Farmers and ranchers will receive a new round of funding from the B.C. government to strengthen their resilience to wildfires, flooding, and extreme heat.
Photo via flickr.com
B.C. helps farmers prepare for extreme weather
Published 12:26 PDT, Wed May 24, 2023
Farmers and ranchers are being supported with a new round of funding to help strengthen their resilience to wildfires, flooding and extreme heat, and mitigate future climate impacts.
“Climate change and extreme weather pose an array of challenges for people throughout British Columbia, including our farmers, ranchers and food producers,” said Minister of Agriculture and Food, Pam Alexis. “It is important that we support them with programs like this so they can be more resilient to the impacts of climate change and better protect their livelihoods, while ensuring we have a stable, sustainable food supply.”
The Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture program was launched as a pilot last summer and aims to build a more resilient and sustainable agriculture and food sector by helping prepare for future climate events, such as wildfires, flooding and heatwaves.
In the first year of the program, more than $1.4 million supported 129 projects in the poultry, dairy, beef, tree fruit and berry sectors. One of the primary projects funded was improving barn cooling systems to help keep poultry and cattle safe in the event of extreme heat.
“The welfare of our animals is the number one concern for B.C. farmers when we’re faced with extreme weather,” said Mark Siemens, farmer and president, BC Egg Producers Association. “This program supports important projects like improved cooling systems and shade trees that provide a safer space for animals. The poultry sector was hit hard during the 2021 heat dome and flood as our farms had never been tested through these circumstances, and this funding will ensure we’re able to better prepare for and mitigate future extreme weather events.”
For 2023, the program is supporting projects with up to $2.5 million. It is expanding its criteria to include B.C.-licensed apiculture (beekeeping) and aquaculture producers, as well as federally licensed cannabis and hemp producers.
“More than ever, farmers need to be equipped to deal with the kind of extreme weather events that have devastated agricultural production in several regions of the province in recent years,” said Danielle Synotte, executive director, BC Agriculture Council. “BC Agriculture Council has advocated for more support for industry in this area and is pleased to see this funding is already making a difference for the agriculture sector.”
The program is part of B.C.'s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy, the province's plan to help people, communities and businesses work together to be better prepared for the impacts of climate change.