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Over the past year, COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s lives and livelihoods, including Alberta’s livestock producers. Early on, the pandemic caused disruptions in our cattle sector’s processing capacity. With plants being forced to shut down, producers were unsure of where they could send their slaughter-ready animals.
Last May, we stepped in to help the livestock sector by setting up a $43.2-million fed cattle set-aside program through AgriRecovery to help producers with the backlog of cattle at feedlots. To date, more than $27.7 million has been distributed for about 480,000 cattle and the backlog is nearly gone.
Alberta’s hog producers are economic drivers in our province. They are world leaders in the livestock sector, supporting our rural communities by creating thousands of jobs and exporting more than $500 million worth of food across the globe.
Unfortunately, we are now seeing disruptions in their supply chain with an estimated backlog of more than 100,000 hogs. In response to the difficulties that Alberta hog producers are facing, I’m proud to announce that we have launched a new AgriRecovery program to support them through this challenging time.
The new $4-million program for hog producers will pay producers $0.95 per day per animal to cover the costs of keeping market-ready hogs on maintenance rations. Hog producers who own market-ready hogs intended for processing between February 8 and March 31, 2021, which were held back from shipping do to reduced processing capacity, are eligible to apply for this initiative.
We want to make sure that hog producers are getting the supports they need to continue doing what they do best, which is producing safe, high-quality food, not just for Alberta families but for families all around the world.
Devin Dreeshen served as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from April 30, 2019 to November 5, 2021.