Disaster Support for Maritime Farmers

Thursday 3 August 2023

In less than a year, farmers in the Atlantic region have faced post tropical storm Fiona, an artic vortex, severe drought, wildfires and now flooding.  With these harsh climate events, it is safe to acknowledge that farmers, beekeepers included, need extra support this growing season. This week’s blog will discuss how severe climate events have impacted our Maritime farmers and share some of the support that is available to them.

Disaster Support for Maritime Farmers

On July 22 a provincewide state of emergency was declared in Nova Scotia during extreme rainfall, which caused severe flooding across the province. The floods greatly impacted Halifax Regional Municipality as well as Hants, Lunenburg, and Queens counties.  Areas in Nova Scotia received an estimated 300 millimeters of rain in a 24-hour period causing hundreds of Nova Scotians to evacuate their homes, and leaving severe damage to properties, roads, and farmland. Beekeepers and their families were tremendously impacted by flooding events.

Severe devastation to a Nova Scotia apiary after July 2023 flooding (K Makohoniuk).

Beekeepers impacted by flash flooding are advised that their first step to receiving help is to complete the Agriculture Rain & Flooding Impact Survey, which has been shared through the Nova Scotia Beekeeping Association, or can be found at the end of today’s blog. Also, beekeepers are encouraged to reach out to their Department of Agriculture representative or members of the Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture if they need help after flooding events or if they have specific questions regarding their apiaries. It is also important that the severity of the devastation is catalogued to determine if additional support is required.

Multiple programs are in place to provide help to farmers and beekeepers when disaster strikes. We Talk We Grow is an initiative of Farm Safety Nova Scotia raising awareness and taking action to protect and nurture the mental health and well-being of Nova Scotia’s farming community and enhance and maintain a culture where mental health is valued, prioritized, and protected. Other well-being resources for farmers include the Farm Family Support Center and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Mental Health in Agriculture webpage. We also advise all beekeepers and farmers to familiarize themselves with the Catastrophic Events Toolkit linked at the end of this blog. This toolkit was developed by the Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing which identifies processes, resources, and recommendations for supporting farmers’ mental health during times of agricultural crisis.

In addition to the emotional aspect of agriculture loss, there is often huge financial hardship. The Disaster Financial Assistance Program helps small businesses with costs to repair or replace uninsurable, essential basic property loss (like appliances and furniture) due to the July 2023 floods. The program is also available to residential property owners and non-profits. The Disaster Assistance for Small Business Application Form is linked at the end of today’s blog.

It has truly been a difficult time to be a farmer in Nova Scotia. From May 27th to June 7th Nova Scotia saw the largest recorded wildfires in its history. The wildfires in Halifax Regional Municipality and Shelburne, Yarmouth counties caused thousands of Nova Scotians to evacuate their homes. Additionally, local farmers were forced to evacuate their animals to safety.

The Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture worked alongside the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to monitor and respond to farmers’ needs and brought forward one-time $2,500 grants as support for farmers recovering from the wildfires. They also extended support to the exhibitions in Yarmouth, Bridgetown, and Shelburne to help them house livestock displaced by the fires.

The Atlantic farming and beekeeping communities have remained strong during what has been a series of devastating climate events. We would like to thank all members of the farming community, the various agriculture associations, and the provincial agricultural departments for all their hard work. It is important that information on the severity of loss and damage caused during this latest disaster is provided to authorities.  This can be done by contacting the Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture or your provincial department of agriculture.  


Agriculture Rain & Flooding Impact Survey



We Talk We Grow



Farm Family Support Center


24/7/365 Toll free line: 1-844-880-9142

AAFC Mental Health in Agriculture webpage


Catastrophic Events Toolkit



The Disaster Assistance for Small Business Application Form

Disaster financial assistance for small businesses: July 2023 floods - Government of Nova Scotia 

Connecting with ATTTA Specialists

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