Beef Farmers Respond to Government Commitment to Continue the Ontario Beef Cattle Set-Aside Program

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Source: Beef Farmers of Ontario

The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) is appreciative of the commitment made today by the Government of Ontario through their release of the 2021 Ontario Budget to extend access for Ontario’s beef farmers to the AgriRecovery Beef Emergency Feed Maintenance Initiative, known by industry as the Ontario beef cattle set-aside program. If needed, timely access to this program will help Ontario’s beef farmers manage cattle backlogs caused by COVID-19 related slowdowns in the processing sector.

The funding for the programis included as part of the $15 million in support earmarked for the Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program of which $5 million will be directed to the AgriRecovery Beef Emergency Feed Maintenance Initiative.

BFO advocated strongly for the creation of a set-aside program a year ago as a tool to help manage potential disruptions within the processing sector as a result of COVID-19. The program was triggered in the province in December as a result of the temporary closure of Cargill Meat Solutions in Guelph, Ontario due to rising positive COVID-19 cases among plant workers.

“I would like to thank Minister Hardeman, Minister Bibeau and our federal and provincial governments for their continued investment in the beef cattle set-aside program for Ontario,” says BFO President Rob Lipsett. “While our farmers are still suffering significant losses from low market prices and high input costs associated with managing their cattle supply, this program has helped. It will continue to be an important contingency tool available to our farmers and their families in the unfortunate incident of another temporary plant closure.”

BFO continues to urge that this type of program should become a permanent tool to help mitigate disasters that reduce processing availability. Plant floods, fires, human or animal disease outbreaks, and labour-force stoppages could be better managed with access to this tool.

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