AAFC and CFA announce $3 million in Hay West 2021 funding
By Top Crop Manager
On Dec. 15, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) announced $3 million of funding for the Hay West 2021 initiative. This brings the government’s total contribution to the program to $4 million.
The Hay West initiative helps farmers in Western Canada who are currently suffering from a hay shortage due to the devastating 2021 drought. Farmers from the Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec have graciously committed or donated hay to be sent to the Prairies to help feed livestock.
“The past year for our producers has been marked by numerous challenges related to climate change,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, in a press release. “They have demonstrated great strength of character, willingness to rebuild, extraordinary resilience and also exceptional solidarity. They were able to rely on each other, and on our government, no matter where they were in the country, making it easier for everyone to bounce back. By investing in Hay West, our government is bolstering the solidarity that unites our agricultural producers.”
All proceeds from donations go directly to paying the transportation costs for moving hay across Canada and the logistical support needed to do so. CFA has sent over 5.5-million pounds of hay so far, but the demand is great and more funding is needed to send as much hay as possible over the coming months.
“We have seen farmers come together to help their colleagues across the country, and this funding from AAFC will facilitate the delivery of hay to farmers and ranchers who otherwise would have no feed to maintain valuable breeding stock. Breeding stock takes decades to build up and the more animals we can help maintain, the more we minimize the long-term damage to our beef sector,” said CFA president Mary Robinson in a press release.
“This funding is a clear signal from the government that it supports this important initiative. Hay West 2021 will not fill the need for hay in its entirety, but the hay we are able to send will help mitigate the fallout and long-term damage.”
The HayWest program is all about farmers helping farmers.
— Marie-Claude Bibeau (@mclaudebibeau) December 15, 2021
Robinson added, “With these funds, we can feed more, but we will be seeking ongoing funding from the government and corporate donors to continue this program over the coming months to help as many animals and producers as possible. Every shipment is saving animals and saving farm families’ livelihoods. The more certainty and predictability we can give farmers on both ends of these shipments, the better they will be able to prepare and help minimize the long-term impacts of this feed shortage on our Canadian beef sector.”
To date, the government has provided $4 million to the Hay West program. CFA has also received other donations from Farm Credit Canada ($50,000), the Ontario Federation of Agriculture ($50,000), the government of Prince Edward Island and CN Rail ($125,000 with an offer to match other donations up to an additional $125,000, for a total commitment of $250,000). If you are a corporate or private donor looking to make a contribution to Hay West 2021, please contact Laurie Karson at Laurie@canadian-farmers.ca.