The federal and provincial governments have launched an AgriRecovery herd rebuilding program for Manitoba livestock producers who were forced to sell breeding stock due to the feed shortage caused by this year’s drought.
The breeding herd buy-back program was promised back in August when the federal and Manitoba governments rolled out AgriRecovery disaster relief funding for transporting feed and animals. At the time, provincial Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler said the province was working with the federal government to come up with a third program to help rebuild inventories of breeding animals that had to be sold due to the lack of feed heading into this winter.
“These extraordinary times have brought extraordinary challenges to our province’s livestock producers and having programs to help producers address feed issues and manage their herd size is paramount,” said Eichler, in a news release announcing the program along with his federal counterpart, Marie-Claude Bibeau, on Tuesday.
“My heart goes out to Manitoba ranchers, some of whom I visited this past summer, who were forced to send their breeding herds to market, selling genetics developed over generations at a fraction of their worth,” noted Bibeau.
Based on details unveiled on Tuesday, producers who meet the program criteria can receive payments of $250 per replacement breeding female in beef cattle, bison, and elk, and $50 per breeding female to rebuild sheep flocks and goat herds to pre-drought numbers.
The payments will be based on the net increase in breeding female inventory between March 16, 2022 and January 31, 2023, and will be capped when a farm’s inventory is restored to March 16, 2021 pre-drought levels. The replacement animals can be purchased or retained from existing herds or flocks.
“Manitoba Beef Producers thanks the provincial and federal governments for making this assistance available, as extraordinary costs such as purchasing replacement breeding stock are not directly addressed in existing business risk management programs and this program recognizes the challenge created for producers because of it,” said MBP president Tyler Fulton.
Keystone Agricultural Producers president Bill Campbell also welcomed the herd rebuilding program, noting “the program will help livestock producers rebuild their herds as they continue to face extraordinary challenges this winter.”
The province says there will be two stages at which eligible producers will be asked to submit inventory numbers. Forms for submitting pre-drought and drought-affected inventories will be available online and at Manitoba Agriculture offices starting January 10, 2022. Producers will be asked to submit numbers on their rebuilt breeding herds by February 17, 2023, after which the payments will be issued.
Altogether, the federal and Manitoba governments have committed $155 million, on a 60-40 federal-provincial basis, to cover the three AgriRecovery initiatives — feed transportation, animal transportation, and herd rebuilding — to help livestock producers affected by the drought.
You can find more details on the program website.