Drought relief support for livestock producers

News release

October 20, 2023 – Calgary, Alberta – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada  

The governments of Alberta and Canada are providing $165 million to support livestock producers affected by drought and extreme growing conditions.

Alberta’s livestock producers are vital to the province’s economy. It has been a tough growing season with challenges due to dry conditions causing many of our farmers and ranchers to face extraordinary costs. To help them through this difficult time, the governments of Alberta and Canada are partnering on a 2023 Canada-Alberta Drought Livestock Assistance response.

Funding for this joint AgriRecovery initiative is cost-shared through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), with the federal government providing $99 million and Alberta’s government providing $66 million. Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) will administer the program.

Sustainable CAP is a 5-year program, beginning this year, and includes a $3.5 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation and resiliency in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector. This investment includes $1 billion in federal programs and $2.5 billion in cost-shared programs funded 60% federally and 40% provincially-territorially.

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 still being finalized with the Government of Canada, and more information will be available soon.


“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with farmers and producers from across Western Canada and they’ve shared just how challenging this growing season has been for their operations. With a total federal investment of $219 million for the western provinces through AgriRecovery, we’re helping them recover so they can continue to feed Canada, and the world.”

- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Many Alberta livestock producers have faced multiple challenges this growing season. This year's drought and excessive heat has resulted in our ranchers facing extra costs due to lost grazing days. We recognize their stress as the winter-feeding months approach. This program will help alleviate some of the cost pressures, and support producers in protecting their livelihoods while they continue to put food on tables around the world.”

- RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation

“Alberta Beef Producers is thankful for the financial support for the livestock sector. We hope this announcement will provoke collaborative and positive change going into 2024 to ensure all agricultural producers have equitable access to Business Risk Management programs.”

- Brodie Haugan, chair, Alberta Beef Producers

“We appreciate the provincial and federal governments for stepping up with funding to help livestock producers cover extra feed costs due to this year’s drought. Alberta’s bison producers will continue to be the cornerstone of Alberta’s diversified livestock industry and this financial relief will make a huge difference though the winter months.”

- Steven Lunty, chair, Bison Producers of Alberta

Quick facts

  • The business risk management suite of programs delivered by AFSC is the first line of response in supporting producers to mitigate the impacts of the excessive heat and extremely dry conditions in Alberta and includes AgriInsurance, AgriStability, AgriRecovery and AgriInvest.

  • 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.
  • Alberta provides timely information to assist producers with management decisions during dry conditions and periods of business stress, including the Alberta Crop Report, Alberta Climate Information Service and other resources on the farming in dry conditions webpage.

  • This announcement is part of a larger disaster response totaling $365 million in federal-provincial cost-shared funding under the AgriRecovery Framework to help farmers and ranchers in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan with extraordinary costs due to this year’s extreme weather conditions. Producers already have access to a comprehensive suite of business risk management (BRM) programs that are the first line of defense for producers facing disasters, including AgriStability, AgriInsurance and AgriInvest. With joint funding from the federal government and provinces, these BRM programs provide protection against different types of income and production losses. The federal government also announced an initial list of designated regions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba where Livestock Tax Deferral has been authorized for 2023 due to extreme weather conditions.

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For media:

Francis Chechile
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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Ashley Stevenson
Press Secretary, Agriculture and Irrigation (Alberta)

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