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Sunday , 25 October 2020

Province helping farmers and ranchers feed market-ready cattle held up by market slowdown

Premier Jason Kenney announced millions in support for farmers and ranchers on Thursday launching a program that will help them with their livestock backlog due to COVID-19.

It will allow producers to hold onto cattle for up to nine weeks to allow supply to meet demand.

The fed-cattle-set-aside program is part of the $17 million provincial spend that will see producers compensated for the extraordinary costs for feeding market-ready cattle being held up right now, said Kenney.

This set-aside program will provide payment per head to the cattle holder until the inventory is cleared with an estimated timeline of 30 weeks.

Currently, there are about 130,000 cattle backed up in feedlots as a result of reduced operating capacity at major beef processing plants in Alberta.

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 Alberta government will also immediately increase the advance payment under AgriStability from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for the potato industry.

AgriRecovery initiatives are cost-shared 60-40 between federal and provincial governments.

On May 5, the federal government launched a national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help cattle and hog producers faced with extraordinary costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes $50 million for set-asides for cattle.

Alberta is Canada’s largest cattle-producing province, with 40.5 per cent of the national total cattle and calf inventory in 2018.

Beef is Alberta’s second-largest agri-food export, at $2 billion in 2018.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.