Putting life back together after the flood

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How do you rebuild a farming community after the most serious flooding event in modern history?

Last week on the Farmer Rapid Fire, Shaun Haney was joined by Rudi Meier, Abbotsford, B.C.-area farmer. Meier shared what his community is dealing with, now two months after the first flooding began in the Fraser River valley.

“There’s a lot of people that are still displaced, there’s a lot of struggles people are going through,” says Meier, for city residents and farmers alike.

Farmers are trying to replenish expensive feed and animal stock, and on top of that any grass that was around the area was lost — some farmers might wait and see what’s underwater, but most won’t wait to find out.

“Alfalfa’s not only expensive now — about $100 more than before the flood — but the problem is getting it here,” says Meier, as some highways are still closed. Travel on Highway 5 requires a permit and Highway 3 is not much better. Going the long way around down through the states and up through Alberta is difficult as well.

Meier says that in conversations with older farmers, some of them don’t know if it’s worth it to rebuild — either they don’t have a child to pass their farm on to or they don’t have a different transition plan in place.

Any poultry, hog, blueberry, and turf farmers that were inside the Sumas Prairie dyke system have lost everything.

As far as how the community is holding up, Meier says a local dairy farm served as the local hub for drop-off and pick-up of food and supplies. The Ministry of Agriculture created a central drop-off to collect water samples. The local church also made the dairy a central point of support.

“The community has really come together,” says Meier, “Of course, the flood was a hurdle, but it didn’t really weather us as bad as it showed. I guess the physical damage, the mental damage, people are still messed up and struggling, their moral is low, the hill is high to climb.”

Hear the full, uncut conversation below:

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