The Trough

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B.C. ag ministry aims to address hay, feed shortage in Western Canada

July 27, 2023
By The Trough

British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food is funding a new Access to Feed program in partnership with the BC Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA). The program was created in response to the current shortage of hay and feed across Western Canada. The shortage is a result of a number of difficult-to-control factors, such as drought and wildfires.

Through the program, the BCCA will match sellers of hay and feed domestically across Canada and internationally with farmers and producers.

“We are in daily communication with producers impacted by drought, and the main issue we are hearing right now is that some are already having to use their fall and winter feed,” said Pam Alexis, B.C.’s minister of agriculture and food, in a statement. “We are listening to what farmers and ranchers need most, and in collaboration with BC Cattlemen’s and other partners, we are taking action to help producers on the ground find all available sources of hay for their animals.”

“The agriculture sector is being challenged by this year’s severe drought, which is causing producers to make very difficult decisions,” said Kevin Boon, rancher and general manager, BCCA, in a statement. “For the livestock sector, our biggest concerns are the lack of feed and the welfare of our animals. This is why we’re working together with government on programs that make sense for farmers and ranchers so they can get access to what meets their individual needs and then be able to make the right decisions for the management of their operations. These programs have the opportunity to make a difference for B.C.’s agricultural producers now and in the future.”


BCCA will collaborate with industry partners and local producers to procure and deliver the specific feed required by those in need. Immediate supports are also available through the federal-provincial AgriStability program to help producers with drought or wildfire-related income declines. Through AgriStability, participants will be contacted about receiving targeted advance payments, starting Friday, July 28, 2023. Approved payments can be in the hands of producers within 10 business days and can help provide the cashflow to cover necessary expenses, including the increased cost of feed and hay.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food, in collaboration with the federal government, has also acted to ensure that producers who did not enrol in AgriStability by the April 30, 2023, deadline are still eligible for late participation and can receive financial assistance. Producers must have declared farm income for tax purposes and have an income decline to be eligible to enrol in AgriStability.

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