98 percent of cows and 97 percent of laying chickens survived recent floods

Properties inundated by flood waters are seen in Abbotsford, B.C., Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The vast majority of cows and egg-laying chickens in B.C.'s flood-stricken Sumas Prairie have survived, the province's agriculture minister said Friday as the region continues its recovery from record-breaking weather events.

Lana Popham gave the encouraging update Friday morning, saying she had the opportunity recently to speak to industry members who were impacted by recent floods in Abbotsford.

"As the waters recede we can get a better picture of mortalities and how it may affect production," she said. "Our hearts continue to be with the folks that are struggling with the very difficult situations that are happening right now."

But on Friday, Popham said some stories of survival are starting to emerge.

Popham said that according to the chair of the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board, 61 poultry premises were included in the evacuation zone. But in those farms, 97 per cent of the laying chickens survived.

"I'd like to recognize the collective efforts of all the poultry industry members in pulling together and helping one another as we've seen in other industries," she said.

Popham also said that 98 per cent of cows from the Sumas Prairie survived the flooding.

"This is really due to the farmers working together and communities making sure that they had those farmers' backs," she said in Friday's update.

On Thursday, Popham said floodwaters reached depths of 2.4 metres in places, including on properties owned by blueberry producers, and some plants are still under water.

There are about 700 acres of blueberries planted in the Sumas Prairie, part of which is located in Abbotsford, and as with other crops, the full extent of the damage is not yet known.

A series of intense storms brought days of relentless rain over southern B.C., leading to mudslides and flooding across the area. Abbotsford was among the areas hit hardest by the floods.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione