Reduced slaughter capacity, tanked prices, and capped risk management programs have beef farmers in Ontario going public asking the federal and provincial governments to do more to #HelpBeefFarmers.
Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) says producers are at a “tipping point” and facing economic crisis. The group says market and trade disruptions have caused average weekly losses of $2 million, and is asking Ottawa to step up and support the industry through risk management programs.
Producers have taken to social media to put pressure on both federal and provincial politicians to address the squeeze on processing capacity and the risk management program shortfall.
Beef Farmers of Ontario is asking for business risk management funding to address the shortfall in current programming and a cattle “set-aside program” to help spread out cattle sales, which would “serve as temporary measures to help restore some of the competitive balance in the marketplace until more permanent, long-term solutions can be implemented.”
In Question Period on Tuesday, Lianne Rood, Conservative MP for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, asked federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau what’s being done to address the beef processing problem after the closure of Ryding-Regency Meat Packers in Toronto in December 2019.
“We understand that the closure of this meat processing plant in Ontario has a significant impact on our cattle producers, but we cannot compromise on food safety. Our government is working with the industry and the Province of Ontario to find short-term alternatives and to see how the meat processing capacity can be increased,” said the minister.
A properly funded Risk Management Program, to backstop market lows & give young producers assurance when dealing with creditors, would help immensely with profitability & producer mental health.@mclaudebibeau/@CarolHughesMP/@erniehardeman/@M_Mantha #HelpBeefFarmers. pic.twitter.com/Nqjxfr3ejB
— Barstow (Jordan) (@barstowmiller) March 11, 2020
RMP program with its largest requirement in program history with Capped funding
A federal plant closure this past fall
Has left a viable industry loosing money at all levels@BeefFarmersON @mclaudebibeau #HelpBeefFarmers here in #ontag@ONCornFedBeef
— Ken Schaus ?? (@KenSchaus) March 10, 2020
My family has been raising beef cattle for generations. There’s a high demand for Ontario beef domestically and globally, yet beef farmers have limited options for processing cattle. 1/2 #helpbeeffarmers pic.twitter.com/jWCAsJyuLG
— Amanda Brodhagen (@AmandaBrodhagen) March 10, 2020