Farm & Ranch Safety During Wildfires

The worsening fire season in British Columbia creates many challenges for farms and ranches. Given the current State of Emergency declared by the BC government and the prospect of possibly facing mass evacuations in the interior, it is important to share helpful resources and information. Though a lot of fire mitigation needs to be done before the start of fire season, there is much that can still be done now to protect properties and the people and animals that live on them.

The Climate & Agriculture Initiative (CAI) of BC supplies a well of resources for farmers and ranchers to help them protect their operations.

Know the types of ignition

In general, there are three types of ignition:

  1. Ember Ignition
  2. Radiant Heat
  3. Direct Flame

Ember ignition happens when embers from a nearby fire land on flammable material and catch fire. The best way to mitigate this is to find and eliminate ember traps on your property. Ember traps include:

  • Dry, built up vegetation
  • Dry Grass
  • Sawdust or wood shavings
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Or other buildups of flammable material

If dry grass catches near garbage piles, it can easily light the garbage on fire and spread to buidlings.

Radiant heat and direct flame require fuel pathways. An example could be a barn catching fire from direct flame from a tree, and the fire moving along a fence line to another structure.

Actions you can take

  • Get updates from the SLRD here to keep you immediately informed about the situation in our area.
  • Remove any possible ember traps from your property; rake, pile, and water dry vegetation.
  • Weedwack and mow around your property to reduce the ease of fire spreading through grass.
  • Glean your roof and gutters of debris.
  • Identify which structures on your property are the most important to protect (priority structures).
  • Create first a 10 meter definable area around priority structures, then a 30 meter defensible area. (see the infographic below)
  • Hang plastic over openings to barns, porches, etc.
  • Ideally, create a 1.5 meter non-combustible surface around priority structures (i.e. gravel, concrete)
  • Mark waterlines.
  • Create a wildfire evacuation plan.
  • If you must evacuate, leave gates open. This serves two purposes: it reduces the risk of fires spreading along a fence line (if you have a wooden fence/gate) and it allows your animals to escape.

Resources

The CAI provides a great resource for wildfire preparedness specifically for Farmers and Ranchers.

A fillable pdf with which you can plan how best to take care of your facility in the event of a wildfire. The workbook was developed by the CAI with the help of producers across the province to help farmers and ranches deal with the unique challenges they face with regards to wildfires.

Watch the CAI video about the workbook.

  • Creating an operations map

Part of the Wildfire plan workbook includes creating a map of your operation. Such a map helps share key information quickly and effectively with first responders. 

This video will help you understand how best to do this.

  • Reduce threat to farm assets video

Other resources can be found on the BC Fire Smart website https://firesmartbc.ca/

BC Premises Identification Program

The Premises ID Program

Since 2011, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries (MAFF) has offered voluntary premises ID registration for anyone with animals. Registering for a Premises ID is a way for farm animal owners and site operators to protect the health and safety of their own animals and other animals in B.C.

What is the Premises ID?

The premises ID is a 9-digit code attached to a specific geographic area in which animals are kept.  It is one of the pillars of the BC animal traceability system. The premises ID contains the following information about the location:

  • Legal land description 
  • Geo-coordinates (e.g. latitude and longitude) 
  • Emergency contact information 
  • Premises type (e.g. ranch or feedlot) 
  • Animal type (e.g. list of all animal types on the premises)
  • Maximum animal capacity (gives an idea of the scale)

Regulation

Starting in 2022 it will be mandatory for a premises where one or more animals (please visit site here for full list of types of animals) are either kept or assembled to be registered with the Premises ID program.

The regulation will not be strictly enforced by the BC government but instead program staff will focus on education and outreach combined with cross-compliance measures to encourage premises ID registration.

However, according to the Policy Intentions Paper, animal owners will be increasingly required to provide their premises ID number to access funding and (or) government services, or to obtain or renew certain licenses issued by MAFF or other provincial government agencies.

Who can register?

Anyone who keeps animals can and should register for a premises ID. This includes everyone, from a person keeping a single horse as a pet, to a full scale, industrialized operation.

Why Register?

The Premise ID is used to improve the response to disease outbreaks or natural disasters. The information contained in the premise ID can be used by emergency responders to locate farm animals, notify and communicate with farm owners/operators, estimate animal numbers for evacuation planning, and facilitate the re-entry process for operators/owners in affected areas. Premise ID information was used during the 2017-2018 wildfire season and significantly reduced the death of animals.

It increases the ability of the Ministry of Agriculture to coordinate and collaborate with other provincial agencies and local authorities involved in environmental emergency response efforts.

How to Register

You can either complete the application

  • Online
    • Have ready
      • Legal Business Name of your business enterprise (if applicable)
      • Location details, preferably the BC Land Titles Parcel ID, of your primary premises
      • Primary contact information regarding the different species located on your premises
  • Or download the paper pdf

Submit the completed forms

By Mail:

BCPID, Ministry of Agriculture
1767 Angus Campbell Road
Abbotsford, BC V3G 2M3

By Email:

BCPID@gov.bc.ca

For all the information on the program, check out:

CERIP Funding for Storage

LAFS applied for funding through the Canadian Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program to build on the work that we have done for the last three years around agricultural storage facilities.

We are very happy to announce that we were successful in our application for Agricultural Storage for the Lillooet area. A huge thank you to the Province of British Columbia for funding this project, and all of the other great projects that were awarded funding.

This project dovetails perfectly with our current Investment Readiness Project, which is currently in progress.

LAFS is now working on finding suitable locations for Agricultural Storage in Lillooet, and figuring out the next steps in terms of drawings, plans, organizational structure, and possible business models.

As an organization, we aim to support all agricultural endeavours, and hope to include a processing facility in the building to assist with the next stage of getting our local farmers’ products to market.

The project will start this year, and may take a year or two to complete. We will continue to post updates on here, as well as on our social media channels. If you have any any questions, or would like more information about the project, please contact us to discuss!

Investment Readiness Program Project

The Lillooet Agriculture and Food Society has been working on plans for an Agricultural Storage Facility for the last two years. A Cold Storage Facility Pitch Package & Feasibility Study was published in January of 2020, and followed up by Agricultural Storage Business Planning work with Roots and Rivers in the summer of 2020.

From this, LAFS felt ready to apply for the next steps – and wrote a proposal to the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) to do just that. We were successful in our application, which will build on the work we did through 2019 and 2020.

The next steps involved hiring a consulting team to further research best practices and industry standards, looking specifically to similar models which include a food coop aspect and community-first approach. With this IRP project, LAFS will also work to determine the ownership and operational structure and build the membership and team that will manage it,  secure the location for the facility through lease or partnership, and have concept drawings completed for the facility.

Consultants and LAFS’ Storage Facility Committee Members during their site visits.

We are excited to announce that Greenchain Consulting has taken on the project this spring, in partnership with Motiv Architects and Sustainability Ventures. The consulting team visited Lillooet last week and talked to a number of food producers as well as visited some potential sites for the cold storage.

If you would like to talk to the consultants about food storage needs, please contact LAFS at lillooetagricultureandfood@gmail.com. We are working on compiling a list of food producers in the region for the consultants to connect with.

The project is set to wrap up by the end of June, so stay tuned for an update in our next newsletter!

LAFS AGM

Lillooet Agriculture and Food Society’s Annual General Meeting
will take place on May 5, 2021 at 12:00pm.

Click here to join the Zoom meeting.

Dial in: +1 778 907 2071 Canada
Meeting ID: 867 0581 7507
Find your local number.

Below are the links to our AGM minutes from last year,
as well as the upcoming year’s agenda, and the proposed changes to our mandate,
for your review.

Let us know if you have any additions, comments or questions,
or trouble connecting!

Email, call, or text our Executive Director, Sarah Petznick:
lillooetagricultureandfood@gmail.com or 778-887-2027

Lillooet Grown Videos

Last year, the Lillooet Agriculture and Food Society applied for funding to create promotional videos for our local food and agriculture scene.

LAFS hired Brad Kasselman of Coast Mountain Photography to create four segments, each with a different theme. We are very excited to be launching this amazing work this spring!

The videos really do speak for themselves, and each have a slightly different variation on the Lillooet Grown theme – Taste, Discover and Grow are shorter edits, which you can find on our website at About > Lillooet.

On our main page, you will find the full length video, Destination Lillooet: www.lillooetagricultureandfood.org

When you have time, sit down, take a moment, and appreciate this wonderful place that we get to grow and share food.

Where to buy Seeds!

Here’s a list provided by Lillooet Food Matters (via Farm Folk City Folk) of BC Seed companies who grow their own seeds.

  • BC Eco Seed Co-op
  • Good Earth Farm
  • Laughing Swan Farm
  • Omega Blue Farms
  • Planting Seeds Project 
  • RavenSong Seeds
  • Rebecca’s Garden
  • Saanich Organics
  • Small Island Seed Co.
  • Sunshine Farm Seeds
  • Naramata Seeds
  • Full Circle Seeds
  • Salt Spring Seeds

Another excellent source for seeds companies, though it is Canada-wide, is Seeds of Diversity www.seeds.ca. Their website includes an easy-to-use search engine. And of course there are seeds available in Lillooet! Timber Mart and True Value carry West Coast Seeds and Pacific Northwest Seeds.


We encourage you to order seeds soon as there is a high demand this year due to the increased interest in food security.

Farm Tour Schedule

Friday, September 18th

Lillooet Farmers’ Market 8:30am to 1pm

Seed to Culture ~ Open 1pm to 6pm

Fort Berens Winery ~ Open 10am to 6pm

Riley Creek Farm ~ drop-ins welcome from 12pm to 5pm

Cliff and Gorge Vineyards ~ call to book a tour 250-256-8000


Saturday, September 19th

Fort Berens Winery ~ Open 10am to 6pm
Concert at 6:30pm!  Book tickets in advance.

Riley Creek Farm ~ drop-ins welcome from 12pm to 5pm
1 hour guided tour starts at 11am
Spray Creek Ranch ~ drop-ins welcome 10:00 - 17:00 
1.5 hour guided tour starts at 2pm!

Cliff and Gorge Vineyards ~ call to book a tour 250-256-8000


Sunday, September 20th

Fort Berens Winery ~ Open 10am to 6pm

Riley Creek Farm ~ drop-ins welcome from 12pm to 5pm
1 hour guided tour starts at 11am!

Spray Creek Ranch ~ drop-ins welcome 10:00 - 17:00 
1.5 hour guided tour starts at 2pm!

Cliff and Gorge Vineyards ~ call to book a tour 250-256-8000

Lillooet Grown (LG) Video Marketing Campaign

The Lillooet Agriculture & Food Society, a non-profit society supporting local farmers, ranchers and growers, needs a LILLOOET GROWN VIDEO MARKETING CAMPAIGN and is accepting proposals in response to this Request for Proposal (this “RFP,” or this “Request for Proposal”) to find a qualified source to provide a LILLOOET GROWN VIDEO MARKETING CAMPAIGN. Our goal with the LILLOOET GROWN VIDEO MARKETING CAMPAIGN is to:

Assist the agricultural community with the development of a common local identity or brand.  This video series will continue building brand recognition and trust with our target audiences by producing and deploying a series of short promotional videos. 

The objective of this Request for Proposal is to locate a contractor or professional that will provide the best overall plan to the LILLOOET AGRICULTURE & FOOD SOCIETY. While price is a significant factor, other criteria will form the basis of our award decision, as more fully described in the Evaluation Factors section of this Request for Proposal here.

Proposals must be received prior to July 22, 2020 to be considered.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR THE COLD STORAGE FACILITY STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLAN

The Lillooet Agriculture & Food Society, a non-profit society supporting local farmers, ranchers and growers, needs a STORAGE FACILITY STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLAN and is accepting proposals in response to this Request for Proposal (this “RFP,” or this “Request for Proposal”) to find a qualified source to provide a COLD STORAGE FACILITY STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLAN. Our goal with the COLD STORAGE BUSINESS PLAN is to:

Allow stakeholders to align their business activities with the vision of the venture and to set realistic goals, as well as keep them on track and benchmark progress. The plan will allow the business enterprise to adapt quickly to a changing environment, both internally and externally, and overcome potential problems by looking to the future. The business strategy will help build consensus with stakeholders on venture direction, financial projections and building costs. 

After the completion of the business plan, stakeholders would leverage this business plan to implement necessary steps and to attract more funders and partners in the enterprise.

The objective of this Request for Proposal is to locate a contractor or professional that will provide the best overall plan to the LILLOOET AGRICULTURE & FOOD SOCIETY. While price is a significant factor, other criteria will form the basis of our award decision, as more fully described in the Evaluation Factors section of this Request for Proposal here.