Drought-stricken livestock producers will be eligible for millions of dollars in financial relief and will benefit from new rangeland initiatives that will improve access to water grazing.

The Government of Alberta is making $136 million available under the AgriRecovery program, a joint program between the governments of Alberta and Canada, and has asked the federal government to provide an additional $204 million for a total relief package of $340 million.

The federal government is currently evaluating this request and earlier today announced $100 million in immediate relief for Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta. Programming costs are split 60-40 between the provincial and federal governments.

This funding would provide much-needed financial support and immediate cash flow for Alberta’s livestock producers and beekeepers to purchase feed, water and fencing, if approved.

In addition, Alberta Environment and Parks has approved several temporary changes to grazing and water regulations to open new sources of feed for livestock.

AgriRecovery falls under the joint federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It is designed to cover extraordinary costs not covered by existing business risk management programs, such as those incurred due to extreme drought conditions or other natural disasters.

If approved, the total amount would be $340 million split 60-40 between the federal and provincial governments. Alberta’s contribution is $136 million. Under a new AgriRecovery program, it will provide an immediate payment of $94 per head to help cover feed and water access costs for breeding females across the province.

Taking a receipt-based approach, a second payment of $106 per head will be allocated later in the year, for a total of $200. This will help level the playing field against a U.S. feed subsidy and maintain our livestock herds in Alberta.

The program will be administered through Agriculture Financial Services Corporation. Application details will be unveiled after the federal government reviews the proposal.

Rangeland initiatives

Alberta Environment and Parks will now accept applications from existing grazing disposition holders, including leases, licences and permits, with additional grazing capacity to allow livestock from other producers who are in need of additional feed. Grazing disposition holders are encouraged to work with their neighbours and community to support each other where they can.   Applications for temporary grazing or haying are also available on vacant public lands. Alberta Environment and Parks will also permit grazers in the forest reserve to extend the time for grazing where there is sufficient forage to do so.

Minister Nixon has signed off on the creation of a new temporary streamlined program to allow the quick provision of water to livestock and poultry producers in drought areas.

Environment and Parks agrologists are available to meet with producers and to help provide more region-specific information about available support and best management practices, including how they can access potential water and feed sources.

Livestock producers interested in looking at these measures are encouraged to reach out to their local agrologist. Producers can call 310-FARM (3276) to be connected with a local agrologist and discuss options to support them during these tough drought conditions.

To learn more, please see the full announcement Support on the way for livestock producers