ONTARIO — The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. The funding will help cover the increased costs of feeding market ready cattle and hogs due to COVID-19 related processing delays, while redirecting surplus pork products to help those in need.
“This program will help ensure the country’s food supply chain will remain strong and ready to recover as the economy gradually and safely reopens,” said MPP Jim McDonell.
The beef cattle set-aside program will provide beef farmers with up to $5 million in support. Farmers can claim $2 per head of cattle per day to help pay for additional maintenance costs should they have to keep their market-ready animals on their farms for extended periods of time.
The hog sector support program will also provide hog farmers with up to $5 million to help cover additional maintenance costs. Ontario is also providing up to $1.5 million to process and package surplus pork for food banks, to provide those in need with fresh, locally produced pork products. This will assist the pork processing industry with managing capacity while helping those in need.
“We are grateful to our hardworking farmers who are providing Canadians with safe and healthy meat products,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This investment is another way we are supporting the agricultural sector to ensure a stable meat supply and keep high-quality and affordable Canadian meat products on our grocery store shelves and kitchen tables.”
“During consultations with the pork and beef sectors, the need for emergency support to help them maintain their operations during COVID-19 was clear,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We understand the challenges that our farmers are facing and we are working with our commodity organizations to address their priorities and help our farmers manage through these unprecedented times.”
Both the beef cattle set-aside and hog sector support programs are being offered through AgriRecovery initiatives, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The provincial contributions are part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
“Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 provided $17 billion in relief, including additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance and Chair of Ontario’s Jobs and Recovery Committee. “Throughout the pandemic, farmers have continued playing their vital role feeding the province and supporting our economy. We know these are challenging times for our farmers so we are stepping up to help cover some of the increased costs they are facing.”
“I would like to thank Minister Hardeman, Minister Bibeau and our federal and provincial governments for their investment into the creation of a beef cattle set-aside program for Ontario,” said Beef Farmers of Ontario President Rob Lipsett. “This will be an important tool to have available to help manage potential disruptions within our processing sector. Having this safeguard in place, if it is ultimately needed, is critically important.”
“Ontario Pork appreciates the continued dialogue with the government during this world-wide crisis,” said Eric Schwindt, Chair, Ontario Pork. “The announced program is an important first step in helping family pork farms to navigate this stressful situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”