The federal and BC provincial governments will be providing a combined total of $228 million to BC farmers and ranchers whose properties were damaged by the severe flooding event last fall.
According to BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham, the recovery program is the largest of its kind in the province’s history.
"We have been working shoulder to shoulder, governments and farmers, to assess the damage and get farmers the support they need to get back on their feet," the minister said in a news conference, adding that the governments will keep an eye out for the most serious flooding cases to ensure that the cheques “roll out ASAP.”
Popham also explained that the assistance funding will cover four main categories that are not typically covered by private insurance or existing government programs. These are:
- Cleanup, repair and restoration of flood-affected land to restore agricultural production.
- Repairing uninsurable farm infrastructure.
- Animal welfare; the program will include replacement feed, livestock transportation, and veterinary care.
- The loss of perennial plants that are not cultivated for resale, such as blueberries.
CBC News reported that the federal and provincial governments said that their staff designed the program based on feedback from both farmers and ranchers in BC.
Farmers that have applied for Disaster Financial Assistance "will be getting a call from the ministry" regarding the new program, Popham said. For those who did not apply, they can now apply through a new web portal specifically for the funding.
Popham also noted that about 15,000 hectares of farmland was affected by the flooding that occurred in November. Thousands of farm animals have also died due to flooding, and approximately 7,500 tonnes of unharvested vegetables were lost to flood water. CBC News also noted that according to the BC Blueberry Council, 2,500 acres of fruit crop were damaged.