Province announces financial support for ranchers and farmers affected by drought, wildfires

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B.C. ranchers can access up to $20 million to help with expenses incurred for food, shelter, animal health and safety and the transportation of livestock as a result of this year’s wildfires and drought, according to a media release from the province. 

Farmers are also eligible to receive funding for expenses through the 2021 Canada-British Columbia Wildfire and Drought AgriRecovery Initiative, the release said.

Expenses include reseeding forage and replacing fencing or other critical infrastructure that is not insurable and was damaged or destroyed in the fires. The initiative also includes funding for beekeepers to replace colonies or apiary equipment lost in the wildfires.

“The devastation to B.C. ranches, their livestock and operations from this year’s wildfires and drought has been extensive,” said Kevin Boon, general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association. “Experience from past wildfires has not been lost on the government. The announcement of this comprehensive AgriRecovery program will go a long way to assisting producers in their efforts to re-establish their operations and help them recover from the effects of this year’s debilitating events.”

The funding provides assistance for the following:

-expenses caused by the wildfires and drought related to ensuring livestock feeding needs are not impacted due to feed loss or decreased availability;

-expenses caused by the wildfires and drought related to ensuring animal health and safety;

-transportation costs to move impacted animals to a safe feeding location;

-feed for breeding livestock, including cattle, sheep and horses, based on a feed need requirement;

-contributions toward the re-establishment of tame perennial forage damaged by the fires; and where breeding herds are reduced due to lack of forage, support for the herd management costs associated with replacement breeding animals.

-costs to replace apiaries, bee colonies and beekeeping equipment lost in the wildfires; and

-costs to repair or replace critical infrastructure damaged by wildfire, not covered by insurance.

“The $20-million response package we’ve put together will help B.C. ranchers maintain their breeding stock, continue their operations and continue to supply British Columbians with food grown and raised in our province,” said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture.

AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial-territorial disaster relief framework to help agricultural producers with the extraordinary costs associated with recovering from natural disasters. 

Eligible costs will be supported on the 60-40 cost-shared federal-provincial basis outlined under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, according to the province.

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