GUELPH, ON [July 27, 2021] – Relief is on the way for farmers in northwestern Ontario impacted by severe drought conditions. The Ontario government has announced a $2 million investment through the Northwestern Livestock Emergency Assistance Initiative to support farmers in the region to ensure they have the resources they need to maintain their livelihoods.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is grateful for the prompt financial assistance to ensure farmers in Rainy River, Kenora and Dryden have access to water and feed to sustain their herds. It will also ensure the continued viability of the farming and food sector in northern Ontario.
The investment, which was jointly announced by Hon. Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Hon. Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry and MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, designated $1.2 million for water and fencing infrastructure and up to $800,000 to Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) to handle the delivery, distribution, and sourcing feed for livestock.
Agricorp will be tasked with facilitating this initiative. The financial assistance for water and fencing infrastructure will be available to livestock farmers for eligible costs incurred as a result of the dry weather retroactive to June 14, 2021.
“We sincerely appreciate and respect the swift action of the Ontario government to respond to the request of the region and provide necessary support to farmers in crisis,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA President. “This is a relief for farmers in the area, not only for their businesses, but for their mental health too, giving them peace of mind that help is on the way.”
The situation in northwestern Ontario has reached a crisis level due to above seasonal temperatures through May, June and into July, combined with a lack of rainfall. It has severely impacted hay, grain crops, pasture conditions and access to water.
Farmers expressed serious concerns and illustrated the severity of the crisis during an industry roundtable last week hosted by OFA, BFO and Grain Farmers of Ontario. It evolved into an emergency situation caused by crops burning off, pastures drying out, and in some cases, minimal access to water resulting in immediate sell-off of livestock.
OFA was pleased to hear Minister Rickford confirm that farmers facing similar circumstances in nearby regions may be considered for support. We will continue working together with the provincial government and industry partners to address the needs of our northern farmers.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit www.ofa.on.ca.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218