Today the Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced that the federal government will be making $100 million available under the AgriRecovery framework to address the immediate extraordinary costs faced by producers due to drought conditions and wildfires.
While today’s federal announcement is a critical step in signalling to producers that help is on the way, it is the CCA’s position that significantly more funding will be required to address the magnitude of challenges beef producers are facing due to these extreme weather conditions. CCA recognizes that Minister Bibeau has stated the Government of Canada is ready to seek further funding for provincial requests exceeding this amount.
“We are experiencing the worst drought our country has seen in decades, leaving our cattle herd at great risk right from British Columbia across to Ontario. With beef producers making critical feed and herd management decisions for their operations right now, time is of the essence. We are urgently requesting that the Government of Canada secure additional funding under AgriRecovery to ensure drought and wildfire relief measure are sufficiently funded and designed to address the needs of beef producers,” said Bob Lowe, CCA president.
Today’s announcement states that the Government of Canada is working with Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia to complete AgriRecovery assessments. Once completed, agreements will be finalized with each province on drought and wildfire relief program measures. The Government of Canada said it is open to working with provinces in providing direct assistance to cattle producers for added costs of obtaining livestock feed, transportation and water.
The Government of Alberta has committed to providing an immediate $136 million for Alberta’s livestock producers and has requested that the Government of Canada contribute an additional $203 million in federal funding. Announcements from other provinces are expected in the coming days. CCA is calling for the Government of Canada’s commitment to secure additional funding under AgriRecovery to ensure these provincial requests can be met.
In partnership with the Government of Canada, the governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have also agreed to increase the 2021 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 per cent to 75 per cent. Additionally, Manitoba is invoking the late participation option for producers not currently participating in AgriStability. Payments to late participants will be reduced by 20 per cent prior to applying any other deductions or penalties.
Minister Bibeau also announced additional prescribed drought regions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario that are designated for the Livestock Tax Deferral. This adds to the list of prescribed drought regions across Canada announced on July 22, 2021.
CCA will continue to work closely with Minister Bibeau and the provincial governments through our provincial members to ensure AgriRecovery relief measures are adequately funded and designed to quickly address the needs of beef producers.