Feds announce $100 million for drought assistance

Crops have struggled in many growing regions on the Prairies because of the drought, including this canola crop in Northeast Saskatchewan. | Photo by Chad Ferguson (@cam_chad)

The federal government announced it is prepared to put $100 million into AgriRecovery, to address costs producers incur from drought and wildfires.

The money will match provincial AgriRecovery submissions on the 60-40 cost-shared basis outlined under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and will be available as soon as “full assessments are completed,” according to Agriculture Canada, August 6.

AAFC will work with Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia to complete the assessments of the drought, then work to finalize an agreement with each province on support programs.

This may include direct assistance to livestock producers for added costs of obtaining livestock feed, transportation and water.

Federal minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said provinces affected by drought are encouraged to invoke the late participation provision of AgriStability to allow producers who did not enroll to access program support.

She said Manitoba recently invoked this late participation provision.

“Severe drought conditions, sustained high temperatures, and wildfires continue to create stress and uncertainty for our producers. That is why the Government of Canada is taking action to secure funding under AgriRecovery, to ensure continuous support is provided to farmers as quickly as possible,” Bibeau said.

Producers can also apply for interim payments under AgriStability to help with immediate financial challenges.

The Federal government and the governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have agreed to increase the 2021 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 percent to 75 percent.

The latest offer the federal government made to the provinces raises AgriStability compensation rate from 70 percent to 80 percent, which would provide farmers across the country an additional $75 million per year.

The designation for Livestock Tax Deferral has been expanded to additional prescribed drought regions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. This adds to the list of prescribed drought regions across Canada announced on July 22.

The designation will allow beef producers who are forced to sell part of their breeding herd due to drought conditions to defer the taxation on the income to a future time when they are rebuilding.

AgriInsurance is designed to help farmers manage production and quality losses caused by adverse weather conditions, including drought.

Minister Bibeau said the federal government supports immediate bilateral adjustments to the cost-shared AgriInsurance program by the Prairie provinces, to make drought-damaged crops available for feed.

 

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