BC Flood Recovery for Food Security program has extended it’s application deadline. Owners of flood damaged farms across B.C. will now get the opportunity to apply for financial assistance until August 31.
The flooding event that took place in November 2021 had massive ramifications on many businesses across the province. One of the hardest hit areas was the agricultural industry. Many farms in BC have slowed down or completely halted their operations due to their lands being damaged by the floods.
Rhonda MacDonald runs the Bar FX ranch in Merritt. She said that her farm got hit with two consecutive blows from both the fires and the floods.
“We lost about 20 percent of our cattle herd, and then three months to the day, just like everyone else in Merritt, we were pummeled by the atmospheric river event that occurred,” MacDonald recalled.
“We got hit pretty hard we lost all three of our irrigation pump houses. We no longer have the ability to make hay which we need to feed our cattle, and we lost approximately seven acres of land at home and we have another 60-70 acres that is covered with three feet of silt and rock.”
In trying to get the business up and running again, MacDonald was informed by BC Cattlemen’s Association and the Nicola Stockbreeders Association about a program the Province will be launching.
Back in February, it was announced that a joint federal and provincial funding of $228 million will be dedicated to flood recovery for devastated farms. The BC Flood Recovery for Food Security program follows the federal government’s AgriRecovery framework and Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.
“The B.C. agricultural community has pulled together and demonstrated its strength and determination in the face of devastating floods,” said Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau.
“There is still a long way to go, but the Government of Canada will continue to work with the Government of British Columbia to support our farmers. We are here to help them rebuild so they can quickly get back to doing what they do best: producing high-quality food for Canadians.”
As soon as she heard about the program, MacDonald quickly applied in the hopes of qualifying for assistance.
“Within 48 hours we applied and they actually sent an advisor out to give us a hand in going through things so we can find out what we are eligible for,” said MacDonald.
“We received some money for the hay that we lost about two weeks after the program was released.”
MacDonald now awaits for further assistance. She is hoping to get a field operational by the end of August.
“We’re hoping that by next year we can make hay at least on one field to become a little more self sufficient.”
Through reimbursement, the program helps farmers cover costs of uninsured expenses that may fall into the following categories;
* cleanup, repair and restoration of land, barns and animal shelters, and water and waste systems;
* returning flood-affected land and buildings to a safe state for agricultural production;
* repairing uninsurable essential farm infrastructure;
* repairing structures such as livestock-containment fences;
* renting temporary production facilities;
* installing drainage ditches and land-stabilization materials;
* animal welfare activities such as replacing feed, transporting livestock, veterinary care and mortality disposal; and
* replacing perennial plants not grown for sale.
Initially the application deadline for the program was set for June 1. Fortunately, the date has now been pushed back to Aug. 31. Processing of claims will continue after the deadline and farmers can continue submitting documents outlining their expenses after that date.
To learn more about the program criteria and to access application forms, please visit; gov.bc.ca/agrifloodrecovery.