The Government of Alberta is taking steps to help ensure agriculture producers dealing with dry conditions have resources to feed and water their livestock.
Rental fees have been cut in half for Agriculture and Forestry’s Water Pumping Program. The program provides pumps and pipes to help producers get water for domestic and livestock use by filling their dugouts or other suitable catch basins from nearby water sources.
“It’s clear that many producers are facing challenges because of the dry conditions this year, and that’s why we are finding common sense ways to help out farmers during these difficult times,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
The emergency water-pumping program provides assistance to between 400 and 1,400 clients every year. The fee reduction will apply to anyone who uses the program in the 2015-16 fiscal year and will be retroactive to April 1.
Environment and Parks is also working with municipalities to identify additional public lands for grazing purposes to help increase producers’ access to livestock feed supplies. The measures will allow temporary grazing or haying permits in suitable locations.
“We are committed to supporting farmers during this challenging year. Identifying more access to vacant public land for grazing is a practical way to help out farmers who are struggling with the high cost of feeding their livestock,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks.
In addition to these programs, a full suite of insurance and business risk management programs is available through Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC).
Provincially, 78 per cent of crops and 29 per cent of pasture acreage has been insured in 2015.
For multi-peril crop insurance alone, AFSC estimates this year’s claim payments to range from approximately $700 million to $900 million.
To date, AFSC has already paid out approximately $70 million as claims are being processed, and dollars are flowing to address priority areas.
Producers also have access to approximately $541 million currently deposited in their AgriInvest accounts.
Alberta continues to work with the federal government to ensure that tax deferrals are available for livestock producers in affected municipalities.
Those who need to sell livestock because of feed shortages can defer a portion of their 2015 sale proceeds of breeding livestock for one year to help offset the cost of replenishing that stock in the following year.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has a number of online resources at www.agriculture.alberta.ca to assist producers with decision making, including crop and moisture reports, planning information for dry conditions and a hay and pasture directory.