Cows and calves at the Bird family’s cattle farm near Cremona, Alta., Thursday, May 28, 2020, amid a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Cows and calves at the Bird family’s cattle farm near Cremona, Alta., Thursday, May 28, 2020, amid a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Province supports livestock producers through drought conditions

Funding aims to give immediate cash flow for Alberta’s livestock producers and beekeepers

  • Sep. 3, 2021 5:00 p.m.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

In a joint venture with the Government of Canada, the Alberta government is making grants available under the AgriRecovery program to provide relief to agriculture workers impacted by drought conditions.

The Government of Alberta is making $136 million available through the program and has requested the federal government to provide an additional $204 million.

The intention for the funding is to provide what the province refers to as much-needed support and immediate cash flow for Alberta’s livestock producers and beekeepers.

“Alberta’s government will always stand behind our farmers and ranchers. They have endured an exceptionally difficult year because of drought conditions and I am pleased that we are able to provide this relief and support to help them get through this time,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney during a press conference on Aug. 6. “These hard-working Albertans are always there for us. We owe it to them to be there when they need us.”

The AgriRecovery program falls under the joint federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership and is designed to cover costs generally not covered by existing business risk management.

Drought conditions fall under this category. If approved, the program between the two levels of government will provide an immediate payment of $94 per head to help cover feed and water access costs for livestock producers.

A second payment per head of $106 will be planned to be allocated later this year, at an unspecified time, totalling $200 per head.

In addition to Agrirecovery funding, the provincial government is offering supports to farmers and ranchers such as doubling the “Low Yield” threshold to encourage grain farmers to divert more produce to be used as animal feed.

This also includes Alberta’s Water Pumping program, which aids producers to have access to adequate water for domestic and agricultural use.

“We’re supporting our livestock sector during this drought,” said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Devin Dreeshen. “Agriculture built Alberta and we will ensure our agriculture sector has a level playing field so it can continue to feed Alberta families, and families around the world.”

Livestock producers are being encouraged to seek further information regarding the measures, and to reach out to their local agrologist to discuss options and how to apply for the supports.