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Farmers facing 2022 losses from avian flu, extreme weather get help with income protection

‘We recognize the challenges our agricultural community has faced,’ says B.C. agriculture minister
Pictured is a biosecurity kit for attendees of an avian influenza info session held in Chilliwack in 2022. (Vicky Bowes photo)

Farmers hit by avian influenza or weather-related crop losses in 2022 are being offered a deadline extension to the end of June to help them rebound with income protection.

AgriStability is the federal-provincial program that provides coverage for farmer and growers facing “large financial declines” caused by production losses, disease outbreak and increased costs, or declining market conditions.

“Allowing late participation in AgriStability will help more farmers manage the impacts of the many challenges they face on their farms,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food in a release.

The avian flu outbreak decimated Fraser Valley poultry producers in 2022, and some B.C. crop producers have also been dealing with losses due to extreme weather and abnormally cold temperatures, which were factors in the decision to allow late participation in the program.

Chilliwack city councillor Chris Kloot, who chairs the Chilliwack Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee, welcomed the news given how vital this program is to B.C. farmers.

“I’m pleased to see the provincial and federal governments working together in this late participation AgriStability proposal to support hard-working farmers in the extreme challenges they have encountered in the past year,” Kloot said. “This continued and expanded support is vital in ensuring farmers can recover and rebound.”

B.C. Agriculture Minister Pam Alexis sees the extension as something concrete to offset the challenges they faced in 2022.

“By allowing late participation in AgriStability, we will be able to offer financial support to more farmers and producers who need assistance due to factors, such as weather and disease, that were out of their control,” Alexis said in the release. “We recognize the challenges our agricultural community have faced over the past year, and we encourage anyone who is eligible to retroactively sign up, so they can improve their financial situation for the coming year, while continuing to produce the food and food products we all appreciate and rely on.”

AgriStability participation has been consistent the last few years in B.C., with more than 2,000 farmers enrolling in 2022, 2021 and 2020. Ag producers and farmers will have until June 30, 2023 to pay AgriStability fees and obtain coverage retroactively for 2022 to offset income shortfalls.

RELATED: Late participation also offered in 2018

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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