The Green Acres Holstein Club (GAHC) jumped into action to help dairy farmers after the November 2021 floods rocked their industry, donating 41 bred heifers to those in need in the Abbotsford area.
Richard Bosma is one of those producers who will never forget the day the flooding began.
It was early morning on Nov. 16 that he received notice to evacuate his farm and spent the day moving cows and calves, with the help of many neighbours and dairy producers.
“That night, Tuesday night, was an evening where I didn’t know what I would find the next morning,” said Bosma.
The floods impacted milk production for many Abbotsford area dairy farmers, including Bosma.
Through Holstein Canada, Bosma connected with a few members of the GAHC, including Gys Van Den Pol.
It was Van Den Pol who came up with the idea to help out devastated farmers and a committee was formed that reached out to the community.
“We ended up with 41 in total because that is all that could fit on the liner. We ended up turning a few farms away because we had too many.”
Once the Coquihalla Highway opened up, the heifers were rounded up and eventually shipped off to their new homes.
“They were about seven or eight months pregnant, so they are due to calve end of January to sometime in April. That way, they have time to acclimatize to the area before they calve out. They’ll be in milk fairly quickly so [farmers] can recover some lost production,” said Hummel.
Industry partners donated approximately $5,000 to cover the bill to transport the animals.
The donation was distributed to affected B.C. dairy farmers with the help of a committee that assessed the need for heifers.
Bosma ended up with four bred heifers and said the quality of the donated animals was amazing.
“We’re just blown away by their generosity,” he said.
Eleven farms received the donation of heifers from 25 farms in southern Alberta. The 41 head are valued at $85,000 to $100,000.
“It was farmers helping farmers in the best way that they knew possible,” said Bosma. “This act of generosity will not be forgotten, and we can only hope to pay it forward.”