British Columbians have come forward with an incredible show of support for dairy farmers following the catastrophic flooding that affected the Fraser Valley beginning on November 15, 2021. Individuals, several farming companies, and other farmers have donated $850,044 to the BC Dairy Flood Recovery Fund, on top of countless offers of donated labour, food, services, and urgently needed supplies.
During the flooding itself, numerous farmers and neighbours stepped up to help evacuate some 6,000 dairy cattle from impacted farms, then caring for the animals until they could return to their home farms.
“As farmers, it’s not always in our nature to ask for help,” says Holger Schwichtenberg, chair of the BC Dairy Association and an Agassiz dairy farmer. “But our community came through for us. They offered support in whatever ways they could, both in that critical moment and in the weeks since. We are truly grateful for that support. From fellow dairy farmers to milk truck drivers, feed suppliers, to the Ministry of Agriculture and even complete strangers, everyone did what they could to help.”
This month, BC’s dairy farmers are saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who was there for them through a new video spot which began airing on January 3 and will run until the end of the month. The spot features BC dairy farmers speaking over footage of flood recovery efforts, and bears a simple message: “Thank you for being there for us.”
BC Dairy is also partnering with Black Press to recognize community heroes who have made a difference over the past year, shining a spotlight on the incredible community spirit evident in recent months. From January 10 – 31, BC Dairy is accepting nominations for ‘Local Heroes’— people who have gone above and beyond to support their community in 2021. Nominees will be contacted by BC Dairy to be featured at BCDairy.ca and on social media throughout the month. Featured nominees will be entered to win one of five $500 prizes. For more information and to nominate a hero, visit bcdairy.ca/localheroes
About the BC Dairy Flood Recovery Fund – Closing January 31
Although BC Dairy Association is not a registered charity, in response to overwhelming interest from the public, a temporary Flood Recovery fund was established on November 17. Since then, donations came in directly from members of the public, and through a GoFundMe account set up by a Maple Ridge resident and dairy farmer. Major contributions were also made by generous 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 will close the Flood Recovery fund and will no longer be accepting contributions. 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 Association
BC Dairy is a not-for-profit association that represents BC’s 470 dairy farmers. The association supports the growth and long-term business success of BC’s dairy farms. BC Dairy represents BC in a strong national dairy system committed to providing Canada with high quality, responsibly farmed, healthy dairy products. BC Dairy takes direction from a Board of elected and appointed dairy producer representatives, and is operated by a staff team.