Farmers in British Columbia now have access to a new pilot program to help them weather proof their farms to survive extreme weather, a July 15 news release said.
The Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture program will support as much as $1.5 million in projects this year to help farmers conduct risk assessments and make infrastructure upgrades on their farms, the release said. Eligible applicants can access as much as $35,000 each in cost-shared funding for the first intake.
“Over the past year, we’ve seen the extreme impacts of climate-related weather events on our farming communities, and we are taking action to support farmers and ranchers with climate-change adaptation tools and projects,” Lana Popham, B.C. minister of agriculture and food said in the release. “Agriculture and being able to feed British Columbians is intricately tied to climate change, and by taking increased steps to focus on how we can best prepare for and mitigate future climate impacts, we will be able to better protect the livelihoods of our food producers while strengthening our food security and food economy.”
Examples of projects eligible for funding include:
- FireSmart Critical Infrastructure assessments
- farm building retrofits for wildfire preparedness
- improved on-farm fuel storage and well protection for flood preparedness
- reconfiguration of high-value feed storage for flood preparedness
- farm building retrofits to improve cooling during extreme heat
- enhanced watering and shade to mitigate crop and livestock heat stress
- infrastructure improvements to support tree and berry canopy cooling as well as shade and heat protection for harvested fruit, berry or vegetable crops
The program is open to farm and ranch businesses throughout B.C., with applications initially being accepted between July 25 to Aug. 15, 2022. It’s anticipated the program will continue in 2023 and 2024, with the potential for adjustments based on experiences in the pilot year, the release noted. Funding for the 2022 pilot intake will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.