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Supporting ranchers through hot Alberta summer

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Provincial Press Release August 3, 3021 @ 2:02 pm published at 2:06 pm

Alberta is pulling together resources to help the agriculture industry withstand prolonged dry conditions.

From consistent water supply to access to feed to managing financial risk, Alberta’s ranchers can access the programs that make the most sense for their operation.

“Alberta’s government is here for our cattle producers. We’re working with industry to identify their most pressing concerns and making sure they have the supports they need to make it through this difficult time. We will continue to support the agriculture industry in whatever way we can.” Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Featured supports:

  • The governments of Canada and Alberta, through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, recently doubled the low yield threshold to encourage Alberta grain farmers to divert additional cereal or pulse crops to be salvaged for livestock feed.

  • Alberta’s Water Pumping Program provides assistance to producers in securing adequate water supplies for domestic, livestock or agricultural purposes.

  • Alberta announced a 20 per cent reduction in premium costs for crop, pasture and forage insurance earlier this year, which protects against weather-related production loss. As a result, 400 additional farmers and ranchers enrolled, almost 1,400 farmers and ranchers increased their level of coverage and almost 230 clients re-enrolled after cancelling their insurance in 2020 or prior years.

  • Alberta’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) hired an additional 21 adjustment team members in December 2020 and April 2021, bringing the total number of active adjustment team members to 119. The government has advised crop adjusters to be flexible and complete early assessments to convert crops to livestock feed.

  • The federal Livestock Tax Deferral allows farmers who sell part of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding in prescribed drought or flood regions to defer a portion of sale proceeds to the following year.

Additionally, a number of provinces have joined Alberta in requesting that the federal government undertake a formal assessment for an AgriRecovery response. AgriRecovery is designed to cover uninsurable costs, such as those incurred due to extreme drought conditions.

Provincial officials are working hard to identify extraordinary circumstances not covered by existing programs and advocate for new solutions. This assessment has begun and includes collaboration with industry stakeholders.

On July 31, Minister Dreeshen, along with Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon and Associate Minister of Rural Economic Development Nate Horner, toured the dry conditions facing cattle producers near Bassano.

“I appreciated the opportunity to show Premier, Minister Dreeshen, Minister Nixon and Associate Minister Horner the impacts of drought first-hand. I value their acknowledgement of the severity and urgency of the situation. AgriRecovery programming and other initiatives are going to be essential to maintain Alberta cattle herds.” Melanie Wowk, chair, Alberta Beef Producers

“I want to thank the Government of Alberta for taking the time to personally experience the drought conditions. On behalf of Western Stock Growers' Association, Alberta Cattle Feeders Association, Canadian Cattlemen's Association and Alberta Beef Producers, we are looking forward to discussing drought solutions for all producers in the province.” Brad Dubeau, general manager, Alberta Beef Producers

Alberta continues to experience a very dry summer, which is a concern for many of the province’s ranchers. Hot weather places additional stress on growing crops and water supply. Livestock owners depend on a consistent food and water supply for their animals. Without proper support, ranchers can face difficult decisions surrounding sourcing feed, securing water and selling off herds.

The province is monitoring the situation and working with AFSC, other levels of government and our commodity groups to make sure farmers, ranchers and producers have the supports they need during this difficult time.

A more thorough list of resources for farming in dry conditions is available on This page is currently being updated twice per week.

Quick facts

  • Large parts of the province are experiencing 365-day moisture deficits that occur less than once in 50 years. This, combined with below-average growing season precipitation, above-average temperatures and high winds, has led to acute moisture stress across many agricultural areas.


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