DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — The vice-chair of the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) recently surveyed cattle farmers in the area to find out how the drought and wildfires have impacted them.
Area E director Dan Rose presented his findings to regional directors on Thursday.
Following the start of the wildfire season in May with the North Peace Complex near Fort St. John, Rose worked with staff to determine fencing losses.
Based on the information gathered, approximately 30 miles of various types of fencing were lost to the wildfires.
The PRRD’s Emergency Operations Center requested financial assistance from the province to recover lost fencing. The Ministry of Agriculture said the event did not reach the threshold required for AgriRecovery eligibility set by the federal government.
According to Rose’s report, staff have not been informed of any other programs available, barring the late enrollment to the AgriStability program.
He encourages producers to keep receipts and document losses if retroactive funding becomes available.
The director and staff also worked with the BC South Peace River Stockman’s Association to develop and distribute a survey regarding the 2023 drought.
The survey aimed to determine the percentage difference in hay yield from 2022 to 2023, if hay needed to be purchased, if hay could be purchased, the percentage of breeding females that needed to be sold, water supply percentages and pasture conditions.
According to the survey results, hay production was down anywhere from less than ten per cent to about 50 per cent from 2022.
Everyone surveyed has needed to purchase hay elsewhere, but only a couple were able to find a source.
Only one farmer will not sell breeding females, but everyone surveyed anticipates needing to sell between 10 per cent to 85 per cent of their herd.
Some farmers are worried about how low their dugouts may become; others are not.
Pasture conditions were reported as fair to poor and not lasting as long as usual, with some only lasting for another couple of weeks.
The survey results were shared with the Ministry of Agriculture.
At the beginning of August, Energeticcity.ca spoke with farmers who expressed their concerns about the drought and the provincial programs available to them.
The Shadow Minister of Agriculture also visited Fort St. John this month to speak with impacted farmers.
The full report can be viewed below: