$228M in recovery funding for Fraser Valley farmers

The funding announcement is the largest in BC's history, matching the largest agriculture disaster in BC's history. Applications are now open for local farmers.

By Grace Kennedy | February 7, 2022 |2:56 pm

Farmers affected by November’s flooding can now apply for new funding to help them rebuild their production.

The Canada-BC Flood Recovery for Food Security Program is providing up to $228 million for BC farmers affected by flooding last year. The money will go to help farmers pay for recovery in four main areas:

  1. The clean up, repair, and restoration of land and buildings. This includes repairs to barns, as well as water and wastewater systems. It also includes activities like soil remediation, in order to bring farmland back to being a safe environment for agriculture.
  2. Repairing uninsurable essential farm infrastructure, including the “reasonable repair” of structures like livestock containment fences. It also includes renting temporary facilities, and creating new drainage ditches.
  3. Taking care of animals, including replacement feed, veterinary care, transportation, and disposing of carcasses.
  4. Replacing perennials, such as blueberries, that were not intended to be raised for resale. That can include buying new nursery stock, as well as some support for nurseries that experienced losses for their plants.

Any farmers who have already applied for funding under the province’s Disaster Financial Assistance program will have their information transferred automatically to the Ministry of Agriculture. Staff will contact the 120 farmers who have already applied.

Those who have not applied for the DFA program can apply directly to the Canada-BC Flood Recovery for Food Security Program through the province’s website.

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Any work that has already been completed or is underway may be eligible for reimbursement. Farmers should keep receipts, track the hours of work involved, and take pictures documenting the damage and repairs.

Anyone needing assistance with their application can contact their local MLA, or the Ministry of Agriculture office. Help is available in both English and Punjabi by emailing agrirecovery@gov.bc.ca or by calling 1-888-332-3352.

BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham couldn’t comment on how much each farm could receive, as it will be based on individual need, but did say the funding would be delivered as soon as possible.

“Every farm is going to be treated differently because every farm has its own circumstances. But we also know that there are some very desperate situations right now, and farmers need cash now,” she said during the announcement. “With that in mind, we’re looking at the serious cases in front of us and making sure those cheques roll out ASAP.”

The province has included the terms and conditions of the funding program to show what farmers might expect to receive to help cover their losses. Farmers with blueberry losses can expect to receive $8,270 for each acre killed by the floods, while raspberry farmers can expect $14,485. Silage corn and other annual forage crops killed by the floods will be reimbursed at $35 an acre, while vegetables receive $70 an acre. Payments will be made in advance of replanting, which must be completed this year.

More resources

The new Canada-BC Flood Recovery for Food Security Program will supersede some of the more “ad-hoc” programs developed to help farmers pay for recovery in the early days of the disaster. However, there are still some additional programs available to help with other aspects of local recovery.

Dairy farmers affected by the flooding are eligible for a program to help offset the cost of feed, as well as assistance in managing spoiled feed.

All farmers can apply for the federal AgriStability program, which provides assistance to farmers who have experienced income declines due to crop or livestock loss. Anyone who did not apply for the 2021 year can do so until Dec. 31, 2022.

Catch up on our coverage of the Fraser Valley floods as it happened.

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Grace Kennedy

Reporter at Fraser Valley Current

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