Awaited AgriRecovery funding announced for livestock producers affected by drought and wildfires in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and BC

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

The federal government, along with the provincial governments of Alberta, B.C., and Saskatchewan, have announced a total commitment of $365 million for AgriRecovery programs to help livestock producers affected by drought and wildfires this past summer.

The awaited AgriRecovery funding, application details and timelines were announced on Friday, Oct 20.

The total federal commitment to the disaster relief programs in the three provinces is $219 million, noted federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay.

Here’s more info on what the programs and funding will look like in each province:

Alberta

In Alberta, the federal government is providing up to $99 million, with the provincial government adding $66 million, in line with AgriRecovery’s 60/40 federal-provincial cost share ratio. Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) will be administering the program, with eligible producers receiving up to $150 per head for breeding animals owned as of December 31.

“We’re looking to get this program active and live as early as next week so our producers can get some relief from some of those lost grazing days,” Alberta Agriculture Minister RJ Sigurdson tells RealAgriculture.

As for whether Alberta was seeking a larger overall funding commitment, Sigurdson says the dollar amounts were based on the number given by the federal government. “Right now we’re just trying to get this program rolled out as quickly as possible,” he says. (article continues below)

Alberta Beef Producers is welcoming the funding commitment, while calling for improvements to business risk management programs for livestock producers.

“This repeated discussion, and the obvious inequity across agriculture is proof of what Alberta Beef Producers has long advocated for – access to timely, relevant, and consistent disaster insurance programs,” says Sheila Hillmer, ABP vice-chair, in a news release.

Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan government had already announced its share — up to $70 million — to assist affected producers back in August. On Friday, the federal government announced its AgriRecovery commitment of up to $77 million for Saskatchewan producers. It appears the province will be funding more than the usual 40 per cent share for AgriRecovery, assuming it moves ahead with its $70 million commitment.

“The livestock sector is a significant contributor to our provincial economy,” says Saskatchewan Ag Minister David Marit. “It is important we are there for producers through the current challenges. The program will provide some financial relief to livestock producers, helping them to maintain the breeding herd by providing funding to address extraordinary costs caused by the drought.”

The program in Saskatchewan will cover 70 per cent of extraordinary costs related to feed and freight, incurred after May 1, 2023, through to the application deadline of March 1, 2024. There will be an initial payment of up to $150 per head to help maintain the breeding herd in drought regions. Eligible species include beef cattle and other grazing animals such as bison, elk, deer, sheep, goats and horses.

Application forms will be available through Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation. Producers will need to report the number of breeding animals on hand as of August 21, 2023, and the number intended to be kept until January 31, 2024.

B.C.

A total of $71 million will be available to livestock producers affected by wildfires and drought in B.C. through the province’s AgriRecovery initiative, with approximately $43 million coming from the federal government.

Eligible farmers and ranchers in B.C. can also receive up to 70 per cent coverage of extraordinary expenses incurred during emergencies, including feed, transportation costs, labour for repairing fencing, as well as replacing bee populations and equipment.

“This is welcomed news after the challenging season ranchers have faced,” says Brian Thomas, president of B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. “Any producers affected by wildfire or drought have been anxiously waiting for this announcement of AgriRecovery. Today’s announcement of support will make a real difference to those ranchers facing tight feed supplies.”

The B.C. government says program and application details will be available on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023, at this government website link.

Related coverage:

Federal and provincial officials still working on rollout of AgriRecovery program for drought-stricken livestock producers

AgriRecovery drought relief programs on the way for livestock producers in Saskatchewan and Alberta

Saskatchewan ranchers still waiting on official launch of AgriRecovery

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