Quebec City, Quebec – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, André Lamontagne, announced the creation of the Canada-Quebec Livestock Assistance Initiative, $21.8 million in financial assistance intended to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19 in 2020-2021. The Initiative falls under the AgriRecovery response framework, which is part of the suite of Business Risk Management programs of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
In the spring of 2020, the rate of livestock slaughter slowed considerably. This has forced producers to keep the animals longer and has resulted in significant additional costs for them, in addition to posing risks to the health and welfare of the animals. The slowing of slaughter is the result of sanitary measures and the absence of some workers affected by the coronavirus, as well as a substantial drop in demand for large game meat caused by the reduction and cessation of hotel and restaurant activities.
The assistance aims to offset part of the costs borne by livestock producers to keep animals awaiting slaughter on farms until normalcy is restored. La Financière agricole du Québec will manage applications for the Initiative until the assistance is paid.
The establishment of the Canada-Quebec Livestock Assistance Initiative fits into the objectives of the 2018–2025 Biofood Policy – Feeding Our World. It aims to support risk management and value chains by helping to maintain and adapt financial tools for agricultural risk management to cope with climate hazards and market conditions.
“The health crisis caused by COVID-19 continues to put stress on food producers and processors and affect their operations. We are aware of the challenges they face and we are working with the Government of Quebec to financially support Quebec’s cattle, pig and large game producers. This initiative will help, among other things, to offset the costs generated by the temporary closure of certain slaughterhouses, to ensure animal welfare, and to preserve the food security of the people of Quebec and Canada.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“The pandemic has reminded us of how crucial the bio-food sector is to maintaining the Quebec population’s access to a variety of quality foods. Our government, which is particularly sensitive to issues affecting the food supply chain, recognizes its leadership role. The situation of livestock producers who have to keep their animals on the farm longer than expected has generated considerable costs. Financial assistance to support them was necessary, and I am very happy that our two governments are supporting those who are working to feed our world.”
– Mr. André Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec Region
“La Financière agricole du Québec is pleased that government authorities have trusted us to act as administrator of this important initiative. This demonstrates recognition of our staff’s know-how and confirms our role as a major partner with agricultural and agri-food businesses in Quebec. Businesses will be able to apply starting May 10. As usual, our teams will be available to support these businesses in the process.”
– Mr. Ernest Desrosiers, Chief Executive Officer, La Financière agricole du Québec
“We welcome the openness of the federal and provincial governments to injecting funds into the cattle industry. We will soon learn about the terms of the program and we would like all steer producers who have suffered negative impacts to be compensated.”
– Mr. Jean-Thomas Maltais, President, Les Producteurs de bovins du Québec
“In the past 13 months, our farmers have faced daunting financial and logistical challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on the outbreak-affected hog industry, which was already experiencing labor shortages. The past year has also reminded us of the importance of each link in the pork chain. If one of them is affected, the whole production is affected. There is therefore an urgent need to reassure our thousands of producers who represent small and medium-sized businesses on a human scale, creating wealth for all regions of Quebec.”
– Mr. Alexandre Cusson, General Manager, Les Éleveurs de porcs du Québec
“I am pleased to be part of the joint announcement of financial assistance to support breeders. Our big game sector has been through a number of challenges over the past few years, including the Chronic Wasting Disease crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, which have completely crushed our markets and put breeders in a precarious situation. I thank you for this process that we have just begun. Looking forward to working together for the survival of our farms.”
– Ms. Josée Toupin, President, La Fédération des éleveurs de grands gibiers du Québec