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Alberta increases AgriRecovery provisions for cattle, hog and potato farmers


May 14, 2020
By Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

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A new fed cattle set-aside program will allow beef producers to hold on to slaughter-ready cattle on maintenance feed rations for several weeks, allowing the supply of animals to more evenly match demand and reduced processing capacity.

Cattle producers will be compensated for the extraordinary costs until the backed-up inventory is cleared. Currently, there are about 130,000 cattle backed up in feedlots as a result of reduced operating capacity at major beef processing plants in Alberta. This comes at a substantial cost to cattle producers.

The Government of Alberta will immediately increase the interim payment under AgriStability from 50 percent to 75 percent for the hog sector. This will put up to $25 million in the hands of pork producers immediately. Increasing the advance payment under AgriStability will result in the equivalent of $20 per head for pork producers enrolled in AgriStability.

The closure of most food service outlets across North America has cut the volume for french fries being consumed. In response, the Alberta government will also immediately increase the advance payment under AgriStability from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for the potato industry, to get cash in hands of potato producers immediately.

“Our province provides most of the country’s beef, and the current disruption is resulting in substantial costs for our ranchers,” says Devin Dreeshen, Alberta minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure beef, pork and potato producers are able to stay afloat until things return to normal.”

AgriRecovery is a federal-provincial-territorial program intended to help agricultural producers recover from natural disasters. Alberta will work with federal and provincial governments to ensure money will get to producers as quickly as possible.

Fast facts:

  • Alberta is Canada’s largest cattle-producing province, with 40.5 percent of the national total cattle and calf inventory in 2018.
  • Beef is Alberta’s second-largest agri-food export, at $2 billion in 2018.
  • Alberta accounts for 10.4 percent of Canada’s hog production, or about 2.8 million market hogs per year.
  • In April, the Potato Growers of Alberta estimated Alberta had $70 to $80 million worth of potatoes in storage, which is more than one-quarter of the national inventory.