The Ontario government is committing up to $5 million in provincial funding for AgriRecovery to further assist farmers in northwestern Ontario cover costs caused by severe drought and feed shortages. This funding is in addition to the $2 million already announced for feed, water and fencing through the province's Northwestern Livestock Emergency Assistance Initiative.
The federal government recently announced $100 million for the federal-provincial AgriRecovery program, across the drought area in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The $5 million in funding is Ontario's provincial cost-share of the program.
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.
The federal government has approved Ontario’s request to increase the AgriStability interim payment to 75 per cent in the drought impacted areas.
In a statement, the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) urged Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau and the federal government to accept Ontario’s proposal to ensure support is delivered in a timely manner to those in need.
BFO said it will continue to work closely with Minister Thompson, the province, the federal government and its 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.
The BFO expressed its thanks for the immediate relief for the northwest, but it is troubled about the effects the drought will have on the entire province.
“While today’s announcement is a critical step in signalling 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.”
The Government of Ontario said in a release it will provide further details to producers once details are finalized.
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