B.C. storm: 98% of cows, 97% of laying chickens survived recent floods, agriculture minister says
The vast majority of cows and egg-laying chickens in B.C.'s flood-stricken Sumas Prairie have survived, the province's agriculture minister said Friday as the region continues its recovery from record-breaking weather events.
Lana Popham gave the encouraging update Friday morning, saying she had the opportunity recently to speak to industry members who were impacted by recent floods in Abbotsford.
"As the waters recede we can get a better picture of mortalities and how it may affect production," she said. "Our hearts continue to be with the folks that are struggling with the very difficult situations that are happening right now."
On Thursday, Popham delivered the devastating news that more than 640,000 animals died in the floods.
But on Friday, Popham said some stories of survival are starting to emerge.
Popham said that according to the chair of the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board, 61 poultry premises were included in the evacuation zone. But in those farms, 97 per cent of the laying chickens survived.
"I'd like to recognize the collective efforts of all the poultry industry members in pulling together and helping one another as we've seen in other industries," she said.
Popham also said that 98 per cent of cows from the Sumas Prairie survived the flooding.
"This is really due to the farmers working together and communities making sure that they had those farmers' backs," she said in Friday's update.
HELP FROM THE COMMUNITY
The agriculture minister also gave an update on dairy farmers, whose story she shared last week. Popham said two brothers, Carl and Rudy Meyer, spent days feeding dozens of dairy cows that were submerged in water.
"The waters came up so fast (on Nov. 15), they couldn't get their livestock out and so 180 dairy cows were up to their necks in water," Popham said last week, calling the brothers "local heroes."
"Those brothers went in and fed those cows hay for two days while those cows were submerged in that water."
On Friday, she said the brothers told her that once the waters receded, members of the Abbotsford Rugby Association showed up to help clean the barns.
"They cleaned hundreds of stalls and then even assisted the family removing stuff from their soggy basement," she said. "And after they did that, they moved on to help other farmers. I've also heard that the hockey team did the same thing."
On Thursday, Popham said floodwaters reached depths of 2.4 metres in places. A series of intense storms brought days of relentless rain over southern B.C., leading to mudslides and flooding across the area. Abbotsford was among the areas hit hardest by the floods.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione
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