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New funding supports farmers, takes action on climate resiliency

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 10:24 PDT, Fri July 29, 2022

To help combat the effects of climate change on B.C.'s long-term food security, new funding is helping farmers and ranchers protect their operations by adopting regenerative agriculture practices, improving farms' drought resilience, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"B.C. farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land, and this funding will help them improve their farms' sustainability and efficiency, while reducing their operating expenses," said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. "Helping livestock and crop producers prepare for drought and adopt regenerative farming methods is good for B.C.'s environment and meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets, as well as our provincial food security and economy."

The funding will help B.C. farmers and ranchers better prepare for dry spells by supporting the building or expansion of on-farm water storage facilities; upgrading dams, reservoirs, and irrigation systems used for livestock and crops; and the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices.

B.C. producers will also be able to undertake projects that support capturing and storing carbon in soil (also called carbon sequestration) through the establishment, enhancement, protection, and management of native range and riparian habitats. Additional funding will focus on helping farmers improve on-farm energy-efficiency projects, such as grain dryers and developing bio-gas systems.

The projects are being funded through a $4.4 million increase to the Beneficial Management Practices program from Budget 2022. The funding is part of the province's CleanBC program and will help meet the goals of the new Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy.

"We're helping local farmers prepare for climate change so that the soil we all depend on continues to produce food into the future and absorbs more climate-damaging greenhouse gases, keeping it out of the atmosphere," said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. "This investment is an important part of our CleanBC Roadmap and our Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy. By working together with agricultural producers, we're building a cleaner, stronger future for everyone that protects our incredible local food system, enhances natural habitats, and reduces emissions at the same time."

The Beneficial Management Practices program is open to farm and ranch businesses throughout the province and is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC. Program criteria and application packages will be accepted until Aug. 10, and are available at www.iafbc.ca/bmp

Eligible applicants for the Beneficial Management Practices program must have a complete Environmental Farm Plan, which helps producers identify both environmental strengths and potential risks on their farms. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has formed a Regenerative Agriculture Advisory Group to help farmers access the latest technology, create more resilient farms, and increase sustainability. The Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC is a not-for-profit that delivers government funded programs to the agriculture and agri-food sector of British Columbia.

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