$228 Million Flood recovery program helping B.C. farms return to production

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VICTORIA, BC, Feb. 7, 2022 /CNW/ – B.C. farmers who suffered extraordinary damages in last year’s devastating floods will have access to up to $228 million in federal-provincial government support to help their farms return to production and support British Columbia’s food security and agricultural communities in the years ahead. Today, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau and British Columbia Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced the Canada-BC Flood Recovery for Food Security Program, which will be delivered by the Government of British Columbia and will leverage the federal government’s AgriRecovery Framework and Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA).

The Canada-BC Flood Recovery Program for Food Security will help farmers who have incurred extraordinary expenses from uninsurable damages such as:

  • Clean-up, repair and restoration of land, barns and animal shelter, water and waste systems; returning flood impacted land and buildings to a safe environment for agricultural production
  • Repair of uninsurable essential farm infrastructure; reasonable repair of on-farm structures such as livestock containment fences, and the rental of temporary production facilities drainage ditches and riprap
  • Animal welfare; replacement feed as well as livestock transportation, veterinary care and mortality disposal
  • Loss of perennial plants not raised for resale

The response was designed following extensive consultation with agricultural organizations and individual farmers in the different disaster areas.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia have also established a committee of federal and provincial ministers who are working together and with Indigenous leadership to guide immediate and ongoing support to British Columbia families, businesses, and communities affected by the extreme weather events.

Farmers who have already undertaken any work are advised to keep their receipts, track the hours of work involved, and take pictures documenting the damage and repairs to support their application.

Program criteria and application forms are available at gov.bc.ca/agrifloodrecovery. One-on-one assistance in English and Punjabi is available to farmers requiring assistance completing the applications through agrirecovery@gov.bc.ca or 1 888 332 3352.

Quotes

“The B.C. agricultural community has pulled together and demonstrated its strength and determination in the face of devastating floods. 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.”

–    The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Our government will continue to be there for families, farmers, and communities in British Columbia as they recover from the devastating floods and extreme weather events that hit the province last November. We know that building back in the aftermath of a disaster is a long and difficult road, which is why we’re here to support all of those who need help – every step of the way. Together, we will get through this.”

–    The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

“The November flooding was the most impactful disaster ever in our province, resulting in profound losses for many B.C. farmers and food producers, and we’re responding with a program that delivers the greatest amount of support of its kind in B.C.’s history. We’ve worked closely with farmers and farming organizations to make sure we have a comprehensive response that will help them get their farms back in production, and continue our collective efforts to build a resilient food system and economy in B.C.”

–    Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

“The BC poultry industry is extremely pleased with the work of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and the Government of Canada in listening to the industry and addressing its immediate needs during last November’s Atmospheric River event. The industry welcomes the announced funding which will go a long way in supporting industry recovery from the unprecedented damage caused by last November’s Atmospheric River event.”

–    Harvey Sasaki, chair, BC Chicken Marketing Board

“2021 has proven to be one of the most challenging years for B.C. ranchers and farmers. With the extraordinary events of severe drought, wildfires, and flooding it is extremely important to our food security in the province and to the sustainability of our food producers that they have the support to rebuild from these disasters. The Canada-BC AgriRecovery Team has worked hard to build this comprehensive program to help producers get back to doing what they do best, raising the food British Columbians depend on.”

–    Kevin Boon, general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association

“On behalf of our members, BC Dairy is pleased to hear the announcement today, and wishes to thank Minister Popham and her team, as well as Minister Bibeau and the federal government,  for their work to develop a comprehensive recovery package to assist farmers impacted by the floods. We know that there will be more engagement to come, as there continues to be many months of rebuilding ahead. We look forward to continuing to work with the Ministry in the coming weeks and months to support our dairy producers.”

–    Jeremy Dunn, general manager, BC Dairy

“As the organization representing British Columbia’s farmers and ranchers, BC Agriculture Council wishes to thank Ministers Bibeau and Popham, government staff, first responders, and British Columbians for your incredible demonstration of support to the agriculture sector since the weather events in November. Today’s announcement will bring a sense of relief to many impacted farmers and ranchers, and we know it will offer support that is urgently needed. By combining AgriRecovery with the Disaster Financial Assistance program for producers, the provincial and federal governments have reduced eligibility barriers, provided higher compensation rates, and alleviated much of the administrative burden we would have otherwise seen. BCAC looks forward to industry and government working together during this next stage of recovery.”

–    Stan Vander Waal, President of BC Agriculture Council

Quick facts

  • More than 1100 farms, 15,000 hectares and 2.5 million livestock from the Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford to Merritt and Princeton were impacted by the floods.
  • AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial-territorial disaster relief framework to help agricultural producers with the extraordinary costs associated with recovering from natural disasters. Initiatives under the framework are cost-shared 60:40 between the federal government (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) and provinces/territories, as outlined under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
  • This response provides support with extraordinary recovery costs not covered by existing programs or private insurance (see backgrounder 1 for initiative details).
  • The Government of British Columbia will leverage the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA), administered by Public Safety Canada, which provides financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments, at their request, when response and recovery costs following an extreme weather event exceed what individual provinces or territories can reasonably be expected to bear on their own. The federal government has provisioned for $5 billion in 2021-22 for its share of recovery costs under the DFAA as well as other costs related to the recent extreme weather events in British Columbia.
  • Other income and insurance programs are in place to provide support for lost income (see backgrounder 2). AgriRecovery and DFAA focus on the disaster costs not covered by other programs or insurance.

Additional links

Application forms are available at gov.bc.ca/agrifloodrecovery 

Income protection programs for BC farmers

Emergency management for agriculture

Backgrounder

Facts about the Canada-BC Flood Recovery Program for Food Security

The Canada-BC Flood Recovery Program for Food Security response will cover extraordinary costs including:

  • support for flood clean-up which includes cleanup on lands and essential farm infrastructure, that have been damaged due to floods
  • support for the removal, repair or replacement of uninsurable farm structures and farm production equipment that have been damaged due to floods
  • rental of essential alternate facilities or pasture required due to flooding
  • transportation costs for relocating livestock, feed available, water, stored crop and crop inputs due to floods
  • replacement of lost feed for breeding livestock feed due to floods
  • extraordinary costs for livestock feeding due to marketing delays caused by floods
  • veterinary costs to treat livestock injured by floods
  • support for uninsurable breeding livestock mortality losses caused by floods
  • land preparation and replanting costs for perennial crop plants that have been killed by flooding and crop land damaged by flooding, and;
  • support for destroyed beehives and associated colonies

The Government of British Columbia is disbursing recovery funding in two categories. Farms with less than $2 million in annual revenue will be eligible to receive up to 90% compensation, which the province will seek reimbursement for through the federal government’s Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA). 

For larger farms with annual sales of over $2 million, they will be eligible to receive up to 70% compensation through the federal-provincial AgriRecovery initiative, which is cost-shared 60-40 respectively between governments.

One-on-one assistance in English and Punjabi is available to farmers requiring assistance completing the applications through agrirecovery@gov.bc.ca  or 1 888 332 3352.

A suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs is available through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to assist farmers in managing disaster events, including flooding. These include AgriStability, AgriInvest and AgriInsurance.

Other insurance and income Support Programs

There are also different Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries-delivered Business Risk Management programs (BRM), provincial Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) and commercial insurance that offer different levels of support for producers who have experienced losses. Farmers are advised to:

  • Contact the Ministry if they hold an AgriInsurance (crop insurance) policy to open a claim.
  • Apply for AgriStability (if they do not already participate) AgriStability is a continuous program that provides assistance against severe drops in income, based on individual farm’s income and expenses in previous years, and considers losses to stored crop, nursery plants and livestock in assessments. Income loss in 2021 may include causes such as heat, labour issues, flooding losses. Applications for the 2021 year are still open, with interim payments often possible within a few weeks of application.
  • Contact their commercial insurance provider and start the claim process, keeping in mind, in many cases mobile equipment (e.g. tractors, harvesters) are insurable and often covered by commercial insurance.

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SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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