of their herd in the Lytton Creek wildfire – before flooding last November wiped out herds, irrigation infrastructure and hay fields.
‘Everyone needs help now’: BC ranchers are in urgent need of financial help to rebuild their lives
The MacDonalds are hoping for help to cover the cost of fodder for their livestock, land rehab and remediation.
“We don’t want the government to support us indefinitely,” MacDonald said.
“We wanted to lend a hand in our repair so we could get back to supporting ourselves and doing the work we love.”
The Small Meat Producers Association says ranchers need to know what financial support is coming so they have the budget to bid and start rebuilding.
President Julia Smith said: “The scale of the devastation is hard to imagine if you’ve never been here.
“And it’s not something they’ll be able to quickly fix.”
Smith said time is also running out, with fields thawing and a new spring approaching.
BC flooding: Financial and emotional impact on province’s farmers
In Abbotsford, Gill’s BC Blueberry Farm was flooded when the Nooksack River in Washington State burst its banks and began to flow northward last November.
With no warning that the levee had broken until water entered their home, the Gills fled Sumas Prairie at the last minute.
Harmandeep Singh Gill Sunday recalls: “It was horrible.
Within hours, some of BC’s most productive farmland was submerged – including the 13 hectares of Gill’s family farm – a fertile land that was once contaminated with debris everywhere. place.
“There’s everything from lost mailboxes to trash, everything,” Gill said.
“It looked like a war zone – like a bomb went off.”
Gill said his family, friends and community have supported his family on the road to recovery.
They will replant, he said, but it will take time to replant a healthy blueberry tree.
Gill was relieved that BC Agriculture Secretary Lana Popham toured the flood-ravaged Sumas grasslands in December and said farmers need to know that government support will be available for any damage. about production.
“This would be a bad thing if we weren’t supported for crop damage.”
With the future of his family’s livelihood still uncertain, Gill said governments must also ensure the future digs are maintained and that an alert system is set up to alert school residents. in case they need to move to higher ground.
“In 21”st Century, there’s no such thing as a farmer who has to rely on his neighbors to tell them if water is coming,” Gill said.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8599665/bc-flood-ranchers-farmers-agricultural-recovery-aid/ Flood-ravaged BC ranchers and farmers cautiously await agricultural recovery aid