Federal, provincial governments beef up funding for farmers


Ontario beef farmers receiving $5M in immediate emergency assistance to help manage costs due to pandemic

If you have noticed the rising cost of products in your local grocery store, you’re not alone.

As food prices continue to rise, the current COVID-19 situation is putting an additional strain on food suppliers.

Federal and provincial governments are investing $5 million in immediate emergency assistance to help the province’s beef farmers manage costs associated with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program was announced in June, but was put into place after the recent closure of Cargill Meat Solutions in Guelph.

That facility temporarily closed down as a result of a number of positive COVID case among employees at the plant.

Ontario farmers can apply for funding to help cover increased costs of feeding and setting aside market-ready cattle due to COVID-related processing delays.

The funding was planned to go into place in the event that processing disruptions impacted the industry.

The Guelph plant closing was the trigger that got the funding moving.

Due to the backlog that is resulting from a reduction in processing capacity at livestock processing plants, beef farmers can apply to keep their feedlot cattle of cull cows on farm for an additional 63 days.

Simcoe County is a large producer of beef and part of the Beef Farmers of Ontario.

“We are continuing to work with our farmers and all the agri-food heroes in our food processing network to help them meet challenges posed by COVID-19 and to keep a steady supply of safe and nutritious foods available for Ontario families,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“This is just one of the many ways our province continues to support farmers during COVID-19 and builds on the efforts we have already made in working with the agri-food sector to address urgent needs,” he added.

The Canada-Ontario COVID-19 Beef Emergency Feed Maintenance Initiative is being offered through AgriRecovery, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The provincial contributions are part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID0-19, which will provide funding support for eligible farmers.

This funding is in addition to other supports launched this year to assist the agri-food sector in meeting challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Beef Farmers of Ontario responded favourably to the recent announcement.

“This will be an important, too, to have available to help manage potential disruptions within our processing sector,” said Beef Farmers of Ontario president Rob Lipsett. “Having this safeguard in place, if it is ultimately needed, is critically important. It must be acknowledged that our sector continues to struggle with financial losses and market uncertainty as a result a result of COVID-19.”

Ontario has around 6,800 beef farms that contribute an estimated $2.8 billion to the provinces economy each year providing around 60,000 jobs.

Source: Orillia Matters


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