But What About the Cattle?


It will be a while before we have an accurate figure but the flooding in southwest British Columbia has taken a toll of livestock in the Fraser Valley. Some cattle were rescued, taken to higher ground but many, we're told, were lost.

On the prairies ranchers are culling their herds.  Not enough water. Not enough fodder. The cattle are wasting away.

This reminds me of a story I read a few years ago about a pastoralist (nomad) and his family from the Sahel in Africa. He made his living as his family had for many generations, perhaps centuries, by herding cattle from one area of pasture to the next.

Then, one year, his range was swept by flash floods. He lost half his herd. The next year brought intensive heat and drought. He lost the other half. The herder and his family had to migrate to the slums of Dakar to eke out a subsistence living through scavenging.

I know next to nothing about livestock, dairy or beef cattle, but I know the industry is vulnerable to flooding and to drought.  A cattle rancher who can't feed and water his herd is in trouble. A dairy farmer who can't get his animals to high ground is also in peril.

If the events of this year, the prairie drought (now in its __th year) or the dozen or more atmospheric rivers that have swept the rich farmland of the Fraser Valley are truly "once a century" events then these industries should bounce back. If, as we've been warned so many times, these conditions are some sort of "new normal" then we'd better find solutions - and fast.


  1. I know of Fraser valley farmer who complained bitterly some years ago , having to spend tens or hundreds of $ thousands to raise the level of his property to build a barn above the flood plain.
    These last weeks as he see's his neighbours farms flooded and his own just keeping it's head above water but barely.
    Now he says he should have added another two or three feet of fill.

    The moral of the story is that we have long known the possibility of a disaster but have put profit first!



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