In a bid to support farmers and ranchers through a widespread drought, the Alberta government has slated $136 million to Alberta’s livestock producers to purchase feed and water, and cover fencing costs.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is committing to an initial $94 per head payment, with an additional $106 per head payment to be made available through the federal portion of AgriRecovery funding, if approved.
In a news release, Dr. Melanie Wowk, chair of the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP), says the ABP has been working with the government to "deliver on the needs of farmers and ranchers through this agricultural disaster. We appreciate the immediate response and swift action to provide aid to Alberta’s beef industry.”
“We would like to thank Ministers Dreeshen and Nixon for working together to find solutions for Alberta farmers and ranchers. Financial support and alternative options to access feed and water will give many struggling producers a fighting chance to make it through this drought," adds Brad Dubeau, general manager of the Alberta Beef Producers.
In addition to the funding through Alberta Agriculture, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) has outlined the following programs:
- Applications can be made from existing grazing disposition holders, including leases, licences, and permits, with additional grazing capacity to allow livestock from producers who are in need of additional feed.
- Applications for temporary grazing or haying will be accepted on vacant public lands.
- Permitting grazers will be eligible to extend time in the forest reserve where there is sufficient forage.
- AEP will also create a temporary program to allow the quick provision of water to livestock producers in drought areas. Beginning August 9, 2021, livestock producers can contact AEP for priority service to secure water for animals.
- Agrologists are also available to meet with producers and to provide region-specific information about available support and best management practices.
The news release notes that support will not only help Alberta's 18,000-plus producers, but also conserve nearly 26 million acres of grasslands that are home to wildlife and endangered species. Alberta’s cattle industry also contributes $4 billion to the provincial economy and over 50,000 jobs.