Applications for farmer assistance initiative now available

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer
kkellar@fortfrances.com

Beef and other animal farmers in the Rainy River District can now submit applications to access a portion of the $2-million that was promised by the provincial government to help get herds through the drought conditions the area is experiencing.

Announced in a joint press conference by Kenora Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson on Tuesday, June 27, the Northwestern Livestock Emergency Assistance Initiative will make funding available to bring hay and other feed into the district for those farmers who are running on empty or need a boost in their supply to get through, as well as to help out farmers who have or plan to purchase upgrades such as additional waterers for their animals or more fencing to bring their herd into new pasture to help alleviate the strain on existing infrastructure.

Details for how farmers could apply to the program were not finalized at the time of the press conference, but now farmers have a better idea of what they will need to access the initiative.

According to information in an email provided by Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) northern field representative Kim Jo Bliss, both of the application processes are now open to farmers, and she detailed how each will work to help our producers in the district.

For the first portion, bringing in additional hay and feed, the process will be handled by the BFO. The email notes that in order to qualify for the funding, eligible livestock producers must be residents of the Rainy River and Kenora districts, must have a valid premises identification number and farm business registration number, and will have to attest to experiencing an “immediate livestock feed shortage as a result of the extreme dry conditions of the 2021 growing season.”

The email notes the program is open to beef, dairy, sheep and goat producers who qualify, and application forms can be acquired from BFO’s Jennifer Kyle at jennifer@ontariobeef.com. Faxed and mailed applications will also be accepted, but email is preferred. Completed application forms must be submitted to Kyle no later than August 23, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. CT. Support through the program will be provided in sequential order of when the applications are received by the BFO.

Once the applications have been processed and feed is brought into the region, at least one dropsite will be set up in both the Rainy River and the Kenora District, and applicants will be responsible for retrieving their allotted feed at their own cost from the dropsite locations. BFO staff members will contact each applicant to confirm their acceptance into the initiative and provide more details on the feed delivery to each region.

The application will also have a section for farmers who are interested in transporting their breeding herd to available feed outside of the district, but still within Ontario. BFO staff will reach out to farmers who indicate an interest in that option once the application is submitted.

For the second component of the funding, that which aims to support farmers by providing funding for additional water and fencing equipment, the program is being overseen by AgriCorp, and will provide up to a maximum of $7,000 to cover incurred costs.

Eligible costs for this component include:

Water

  • Trucks/tanks
  • Pumps
  • Troughs
  • Ancillary water equipment items, such as piping, joints, floats and valves

Fencing

  • Materials, such as line posts and fencing wire
  • Staples
  • Nails
  • Labour, such as machine rentals, electrical sources including solar or battery-powered energizer

To participate in this component of the initiative, farmers need to have livestock in the Rainy River or Kenora District, a Farm Business Registration number for 2021, a valid Premises ID and have incurred eligible costs.

Completed applications must be sent by email to nwlivestock@agricorp.com by September 30, 2021. For more information about this component of the initiative, as well asa complete list of eligibility requirements and application forms, visit AgriCorps website at agricorp.com.

According to Minister Thompson at last week’s announcement, this initiative is intended to help farmers in an immediate timeframe and aims to keep as many animals in the district as possible while the provincial and federal governments investigate additional support through a joint AgriRecovery program.

Direct links to the web pages and application forms for each program can also be found on the Fort Frances Times website.