Press Release

BC dairy farmers coming together to evacuate and house cattle

Dairy community is grateful for overwhelming offers of support and assistance

This week’s unprecedented flooding in BC has created severe challenges for dairy farmers, alongside BC’s  entire agriculture community.  It has also once again demonstrated the strength of BC’s farming community. 

Currently sixty-two dairy farms in the Fraser Valley are under evacuation order due to flooding. Affected farmers, their neighbours, and total strangers have rallied together to evacuate thousands of cattle to high ground. Dairy farmers not affected by the flooding have welcomed these cattle to their own farms, ensuring they are milked, fed, and cared for until they can return to their home farms. 

Dozens of people have reached out to the BC Dairy Association with offers of assistance, donations to support affected farmers, and words of encouragement. 

“This has been the most challenging year for dairy farmers in BC I can recall, with drought, pandemic, and now flood,” says Holger Schwichtenberg, chair of the BC Dairy Association’s board and an Agassiz dairy farmer. “And yet, as this event demonstrates, it has also been a year of coming together. We will work through this disaster, and do what we can with the circumstances we’ve been handed. Farmers are nothing if not resilient.”

Milk pickup

Due to road closures the BC Milk Marketing Board has temporarily suspended milk pickup at many BC dairy farms. Milk trucks are unable to get to many farms due to flooding, and even when a farm is accessible the truck may not be able to get its milk to a processing plant. 

BC Dairy Association will work with the Board and farmers to ensure pickup is restored as soon as transportation routes are passable. 

It is too early to know what impact this might have on the supply of milk products in stores. The BC Milk Marketing Board is prioritizing deliveries to fluid plants to ensure consumers’ needs are being served. BC Dairy will work with processors to understand the impact and minimize it, ensuring the best possible supply of local food for British Columbians. 

Support for dairy farmers

Many members of the public have reached out asking how they can support dairy farmers impacted by flooding. The BC Dairy Association would like to express sincere thanks to everyone who has reached out during this challenging time with words of encouragement and generous offers of support. 

“The impacts are widespread for all types of farms as well as other businesses and our neighbours,” Schwichtenberg says. Our hearts are with everyone who is affected. We are doing everything we can to support our members through this emergency.”

BC Dairy Association is not a registered charity. However, in response to interest from the public it has set up an emergency recovery fund. All funds raised will be used to provide urgently needed services and supplies for dairy farms and their families who have been impacted by this catastrophic event. 

Electronic transfers can be made to floodrecovery@bcdairy.ca.  

Donations by direct deposit can be made to:

British Columbia Dairy Association
Transit #: 00320
Bank #: 003
Account #: 1002658
Remittance email: floodrecovery@bcdairy.ca

If you have any questions or would like more information, please send an email to contactus@bcdairy.ca

If you are an evacuee needing resources:

Photo credit: City of Abbotsford Facebook page 

Note: updated with correction November 22, 2021 at 7pm PST