The Government of Canada is investing more money to support farmers affected by drought and wildfires.

Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Monday that the government has increased total AgriRecovery funding to up to $500 million. This includes initial funding of $100 million announced earlier this month.

Last week, MP Bob Zimmer sent a letter to Bibeau urging her to do more to support northeast B.C. farmers. In his letter, Zimmer suggests expanding the 2021 Livestock Tax Deferral to include the entire Peace River Regional District and the Northern Rockies.

“Our Government is doing everything it can to support farm families so they can get through these challenges today, and be better positioned for a sustainable future,” said Bibeau.

“[Monday’s] commitment of up to half a billion dollars shows we stand ready to contribute our share toward AgriRecovery programs with the provinces. We are united in our goal of ensuring that farmers are fully supported through this crisis.”

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the funding ensures the federal government is ready to contribute to eligible provincial AgriRecovery costs on the 60-40 cost-shared basis outlined under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The federal and B.C. governments are currently working with the ‘utmost urgency ‘to complete joint assessments and launch support programs. The latter includes direct assistance to affected livestock and agricultural producers, and helps them with added costs of obtaining livestock feed, transportation and water.

The Provine has yet to announce its commitment under the AgriRecovery Framework.

Interm payments can be applied for under AgriStability for immediate financial assistance. The 2021 AgriStability payment percentage has been increased from 50 per cent to 75 per cent and late participation is available for those who didn’t register this year.

AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial-territorial disaster relief framework intended to work together with the core BRM programs to help agricultural producers recover from natural disasters.

AgriStability is one of the BRM programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It protects Canadian producers against large declines in farming income for reasons such as production loss, increased costs and market conditions. While the deadline to enroll for the 2021 program year has passed, provinces may request late participation to make the program available to other producers during a crisis situation.