We all hoped that 2023 would turn over a new leaf for drought in Alberta, but it has proved another difficult one. Most of the province was severely impacted by the record heat in May, and while many farms and ranches received rains in June, it was not timely enough to save hay crops.
The lack of winter feed has Alberta Beef Producers pushing for a 2023 AgriRecovery. A potential AgriRecovery this year will need to be complex because the impacts are not as ubiquitous as 2021 – some producers are under severe drought conditions, where others are doing okay.
The intent of AgriRecovery is to offer a disaster relief program that should be triggered every 10-15 years. But cow-calf producers have called for AgriRecovery in two of the last three years, highlighting the need for a more effective risk management program. ABP is working with Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) to enhance the Livestock Price Insurance (LPI) program and AgriStability.
LPI does a good job of mitigating price risk for producers; however, right now most producers are being impacted by fluctuations in input costs such as feed. Therefore, ABP is working closely with AFSC to explore how AgriStability can be augmented for cow-calf producers.
There are two main suggestions: 1) Accepting more allowable costs are a major first step, and other changes could make the program even more relevant, and 2) The program currently has price inventory adjustments of non-market feed, which makes purchasing feed in drought years much harder.
In late August, the federal government announced preliminary regions eligible for Livestock Tax Deferral. This option is useful to producers who need to destock; however, this is just one tool in the toolbox. ABP recognizes the overwhelming challenge of destocking, which is why we’re looking at other options as well.
In addition to our work on drought and BRM, we had the opportunity this summer to meet with Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assembly to discuss a variety of topics including AgriInsurance program, grasslands, Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), and U.K. trade.
ABP also worked closely with Western Stockgrowers’ Association, Alberta Grazing Leaseholders Association, and Northern Alberta Grazing Association to develop the Rangeland Grazing Framework, which reprioritizes grazing on public land. The document highlights the importance of ranchers for ecosystem health and how producers need to be supported through policy for them to maintain their role on the landscape.
We are all hoping for a good fall for everyone harvesting, and that we all get the soil moisture recharge that we need. Hopefully, there will be announcement regarding risk management tool changes soon, so stay tuned.
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