Dairy farms in B.C.’s Interior are dealing, like everyone else, with repercussions from the B.C. storm and flooding.
With the closure of the Coquihalla Highway and flooding of Highway 1 in Abbotsford, raw milk that would typically be processed in the Lower Mainland can no longer make that route.
“Certainly the concern was that our milk was not going to make it to the coast, and we did get an email saying that until further notice all of our milk would have to be dumped,” said John Schut, Beatrix Farms president.
Schut said it was a devastating email to receive, but, thankfully, an alternative was found before any of his milk had to be dumped.
“Fortunately within hours, we got a phone call saying they had found a home for our milk and actually our milk is actually being rerouted to Alberta (for processing),” Schut told Global News on Friday.
The whole situation has proven that B.C.’s Interior needs to be able to process its own raw milk, according to Schut and other dairy farmers he’s talked to in the Interior.
“It does show that the whole infrastructure of the province needs to be looked at,” said Schut.
“Ideally, we would like to see (milk) processing in the interior of B.C. because the majority of the milk has to go to the lower mainland for processing.”
The BC Dairy Association’s chair, who is also a dairy farmer in Agassiz, said some farms have been forced to dump their milk, due to being inaccessible for pickups, including his own.
“We had to dump our milk as well, we are high and dry here and there’s no way for the trucks to get to us so we had to dump our milk on Tuesday,” said Holger Schwichtenberg.
At this point, it’s a wait and see situation for many dairy farmers across the province, waiting for highways, specifically Highway 3 to be reopened, which at this point was just reopened late Friday afternoon.