Funding for farmers announced

Government dollars to help B.C. producers recover from devastating weather

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Delta-Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay look on as provincial Minister of Agriculture Don McRae announces funding for vegetable and livestock producers affected by extreme weather last harvest season.



Lower Mainland farmers who watched last season’s fall crops rot in soggy fields after record-setting rains are getting some long-awaited financial relief.

The federal and provincial agricultural ministers were in Ladner Tuesday morning (July 12) to announce funding meant to help B.C. farmers recover from the damage caused by extreme weather in 2010 and into the spring of 2011.

Dozens of local growers and politicians gathered at Burr Farms in east Ladner for a press conference in which federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and B.C. Minister of Agriculture Don McRae announced up to $5 million for two new AgriRecovery initiatives to help vegetable, cattle and bison producers struck by disaster.

The Feed Assistance and Pasture Restoration Initiative will help livestock producers affected by drought, flooding and wildfires in Bella Coola, Cariboo-Chilcotin and the Central Interior regions, including $14 per acre to reseed pasture land and $1 per cow for each day the animal was required to be off those pastures.

The Excess Moisture Initiative includes $175 per acre for potato and vegetable producers in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island to assist with the costs of restoring water-damaged crop land.

“This includes a payment for the disposal of products spoiled in storage and the cleaning and disinfecting of equipment and storage bins,” Ritz said.

He said the two levels of government are working together “to ensure these producers get the help they need to keep their land productive and help bolster their bottom line.

“We want to ensure that our B.C. producers can get their businesses back on track for 2011 and beyond.”

McRae noted that vegetable growers in the Fraser Valley and parts of Vancouver Island dealt with “severe and excess moisture problems that left many crops sitting in fields, immersed underwater and unavailable for harvest.

“We, not just in British Columbia, but across Canada want to see B.C. food at our farmer’s markets and our local grocery stores, on our dinner tables and at our restaurants.”

Jack Bates is president of the Canadian Horticultural Council and runs Tecarte Farms, a 450-acre potato, blueberry and dairy operation in South Delta.

“Having lived through the devastation in the potato and vegetable industry last season, I appreciate the efforts put forward by all producers, our associations, and both levels of government which led to today’s announcement of assistance,” he said.

Though met with applause, the $175-per-acre funding announcement left some local growers wanting.

“It was short of our expectations,” said Peter Guichon, who runs South Delta’s Felix Farms, the largest grower of potatoes in the province. He had hoped for $300 or $400 per acre.

“But having said that, something is better than nothing,” he added.

Last season Guichon said he left some 9,000 tons of potatoes in the ground. He calculates he could receive $70,000 for his 400 acres of affected land.

Bill Zylmans, who runs the 500-acre W&A Farms in East Richmond, is a member of the working group that negotiated funding with the government.

“It took a long time, it was a tough road for us to haul,” he said. Farmers had originally hoped for $1,200 per acre to represent losses, he said, but after closer examination and negotiations, that number was brought way down.

“It’s not a lot of money, but it is a token of understanding and every little bit helps. As farmers, we’re in deep problems with finding funding anyway.”

Zylmans estimates he lost $500,000 last season, largely due to unharvested seed potatoes, and is thankful he also grows strawberries and other summer vegetables to hedge his losses.

“The hit was a lot harder for some of these Delta guys who really had everything in potatoes or everything in beans,” he said.

He is scheduled to attend follow up meetings to decide how the money will be divided among affected farmers.

Just Posted

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by Chilliwack animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for both the shelter and municipal election

VIDEO: Education Minister talks SOGI 123 and the Chilliwack school board election

He said people are making ‘noise about side issues but student safety is important’

Chilliwack athletes win provincial titles at Cultus Lake Triathlon

Close to 700 athletes competed in several distances, with action starting at Cultus Lake Park.

Chilliwack Chiefs add defenceman Alexander Marrocco

Marrocco is the younger brother of PJ Marrocco, a forward from last spring’s RBC Cup champions.

Rally in the Valley in Chilliwack to talk stewardship

It’s an event to connect interested locals with groups making a difference with species at risk

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Possible shooting on Abbotsford street near Aldergrove

Witnesses report what sounded like 4 shots fired Tuesday evening, but that has not been confirmed

5 to start your day

B.C. parents sue after toddler dies in unlicensed daycare, vehicle explodes in Pitt Meadows and more

B.C. woman facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog seized

Kira, a Rottweiler, had kidney and bladder infections

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon.

Dozens speak at Vancouver hearing that could see duplexes replace single homes

The city clerk says 73 people signed up to speak at the hearing that began early Tuesday evening and adjourned hours later with 34 speakers still waiting.

North Carolina gov pleads with storm evacuees to be patient

The death toll rose to at least 37 in three states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina.

North and South Korea say they plan to bid for 2032 Olympics

Moon and Kim announced a sweeping set of agreements including a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Russia’s reinstatement after doping scandal goes to a vote

The World Anti-Doping Agency is due to vote Thursday Sept. 20, 2018, on possible reinstatement of Russia.

Most Read