$16.7 million has been set aside for an AgriRecovery program to help cattle producers in Alberta affected by the bovine TB quarantine.
While Alberta’s Treasury Board has yet to approve the funding, federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced the dollar figure in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The “2016 Bovine Tuberculosis Assistance Initiative” will provide assistance to cover extraordinary costs due to the quarantine, including feed for animals, feeding and water infrastructure, transportation, cleaning and disinfection, as well as interest payments on loans, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
AAFC said the “governments will be working with the industry in the coming days on the program specifics…”
“The Government of Canada understands that bovine tuberculosis is a serious challenge for affected producers. Governments will work in tandem with industry and producers to ensure that program details reflect the needs of producers and that the money flows as quickly and simply as possible,” said MacAulay.
For more information, producers are urged to contact the Alberta Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) toll free at 1-877-899-2372.
“We welcome the announcement of financial support for the producers facing this devastating situation. The investigation is taking an enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll on these producers and we greatly appreciate the federal and provincial governments taking these steps to ease their financial burden,” said Rich Smith, Alberta Beef Producers executive director.
Producers may also be eligible for compensation from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency if animals are ordered destroyed.
As of Monday, over 22,000 head of cattle were quarantined on around 40 premises, with most of those in southeast Alberta.
AAFC says it continues to monitor the situation in Saskatchewan, where around five herds have also been quarantined.