Mare and foalLivestock producers in Alberta and Saskatchewan facing two years of drought will receive funding from federal and provincial governments to buy feed while damaged pastures recover. Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz joined Jack Hayden, Alberta Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Bob Bjornerud, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister, to make the announcement in Lloydminster.

“Ranchers in Western Canada know how to deal with all kinds of weather, but when they get hit hard with back-to-back droughts, AgriRecovery is there to make sure they have the support they need,” said Minister Ritz. “This investment will help producers buy the feed they need to keep their animals off the pastures while the grass recovers from the drought damage.”

Under the 2010 Pasture Recovery Initiative, livestock producers living in the eligible counties and municipal districts in Central and Northern Alberta and West Central and Northwest Saskatchewan will receive pasture assistance for breeding cattle, as well as assistance for other types of breeding livestock, totaling up to $114 million subject to size of the eligible livestock. It is estimated that there are more than 2.2 million breeding animals in the affected areas.

In 2008 and 2009, portions of Alberta and Saskatchewan experienced challenging weather conditions that have resulted in delayed pasture development for 2010 in the hardest hit areas.

"The drought conditions experienced during the last several years have been a challenge for many producers in the province and it is important that we address this type of extreme situation through risk management initiatives,” said Minister Hayden.
“This AgriRecovery payment to livestock producers in the extremely dry areas will allow them time to evaluate pastures and make alternate plans or decisions related to their operations."

“I witnessed first-hand the dry conditions in several parts of West Central and Northwest Saskatchewan during my drought tour in 2009,” said Minister Bjornerud. “The drought had a major effect on livestock producers in the designated area and this initiative will help them address the resulting additional feed costs.”

The program will be administered in Alberta by Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, and by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture in Saskatchewan.

2010 Pasture Recovery Initiative (PRI)
The federal and provincial governments have agreed to support an AgriRecovery response to extreme drought areas located in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Who is eligible for the 2010 Pasture Recovery Initiative?
Livestock producers pasturing in the eligible counties and municipal districts in Central and Northern Alberta and West Central and Northwest Saskatchewan will receive variable payments based on the type of breeding livestock they had as of January 1, 2010.

How were the primary drought areas determined?
The areas that were severely damaged due to drought were determined in consultation with the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Information used to determine drought impact and severity included various sources of data such as soil moisture indexes and precipitation models.

What areas are eligible for PRI?
In Alberta, the eligible Counties and Municipal Districts are:
Acadia No. 34
Athabasca County
Barrhead County No. 11
Beaver County
Big Horn No. 8
Big Lakes No. 125
Birch Hills County
Bonnyville No. 87
Brazeau County
City of Calgary
Camrose County
Clear Hills County
Clearwater County
City of Edmonton
Fairview No. 136
Flagstaff County
Foothills No. 31
Grande Prairie County No. 1
Greenview No. 16
Kneehill County
Lac La Biche (Lakeland) County
Lac Ste. Anne County
Lacombe County
Lamont County
Leduc County
Lesser Slave River No. 124
Minburn County No. 27
Mountain View County
Northern Lights County
Northern Sunrise County
Opportunity No. 17
Paintearth County No. 18
Parkland County
Peace No. 135
Ponoka County
Provost No. 52
Red Deer County
Rocky View No. 44
Saddle Hills County
Smoky Lake County
Smoky River No. 130
Special Area No. 2
Special Area No. 3
Special Area No. 4
Spirit River No. 133
St. Paul County No. 19
Starland County (and Drumheller)
Stettler County No. 6
Strathcona County (and Elk Island)
Sturgeon County
Thorhold County No. 7
Two Hills County No. 21
Vermilion River County No. 24
Wainwright No. 61
Westlock County
Wetaskiwin County No. 10
Wheatland County
Woodlands County
Yellowhead County

What is the definition of a breeding animal?
Breeding animal means horses, beef cattle, bison, elk, deer, llamas, sheep, goats, horses (meat or PMU) or alpacas that were:
· Bred to produce offspring in 2010 or a breeding male;
· Primarily grazed on lands within the primary drought area in 2009; and
· Were on hand at January 1, 2010.

How does the payment work?
PRI will pay an eligible applicant an amount calculated as the number of eligible breeding livestock multiplied by the following per head amounts:
· Horses $60.00
· Beef Cattle and Bison $50.00
· Elk $25.00
· Deer and Llamas $12.50
· Sheep, Goats and Alpacas $10.00

Payments may be prorated based on grazing acres in cases where eligible applicants also pasture outside the Designated Areas.

How many eligible animals are there?
It is estimated that there are more than 2.2 million breeding animals in the affected areas.

How do livestock producers receive their payment?
In Alberta, producers within the primary drought area will be receiving an information package in the mail that includes an application form. This form must be filled out and returned to Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC), who is administering the program. There will also be forms available at www.afsc.ca and at AFSC district offices within the affected area. The deadline to apply is September 1, 2010.

Why is this payment important for livestock producers?
Pasture development for 2010 is expected to be delayed by at least four to six weeks or more in the hardest hit areas, resulting in feed challenges for livestock producers. This payment will allow eligible livestock producers time to evaluate their pastures and make decisions, as necessary.

 

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