Feds, provincial government announce $228m flood recovery funding for B.C. farmers

Federal agriculture minister says this is the largest recovery program of its kind in B.C.’s history

Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford saw severe damage as a result of flooding in November | Photo: Chung Chow

Farmers in B.C. will receive a $228 million aid package to help them recover after flooding caused widespread damage across southern B.C. and on Vancouver Island in November.  

The federal government made the announcement February 7, saying the funding – which is a joint project with the provincial government – is intended to help farmers return to full production by helping them with costs not covered by private insurance or existing programs.

"The November flooding was the most impactful agricultural 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,” said B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Lana Popham. 

“We've worked closely with farmers and farming organizations to make sure we have a comprehensive response that will support their recovery, help them get their farms back in production and continue our collective efforts to build a resilient food system and food economy in B.C."

Funds from the Canada-BC Flood Recovery Program for Food Security program are intended to be used for cleanup and repair of land, buildings and water and waste systems, as well as animal welfare expenses such as veterinary care, replacement feed and disposal of dead animals.

Stan Vander Waal, president of the BC Agriculture Council (BCAC), said the announcement will bring a sense of relief to farmers who are in urgent need of help.

“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,” Vander Waal said. 

“BCAC looks forward to industry and government working together during this next stage of recovery."

According to the government’s statement, more than 1,100 farms, 15,000 hectares and 2.5 million livestock were affected by November’s flooding.