B.C. agriculture minister says sector is recovering well on flooding anniversary

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — British Columbia's agriculture minister says farmers had "an emotional year" as they worked to recover from catastrophic flooding last November.

Lana Popham says the province will continue to communicate with farmers to find solutions to reduce flood risks for the hard-hit Sumas Prairie and Fraser Valley areas, and to ensure a quicker response during future climate-related disasters.

About 630,000 chickens, 420 cattle and 12,000 hogs died in the Sumas Prairie after a series of so-called atmospheric rivers over several days washed out highways, flooded homes and farmland, and caused landslides that killed five people.

At the peak of the flooding, more than 1,100 farms were under evacuation order or alert, and 150 square kilometres of farmland was swamped.

It's estimated the flooding that stretched across the Fraser Valley into the southern Interior caused about $285 million in losses for B.C.'s agricultural sector.

Popham says most dairy and poultry farmers are now operating "back to normal" and most of the annual crops returned this year, but the sector is still "keeping its fingers crossed" for better weather this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2022.

The Canadian Press