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 Wishing You Peace, Hope and Renewal This Christmas
Not a Usual Merry Christmas
     ATars Cheema
s we wrap up the final stages of this Christmas issue, our hearts are heavy with the struggles and losses of our dairy farming peers/friends throughout the flooded areas of BC. I don’t need to tell this farming audience that it has been a tough period with Covid, imports, eroded milk prices and wildfires/ have shouldered all of it. And now flooding has devastated the Sumas Prairie and impacted many others in low lying areas as well.
Our hearts break for all those affected. Our words feel weak and so inadequate.
We know the losses will be staggering, we know people are traumatized.
But we are thankful beyond words that our community did not lose one of our people.
We know we are a long way from business as usual – the clean-up and recovery is prioritized for the cows and milking operations, but every farmhouse was affected too. Cars, trucks, tractors, equipment, stored feed, all manners of personal belongings and on the list grows...
No one asked for this. But facing the disaster before them, the farming community and their many friends jumped into emergency mode to save one another and the livestock. Watching the efforts every day across social media has been
incredible – challenging, but also hopeful as so many livestock were saved and moved in time. Conditions were horrendous – deep cold water and winds and flooded roads that you couldn’t see, with deep ditches on either side.
Every one of us knows the crushing despair that those farmers must have felt when they had to leave the cows behind as water levels became dangerous to human life. We are profoundly sorry for the loss of your cattle and for the personal toll this is taking.
The clean-up and recovery continues and we know so many farm families will be deeply impacted by it for some time yet.
We want to acknowledge the heroic, selfless, monumental efforts of so many people in trying to save livestock, help their friends, truck, house, clean-up.... It would be impossible to name all the heroes in this disaster. So many people have demonstrated the heart of this caring community. THANK YOU ALL.
The army of volunteers who sandbagged the Barrowtown Pump station in the dead of night may have been the angels that kept the clock running in overtime, buying precious time for more rescues before the Fraser River had dropped enough to permit opening floodgates several days later.
This will not be a merry Christmas as usual for a great many in our dairy family, so our sincere wish for all is that everyone remain safe, that we continue to watch out and care for those who have suffered the greatest and may still be overwhelmed by the upheaval. There is hope in the spirit of Christmas and while it is anything but easy, the recovery will come in time. May your grain tanks be full and the milk truck arrive on schedule. Blessings to all.
   HChris Maarhuis
ow do I put into words all the things I’m feeling right now? As I write this message, we are still in the midst of the devastating flood in Abbotsford. While we are so thankful that our house and barn managed to stay dry, our hearts are broken for all of our friends and family and fellow dairymen in Sumas Prairie. I’m hoping that by the time you read this, the waters have receded and the overwhelming task of clean-up and rebuilding has begun.
One extraordinary part of this whole ordeal is the way our dairy community has come together to help those most affected. Hauling cattle, rescuing trapped animals, delivering water – tears flow as I think about all the ways this amazing industry helps each other. I’m sure we will continue to see the selfless, serving hearts of our farmers helping each other as the recovery begins and continues.
It’s hard to think about Christmas and celebrating at this time, but I hope we can see that the spirit and hope of Christmas is here, in the hearts and actions of our incredible community!
I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a better 2022.
TKevin Plastow
he opportunity to send a Christmas Greeting is usually a happy occasion where we reflect on the year coming to an end and offer our wishes for a season filled with an abundance of Christmas Spirit. The events unfolding with the flooding in Sumas Prairie make that seem all but impossible yet surprisingly, that spirit is showing itself everywhere!
The dairy community has once again risen to the challenge and joined together to help each other during this time of crisis. Friends, neighbours and strangers have selflessly helped each other in the freezing water to save farms, livestock and each other. Whether in the middle of the night, during torrential downpours or in life
threatening situations, these random acts of caring and sacrifice have demonstrated what can be described as the truest meaning of the holiday spirit.
I hope that with a little time the warmth of the Holiday Season will take over and that you all find time to celebrate with family and friends.
Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

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