Agriculture Minister Hopes News of Recovery Support Will Ease Minds of Farmers and Ranchers
Prince George, B.C. – Minister of Agriculture for B.C, Lana Popham is hopeful news the Federal and Provincial government will assist ranchers and farmers recover from the wildfire disaster will give them some “peace of mind”.
“I have been in contact with many of the ranchers and farmers, and although the strain on them is incredible, they are giving feedback that they are happy with the response right now” says Minister Popham.
She says about 500 ranchers and farmers have accessed support through the wildfire assistance programs, and expects as many or more will be looking for support during the recovery phase. She is not able to say just how much money will be made available, but expects it will be in the “multi-million dollar level.”
She says she is amazed at the spirit of the people impacted by this unprecedented disaster “They are still positive and not blameful, and I think that they understand, everybody, it’s all hands on deck.”
She says it’s too early to tell how the losses will impact consumers as the supply of beef and produce is reduced, “Although we haven’t started to look at that, but of course, a tragedy like this will affect, for example cattle for a couple of seasons for sure, so that may be an effect of it.”
Popham announced yesterday that she is working with her federal counterpart on a plan that will see the two senior levels of government share costs ( see previous story) on recovery for the sector. The Recovery plan at this point is focused on assessing three areas:
- Costs related to ensuring animal health and safety;
- Feed, shelter and transportation costs;
- Costs to re-establish perennial crop and pasture production damaged by fire
Minister Popham says the damage to crop and pasture production is “enormous and will have long term effects if we aren’t able to step in and assist.”