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Drought Relief Support for Livestock Producers

The Federal and Provincial Governments have announced they are providing $165 million to support livestock producers affected by drought and extreme growing conditions.

It has been a tough growing season for many, with challenges due to dry conditions causing farmers and ranchers to face extraordinary costs. To help them through this time the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada are partnering on a 2023 Canada-Alberta Drought Livestock Assistance response.

Funding for the joint AgriRecovery initiative is cost-shared through the Sustainable CAP Agricultural Partnership. Sustainable CAP is a five-year program that began this year, and includes $3.5 billion in investment by federal, provincial, and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency in the agriculture, agrifood, and agribased products sector. This investment includes $1 billion in federal programs and $2.5 billion in cost-shared programs.

Livestock producers with grazing animals will be able to apply for financial support to cover losses they incurred to manage and maintain their breeding herds. For example, eligible producers could access up to $150 per head for breeding animals. Program details are currently being finalized with the federal government and will be available soon.

Drought-relief supports currently available for producers include:

  • AgriStability, a business risk management program, was reopened until Sept. 29 for late participation. This gave Alberta farmers and ranchers more time to reassess business risks and enrol to protect their operations.
  • Livestock Tax Deferral, a federal provision that allows livestock producers who are forced to sell all or part of their breeding herd due to drought to defer a portion of their income from sales until the following tax year. As of Oct. 20, there are 57 prescribed Alberta regions for the federal Livestock Tax Deferral.
  • Low Yield Allowance, which allows for additional cereal or pulse crops to be salvaged for livestock feed, was doubled by AFSC for 2023.
  • Water Pumping Program, which enables producers to rent pipe and pumping equipment from the Alberta government to fill dugouts from nearby water sources.
  • Temporary Livestock Water Assistance program, which enables livestock and poultry producers affected by water shortage and drought conditions to receive streamlined support.
  • Sustainable CAP Water Program, which helps producers adopt agricultural water management practices to manage risks to water quality and supplies and adapt to climatic variability.
  • AFSC’s Moisture Deficiency Insurance (pasture) and Moisture Deficiency Endorsement (hay), which compensates producers when precipitation falls below the normal expected amount at selected weather stations. Producers can also buy production insurance on hay crops.

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