Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced new funding supports for the agriculture sector on Thursday.
The support announcement was made due to the mass disruption in the agriculture sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government of Alberta will immediately increase the interim payment under AgriStability from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for the hog sector. This will put up to $25 million in the hands of pork producers immediately. Increasing the advance payment under AgriStability will result in the equivalent of $20 per head for pork producers enrolled in AgriStability.
The funding will come through the AgriRecovery where a new fed cattle set-aside program will allow beef producers to hold on to slaughter-ready cattle on maintenance feed ration for several weeks, which will allow for animal supply to be an evenly matched demand and reduced processing capacity.
AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial-territorial program intended to help agricultural producers recover from natural disasters. Alberta will work with federal and provincial governments to ensure money will get to producers as quickly as possible.
“Alberta’s ranchers and producers are known for their resiliency and these programs will ensure they’re able to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and keep providing the high-quality beef, pork and potatoes we’re famous for,” said Kenney
Currently there are 130,000 cattle backed up in feedlots due to the processing plants decreasing in operation.
Cattle producers will be compensated for the extraordinary costs until the backed up inventory is cleared.
“Our province provides most of the country’s beef, and the current disruption is resulting in substantial costs for our ranchers. We’re doing everything we can to ensure beef, pork and potato producers are able to stay afloat until things return to normal, “said Devin Dreeshen, minister of agriculture and forestry.
Alberta beef producers are appreciative of the government’s efforts.
“Alberta beef producers appreciate the commitment and leadership shown by the Government of Alberta through the contribution of matching funds to AgriRecovery for a set-aside program to immediately support our industry,” said Kelly Smith-Fraser, chair for Alberta Beef Producers
“ Thank you, Minister Dreeshen, for recognizing the devastating impacts COVID-19 is having on Alberta’s beef industry and working together with the federal government to support the needs of producers so we can maintain our food supply chain.”