Government of Canada announces $100 million in AgriRecovery funding to further support farmers facing continued extreme weather
August 6, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced that the Government of Canada is making available $100 million through the AgriRecovery Framework to address the immediate extraordinary costs faced by producers due to the drought and wildfires. This funding is designed to match all provincial AgriRecovery submissions on the 60-40 cost-shared basis outlined under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. By making funding available now, producers can be assured that they will receive assistance as soon as full assessments are completed.
The Government of Canada is working around the clock to help the governments of Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia complete the assessments of the disaster and examine how AgriRecovery can help respond. Once these assessments are completed, the Government of Canada will expedite work to finalize an agreement with each province on support programs. The Government of Canada is open to submissions that include direct assistance to livestock producers for added costs of obtaining livestock feed, transportation and water.
Minister Bibeau also announced that Manitoba is invoking the late participation provision of AgriStability. Provinces affected by drought are encouraged to invoke this provision to allow producers who did not enroll to access program support. Producers can also apply for interim payments under AgriStability, which can help cope with immediate financial challenges. To date, the Government of Canada and the governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have agreed to increase the 2021 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50% to 75%, so producers can access a greater portion of their benefit when needed most. Minister Bibeau repeated the Government of Canada's offer to provinces to raise the AgriStability compensation rate from 70% to 80%. 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 announced the designation for Livestock Tax Deferral of additional prescribed drought regions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. This adds to the list of prescribed drought regions across Canada announced on July 22, 2021. The designation 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.
AgriInsurance helps producers manage production and quality losses caused by these adverse weather conditions, including drought. Minister Bibeau highlighted the 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.
The Government of Canada stands with farm families during this difficult time, and is listening to their needs and taking action to respond.
"There are a lot of farm families across the West and in parts of Ontario who are making tough decisions in a difficult situation. Our Government is working closely with our provincial partners to provide timely support to producers in need. Today we are announcing $100 million to add to provincial AgriRecovery initiatives, ready to be delivered as quickly as we can turn around provincial submissions, and ready to seek further funding for requests exceeding this amount. We will continue to support farm families to get them through the challenges we face today, and position them for a sustainable future, since we know climate change will continue to pose challenges."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"Severe drought conditions, sustained high temperatures, and wildfires continue to create stress and uncertainty for our producers. That is why the Government of Canada is taking action to secure funding under AgriRecovery, to ensure continuous support is provided to farmers as quickly as possible."
- The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre
AgriRecovery responses that exceed $60 million in total federal budget require additional program authorities. The Prime Minister has authorized access to the $100 million announced today, and this funding will complement the $25 million in COVID-19 support estimated for 2021-2022, primarily targeted towards the livestock sector in Canada.
Producers have access to a suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs to help them manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage.
On July 22, Minister Bibeau visited Manitoba's Interlake Region, where she met with drought-impacted farmers to see first-hand how drought conditions are creating crop losses, affecting crop quality, and reducing forage and water supplies available to livestock.
AgriRecovery is a 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 production margin must decline by more than 30% of their estimated reference margin. Participants can apply for an interim payment to access program funds early. Provincial governments can request that the interim payment percentage be increased from 50% to 75%.
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. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials continue to monitor weather, climate and production data from across Canada and will add regions if they meet the eligibility criteria. When prescribed regions are identified, the list is announced publicly and posted to this Livestock Tax Deferral Provision web page.
AgriInvest is a self-managed producer-government savings account designed to help producers manage small income declines and make investments to manage risk and improve market income. Canadian agricultural producers can access the funds in their AgriInvest accounts at any time.
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.
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