Alberta Beef Producers is urging its members to write their MLA and ask that they strongly push for additional assistance for the cattle sector following the temporary shutdown of Cargill’s High River beef plant.
A form letter prepared by the organization states that “with time, this closure will also impact Canadian’s access to beef and could potentially lead to animal welfare implications if feed shortages become an issue.”
The letter asks that the provincial government urge the federal government to act quickly. The province needs to “strongly and immediately support the programs suggested by Alberta Beef Producers and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association as mitigation measures.”
The two organizations want a national set-aside program to be put in place and several changes to business risk management programs. The set-aside program would provide financial support for those holding back cattle. The changes to the business risk management programs being sought are:
- Reducing premiums for the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program;
- Increasing the interest-free portion for the Advance Payments Program to $500,000 for beef cattle, increasing the advance limit to $3 million, and extending repayment terms to 36 months;
- Declaring the pandemic a “natural disaster” under AgriRecovery so producers experiencing significant financial losses can get immediate compensation;
- Eliminate the $3-million payment cap on AgriStability, invoke the late participation clause to allow producers to join the program, remove the reference margin limits, process interim claims more quickly and raise the payment trigger to 85 per cent.
The form letter can be found in the producers section at albertabeef.org.