July 28, 2021
Ontario, Canada provides emergency funds to help drought-impacted farmers
The provincial government in Ontario, Canada, is providing up to $2 million in emergency relief to drought-stricken farmers in the western portion of Northwestern Ontario.
The announcement was made on July 27 by Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Greg Rickford and Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson.
Funding is being provided through two streams.
Up to $800,000 goes to Beef Farmers of Ontario to help members cope with immediate feed shortages.
An additional $1.2 million will be made available for emergency measures to source water for livestock and install new fencing to allow livestock to graze in alternative locations.
Financial assistance will be available to livestock farmers for eligible costs incurred as a result of the dry weather retroactive to June 14, 2021 and onwards.
Referring to the drought, Kim Jo Bliss, secretary of the Rainy River Cattlemen's Association, told Northern Ontario Business "we've never experienced anything like this."
Bliss said without pasture to feed their herds, many producers are facing the difficult decision to sell their cattle.
The Rainy River region has had no significant rain events since early May.
The district has about 235 farms, including 109 beef cattle operations, eight dairy farms and four sheep/goat farms.
The Kenora district has 72 farms including seven beef farms and one sheep farm.
Thompson said the unprecedented dry weather has increased stresses on farmers' crops and livestock feed, and that the government "has heard their concerns."
She said her ministry is working closely with Beef Farmers of Ontario and its service delivery agent, AgriCorp, to provide the necessary support immediately.
Beef Farmers of Ontario president Rob Lipsett expressed appreciation, saying "these short-term measures are an important step...as we await the completion of the federal-provincial AgriRecovery assessment that is investigating potential additional assistance for farmers in affected regions of the province."
According to Thompson, the relief programme was designed specifically to address the needs of farmers in the Rainy River and Kenora districts.