Industry warns about problems facing British Columbia’s dairy industry after heat waves and floods


Abbotsford, British Columbia — Industry officials and operators are forced to leave the industry as costs build up as farmers clean up after a series of storms hit southern British Columbia. I say it will be.

A series of “atmospheric rivers” in mid-November expelled thousands of people from their homes, killing at least four.

Gary Barles, who owns a dairy farm in the Sumas district of Abbotsford, British Columbia, said his cousin decided to unload his livestock early after calling about his flood experience.

At the time, his property was dry, and Mr. Barles said the drivers laughed at his preemptive measures.

The laughter quickly turned into a call for help, and Barles said he was making up to 100 calls an hour from farmers trying to save livestock as the water level rose.

All but one of his cows survived the final flood.

However, Mr. Barles said other farmers are already facing a tough future, as many farmers ate very little animal feed due to the record-breaking heat of British Columbia in the summer.

That, coupled with floods and inflation, has reduced profit margins, Mr. Barles said.

“The price of hay is high everywhere,” he said. “I thought it was a bit of a bubble, but there will be a serious feed shortage between inflation, rising fertilizer and fuel prices, and supply shortages.”

According to Barles, much of the dairy industry has a lot of debt and the past year has been tough for farmers.

“I could certainly see some people say,” What do you know, I’m rich in stocks and poor in cash, and this is to get out of this racket It’s a good time, “he said.

Agriculture Minister Lana Pofam killed 628,000 chickens, 420 dairy cows and about 12,000 pigs in Sumas Prairie after some land was left 2.5 meters below the surface of the water due to historic floods. Said.

More than 6,000 cows were transported from the affected farms to other safe farms from the flood.

Sarah Sache, Vice Chairman of the BC Dairy Association, said Baars’ concerns were overseen by her group.

“If they continue in the industry, it will be a turning point for some farms,” ​​she said.

According to Sash, it will depend on what stage of their career the farmers decide whether to continue.

Finding the right feed for livestock will also have a significant impact on farmers’ lives, she said.

She said Suma Prairie farmers had low feed stocks and many of their supplies were damaged by the floods.

“It will be difficult to procure and find a source of the quality feed that those farmers would have provided,” she said. “Feed issues will be a major challenge for the industry as a whole.”

Later Friday, BC’s Agriculture Minister and his federal response visited a poultry farm that was hit by floods and was expected to work on recovery and reconstruction efforts.

Nick Wells

Canadian press