COVID-19 Updates: Taking steps to return to normal.
The Government of Alberta is making $136 million available under the AgriRecovery program, a joint program between the governments of Alberta and Canada, and has asked the federal government to provide an additional $204 million for a total relief package of $340 million.
The federal government is currently evaluating this request and earlier today announced $100 million in immediate relief for Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta. Programming costs are split 60-40 between the provincial and federal governments.
This funding would provide much-needed financial support and immediate cash flow for Alberta’s livestock producers and beekeepers to purchase feed, water and fencing, if approved.
In addition, Alberta Environment and Parks has approved several temporary changes to grazing and water regulations to open new sources of feed for livestock.
“Alberta’s government will always stand behind our farmers and ranchers. They have endured an exceptionally difficult year because of drought conditions and I am pleased that we are able to provide this relief and support to help them get through this time. These hard-working Albertans are always there for us. We owe it to them to be there when they need us.”
“We’re supporting our livestock sector during this drought. We secured a commitment from Ottawa to initiate an AgriRecovery program, and now we’re calling on them to fully cover their share of a $340-million program. Agriculture built Alberta and we will ensure our agriculture sector has a level playing field so it can continue to feed Alberta families, and families around the world.”
“Farmers and ranchers are facing a prolonged dry, hot growing season, which has impacted access to water and feed for livestock producers. Alberta’s government is committed to providing essential supports for farmers and ranchers across the province that have been affected by severe drought conditions.”
“The hard work and resiliency of Alberta’s livestock producers ensure that Alberta families continue to have access to high-quality locally sourced food. After being impacted by extreme dry conditions, this new AgriRecovery relief funding will provide producers with the support they need to get through these challenging times.”
“The livestock industry is important to Alberta, and AFSC recognizes the struggle many producers are facing this year. We understand the urgency of this situation, and we will be moving quickly to make applications available for producers.”
“Alberta Beef Producers has worked closely with the Government of Alberta to deliver on the needs of farmers and ranchers through this agricultural disaster. We appreciate the immediate response and swift action to provide much-needed assistance to Alberta’s beef industry. We look forward to program details on accessing support for the extraordinary costs associated with purchasing feed, water and fencing. The province is stepping in to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.”
AgriRecovery falls under the joint federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It is designed to cover extraordinary costs not covered by existing business risk management programs, such as those incurred due to extreme drought conditions or other natural disasters.
If approved, the total amount would be $340 million split 60-40 between the federal and provincial governments. Alberta’s contribution is $136 million. Under a new AgriRecovery program, it will provide an immediate payment of $94 per head to help cover feed and water access costs for breeding females across the province.
Taking a receipt-based approach, a second payment of $106 per head will be allocated later in the year, for a total of $200. This will help level the playing field against a U.S. feed subsidy and maintain our livestock herds in Alberta.
The program will be administered through the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation. Application details will be unveiled after the federal government reviews the proposal.
Alberta Environment and Parks will now accept applications from existing grazing disposition holders, including leases, licences and permits, with additional grazing capacity to allow livestock from other producers who are in need of additional feed. Grazing disposition holders are encouraged to work with their neighbours and community to support each other where they can. Applications for temporary grazing or haying are also available on vacant public lands. Alberta Environment and Parks will also permit grazers in the forest reserve to extend the time for grazing where there is sufficient forage to do so.
Minister Nixon has signed off on the creation of a new temporary streamlined program to allow the quick provision of water to livestock and poultry producers in drought areas.
Environment and Parks agrologists are available to meet with producers and to help provide more region-specific information about available support and best management practices, including how they can access potential water and feed sources.
Livestock producers interested in looking at these measures are encouraged to reach out to their local agrologist. Producers can call 310-FARM (3276) to be connected with a local agrologist and discuss options to support them during these tough drought conditions.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments, with the aim of strengthening the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity.
- Programs and activities are focused on:
- Growing trade and expanding markets
- Innovative and sustainable growth of the sector
- Supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector
- In Alberta, the Partnership has committed a federal-provincial investment of up to $406 million over five years toward strategic programs and services that are aligned to national objectives and tailored to priorities in Alberta.
- The business risk management (BRM) suite of programs delivered by AFSC is the first line of response supporting producers to mitigate the impacts of the excessive heat and extremely dry conditions in Alberta. BRM includes AgriInsurance, AgriStability, AgriRecovery and AgriInvest.
- To date, Alberta’s government has offered the following supports to help farmers and ranchers through extreme drought conditions:
- The governments of Canada and Alberta, through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, recently doubled the low yield threshold to encourage Alberta grain farmers to divert additional cereal or pulse crops to be salvaged for livestock feed.
- Alberta’s Water Pumping Program provides assistance to producers in securing adequate water supplies for domestic, livestock or agricultural purposes.
- Alberta announced a 20 per cent reduction in premium costs for crop, pasture and forage insurance earlier this year, which protects against weather-related production loss. This passed $70 million in savings back to farmers and led 400 additional farmers and ranchers to enrol, almost 1,400 farmers and ranchers to increase their level of coverage, and almost 230 clients to re-enroll after cancelling their insurance in 2020 or prior years.
- Alberta’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) hired an additional 21 adjustment team members in December 2020 and April 2021, bringing the total number of active adjustment team members to 119. The government has advised crop adjusters to be flexible and complete early assessments to convert crops to livestock feed.
- The federal Livestock Tax Deferral allows farmers who sell part of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding in prescribed drought or flood regions to defer a portion of sale proceeds to the following year.