BC Dairy is pleased to announce that 65 BC dairy farms will be recipients of the $941,046 collected through the BC Dairy Flood Recovery Fund since it was established in November 2021. The funds are now in the process of being distributed to the dairy farms most impacted by the catastrophic floods that devastated Abbotsford’s Sumas Prairie and surrounding community in the final months of 2021. Among the farms who will receive funds is Crossroads Dairy in Abbotsford. Since the flooding began, the dairy has gone above-and-beyond to support other farms in need, becoming a hub of resources including daily meals, clothing and supplies that they continue to offer today, over three months later.
Proceeds raised demonstrate the generosity of many individuals and businesses based in BC and across Canada. Numerous industry partners such as dairy processors, dairy farm suppliers, and groups of dairy farmers made contributions in support of their neighbours.
Fraser Valley dairy farmer Grant Bouwman is one of the fund recipients. “On our farm, we experienced damage to our home—the basement needs to be rebuilt, and flood-proofed for the future. We have undertaken significant clean up within our barns, and we know there’s still work to come to assess crop land damage, and re-seed grasslands,” says Bouwman. “The support received through the BC Dairy Flood Recovery Fund will help us face the many additional costs that come with getting our feet back on the ground.
As farmers, we are not used to receiving help—we are used to lending a hand to others. Speaking for my family, we are grateful for all the support that has been offered to us by those in the community. We feel fortunate and blessed, and don’t take it for granted.”
Although BC Dairy is not a registered charity, the BC Dairy Flood Recovery Fund was established in response to public interest, and quickly grew as a result of widespread generosity; 298 donations were made directly to the fund, while an additional 407 donations came in through a GoFundMe account set up by a Maple Ridge resident and dairy farmer.
“We are so appreciative of the kindness and assistance Canadians across the country have offered to our dairy farmers in the wake of this disaster,” says Holger Schwichtenberg, chair of the BC Dairy Association and an Agassiz dairy farmer. “The impact of the floods has been devastating to many farms, and there is still a long road ahead to full recovery. Collectively, dairy farmers have felt the support that these donations represent, and we can’t say it enough–thank you.”
Major fund contributions were generously made by dairy industry partners, including:
$100,000 from WestGen, a farmer-owned genetics company.
$100,000 from Agrifoods, a provider of quality dairy and food products and services.
$113,000 from Vitalus, an Abbotsford-based speciality milk processor;
$100,000 from Semex, a farm genetics company;
$41,000 from Dairy Farmers of Manitoba;
$25,000 from Lactanet, a provider of products and services to the dairy industry.
Several dairy producer regions, representing and funded by local dairy farmers, also made donations, including:
$100,000 from Mainland Milk Producers;
$12,000 from Kootenay Milk Producers;
$15,000 from the Kamloops Okanagan Dairy Association;
$10,000 from the Western Dairy Council, an association of dairy processors.
As of January 31, 2021 BC Dairy is no longer accepting donations to the Flood Recovery fund. Members of the public who wish to make a financial contribution in support of flood affected communities may consider donating to the Red Cross BC Floods and Extreme Weather Appeal.
About BC Dairy
BC Dairy is a not-for-profit association that represents BC’s 470 dairy farmers. BC Dairy works to grow the market for dairy products and to support profitable, environmentally and socially responsible dairy farm businesses. We bring dairy farmers together while building lasting relationships within our communities.BC Dairy takes direction from a Board of elected and appointed dairy producer representatives, and is operated by a staff team.