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MP Bachrach calls on feds to provide financial aid for Northern B.C. farmers

Northern B.C. farmers selling off livestock after ravaging summer
Skeena Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach said Northern B.C. farmers are being left to fend for themselves after this year’s severe drought conditions in many regions across the North. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern view)

A summer of anguish for Northern B.C. farmers was brought up by Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach today (Sept. 20) during question period in the parliament.

Bachrach pressed federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay to provide financial aid for farmers affected by drought. Devastating droughts have hit farmers across B.C. this summer, creating a production crisis for many farmers — particularly in the North of B.C.

Much of Northern B.C. was in a Class 5 drought — the most severe designation — for the majority of this summer.

According to Bachrach’s office, farmers in Williams Lake have had to sell off large numbers of their livestock due to a 90 per cent decrease in hay production compared to last year’s harvest.

“Farmers in Northern BC have been hit hard by extreme drought — another symptom of the worsening climate crisis,” he said. “Hay harvests are down as much as 90 per cent, and many farmers are struggling to feed their animals. We’re seeing herds sold off and we’re seeing family farms lost.”

The NDP MP said he is attempting to convince MacCaulay to act urgently and supply farms in need with hay sourced from other areas of Canada or the US.

“Local governments are waiting. Provincial government is waiting. And farmers are waiting for this Minister to finally come to the table,” he said. “How much longer are they going to have to wait?”

MacCaulay claimed he “fully understands the stress they [the farmers] are under.” He said the farmers will eventually get compensated in due course, though Bachrach argued the farmers need help now.

READ MORE: $480K to help connect new, young B.C. farmers with land