Drought in Western Canada is causing dire hay shortages, and a familiar program is popping up in the hopes of Eastern Canada helping counterpart livestock producers in the west once again.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) has announced it has begun work to facilitate a Hay West initiative to send surplus hay from farmers in the east to those struggling in the west.
The first Hay West initiative occurred in 2002 when Prairie farmers were facing similar circumstances. Ten years later the situation reversed, when Western farmers sent hay to Ontario and eastward.
“CFA is currently in the initial stages of facilitating a new Hay West program. We have our staff as well as a third-party working towards determining how much of a hay surplus is available, and are looking to work with the railways and the government to help these farmers that are in dire need of feed for their animals,” says Mary Robinson, CFA president.
Robinson adds that the federal Climate Action Fund is the kind of support that farmers need to continue investing in sustainability initiatives as they face these incredibly difficult circumstances. “It can be hard for farmers to invest further in sustainability as climate change impacts greatly affect their financial situations,” adds Robinson.
CFA will provide more information on the initiative as details become available, and says it will be working closely with the government and other stakeholders to ensure that farmers are supported, and surplus hay reaches those that need it.