New program helps B.C. farmers prepare for extreme weather

July 15, 2022 at 12:15 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

B.C. farmers and ranchers can reduce their risks from extreme weather through a new pilot program that will help improve farms’ climate-change preparedness and resilience to wildfires, flooding and extreme heat.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen the extreme impacts of climate-related weather events on our farming communities, and we are taking action to support farmers and ranchers with climate-change adaptation tools and projects,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “Agriculture and being able to feed British Columbians is intricately tied to climate change, and by taking increased steps to focus on how we can best prepare for and mitigate future climate impacts, we will be able to better protect the livelihoods of our food producers while strengthening our food security and food economy.”

The Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture program will support as much as $1.5 million in projects this year to help famers conduct risk assessments and make infrastructure upgrades on their farms.

“Agricultural producers in British Columbia know how important it is to act now so we are better prepared for extreme weather and climate change,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “B.C. is recognized globally for the high-quality food we produce. By working together to reduce these risks, we’re building a more resilient agricultural sector to maintain and enhance that success. This program is an important part of our Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy, which outlines actions across sectors to help people, communities and businesses prepare for climate impacts in the future.”

Examples of projects eligible for funding include:

  • FireSmart Critical Infrastructure assessments;
  • farm building retrofits for wildfire preparedness;
  • improved on-farm fuel storage and well protection for flood preparedness;
  • reconfiguration of high-value feed storage for flood preparedness;
  • farm building retrofits to improve cooling during extreme heat;
  • enhanced watering and shade to mitigate crop and livestock heat stress; and
  • infrastructure improvements to support tree and berry canopy cooling as well as shade and heat protection for harvested fruit, berry or vegetable crops.

“It goes without saying that we have experienced some extreme weather in the past, and we will continue to see it in the future,” said Kevin Boon, general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association. “The best opportunity we have is to be prepared. An investment in preparedness and sound planning on the landscape is crucial to be able to continue to produce high-quality, affordable food for British Columbia’s consumers and steward the land responsibly while we do so.”

The program is open to farm and ranch businesses throughout B.C., with applications initially being accepted from July 25 to Aug. 15, 2022. It is anticipated that the program will continue in 2023 and 2024, with the potential for adjustments based on experiences in the pilot year. Funding for the 2022 pilot intake will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible agriculture businesses.

The program is part of B.C.’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy, the Province’s plan to help people, communities and businesses work together to be better prepared for the impacts of climate change. The strategy includes a range of actions to build a stronger, more resilient future for everyone and is supported by more than $500 million in provincial investments.

Quick Facts:

  • Eligible applicants can access as much as $35,000 each in cost-shared funding for the first intake of the Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture program.
  • The Wildfire Preparedness Stream will be offered in partnership with B.C. Wildfire Services and FireSmart B.C.

Learn More:

To find out more about the Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture funding opportunities, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/extreme-weather-preparedness

B.C.’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy outlines four pathways to help ensure we stay safe and to help prepare for a changing climate: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/climate-change/adaptation/cpas

For resources to help prepare for wildfire season, visit: https://firesmartbc.ca

For resources specific to farmers and ranchers, visit: https://firesmartbc.ca/farm-and-ranch-wildfire-preparedness/

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