Manitoba changes AgriRecovery assistance for producers in need

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The federal government and provincial government are making changes to the AgriRecovery Drought Assistance Program to give producers a better hand in receiving funding and enhancing financial compensation ahead of the coming growing season.

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The federal government and provincial government are making changes to the AgriRecovery Drought Assistance Program to give producers a better hand in receiving funding and enhancing financial compensation ahead of the coming growing season.

“Manitoba producers are working hard, and our government is committed to ensuring they are fully supported during this difficult time,” said federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

“By making these changes to the AgriRecovery program in the province, we are making it easier for them to access funding that will help them when they need it most.”

A grass cutting tractor mows through a field of peas and oats during drought conditions last summer for add extra food for farmer, Ian Robson's cows over the winter. The drought experienced in the southwestern corner of the province forced cattle farmers to rethink their winter feeding with hay supplies that were running dangerously low. (FILE/The Brandon Sun)

The province noted changes to the AgriRecovery program include eliminating the “producer share” for applicants to increase payments to each applicant. The producer share was set at $50 per head for cattle, bison, elk and horses, or $10 per head for sheep and goats.

Going forward, the province will be reducing the compensation rate and the extraordinary expenses for feed receipts to 70 per cent from 75 per cent, which when combined with removing the producer share will increase funding to every applicant.

In addition, the province will be increasing the maximum payment to $270 per head for cattle, bison, elk and horses from $250 per head, and $54 per head for sheep and goats from the previous $50. It’s a move that will allow producers who have already received the maximum amount to receive an additional payment.

The province noted they will be adjusting previous claims automatically, so clients will not have the need to reapply.

“We know producers need some additional support after last year’s drought, and these changes are the best way to accomplish that while staying within the parameters of the AgriRecovery program,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson.

“This will help producers receive additional funding in a timely way so they can get the support they need as soon as possible.”

Johnson noted that an extension has been put in place for the Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program. This program, which covers feed, feed transportation and related extraordinary expenses, will now cover those eligible expenses up to April 15. The application deadline to apply has been updated to May 13.

The province said the deadline has been extended due to extreme weather conditions in January and February that have required producers to increase the amount of feed used to maintain the health and welfare of their animals.

Based on this drought assistance program, eligible expenditures are considered between June 1, 2021 and April 15, 2022. These include feed purchases, rentals of additional crop or pasture acres, temporary fencing for supplemental grazing, hauling water, harvesting extra acres and hauling self-produced feed from distant locations.

Eligible animals in this program include the breeding animals of beef and dairy cattle, horses raised for pregnant mare urine, sheep, goats, bison and elk. Every producer applicant must support a minimum of 10 animals to qualify for assistance.

“Manitoba Beef Producers has had ongoing engagement with the provincial and federal governments about the drought’s adverse effects and how to potentially modify programs to make them more responsive to cattle producers’ needs,” said Manitoba Beef Producers president Tyler Fulton.

“These latest adjustments will help get more financial assistance to producers who have faced feed and water challenges, and we thank governments for listening to the concerns and making these important changes.”

» jbernacki@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @JosephBernacki

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