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Feds to provide $252-million to agri-food industry

The ag industry is suffering losses as processing plants close down amid COVID-19 outbreaks and a glut of certain produce that is being thrown out because restaurants and hotels are closed.

The government will provide processing plants with $77-million to purchase more personal protective equipment, adapt to health protocols, and expand or adapt their processing capacity.

The Agri-Recovery program will provide beef and pork farmers with $125-million to adapt their farms and help pay costs of keeping and feeding animals longer on farms because they can’t be processed.

Dairy farmers will see the Canadian Dairy Commission receive an extension of its credit line and a new $50-million surplus food program will see the government buy extra produce from farms and redistribute it to organizations helping to manage food insecurity. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that will help prevent food producers from having to throw out surplus food and provide those farmers with compensation for their produce.

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The Canadian Federation of Agriculture had originally asked for $2.6-billion for help with all farming sectors.  When pressed that this investment falls far short of that Trudeau says this is a preliminary investment and if more is needed more will come.  The grain industry was not mentioned in today’s announcement.

The feds have previously announced $50-million to assist in covering the cost to house temporary workers during their 14-day isolation period before they can begin to work on farms.

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