Torrential rains triggers agricultural crisis in British Columbia and Pacific Northwest

Torrential rains have sent parts of British Columbia and Washington state into an “agricultural crisis,” reports Modern Farmer. In the heavily farmed area of Abbotsford, B.C., which supplies half of all dairy, eggs, and poultry to the Canadian province’s 5.2 million residents, extreme flooding has compelled farmers to use motor boats and jet skis to rescue livestock from waterlogged barns. In nearby Sumas Prairie, one chicken farmer was forced to abandon 40,000 birds after receiving an evacuation order. The rain-fueled devastation is being felt south of the border, where farmers in Whatcom County, Washington, report the worst flooding since the 1990s. The flooding has forced closures on the region’s highways and rail lines, leading to major supply chain failures; farmers who rely on rail delivery of canola meal to feed cows have been left without access to the product, and one dairy farmer reported dumping out 4,000 pounds of milk due to flood-delayed shipment trucks. To make matters worse, the extreme weather is not expected to let up any time soon; Environment Canada is forecasting even more rain this week in the region’s hardest hit areas. —Patricia I. Escárcega