CANADA, July 14 – The Province is working in collaboration with partners in the agricultural community, as well as with other levels of government, to support B.C. farmers and ranchers as they face serious effects from wildfire and drought.
“Supporting our agriculture producers is top of mind for me and I have been in touch and continue to speak with farmers and ranchers about the challenges they are facing,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “Our staff are in regular contact with BC Dairy, the BC Cattlemen’s Association and the BC Agriculture Council, as well as farmers and ranchers who are on the ground and are working through these challenges in real time. We are collaborating on solutions and to expand supports. I want to assure people that we are working hard to ensure the agriculture community is supported and to our farmers and ranchers, I want you to know that we are here for you.”
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has existing programs and partnerships in place to support farmers and ranchers and is working with partners to add more supports. It is important for farmers and ranchers to know that a provincial state of emergency does not need to be declared in order for them to receive support, such as AgriRecovery, and through other assistance programs.
British Columbia has formally submitted a request to the federal government for AgriRecovery funding. AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial cost-sharing program that helps adversely affected farms get back into production. Most recently, AgriRecovery programs were successfully delivered in response to the wildfires and atmospheric river event in 2021.
“I have spoken with federal minister Bibeau to ensure she is aware of the gravity of the situation,” Alexis said. “We need the federal government’s support during this challenging time and I am continuing to advocate strongly for the agriculture community. Just as we’ve done with other recent challenges, we will get through this by working together.”
In addition to the proactive work B.C. has taken to support the AgriRecovery request, there are also existing funding programs that growers and producers can access, including AgriStability, which can help farmers offset unexpected income losses. The ministry is working closely with the federal government to get approval to implement the following changes to help support farmers, ranchers, and producers:
- AgriStability Late Participation for farms and ranches that did not enrol in the program before the April 30, 2023, deadline;
- an increase to the AgriStability Interim Payment limit from 50% to 75%; advance payments can be obtained in as few as 10 business days; and
- a higher grain and oilseed crop writeoff level so the crops that have been written off can be used for livestock feed.
There is also a significant need for feed and many ranchers and producers are facing difficult decisions. Unfortunately, the feed shortage is not unique to British Columbian and is being felt throughout western Canada. The ministry is working closely with partners on the ground, such as the BC Cattleman’s Association and BC Dairy, to identify additional sources of feed. If any additional feed is secured, it will be distributed to producers.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food also has extensive programming targeted at helping farmers adapt to drought, wildfire and extreme heat conditions, as well as risk-management programs targeted to stabilize income. In the past year, the Province has further introduced programs such as the Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture Program and Agriculture Water Infrastructure Program, as well as increased funding to the Beneficial Management Practices Program.
Farmers, ranchers and producers who need support are encouraged to contact their industry association or to call the AgriService BC line at 1 888 221-7141. Ministry of Agriculture and Food staff can help the agricultural community access existing programs. Regional agrologists are available to provide specialized assistance for those who require it, and ministry staff are being deployed to the most affected areas to listen directly to producers on their farms and take appropriate action.
Kevin Boon, rancher and general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association –
“The drought conditions we are experiencing across the province are creating a great deal of challenge for our ranchers, including the need for water and feed to support and care for their livestock. We are working together with government and their staff to look for solutions to deal with the issues at hand. We are committed to getting as much help to those who need it as possible.”
Jeremy Dunn, general manager, BC Dairy Association –
“We appreciate the Province’s proactive work on an AgriRecovery package, especially in light of the challenging conditions faced by our dairy farmers. With the prevalence and severity of drought conditions throughout the province, this support will be instrumental in helping our farmers navigate what is projected to be a tough harvest season.”
For emergency preparedness tips and resources specific to farmers and ranchers, visit:
For more details about B.C.’s suite of business risk-management programs for farmers, visit:
For more details and to apply for the Agriculture Water Infrastructure Program, visit:
For more details about the Extreme Weather Preparedness Program, visit:
For more details about the Beneficial Management Practices Program, visit:
For information on mental-health supports available for the agricultural community, visit:
AgriService BC direct access: