The B.C. and federal governments are providing financial relief for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses from wildfires, record heat and drought.
Provincial officials said they are creating a federal-provincial AgriRecovery response to help farmers.
“We are working closely with the Province to get B.C. farm families the support they need as soon as possible,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
“By unlocking more AgriStability funds through interim payments and invoking late participation, we can get more cash in hand for farmers who are making tough decisions in a difficult situation. We will continue to support farm families to get them through the challenges we face today, and position them for a sustainable future, since we know climate change will continue to pose challenges.”
Crops in the Creston Valley have been impacted by the heat this season.
Tanya wall, RDCK Area B Director said crops across the region have been affected but especially cherry yields.
“The crop sizes, especially with cherries were full, but the cherry sizes and the quality of the cherries have been definitely not like previous years,” added Wall. “They’ve been stressed because of the heat and in some cases lack of irrigation resources and water restrictions that have been put in place.”
Kiran Sandhu, owner of Marar Orchard, said this year’s conditions have been unprecedented, as much of her cherry crop has been destroyed before being picked.
“I’ve never seen this in my whole life of farming. I’ve never left the fruit on the tree,” said Sandhu. “We are doing every possible thing to save our crop, but we can’t do anything with this heat.”
MORE: Many Creston Valley crops fail in record-breaking heat (July 30th, 2021)
Wall said other fruits have been affected by the ongoing wildfires in the province.
“What has hindered some of the crop yielding and also quality would be the smoke blanket,” added Wall. “For example, in our vineyards, the grapes require the sunshine versus just the heat to ripen the grapes.
The government is extending applications for the AgriStability program until December 31st, 2022, but farmers enrolled in the program this year will receive a higher interim payment.