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Financial relief for farmers and ranchers is being well received

An excellent step in the right direction.

That’s how Cordy Cox, the General Manager of the BC Livestock Co-op Association and a former President of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association, describes the financial support for farmers and ranchers announced by the senior governments this week.

Cox says allowing late participation into the AgriStability program will help a lot…

“They can still apply to enroll until December 31st, 2022. So it’s basically giving them over an extra year to get enrolled. And that’s huge.  They’re going to be eligible to receive a higher interim payment within a few weeks of completing the application form.  So instead of having to wait until your taxes and all of your forms are in for your year end, they’re going to be eligible to receive some of those monies within a few weeks of completing the forms.”

Cox says the emergency feed program is a huge help as well as.

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“Basically it will provide some funds to ranchers and farmers that either have had to use up hay that they’ve made this year to feed cattle on their home pastures because their range has been burnt up or their pastures, or maybe they’ve had to have them close to that home base to look after them because they got fire out there.”

Cox says the financial assistance that is available for livestock relocation is also very much needed.

“There are producers who have lost all of their range, and they’ve had to move cattle either to a neighbouring ranch or into the stockyards, like in the BC Livestock co-op.   And the other piece of this program so far is that there is going to be some financial assistance with livestock relocation and helping with the cost to transport those cattle to different places.   Now they’re transporting them obviously for safety reasons to get them out of those areas, and also to places where they can feed them.”

Cox says a lot of ranchers are in a dire situation right now.

“They are facing bankruptcy if they don’t get a lot of help.  Their summer pasture is gone, their fall pasture is gone, some of them have lost hay stacks so their winter feed is gone, some of them have lost that winter feed through feeding it to cattle already, and some of them have lost that hay that was never put up as they had to bring cattle home and put them on their hay fields.”

In addition to the fires and the drought, Cox says they were also hit with flooding earlier in the year.

“In the Chilcotin out here, I’m 2 1/2 hours west of Williams Lake.  When the fires were starting up out here, the Big Stick fire which is burning on our range, at the same time we were in that huge heat wave and there was a lot of run off and freshet that hadn’t come off those mountains yet.  We had a really long, cold spring and we didn’t flood at a normal time like we usually would.

Cox says at the same time that the fires were lighting up, they were also flooding.

She says the river was flooding and it was flooding onto their hay field at a time when they would normally be starting to hay.

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