Country Life in BC

March 13, 2019

BC producers hit hard by 2018 wildfires eligible for AgriStability relief

by Jackie Pearase

A potent mix of flooding, drought and wildfire in 2018 have prompted the federal and provincial governments to trigger the late participation mechanism of the AgriStability program.

Canada’s new agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau made the announcement in Coldstream on Monday as part of her first visit to BC as agriculture minister.

“The late participation mechanism is a new feature of our five-year, cost-shared Canadian Agriculture Partnership with the province and we pushed hard to include this,” Bibeau said at the cow-calf operation of Ira and Noreen French. “Here in British Columbia, it means that 7,500 farmers and ranchers will eligible to join and benefit from the program.”

The late participation element of the AgriStability program can be triggered when there is a significant income decline in the farm sector and a gap in program participation.

Bibeau says conditions in BC in 2018 resulted in significant production and market losses that created financial pressures for producers from raspberry growers to ranchers.

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president Dave Haywood-Farmer says the AgriStability program recognizes that producers face a wide variety of challenges across Canada and allowing producers who didn’t participate in the regular program will offer welcome relief to hard-hit BC farmers.

“The announcement today will benefit more BC producers and farmers who were impacted by the fires in 2018 which are, unfortunately, becoming a regular occurrence in BC during the summer months,” he said.

The opening up of AgriStability funding for producers follows $5 million worth of assistance announced in October 2018 through the AgriRecovery disaster framework.

Bibeau’s tour is an opportunity for her to meet with farmers and agri-businesses and hear their ideas on how to capture growth opportunities for the sector.

Bibeau also attended a luncheon hosted by the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce and stopped in Kelowna to make an announcement in support of BC’s tree fruit industry and visit local businesses.