Help coming for Manitoba livestock producers impacted by drought

The federal and Manitoba governments are launching two programs aimed at helping livestock farmers with the costs of feed and transportation.

Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Ralph Eichler made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday, noting producers can now apply to the Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program, as well as the Livestock Transportation Drought Assistance program.

“These dry conditions across Manitoba have created extremely stressful and challenging situations for many producers and the agriculture sector continues to display the resiliency of our farm families,” Eichler said.

The province notes that the Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance program will help farmers buy and test feed for the livestock in order to maintain breeding their herds. While the Livestock Transportation Drought Assistance program offers help for producers to deal with freight expenses associated with moving livestock to different feed supply areas.

Breeding animals of beef and dairy cattle, horses raised for pregnant mare urine, sheep, goats, and bison are eligible under the Livestock Feed and Transportation Drought Assistance Program. Livestock producers have to be supporting at least 10 animals to qualify for the program, with the initiative covering feed and feed transportation expenses from June 1, 2021, to March 15, 2022.

The province added that feed needs to have been delivered from a supplier that is at least 40 km away, with help available for hauling feed for up to a maximum one-way distance of 600 km. Eligible feed purchases must be made between June 1, 2021, and March 15, 2022.

The Livestock Transportation Drought Assistance program is also to help with the costs of transporting breeding animals, such as beef cattle, sheep and goats, to alternate locations to feed. The program covers transportation costs up to 1,000 kilometres and does not cover moving animals for market or sale.

“The AgriRecovery Drought Assistance was designed to support an immediate future, the needs of producers and to ensure sustainability of the livestock sector in Manitoba,” Eichler said.

The province is also in the process of designing a cowherd-rebuilding program to help livestock farmers who were forced to sell their breeding stock because of limited feed in 2021. The goal of the program is to help them rebuild their herds beginning in 2022.

“Manitoba wants to support our farm families. We want to help those that have sold their cows this summer due to doubt or who will have to make this tough decision this fall or winter,” Eichler said.