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.

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack Fire Department responded to a townhouse on fire on May 9, 2020, in the 6400-block of Vedder Road. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Townhouse fire in Sardis knocked down by Chilliwack firefighters

Vedder Road closed while crews work on Mother’s Day house fire

Chilliwack volunteer drivers are needed to help get cancer patients back and forth to Abbotsford (shown here), Surrey and Vancouver cancer clinics. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Volunteer drivers needed to expand cancer driver program to Chilliwack

Drivers will need to commit to one full day of driving, or two half days each week

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

An injection kit is seen inside a Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Hope’s high rate of drug overdose noted in BC Coroners Service report

Up-to-date numbers not available yet for 2021, but Fraser Health deaths on the rise

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Most Read