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Feds, province assess agriculture damage from fires

The governments of Canada and British Columbia are working under the AgriRecovery disaster framework to determine the type of assistance that may be required by British Columbia’s agriculture sector to recover from the impact of wildfires.

The announcement was made today following the first meeting between federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

Government officials are working together to quickly assess the extraordinary costs farmers are incurring and what additional assistance may be required to recover and return to production following the wildfires. The types of costs under consideration include:

  • Costs related to ensuring animal health and safety;
  • Feed, shelter and transportation costs;
  • Costs to re-establish perennial crop and pasture production damaged by fire.

A federal-provincial-territorial cost-shared suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs is available to help farmers in managing disaster events, including wildfires. These include AgriStability, AgriInvest and AgriInsurance.  AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial-territorial disaster relief framework intended to work together with the core BRM programs to help agricultural producers recover from natural disasters.

“B.C. ranchers are happy to hear that the two governments are doing the necessary assessments that will be needed to give them a fighting chance to get back into business,” said Kevin Boon, general manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. “These fires have caused unprecedented impacts for not only the cattle industry but for all of the rural communities.  We urge the governments to do everything possible in their assessment, including looking at the parameters of the program, to get as much financial support as possible into these businesses.

“While the funds may go towards ranchers rebuilding the infrastructure and supplying feed for their animals, every dollar will be spent in the communities where they live.  Those funds will be every bit as important to rebuilding the communities as they are to rebuilding the ranches and helping the B.C. cattle industry to survive.”

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