Province announces support for Alberta’s farmers and ranchers

As a result of reduced operating capacity, major beef processing plants and cattle producers have to deal with the inventory back-up

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused mass disruptions in the agriculture industry, and the Province is introducing several new supports to help farmers and ranchers through AgriRecovery, said Nate Horner, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler.

Today, the government announced a new support program through AgriRecovery to help farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery that will follow.

“Alberta’s ranchers and producers are known for their resiliency and these programs will ensure they’re able to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and keep providing the high-quality beef, pork and potatoes we’re famous for,” said Jason Kenney, Premier.

As a result of reduced operating capacity in Alberta, major beef processing plants and cattle producers have to deal with the inventory back-up, noted a release. Cattle producers will be compensated for the increasing extraordinary costs that the over 130,000 cattle backlog in feedlots has caused.

AgriRecovery initiatives are cost-shared between the federal and provincial governments. Horner said that the Province will contribute $17 million in AgriRecovery funding with another $26 million provided by the federal government.

“Alberta beef producers appreciate the commitment and leadership shown by the Government of Alberta through the contribution of matching funds to AgriRecovery for a set-aside program to immediately support our industry. Thank you, Minister Dreeshen, for recognizing the devastating impacts COVID-19 is having on Alberta’s beef industry and working together with the federal government to support the needs of producers so we can maintain our food supply chain,” said Kelly Smith-Fraser, chair, Alberta Beef Producers.

With the volatile prices and additional expenses for ranchers, this program will allow producers to hold onto slaughter-ready cattle on a maintenance feed ration for up to nine weeks.

The Province will also immediately increase the AgriStability payment for pork producers and potato producers, who have been negatively affected by the closure of food processing plants, restaurants, and by the slowdown in the economy.

Alberta accounts for 10.4 per cent of Canada’s hog production and potatoes account for over a quarter of Canada’s potato production.

“Our province provides most of the country’s beef, and the current disruption is resulting in substantial costs for our ranchers. We’re doing everything we can to ensure beef, pork and potato producers are able to stay afloat until things return to normal,” said Devin Dreeshen, minister of Agriculture and Forestry

In the constituency of Drumheller – Stettler, producers have seen and felt the impacts that COVID-19 has had on the industry that is relied on for many people’s livelihoods.

“The hope is that these supports will help us continue to meet the needs of the agriculture sector and have farmers’ and ranchers’ backs in this pandemic,” said Horner.

“This program is definitely needed at this critical time, we will continue to look at other initiatives to provide support for different aspects of the supply chain. But this a great start.”

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