Ontario beef farmers welcome drought relief, but remain concerned about drought effects

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The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) is thankful to hear that more support is on its way to help farmers in northwestern Ontario who have been grappling with the devastating impact of drought conditions on their pastures, hay inventories and water supplies.

The Honorable Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, has announced that the government of Ontario has committed up to $5 million in funding under the AgriRecovery framework to help address the immediate extraordinary costs faced by cattle and other livestock farmers in northwestern Ontario due to drought conditions, provided the federal government supports Ontario’s proposal.

The announcement states that Ontario is calling on the federal government to include in the AgriRecovery program costs related to hay and other feeds, transportation of feed, transportation of animals to feed, measures to provide water to animals including trucking and equipment, temporary fencing and other extraordinary costs related to the drought. These costs are estimated at approximately $200 per head for cattle.

In partnership with the government of Canada, the government of Ontario also announced it will increase the 2021 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 per cent to 75 per cent in the drought impacted areas.

“While today’s announcement is a critical step in signaling to farmers that help is on the way, we remain concerned about the impact that the persistent heat and lack of timely rainfall will have on operations in other parts of the province,” says Rob Lipsett, BFO president. “The increased cost of feed, as well as the costs associated with re-establishing hayfields and pastures next year will add to the hardship for those in affected regions who have not had any access to drought support.”

BFO would like thank Minister Thompson for her swift response to initiate the AgriRecovery framework, which builds on the previously announced support of $2 million to assist livestock producers in Rainy River and Kenora Districts with emergency measures to obtain feed, water, and temporary fencing.

In light of today’s commitment by the province, BFO urges Minister Bibeau and the federal government to accept Ontario’s proposal to ensure support is delivered in a timely manner to those in need.

BFO will continue to work closely with Minister Thompson, the province, the federal government and our partners at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association to ensure AgriRecovery relief measures provide sufficient and timely support to producers in drought-stricken areas of the province.

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