Alberta pork processing plants have been impacted by COVID-19 outbreaks and control measures, and as a result plants have closed or reduced slaughter capacity.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau announced today that the AgriRecovery Framework will kick-in for Alberta, with up to $3 million available to assist hog producers impacted by processing shut downs.

An additional $1 million will be provided by the Alberta government as a grant to Alberta Pork to cover incidental costs and support Alberta foodbanks, says a representative from provincial agriculture minister Devin Dreeshen’s office.

The initiative was initially announced last May, with a dedicated $50 million to help pork producers deal with closure situation.

“It has already been a rollercoaster year and the Olymel closure is yet another challenge for pork producers,” says Minister Bibeau. “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 wellbeing.”

Funding for the initiative is cost shared on a 60/40 basis between the federal and Alberta governments. The province will administer applications and payments.

“Alberta’s government is committed to protecting lives and livelihoods. 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,” says Dreeshen.

Many hog producers are being forced to keep hogs on-farm for longer, beyond the standard life cycle, which cause excess feed maintenance costs. The initiative will provide assistance for up to 90 per cent of the cost to feed market-ready hogs that are held back. As of today, there’s an estimated 100,000 hog backlog in processing.

Producers who own market-ready hogs that are intended for processing between February 8 and March 31, 2021 are eligible. The program will pay $0.95 per hog per day for maintenance costs.

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