The program is substantially less than the Canadian Federation of Agriculture's request for $2.6 billion dollars or the Canadian Pork Councils call for $20 dollars per hog.

Pork Council Chair Rick Bergman says it doesn't go far enough.

“We can do better. We're a civilized country, and so we look forward to more solutions. But right now the solution given to us would resemble a cup of water to look after a house that's burning down.”

The overall problem is a slowdown in the processing sector.

Some employees at the plants are testing positive for COVID-19 and that has sharply reduced the number of animals that can be slaughtered.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association says the $50 million for the set-aside program is welcome but notes other key issues were not addressed.

Other key areas of concern are around the increased insurance premiums and the ongoing problems around the business risk management programs for livestock producers.

CCA President Bob Lowe says it all adds up and producers take the hit and customers, consumers need to realize that.

“We've taken food for granted for generations now and that attitude has to come to an end.”

In the last few weeks beef and pork producers have seen a drop in prices as processing plants slow production to deal with a lack of employees as a result of COVID-19.

The main cases have been around three of the biggest slaughter facilities in Alberta.

The Province has about 200 meat slaughter facilities but three have reported the majority of COVID cases amongst employees.

Alberta Health Services reports 946 cases in workers at Cargill with 798 recovered (84%), JBS Foods has 566 cases in workers; 434 recovered (76%), while the Harmony Beef Plant has 38 cases in workers; 12 recovered (32%).