After intense flooding last summer, ranchers based in the Chilcotin region of British Columbia are stuck waiting for both feed and financial compensation from the provincial government.
In July, the Chilcotin River overflowed, damaging some 120 properties in the vicinity. Shortly after the flood, the BC government made disaster financial assistance available to those who were not able to claim insurance for their disaster-related losses. Ranchers were informed two weeks after the flooding that they would be provided with hay.
According to rancher Randy Saugstad, he and his fellow farmers have yet to receive any form of help from the BC government. This comes as a personal surprise to Saugstad, who revealed to CBC News in an interview that when his hay was compromised due to wildfires in 2017, he was immediately delivered emergency feed for his livestock.
CBC News reported that Cariboo Chilcotin MLA and Liberal rural development critic Donna Barnett met with ranchers in the Big Creek area last week to determine what they need. Animal feed was a top concern, she found.
“We could lose a whole community if we don’t get some help with feed,” Barnett said, adding that if there is a lack of feed, it could lead to a drop in the quality of beef from the region, itself ultimately leading to lost sales.
Barnett has sent a letter to Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth requesting 12,000 metric tonnes of hay for ranchers.
“Should their request be denied the cattle industry in the Cariboo-Chilcotin will not only be at risk, but many ranches will disappear,” the letter warned.
In an email statement to CBC News, the Ministry of Agriculture revealed that many applications for disaster assistance are still under review due to the scale and complexity of the damage. It also stated that staff had been in talks with the federal government to consider other options for cost recovery.
“We know how difficult this situation is for those who have flood damage and the BC government is continuing to work as quickly as we can to help people,” the ministry said.