When emergencies and extreme weather events present challenges to farmers, the B.C. Premises ID program — a pillar of Canada’s national traceability system — is one tool farmers and ranchers can use to prepare for the unexpected.
“Wildfires and flooding have become a devastating annual occurrence in many B.C. communities,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Traceability programs like Premises ID have proven to be an invaluable resource in reconnecting farmers with their livestock during and after a natural disaster. It’s important for ranchers and livestock producers to register their premises to protect their animals and their businesses.”
During the last two wildfire seasons, the Premises ID program helped more than 130 livestock owners in evacuation zones access their ranches to care for their livestock. Data made available by the program was instrumental in helping first responders, farmers and local governments in B.C. keep farmers and ranchers connected to their animals.
“The summers of 2017 and 2018 will never be forgotten in many parts of British Columbia, due to wildfires,” said Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin. “I am pleased that the Ministry of Agriculture is continuing to support our ranchers and farmers through the Premises ID and traceability programs. Registering for Premises ID is a step that farmers can take to prepare for the 2019 fire season.”
“While Premises ID was originally designed for animal health traceability, we have found through recent fires and floods that it is helpful for any emergency regarding livestock,” said Kevin Boon, general manager, B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. “Only livestock producers are eligible to register for the unique identification number, which allows for quick verification that they are a livestock producer and that their services are critical for addressing the welfare of livestock. Premises ID has become a priority when considering access to livestock during emergencies and has proven valuable for ranchers beyond its original intent.”
In 2017 and 2018, a wildfire emergency operations centre in the Cariboo Regional District relied on the Premises ID system to provide:
- contact information for livestock owners within evacuation zones;
- minimum estimates of livestock impacted by evacuation alerts and orders; and
- base data that supported efforts to identify premises impacted by wildfires and road closures to assist in the evacuation of animals and the distribution of feed.
The Province opened registration for the program in 2011 and created a free online registration process in 2016 to make program registration more accessible. With climate change making extreme weather, such as wildfires and flooding, increasingly common, producers are encouraged to register land where animals, plants or food are grown, kept, assembled or disposed of.
- In 2017, livestock and poultry generated $1.53 billion in revenue.
- The Premises ID program is part of a three-pillared traceability system that includes components such as animal identification and movement reporting.
- 55% of livestock premises (4,479 registered premises) and 100% of supply-managed livestock premises are registered with the program (i.e. dairy cattle and poultry).
- During the 2017 wildfires, the Premises ID program performed 130 emergency registrations for livestock owners impacted by evacuation orders, thereby greatly improving their chances of being issued re-entry permits into the evacuation zones to care for their livestock.
To learn more about the Premises ID program, visit here.
PreparedBC is a one-stop shop for disaster readiness information. For tips on how to prepare an emergency plan and what to include in an emergency kit, visit here.
To learn more about traceability programs, visit here.
To learn more about traceability funding, visit here.