Source: Beef Farmers of Ontario
The Canada-Ontario COVID-19 Beef Emergency Feed Maintenance Initiative, also referred to by industry as the set-aside program, can now be accessed by Ontario farmers to help mitigate the impact of the temporary closure of Cargill Meat Solutions in Guelph. The temporary plant shutdown is a result of a number of positive COVID-19 cases detected among employees at the facility.
Earlier this year, the governments of Ontario and Canada committed to providing up to $5 million in immediate support to help beef farmers manage costs associated with the impacts of COVID-19 should the sector be faced with processing disruptions. The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA) worked together with government to develop the program guidelines earlier this year in the unfortunate event that it would be needed by the industry.
As announced by Minister Bibeau and Minister Hardeman, effective Monday, December 21, 2020, Ontario beef farmers can apply for funding to help cover increased costs of setting aside and feeding market-ready cattle. The Canada-Ontario COVID-19 Beef Emergency Feed Maintenance Initiative is being offered through AgriRecovery, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
The program will be administered by Agricorp and we anticipate program guidelines and applicant forms to be available on their website on Monday with further details on how to apply.
In addition to urgently requesting that the set-aside program be triggered, BFO, OCFA and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association are working collectively with both levels of government on other potential shortterm measures to help mitigate the fallout from the current situation.
BFO encourages members impacted by this situation to begin by contacting their financial institution to discuss options for short-term support. Members should also consult with their nutritionists and veterinarians to discuss animal health recommendations.
As always, if farmers are in need of a safe and judgement free space to talk, we encourage them to call Crisis Services Canada (1.833.456.4566) where trained responders are available round the clock.
The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) represent 19,000 beef producers in Ontario by advocating in the areas of sustainability, animal health and care, environment, food safety, and domestic and export market development. BFO’s vision is to help foster a sustainable and profitable beef industry, and have Ontario beef recognized as an outstanding product by our consumers.