Government of Canada announces $219 million to support farmers and ranchers in Western Canada facing the impacts of drought and wildfires
October 20, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced that the Government of Canada has allocated $219 million through the AgriRecovery Framework to support farmers and ranchers in Western Canada who are dealing with extraordinary costs due to drought conditions and wildfires.
Canadian farmers and ranchers in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan have faced a number of challenges this growing season, including drought and wildfires. This funding will help them recover and ensure they have the tools they need to continue to be resilient in the face of natural disasters and extreme weather events.
Producers can also apply for interim payments through AgriStability to help them cope with immediate financial challenges. Producers have access to a comprehensive suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs—including AgriStability, AgriInsurance, and AgriInvest—that are the first line of defence when facing disasters.
The Government of Canada has already supported requests from British Columbia and Alberta for late participation in AgriStability, as well as requests from British Columbia and Saskatchewan to increase the interim payment rate under AgriStability from 50% to 75%. In August 2023, Minister MacAulay also highlighted federal support for British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan with a 1-year adjustment to the AgriInsurance program to make more drought-damaged crops available for feed. This increased the amount of crops available for livestock producers in a time of need.
In addition to this support, on August 21, 2023, the Government of Canada announced designations in regions of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for Livestock Tax Deferral for 2023 due to extreme weather conditions. The Livestock Tax Deferral provision allows livestock producers who are forced to sell all or part of their breeding herd due to drought or excess moisture to defer a portion of their income from sales until the following tax year.
“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 federal investment of $219 million 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
“This summer was an extremely challenging time for B.C.’s farmers and ranchers as we dealt with unprecedented drought and wildfire. We’ve been listening to and working with farmers and ranchers, and providing programs and support that meet their unique needs. AgriRecovery is another way we are taking action to protect the livelihoods of our province’s food producers, helping them return to their land, while supporting local food security and our local economies.”
- Pam Alexis, B.C. Minister of Agriculture and Food
“The Alberta government supports our livestock producers as they navigate this difficult growing season. I’m glad that the Government of Canada has agreed to a joint AgriRecovery response. The combined funding will help protect producers’ livelihoods while they continue to put food on tables around the world.”
- RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation
“The livestock sector is a significant contributor to our provincial economy. It is important we are there for producers through the current challenges. The program will provide some financial relief to livestock producers, helping them to maintain the breeding herd by providing funding to address extraordinary costs caused by the drought.”
- David Marit, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister
The funding will be administered using the 60-40 cost-shared basis, as outlined under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
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.
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 Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It protects Canadian producers against large declines in farming income for reasons such as production loss, increased costs, and market conditions.
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 margins must decline by more than 30% of their estimated reference margin. Participants can apply for an interim payment to access program funds early.
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.
On October 17, 2023, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) announced a new FCC Replacement Heifer Program to help Canadian cattle producers in maintaining or expanding their herds. The program consists of a loan with a maximum 2-year period of interest only and a maximum life of 7 years. For this loan, variable interest rates will be capped at prime plus 1.5%, and loan processing fees will be waived. Beef producers are encouraged to contact their FCC relationship manager or their FCC livestock Alliance partner for details. Producers can do this by contacting their local office or the FCC customer service centre at 1-888-332-3301.
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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Ministry of Agriculture and Food (British Columbia)
Press Secretary, Agriculture and Irrigation (Alberta)
Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation
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