On Friday, March 5, the Government of Alberta announced that Alberta hog farmers are now eligible to receive funding through a $4-million initiative under the federal-provincial AgriRecovery program, delivered in Alberta by the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC).
The support comes following more than three weeks of hog production backlogs created by the unfortunate COVID-19 outbreak in the Red Deer area, which led to the voluntary shutdown of the Olymel processing facility, in order to support worker health and safety.
“Alberta’s hog producers are economic drivers in our province. They are world leaders in the livestock sector, supporting our rural communities by creating thousands of jobs and exporting more than $500 million worth of food across the globe,” said Devin Dreeshen, Minister, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “We want to make sure that hog producers are getting the supports they need to continue doing what they do best, which is producing safe, high-quality food, not just for Alberta families but for families all around the world.”
The program will pay producers $0.95 per day per animal to cover the costs of keeping market-ready hogs on maintenance rations. Hog producers who own market-ready hogs intended for processing between February 8 and March 31, 2021, which were held back from shipping due to reduced processing capacity, are eligible to apply for this initiative. The estimated total backlog numbers more than 100,000 hogs.
“The AgriRecovery program is designed to help producers in emergency situations, and the shutdown of the Olymel plant certainly constitutes an emergency for Alberta hog farmers,” said Brent Moen, Chair, Alberta Pork. “On behalf of Alberta Pork, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Government of Alberta and Government of Canada for making this support available during this incredibly difficult situation.”
Many of Alberta’s commercial hog farmers ship to the Red Deer facility on a weekly basis, and the plant shutdown has prompted producers to deploy contingency plans and seek alternative solutions for marketing their pigs. These alternative solutions have created unexpected financial burdens for producers, especially related to additional feed costs and marketing charges over-and-above normal expenses. The financial burden for individual producers, in this situation, has ranged from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
With the announcement of support made, Alberta Pork will now begin working with AFSC to facilitate program delivery in a timely manner.
For more information, please contact Darcy Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Alberta Pork by email at email@example.com or by phone at 780-491-3529, toll-free at 1-877-247-PORK (7675).