The Ontario government says it will deliver immediate assistance to livestock farmers impacted by drought in northwestern Ontario by committing provincial funding for AgriRecovery.

The province is committing up to $5 million in funding for the 40 per cent provincial cost share. The federal government recently announced $100 million for AgriRecover across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

Ontario is calling on the federal government to include in the AgriRecovery framework, costs related to hay and other feeds, transportation of feed, transportation of animals to feed, measures to provide water to animals including trucking and equipment, temporary fencing, and other extraordinary costs. These costs are estimated at approximately $200 per head.

The federal government has approved Ontario’s request to increase the AgriStability interim payment to 75 per cent in drought-impacted areas.

The response builds on Ontario’s $2 million Northwestern Livestock Emergency Assistance initiative, announced on July 27.

“Many Ontario farmers in the northwest, as well as farmers across the Prairies, have been hit hard by drought conditions and these severe dry weather conditions pose a significant threat to the livestock sector in Northwestern Ontario,” says Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson. “The agri-food sector supported Ontario during the pandemic by keeping grocery store shelves full. Now they need help, and our province is ready to step up to get them through hard times. That’s why we are moving forward with the immediate launch of our portion of the national AgriRecovery response along with our neighbours in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, so that our farmers can get the longer-term support they need – now.”

Beef Farmers of Ontario president, Rob Lipsett says that the announcement is a critical step in signaling to farmers that help is on the way, but that BFO remains concerned about the hardships the drought has created for those in affected regions, the health of the province’s cow herd, and vital infrastructure that supports Ontario’s economy.

BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have also announced provincial support for AgriRecovery drought relief programs over the last few days.

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