Canada to provide financial relief for hog farmers

Canada to provide financial relief for hog farmers

Jennifer Marr |

Financial assistance will go to livestock producers affected by processing plant shutdowns due to COVID-19

The Government of Canada will launch an initiative under the AgriRecovery Framework to provide up to CAD3 million (US$2.4 million) to assist hog producers affected by processing shutdowns due to the pandemic. Funding for the initiative is cost shared on a 60/40 basis between Canada and Alberta.

Pork processing plants in Alberta have been impacted by COVID-19 outbreaks and disease control measures, resulting in plant closures and reduced slaughter capacity. Many Alberta hog producers are being forced to keep hogs on-farm beyond their standard lifecycle, resulting in extraordinary feed and maintenance costs which put a financial strain on their operations. The initiative will provide assistance for up to 90% of the cost to feed market-ready hogs held back from processing due to plant closures and reduced capacity.

“When we announced the AgriRecovery initiative last May, we dedicated CAD50 million to help pork producers deal with situations just like this one. It has already been a rollercoaster year and the Olymel closure is yet another challenge for pork producers,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Our government has the back of pork producers and will assist them with the extra costs to deal with the associated backlogs. We also care deeply about the health and safety of food production plant workers, who are doing essential work, and we have implemented a range of emergency safety and worker benefit programs to support their safety and well-being.”

The province of Alberta will administer applications and payments to producers.

“Alberta’s government is committed to protecting lives and livelihoods,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “We want to make sure that hog producers are getting the supports that they need so that they can continue to do what they do best, which is producing safe, high-quality food, not just for Alberta families but for families all around the world.”

AgriRecovery is a disaster relief framework that is part of a suite of federal-provincial-territorial business risk management (BRM) programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It is intended to work together with the core BRM programs to help agricultural producers recover from natural disasters.

In May 2020, the Government of Canada announced the launch of national AgriRecovery initiatives of up to CAD100 million in assistance for extraordinary costs of managing hogs and cattle backed up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants affected by COVID-19. Extraordinarily for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the federal government announced it will provide the federal share of funding without requiring provincial contributions, and will cover 90% of eligible extraordinary costs, up from 70%.

Since May, AgriRecovery Initiatives for livestock have been announced in Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments invest, on average, close to CAD1.6 billion annually in business risk management programs to help producers remain viable under difficult circumstance. These programs include AgriInsurance, AgriStability, AgriInvest, and AgriRecovery.