Farmers in B.C. have had an incredibly tough year. From wildfires to droughts to feed shortages, those in the agriculture sector have been faced with challenge after challenge.
What they need most is a government that sees what is going on and takes steps to provide relief — unfortunately, instead of working to help farmers get by, this NDP government has chosen to unilaterally enforce orders that make life more difficult for ranchers in the Interior.
A few weeks ago, farmers in the community of Westwold, just outside Kamloops, were informed that government was placing a fish protection order due to drought conditions in the area.
This order banned the use of water from the region’s aquifer for the irrigation of forage crops but created an exception for other types of farming.
For ranchers and dairy farmers already feeling the strain of province-wide feed shortages, the inability to irrigate crops that would feed their herds is devastating. On a recent visit to the area with colleagues from the BC United Caucus, and our leader Kevin Falcon, we heard from people who have already had to sell off livestock early, simply because they cannot produce the crops needed to feed them.
What makes this whole situation even more confusing for the people of Westwold is that the NDP will not give them clear, transparent answers about why they are banning the use of water from the aquifer, when it is the river water that impacts local fish populations. Residents have asked to see the science to back up government’s decision to include the aquifer — far below the surface — in the water ban and government has failed to provide it.
It’s upsetting to watch as the NDP repeatedly pushes our farmers and ranchers out of the profession their families have been in for generations. It’s time for government to step up, in Westwold, and the rest of the province, and work with farmers to ensure they have the resources they need to continue producing the food British Columbians rely on.