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British Columbia dairy farmers come together in face of flooding

November 21, 2021



Recent flooding in British Columbia created severe challenges for the region’s dairy farmers as well as the entire agriculture community. At the same time, it once again demonstrated the strength of local farming community, said the British Columbia Dairy Association.


More than 60 dairy farms in the Fraser Valley were under evacuation order due to flooding. Affected farmers, their neighbors, and total strangers rallied to evacuate thousands of cattle to high ground. Dairy farmers not affected by the flooding welcomed these cattle to their own farms, ensuring they are milked, fed, and cared for until they can return to their home farms.


The association said dozens of people reached out to offer of assistance, donate to affected farmers, and offer words of encouragement.


“This has been the most challenging year for dairy farmers in British Columbia I can recall, with drought, pandemic, and now flood,” said Holger Schwichtenberg, chair of the association’s board and an Agassiz dairy farmer. “And yet, as this event demonstrates, it has also been a year of coming together. We will work through this disaster and do what we can with the circumstances we’ve been handed. Farmers are nothing if not resilient.”


Milk pickup


Due to road closures the British Columbia Milk Marketing Board temporarily suspended milk pickup at many local dairy farms. Milk trucks were unable to get to many farms due to flooding, and even when a farm was accessible, the truck may not be able to get its milk to a processing plant.


It is too early to know what impact this might have on the supply of milk products in stores. The British Columbia Milk Marketing Board prioritized deliveries to fluid plants to ensure consumers’ needs are served.


Support for dairy farmers


Many members of the public have reached out asking how they can support dairy farmers impacted by flooding.


“The impacts are widespread for all types of farms as well as other businesses and our neighbors,” Schwichtenberg said. Our hearts are with everyone who is affected. We are doing everything we can to support our members through this emergency.”


He noted that the association is not a registered charity. However, in response to interest from the public it has set up an emergency recovery fund. All funds raised will be used to provide urgently needed services and supplies for dairy farms and their families who have been impacted by this catastrophic event.


Electronic transfers can be made to floodrecovery@bcdairy.ca.


Donations by direct deposit can be made to:

British Columbia Dairy Association Transit #: 00320 Bank #: 003 Account #: 1002658 Remittance email: floodrecovery@bcdairy.ca


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