A day of productive discussions in Victoria culminated in a reception where representatives of the BC Agriculture Council celebrated their successes and furthered relations with MLAs and stakeholders.
Dozens of meetings with elected representatives from all parties as well as cabinet members, their staff and – for the first time ever, the premier – made BC Ag Day, October 24, one for the books.
Rising production costs topped the discussion list.
“When coupled with an ever-increasing series of extreme weather events, our farmers are being challenged like never before,” BCAC president Jennifer Woike told those attending the reception. “Together we must ensure that our farmers have the flexibility and tools that they need to weather the current financial situation.”
These same tools can also help support the province’s transition to a low-carbon economy, making it a win from all angles.
“It’s been a great day of discussions, and I’m exhausted,” exclaimed BC Agriculture Minister Pam Alexis, while expressing her admiration for the work BC farmers do in all types of weather to ensure fresh, local food on the province’s tables.
While the weather isn’t always ideal, and sometimes extreme, she pledged that the province would support farmers “every step of the way.”
“We continue to put programs and funding in place to help prepare for future climate impacts proactively,” she said, enumerating the several programs the province has launched this year.
BC United agriculture critic Ian Paton drove home the importance of addressing the impacts of extreme weather, drawing special attention to the challenges farmers faced accessing irrigation water.
“These are stressors you must deal with throughout the year,” he said, imploring government to address five issues including access to water for livestock and irrigation. “Support BCAC’s efforts to see agricultural water reserves entrenched as a requirement in the watershed security strategy.”