Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced concrete measures the Government of Canada is taking to deliver the necessary support and resources for producers in areas affected by extreme weather. Minister Bibeau made the announcement at a press conference at The Forks, having spent the day meeting with drought-impacted farmers in Manitoba’s Interlake Region to see first-hand how drought conditions are creating crop losses, affecting crop quality, and reducing forage and water supplies available to livestock. The Minister was accompanied by representatives from Manitoba Beef Producers, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and Keystone Agricultural Producers.
Minister Bibeau announced the early designation of the Livestock Tax Deferral provision for prescribed drought regions of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. This will allow beef producers who are forced to sell a significant amount of their breeding herd due to drought conditions to offset the resulting revenues with the costs to replace the herd. The Government of Canada will work closely with provincial governments and stakeholders to continue adding other regions throughout the year as additional information is collected.
In addition, Minister Bibeau announced federal support to all Prairie provinces for immediate bilateral adjustments to the cost-shared AgriInsurance program to make drought-damaged crops available for feed. These measures will increase the amount of crops available for livestock producers in this time of need. Minister Bibeau also jointly announced Manitoba’s proposal to expedite any payments under the Hay Disaster Benefit.
AgriRecovery assessments are underway with Manitoba and the other provinces impacted by the drought, including Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The Government of Canada will collaborate with provincial governments to gather all the necessary information as fast as possible to evaluate the extraordinary costs faced by producers and provide joint support as required. This could include direct assistance to producers for the added cost of livestock feed, transportation and water infrastructure.
Provinces affected by drought can invoke the late participation provision of AgriStability to allow producers who have not yet enrolled to access program supports. Producers can also apply for interim payments under AgriStability, which can help them cope with immediate financial challenges.
Minister Bibeau repeated the Government of Canada’s offer to raise the AgriStability compensation rate from 70% to 80% and urged Prairie governments to match it. This would provide farmers across the country an additional $75 million per year, benefitting distressed farmers who need help now more than ever.
Minister Bibeau also echoed a recent Farm Credit Canada (FCC) announcement of a customer support program for farmers and ranchers across western Canada facing financial challenges due to adverse growing conditions. FCC will work with customers to come up with individual solutions for their operations and will consider additional short term credit options, deferral of principal payments and/or other loan payment schedule amendments to reduce financial pressures on those impacted by unfavourable weather conditions.
Extreme weather conditions, exacerbated by climate change, are challenging farmers across Canada. Now is the time for governments and all Canadians to rally around those who work tirelessly to put food on our tables each and every day. The Government of Canada stands with farmers during this difficult time, and is listening to their needs and taking action to respond.
During a crisis such as this, farmers facing the stress and uncertainty of providing for their families may suffer serious mental health impacts. Those needing help are encouraged to reach out for support, and can contact The Do More Ag Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada.
“Our Government is working closely with our provincial partners to respond on a rapid basis to the evolving drought situation in Western Canada. I am here to listen and help those farm families hard hit by this extreme weather. Our Government is taking action to help them through the challenges we face today and ensure they are supported for a sustainable future.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impacts this extreme weather has had on our farmers and their families. I know many producers are feeling stress and uncertainty for the future. We see you, and the Government of Canada will be there every step of the way to help you recover from this situation, emerging stronger than ever.”
– The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre
“To the farmers and ranchers dealing with this drought, I see the hardships and challenges you are facing. Our Government is taking action to respond to this extreme weather, and we will continue to work with our provincial counterparts to support you and your families.”
– Kevin Lamoureux, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North
“Livestock, grain and forage producers across Manitoba are concerned about the impact of ongoing drought conditions on their farm operations. Now, more than ever, it is important that producers look out for ourselves, our neighbours and our communities.”
– Bill Campbell, President, Keystone Agricultural Producers
“Drought conditions are exacting a heavy toll on Manitoba’s beef sector, forcing producers to make difficult management decisions about the size of their herds going forward. MBP is working with the federal and provincial governments and Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation on strategies to assist producers on both an immediate and a longer term basis. This includes gaining access to alternate feed sources such as crops damaged by the drought, as well as other initiatives aimed at helping producers deal with the effects of this very serious situation.”
– Tyler Fulton, President, Manitoba Beef Producers
- Producers have access to a suite of Business Risk Management programs to help them manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage.
- The Livestock Tax Deferral provision allows livestock producers in these regions who reduced their breeding herds by at least 15% due to drought or flooding, to defer a portion of their 2021 income from sales until the 2022 tax year, when the income may be at least partially offset by the cost of reacquiring breeding animals, which may reduce their potential tax burden. Eligible regions are identified based on weather, climate and production data, in consultation with industry and provinces. The criteria for identifying regions for Livestock Tax Deferral is forage shortfalls of 50% or more caused by drought or excess moisture. AAFC officials will continue to monitor weather, climate and production data from across Canada and will add regions to the list when they meet the eligibility criteria. When prescribed regions are identified, the list is announced publicly and posted to this web page.
- AgriRecovery is an federal-provincial-territorial disaster relief framework intended to work together with the core BRM programs to help agricultural producers recover from natural disasters. AgriRecovery helps with the extraordinary costs associated with recovering from disaster events.
- AgriStability is one of the BRM programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It protects Canadian producers against large declines in farming income for reasons such as production loss, increased costs and market conditions. While the deadline to enroll for the 2021 program year has passed, provinces may request late participation to make the program available to other producers during a crisis situation.
- An interim payment under AgriStability is based on estimates of a participant’s program year production margin and reference margin. To receive an interim payment, the participant’s estimated reference margin must decline by more than 30% of their estimated reference margin. Participants can apply for an interim payment to access program funds early.
- The Government of Canada is working to build a sustainable future for the agriculture sector in Canada, since climate change will continue to challenge farmers. This work includes investments of over half a billion dollars into new federal programs to directly support the adoption of sustainable practices and clean technologies on farms, including the recently announced Agriculture Clean Technology Program and the Agriculture Climate Solutions Program.