Manitoba Beef Producers welcomed the support for farmers and agricultural producers announced by the federal government in a statement sent out Tuesday evening but said they’re disappointed with the amount of assistance.
The organization said it isn’t sure the $252-million aid package will be sufficient to address farmers’ current needs, with the average price per head of market-ready cattle having dropped more than $500 a head since the pandemic started.
"Manitoba Beef Producers sees value in these initiatives, but it is very disappointed that the announcement does not fully address all elements of the comprehensive strategy that is being advanced by Canada’s cattle and beef industry to help ensure long-term economic sustainability for our farmers and ranchers," the statement reads.
They call for several actions to be taken to assist cattle producers: for the steep hike in premium costs under the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program to be addressed, to improve terms of credit being offered to producers by the federal government, the removal of the $3-million payment cap for AgriStability, raising the AgriStability payment trigger to 85 per cent and improve the speed at which AgriStability claims are processed.
The Sun also reached out to the Manitoba Pork Council for comment. General manager Andrew Dickson said they wouldn’t be able to comment for a few days because the exact details of the federal aid have not yet been disclosed and many of the programs still need to be approved at a provincial level.
Another organization, the Canadian Mushroom Growers’ Association, released a statement this week saying they also welcome the support being offered but called for the government to offer funding more in line with the $2.6 billion the Canadian Federation of Agriculture believes the agricultural industry has lost due to the pandemic.
According to the Growers’ Association, mushroom farms have lost 30 to 50 per cent of their production during the pandemic and it has cost the industry $6.5 million.
"Oversupply has been a massive problem due to restaurants being closed," association CEO Ryan Koeslag said. "We ask the Government of Canada to help us protect our workforce by including us in the current protective equipment announcement. Our mushroom farms have done things like leasing and purchase of extra housing and Plexiglas in the workplace to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
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