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Ontario Providing Additional Drought Support to Farmers

CHRISTA ROETTELE, Communications Branch OMFRA

The Ontario government is delivering immediate assistance for livestock farmers impacted by drought conditions in northwestern Ontario, by committing provincial funding for AgriRecovery. This funding is in addition to the $2 million already announced for feed, water and fencing.

Financial support is being made available through the federal-provincial AgriRecovery program, a cost-share initiative designed to help farmers cover the extraordinary costs caused by severe drought and feed shortages in Ontario. Ontario is committing up to $5 million in funding for the 40 percent provincial cost share. The federal government announced $100 million for AgriRecovery across the drought area, in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

Ontario is calling on the federal government to include, in the AgriRecovery program, costs related to hay and other feeds, transportation of feed, transportation of animals to feed, measures to provide water to animals including: trucking and equipment, temporary fencing and other extraordinary costs related to the drought. These costs are estimated at approximately $200 per head for cattle.

The federal government has approved Ontario’s request to increase the AgriStability interim payment to 75 percent, in the drought-impacted areas.

This financial support, part of a new federal-provincial AgriRecovery response, builds on Ontario’s $2 million Northwestern Livestock Emergency Assistance Initiative, recently announced by Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, on July 27th.

The initiative was designed to help farmers cover the costs of such necessities as feed and hay, the construction of temporary fencing for livestock to graze in alternative locations, and sourcing water for farm animals. This initiative was an interim measure, while the provincial and federal governments worked together to develop this longer-term AgriRecovery response.

“Many Ontario farmers in the northwest, as well as farmers across the Prairies, have been hit hard by drought conditions; and these severe dry weather conditions pose a significant threat to the livestock sector in Northwestern Ontario,” explained Minister Thompson.

“The agri-food sector supported Ontario during the pandemic by keeping grocery store shelves full. Now they need help, and our Province is ready to step up to get them through hard times. That’s why we are moving forward with the immediate launch of our portion of the national AgriRecovery response, along with our neighbours in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, so our farmers can get the longer-term support; they need, now.”

“The Beef Farmers of Ontario would like [to] thank Minister Thompson for her swift response to initiate the AgriRecovery framework. While today’s announcement is a critical step in signalling to farmers, help is on the way, we remain concerned about the hardships the drought has created for those in affected regions, and the health of the Province’s cow herd and vital infrastructure which supports Ontario’s economy,” stated Rob Lipsett, BFO President.

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