AgriRecovery Program promises to deliver help to ranchers impacted by the 2017 fires. (photo submitted)

Wildfire recovery for ranchers

A light dusting of snow in areas of the Cariboo Chilcotin this week, coupled with the lifting of the last remaining evacuation alerts, has signaled the start of a new phase of the wildfires – recovery.

Ranchers throughout B.C.’s Interior were hit hard by the wildfires, including those impacted by the Plateau fire, the largest wildfire ever recorded in the province’s history, as well as the Riske Creek-Hanceville fire, the Wildwood fire and Spokine Lake fire.

Representatives from the Federal and Provincial governments said from the start that they would assist in the recovery of the agriculture industry and they recently made good on that promise with the announcement of the Agri-Recovery program. This program is intended to assist agri-business operators with the task of recovery through the winter of 2017 and into spring of 2018.

The program is worth $20 million and will cover up to 70 per cent of extraordinary feed costs, including transportation to feed livestock through the recovery period for those who qualify.

It will also cover up to $80 per head to re-establish safe winter feeding facilities and general cleanup, up to 70 per cent of the veterinary, mustering, transportation and rental of temporary production facilities, up to 70 per cent of the market value of breeding animals for mortality, up to 70 per cent of extraordinary costs incurred by an industry organization and not paid by another agency or government department and up to 70 per cent of the extraordinary costs required to return to normal crop production, including critical infrastructure not covered by insurance, labour costs to repair private fences and reseeding/re-establishment of tame forage and other perennials damaged by fires.

Deadline to register for the AgriRecovery is November 30. Application packages are not ready just yet.

As fall settles in, let’s hope our ranchers can get the critical assistance they need now to recover from the extraordinary circumstances that resulted from the 2017 wildfires.

– Williams Lake Tribune

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