Applications opening for livestock drought relief

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Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Applications open October 30 for the 2023 Canada-Alberta Drought Livestock Assistance program, providing livestock producers with up to $165 million to maintain breeding herds.

The governments of Alberta and Canada are partnering on the 2023 Canada-Alberta Drought Livestock Assistance program to support livestock producers facing extraordinary costs due to this year’s dry conditions. Funding for this joint AgriRecovery initiative is through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP).

Livestock producers who altered their usual grazing practices due to drought conditions for more than 21 days this season can apply for financial support to cover losses incurred to manage and maintain female breeding animals such as cattle, bison, horses, elk, sheep, goats, alpacas, yak, musk ox, deer, water buffalo and llamas. A minimum of 15 animals per type of livestock are required to qualify.

Benefits will be based on a feed-need calculation for feed costs incurred resulting from lost grazing days for eligible breeding animals on hand as of December 31, 2023. Eligible producers could access up to $150 per head to help maintain the breeding herd in drought regions.

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) will administer the initiative and livestock producers can get more information and apply online on AFSC’s website. The application deadline is January 15, 2024 and extraordinary costs can be incurred until March 31, 2024.

This announcement is part of a larger disaster response totaling $365 million in federal-provincial cost-shared funding under the AgriRecovery Framework to help farmers and ranchers in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan with extraordinary costs due to this year’s extreme weather conditions.

Producers already have access to a comprehensive suite of business risk management (BRM) programs that are the first line of defense for producers facing disasters, including AgriStability, AgriInsurance and AgriInvest. With joint funding from the federal government and provinces, these BRM programs provide protection against different types of income and production losses.

The federal government also announced an initial list of designated regions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba where Livestock Tax Deferral has been authorized for 2023 due to extreme weather conditions.

Quotes

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with producers in Alberta and they’ve shared just how challenging this season has been for their operations. We continue to stand with Alberta farm families by offering support through AgriRecovery, helping them cope financially through this difficult time so they can sustain their business and continue feeding Canadians and the world.”

– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Alberta’s farmers and ranchers feed the province, country, and world. The past year has been a very difficult one for many livestock producers and that’s why we’re stepping up with these supports. Agriculture is vital to our economy and this AgriRecovery program will ensure our producers continue to thrive and help drive economic prosperity.”

– Danielle Smith, Premier of Alberta

“It has been a tough growing season with challenges due to dry conditions causing many of our farmers and ranchers to face extraordinary costs. I’m relieved that the federal government is partnering with Alberta on this drought relief response to support producers and help protect their livelihoods while they continue to put food on tables.”

– RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation

“We know it’s been a hard year for many of Alberta’s livestock producers and we are proud to support the livestock industry through this initiative. Every day, AFSC works to grow and sustain Alberta’s agriculture sector and we will ensure producers receive the support they need.”

– Darryl Kay, CEO, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation

Quick facts

  • Drought-relief supports currently available for producers include:
    • AgriStability, a business risk management program, was reopened until September 29 for late participation. This gave Alberta farmers and ranchers more time to reassess business risks and enrol to protect their operations.
    • Livestock Tax Deferral, a federal provision that allows livestock producers who are forced to sell all or part of their breeding herd due to drought to defer a portion of their income from sales until the following tax year. There are 57 prescribed Alberta regions for the federal Livestock Tax Deferral.
    • Low Yield Allowance, which allows for additional cereal or pulse crops to be salvaged for livestock feed, was doubled by AFSC for 2023.
    • Water Pumping Program, which enables producers to rent pipe and pumping equipment from the Alberta government to fill dugouts from nearby water sources.
    • Temporary Livestock Water Assistance program, which enables livestock and poultry producers affected by water shortage and drought conditions to receive streamlined support.
    • Sustainable CAP Water Program, which helps producers adopt agricultural water management practices to manage risks to water quality and supplies and adapt to climatic variability.
    • AFSC’s Moisture Deficiency Insurance (pasture) and Moisture Deficiency Endorsement (hay), which compensates producers when precipitation falls below the normal expected amount at selected weather stations. Producers can also buy production insurance on hay crops.
  • Alberta provides timely information to assist producers with management decisions during dry conditions and periods of business stress, including the Alberta Crop Report, Alberta Climate Information Service and other resources on the farming in dry conditions webpage.
  • The Sustainable CAP is a 5-year (2023-28), $3.5 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation and resiliency in the agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector.
    • This includes $1 billion in federal programs and $2.5 billion in cost-shared programs funded 60% federally and 40% provincially-territorially.