Additional changes announced to give Manitoba producers access to more AgriRecovery drought assistance

The federal and Manitoba governments announced further changes to drought assistance programs for livestock producers in the province on Wednesday (March 30).

The two levels of government committed a total of $155 million to AgriRecovery drought relief programs for Manitoba producers in August 2021. As RealAgriculture reported, only $32.16 million had been claimed as of March 23, with most of those funds going to offset feed purchase costs.

The latest changes announced by federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and her provincial counterpart, Derek Johnson, include the following:

  • eliminating the “producer share” for applicants to increase payments to each applicant. The “producer share” was set at $50 per head for cattle, bison, elk and horses or $10 per head for sheep and goats;
  • reducing the compensation rate and the extraordinary expenses for feed receipts to 70 per cent from 75 per cent, which, when combined with eliminating the “producer share”, will increase funding to all applicants;
  • increasing the maximum payment to $270 per head for cattle, bison, elk and horses from $250 per head, and from $50 per head for sheep and goats to $54 per head, which will allow producers who have already received the maximum amount to receive an additional payment.

Previous claims will be adjusted automatically to reflect these changes, the governments say.

“We know producers need some additional support after last year’s drought, and these changes are the best way to accomplish that while staying within the parameters of the AgriRecovery program,” notes Johnson. “This will help producers receive additional funding in a timely way so they can get the support they need as soon as possible.”

The province had previously announced an expansion to the list of eligible expenses, as well as an extension to the deadline for eligible expenses from March 15 to April 15, in early February. The deadline for submitting claims for feed purchases, feed transportation, and extraordinary expenses has been updated to May 13, 2022.,

Manitoba Beef Producers president Tyler Fulton spoke about ongoing discussions with the province about changing the criteria for accessing AgriRecovery funds last week (listen to that interview here).

“Manitoba Beef Producers has had ongoing engagement with the provincial and federal governments about the drought’s adverse effects and how to potentially modify programs to make them more responsive to cattle producers’ needs,” notes Fulton, in a statement on Wednesday. “These latest adjustments will help get more financial assistance to producers who have faced feed and water challenges and we thank governments for listening to the concerns and making these important changes.”

While the Saskatchewan and Alberta governments chose to offer per-head payments for drought relief, Manitoba implemented a more targeted approach, focusing on reimbursing specific expenses and rebuilding the breeding herd.

Find more info on the AgriRecovery drought programs for Manitoba producers, here.

Related: More than $120 million in AgriRecovery drought relief funds still available in Manitoba


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