Federal/Provincial Assistance For Drought-Hit Pastures

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Livestock producers in drought-stricken areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan will be eligible for $114 million from a federal-provincial 2010 Pasture Recovery Initiative.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Alberta Agriculture Minister Jack Hayden and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud made the joint announcement at the Lloydminster Stockade Convention Centre on May 31.

Ritz said two successive years of drought put severe stress on farm businesses and families in many regions of Saskatchewan and Alberta. In addition, this year’s pasture growth is expected to be delayed by at least four to six weeks in several areas, resulting in feed challenges for livestock producers. Pastures damaged by the two years of drought need time to recover, said Ritz.

Under the 2010 Pasture Recovery Initiative, livestock producers in eligible counties and districts in central and northern Alberta will receive assistance to compensate for feed costs for breeding cattle and other breeding livestock. Producers living in 59 counties and municipal districts throughout Alberta are eligible for funding.

“The 2010 Pasture Recovery Initiative payment is going to allow our producers some much-needed time and support to evaluate their pastures and make the decisions that they’re going to take going forward,” said Alberta Minister Jack Hayden.

Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) estimates that close to 80 per cent of the Alberta cow-calf herd is in areas stricken by a lack of pasture last summer and fall, a shortage of forage for winter feeding, high feed costs, and delayed use of pastures this spring. ABP says it began responding to the drought last summer and formally approached the provincial government for Agri-Recovery support last October.

“This funding is desperately needed by many producers and will be welcomed,” said Ted Ford, chair of the ABP Cow Calf Council. “We do think that the delay in providing the assistance hurt producers and the AgriRecovery framework needs to be made more responsive.”

Producers residing in the primary drought areas in Alberta will receive an information package in the mail from the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation. Forms will also be available at www.afsc.caand at AFSC district offices. The deadline to apply is Sept. 1, 2010.

About the author

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Alexis Kienlen

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for Alberta Farmer since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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