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More drought relief coming for Northwestern Ontario livestock farmers

Rainy River and Kenora district farmers are eligible, but Thunder Bay could be added.
Beef farm Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY — The provincial and federal governments are making additional support available for drought-stricken livestock farmers in the Northwest.

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Lisa Thompson said Wednesday that Ontario is committing up to $5 million for its 40 per cent share of the federal-provincial AgriRecovery program.

The joint initiative is designed to help farmers cover the extraordinary costs caused by severe drought and feed shortages in Ontario.

Thompson said Ontario is calling on the federal government to include costs related to hay and other feeds, transportation of feed, transportation of animals to feed, measures to provide water to animals including trucking and equipment, temporary fencing and other extraordinary costs.

These costs are estimated to be $200 per head for cattle.

The minister also said Ottawa has approved Ontario's request to increase the AgriStability interim payment to 75 per cent in drought-impacted areas.

The new support builds on Ontario's $2 million Northwestern Livestock Emergency Assistance Initiative announced by Thompson on July 27.

It covers the cost of necessities such as feed and hay, temporary fencing, and the sourcing of water.

However it was an interim measure while the two governments worked together to develop the longer-term AgriRecovery response.

Both programs are directed at livestock farmers in the Rainy River and Kenora districts, where the drought has been particularly severe.

But a spokesperson for the provincial agriculture ministry told TBNewswatch the two governments are still finalizing details of the new program, and that Minister Thompson has written to her federal counterpart "asking that Thunder Bay be included when assessing AgriRecovery support in Northwestern Ontario."

Farmers outside the city have said that they too are suffering because of the shortfall in rain this year.


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