VERNON, BC, March 11, 2019 /CNW/ - British Columbia's agriculture sector contributes $3.2 billion to Canada's economy, with more than $2.6 billion in agri-food exports to 147 markets. The governments of Canada and British Columbia remain committed to the continued growth and success of B.C.'s agriculture sector by ensuring producers have the tools they need to manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farms.
2018 was an extremely challenging year for many B.C. producers who faced financial pressures as a result of significant production and market losses. The governments of Canada and British Columbia are working together to ensure producers make full use of support available through existing programs.
Today, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau and British Columbia's Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham announced they have triggered the late participation mechanism under the AgriStability program for the 2018 program year to help farmers access needed support to deal with income losses. This new feature, introduced under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, means hundreds of additional farmers and ranchers from B.C. will be eligible to join and benefit from the program. This feature can be triggered by governments in situations where there is a significant income decline in the farm sector and a gap in program participation.
This is in addition to assistance previously announced by governments in October 2018 under the AgriRecovery disaster framework that provided up to $5 million to help the province's agriculture sector recover from the agricultural losses caused by the 2018 wildfires. These fires consumed 1,300,000 hectares of land, surpassing the record damage caused in 2017.
Today's announcement is part of Minister Bibeau's first agricultural tour. Minister Bibeau is meeting with farmers, processors and industry leaders, as well as participating in local agricultural events, to highlight strategic federal agricultural investments and programs and how they will help to build an even stronger and more innovative sector for Canada.
The tour begins on March 11 in Vernon, British Columbia and ends on March 13 in Winnipeg, Manitoba with stops in Kelowna, B.C. and Calgary, Alberta.
"Our Government recognizes that many B.C. farmers and ranchers are facing financial hardship caused by extreme weather events and poor market prices. The AgriStability late participation feature will help more farmers access the support they need to cope with income shortfalls. We encourage BC farmers to take full advantage of all available Business Risk Management programs, including AgriInvest and AgriInsurance."
- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"BC ranchers and farmers work hard to support our province's food supply and economy, and when they experience extreme hardship such as the last two years, they need our help. Adjusting the AgriStability program to help more B.C. producers whose income declined in 2018, offers support to those farmers, the communities they are part of, and agriculture in BC."
- Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, British Columbia
- In 2018, B.C.'s agricultural sector was impacted by several major production and market losses as a result of unprecedented spring flooding, forest fires which caused substantial damage to farms and farmland, and a dramatic decline in market prices for raspberries.
- In August 2017, governments announced the Canada-British Columbia Wildfires Recovery Initiative, an up to $20 million initiative to assist agricultural producers with the extraordinary costs associated with resuming their operations following the 2017 wildfires.
- Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, producers have access to a robust suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs to help manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage. These programs include AgriInsurance, AgriStability and AgriInvest and AgriRecovery.
- More information on late participation for 2018 AgriStability will be mailed to B.C. farmers and ranchers in the coming weeks. Information on AgriStability can be found on the program website or by calling the British Columbia program administration at 1-877-343-2767.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector. The Partnership includes programs and activities to enhance the competitiveness of the sector through research, science and innovation.
- AgriStability (B.C. Government)
- Governments announce new initiative to support B.C.'s agriculture sector impacted by wildfires (AAFC-BC News Release)
- Canada-British Columbia Wildfires Recovery (B.C. Government)
SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
For further information: Katie Hawkins, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, 613-773-1059, [email protected]; Media Relations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 613-773-7972, 1-866-345-7972, [email protected]; Dave Townsend, Government Communications and Public Engagement, Ministry of Agriculture (British Columbia), 250-356-7098, 250-889-5945 (cell)