The Ontario government is taking action to support farmers in northwestern Ontario by providing up to $2 million to assist with emergency measures for feed, water and basic livestock needs because of the ongoing drought conditions in the region.
The Northwestern Livestock Emergency Assistance Initiative will help livestock farms in northwestern Ontario by addressing critical urgent needs identified by area farmers. Up to $800,000 will be provided to Beef Farmers of Ontario to help deal with the immediate feed shortages on behalf of all impacted farmers in the region.
An additional $1.2 million will be made available to area farmers for emergency measures to source water for livestock and to purchase and install new fencing to allow livestock to safely graze in alternative locations. Delivery of this initiative will be made through AgriCorp. The financial assistance will be available to livestock farmers for eligible costs incurred as a result of the dry weather from June 14, 2021 onwards.
This funding will address urgent needs while the provincial and federal governments work together at longer term measures through AgriRecovery and stems from a discussion last week with local farmers hosted by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
“Farmers in Northwestern Ontario have faced unprecedented dry weather this summer which has created increased stresses on their crops and feed available for their livestock,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Our government has heard their concerns and is responding to get them the critical resources they need to protect their livestock and their farms. We’re working closely with Beef Farmers of Ontario and our service delivery agent, AgriCorp, to provide this support immediately.”
“We sincerely appreciate the swift response and immediate financial support announced today by the Government of Ontario and the Agriculture Minister, Lisa Thompson”, said Rob Lipsett, President, Beef Farmers of Ontario. “These short-term measures are an important step taken by the province as we await the completion of the federal-provincial AgriRecovery assessment that is investigating potential additional assistance for farmers in affected regions of the province.”
“No matter the weather conditions, farmers in northwestern Ontario work tirelessly to put high-quality food on our tables,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with farmers in the northwest; our government is proud to deliver this critical support during an extremely challenging year.”
- The Rainy River region of Ontario has not had a significant rain event since early May 2021.
- From approximately mid-June to mid-July, the region of Rainy River and Kenora received 40 to 60 per cent of its normal precipitation.
- According to 2016 agricultural census data, Rainy River had 235 farms, including 109 beef cattle ranches, eight dairy farms, and four sheep/goat farms, with 22,518 total cattle (8,500 beef cows and 586 dairy cows).
- According to 2016 agricultural census data, Kenora had 72 farms, including 7 beef farms, zero dairy farms, and one sheep farm.
- Mental Health supports for Ontario farmers are available 24/7 through Ontario 211 and the Ontario Mental Health Helpline at 1-866-531-2600.