With unprecedented levels of drought occurring, Ministry staff are working directly with the agricultural community and various levels of government to identify and assess all options of support for farmers and ranchers in B.C. We understand this is a stressful and uncertain time for farmers and ranchers. We’re actively working on emergency funding and insurance programs to assist farmers and ranchers in response to wildfires and drought.
A few of our current priorities are:
- The Province has requested Agri Recovery from the federal government. Industry associations are helping provide data on producer impacts from wildfire and drought to inform the request. To be eligible for AgriRecovery, farmers and ranchers must file farm taxes.
- AgriRecovery applies to breeding livestock, including breeding horses.
- In addition to the AgriRecovery work, the Province has taken steps with the Government of Canada to implement:
- AgriStability Late Participation for farms and ranches that did not enroll in the program prior to the April 30, 2023, deadline. For further information please contact AgriStability directly by email at:
- [email protected] , or
- By mail to AgriStability Administration, 200-1500 Hardy Street, Kelowna, BC V1Y 8H2, or
- By calling 1-877-343-2767.
- An increase to the AgriStability Interim Payment limit from 50% to 75%. Advance payments can be obtained in as little as ten business days.
- A higher grain and oilseed crop write-off level, so that the crops that have been written off can be utilized for livestock feed.
- Producers must have an income decline and file farm taxes to be eligible for AgriStability.
- We are also working with the federal government to expedite approval of prescribed areas under the Livestock Tax Deferral Provision.
- This program applies to “breeding animals” which means:
- (a) horses that are over 12 months of age and are kept for breeding in the commercial production of pregnant mares’ urine, and
- (b) deer, elk and other similar grazing ungulates, bovine cattle, bison, goats and sheep that are over 12 months of age and are kept for breeding.
- On July 25th, the Ministry announced funding for a new Access to Feed program that will be delivered in partnership with the BC Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA). Through this program, the BCCA will match sellers of hay and feed domestically across Canada and internationally with farmers and producers. This program is open to all producers, small and large. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023AF0044-001217
- The Ministry’s Emergency Management Branch is preparing for a variety of drought scenarios. Planning is being undertaken with other relevant ministry groups and stakeholder associations.
Please see below for a list of key information that may be helpful to those impacted by drought in the agriculture community:
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has a dedicated web page with resources on Drought in Agriculture. On this page you will find resources for:
Quick guide to drought resources
Livestock management during droughts
Insurance and income protection
Drought impacts on soil
Effective water and irrigation management
Agricultural Business Risk Support Programs
Production Insurance (crop insurance):
- Production Insurance is an affordable insurance program that supports agricultural producers to manage the risk of crop losses caused by weather perils such as hail, frost, excessive rain, fire, flooding, drought, and wildlife. In B.C., Production Insurance is offered for berries, grain, forage, grapes, tree fruit, vegetables and flower bulbs.
- Impacted farmers that hold a Production Insurance policy, should contact their Regional Production Insurance office or phone 1-888-332-3352 to open a claim.
- An insurance adjustor will then inspect the crop to determine the loss.
- It’s important to not put the crop to another use (like grazing, tilling under, removing, etc.) until an adjustor has visited the farm operation.
- Impacted farmers that are enrolled in AgriStability, should contact their Regional office or phone 1-877-343-2767 to open a claim.
- Advance (interim) payments are often possible within a few weeks of application.
- AgriStability is a continuous program that provides assistance against severe drops in income margin of greater than 30%, based on individual farm’s income and expenses in previous years, and considers losses to stored crop, nursery plants and livestock in assessments.
For more details about B.C.’s suite of business risk-management programs for farmers, visit:
- Stress Mitigation for Farmers and Ranchers: Drought and other emergency situations can be very stressful. The well-being of producers and processors, workers, and their families is extremely important.
- AgSafe’s wellness practitioners come from farming and provide counselling services at NO COST to members of B.C. Agriculture. Services are available for anyone living or working in agriculture: https://agsafebc.ca/mental-wellness/
- Do More Agriculture Foundation’s peer-to-peer support AgTalk, powered by Togetherall is platform available 24/7 to those 16+ who live, work and play in the Canadian agricultural industry.ag/agtalk
- C. Mental Health Hotlines
- Support (BC): 310-6789
- Regional health authorities – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)
- Crisis Line: 1-800-SUICIDE
- Agroclimate Impact Reporter (AIR): We encourage producers across B.C. to complete the AIR survey prepared by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The AIR survey is open during the last week of the month over the growing season (April to October) and is intended to collect weather and climate impacts on farm operations across Canada. Survey results are made into maps and published on the Drought Watch website. Informing this survey helps with decision-making on programs available to producers.
Drought Related Contact Information
- AgriService BC: provides direct contact with Ministry of Agriculture and Food staff who are available to provide specialized assistance and help B.C. producers access the right programs they need. Farmers, ranchers and producers who need support are encouraged to contact their industry association or to call the AgriService BC line at 1 888 221-7141. Ministry of Agriculture and Food staff can help the agricultural community access existing programs.
Additional Drought Extension Material
To learn more about the action B.C. is taking to reduce the impacts of severe drought conditions, visit the Province’s Drought Response
Information available through the Ministry of Forests includes:
- Provincial Drought Levels at the BC Drought Information Portal which is updated every other Thursday/Friday or more frequently as needed. For current information on water conservation levels for your watershed or region, please click on the relevant tab on the top of the page.
- Contact FrontCounterBC for information on drought levels, water licensing and other authorizations.
- Subscribe for news releases about drought from the Ministry of Forests by selecting “Forests”. Alternately, news releases are available at BC Gov News to advise water users (including agricultural producers) about water conservation, water scarcity and drought.