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Financial support on the way for Island farmers, ranches dealing with ‘heartbreaking’ losses

Farmers on the Sunshine Coast and beyond are having a tough time — this year alone, they’ve suffered losses through wildfires, record heat, and prolonged drought conditions.

Unfortunately, it’s only heating up, with the southern half of B.C. officially in the grips of its third heatwave of the summer. Another heat warning was issued today (Tuesday), with the sizzle expected to last until Sunday.

On the Island specifically, Gogo’s Christmas Tree Farm in Nanaimo, a family-owned business, saw the brunt of it all. Late last month, staff watched as around 1,000 Christmas trees burned on-site, in a blaze believed to have sparked from a piece of glass.

“The losses B.C. farmers and ranchers have experienced this year have been heartbreaking, and recovering from them will take time, commitment, and support, for which the B.C. government will be there for the whole way,” notes Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

With this in mind, the governments of B.C. and Canada have teamed up to provide financial support to aid both farmers and ranchers across the province.

The support is being delivered through several programs to help sustain farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods, family farms, and contributions to the province’s food security.

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According to the feds, they’re launching a federal-provincial ‘AgriRecovery’ response to help producers who are experiencing extraordinary recovery expenses due to fire and drought.

The Province has also taken steps to provide farmers and ranchers with additional and immediate support by implementing “late participation” in the ‘AgriStability’ program for 2021. The program provides funding to farmers who have experienced income declines due to crop or livestock losses or market conditions. Late participation means B.C. farmers not enrolled for the 2021 program year can apply to enroll until Dec. 31st of next year.

B.C. farmers and ranchers who have suffered a decrease in their available feed supply and require emergency support as a result of this summer’s wildfires may also be eligible to receive hay through the ‘Emergency Feed Program’ established by the Province, ensuring continued care for their animals.

To enroll in ‘AgriStability’, click here; for info about the ‘Wildfire Emergency Feed Program’, click here; and for info and resources for farms/livestock producers, including the ‘Livestock Relocation Program’, click here.

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