Northern farmers get help to deal with changing climate

The federal and provincial governments announced $300,000 in funding on Tuesday to help northern B.C. farmers adapt to climate change.

The funding will support projects identified in the Bulkley-Nechako and Fraser-Fort George Regional Adaptation Strategies plan to help farmers respond to increasing wildfire risks; warmer, drier summer conditions; changing crop growing conditions; and potential new pest species.

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"Our government is proud to stand behind our farmers and ranchers as they respond to changing climate conditions in their regions," federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a press release. "This investment will help producers keep their farming operations strong and ensure Canadians can continue to put good, locally grown food on their tables for years to come."

Development of the plan began in 2018, and involved a 14-member working group from both regions, working with local, provincial and federal agencies.

"It's great that government is supporting farmers and ranchers in the Bulkley-Nechako and Fraser-Fort George regional districts in dealing with challenges due to climate change, because it is our new reality," said Megan D'Arcy, a local farmer and member of the advisory committee, in a press release. "Information exchange, increased collaboration and the development of new systems and best management practices will be key to ensuring that the agriculture sector in these two areas remains resilient."

Up to six projects are expected to be complete in the region by 2023. The Bulkley-Nechako and Fraser-Fort George plan is the eighth regional plan developed as part of the B.C. Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative.

"B.C. farmers are resilient and used to tackling challenges," B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said in a press release. "Floods, wildfires and shifting weather patterns are too big for one person to handle. I'm proud to support strategies tailored to different regions of the province so that farmers can thrive and British Columbians can continue to enjoy access to fresh, local food. By supporting farmers working to adapt, we are strengthening our economy so that all British Columbians can prosper."

In 2016, agriculture employed more than 2,600 people in the regions.

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