The federal and Manitoba governments are expanding the list of expenses covered under the drought relief program that helps livestock producers purchase and haul feed for their animals.
The Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program was originally announced in August 2021, with funding to help producers purchase, transport, and test feed to maintain their breeding herds.
On Wednesday, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson announced the program will now also cover costs related to rentals of additional crop or pasture acres, temporary fencing for supplemental grazing, hauling water, harvesting extra acres, or hauling self-produced feed from distant locations.
The list of eligible feeds has also been expanded to include feed additives and premixes, molasses based products, vitamins, minerals, and oils and fats.
“Manitoba Beef Producers thanks the federal and provincial governments for listening to our concerns about how to make the programs more reflective of the many different types of strategies producers have had to use to source critical feed and water resources for their livestock,” said Tyler Fulton, president of Manitoba Beef Producers, in a statement. “These important additions will better address the wide array of extraordinary costs arising due to the drought and will help mitigate some of the negative financial impact it is having on producers.”
Animals that are eligible under the Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program include breeding animals of beef and dairy cattle, horses raised for pregnant mare urine, sheep, goats, bison and elk. Producers must have a minimum of 10 animals to qualify. The expenses must be incurred between June 1, 2021, and March 15, 2022.
As of Wednesday, the province said it had processed more than 1,200 claims under the feed program, with claims accepted until April 15.
The Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program is one of a trio of AgriRecovery drought programs for Manitoba livestock producers. The Herd Management Drought Assistance program helps producers replace breeding animals culled due to drought, and the Livestock Transportation program offers assistance for transporting breeding animals to alternate locations for feed.
The three programs are funded on a 60-40 federal-provincial basis, with the federal government contributing up to $93 million and the Manitoba government funding up to $62 million.