Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau encourages producers to enroll in AgriStability before the July 3rd deadline.

She notes where Provinces have enacted the changes producers can now access up to 75% of their expected benefit up from 50% and to help them estimate the level of support they can get from this program a calculator is now available online.

AgriStability is designed to help cover revenue losses like the decline in hog prices.

AgriRecovery covers extraordinary costs faced by producers due to disaster.

A Province or Territory must normally make the request for the program to be activated which is cost-shared 60-40 by the Federal-Provincial governments; it would normally cover 70% of eligible expenses they are now making it 90%.

She notes under the AgriRecovery program $125 million dollars have been designated, with up to $50 million for a set-aside program for the cattle sector and up to $50 million for the pork sector.

“We will continue to work with the provinces because they are responsible for the administration of the program. But I can assure you I'm having conversations at least once a week with them, and they are all very committed to have the money flow for the farmers very quickly.”

Ottawa has left $25 million of the funding under AgriRecovery available within the budget but has not yet designated its use.

Tuesday’s announcement also included $77.5 million for the food processing industry.

Bibeau says this funding will ensure we can expand our capacity for Canadian made products by adapting modernizing and reopening plants that have closed or are operating under capacity.

“The funds will also help food processors to implement measures to protect the safety of their workers, so they can continue production during the COVID crisis. This program will be retroactive to March 25.”

She notes more discussion is needed with the sector and the Province's to finalize the application criteria for the distribution of that funding.

“The idea is to increase our processing capacity in Canada. So this is really the idea while also protecting better our workers considering the particular situation we are facing now.”

Agriculture Minister Bibeau says in coming up with the funding they looked at all the programs; what was being covered and where the gaps were.

She notes the meat processing sector was one area that is seriously being affected right now but acknowledged other issues remain.

“We know that the horticultural sector also needs to be reassured in terms of labour. So we are trying to find solutions directly with labour.”

Bibeau says in April about 11,300 Temporary Foreign Workers arrived in Canada compared to 13 thousand in a normal year.

Ottawa also announced plans to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission's borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste. 

As well the Federal Government is launching a Surplus Food Purchase program with an initial investment of $50 million to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories such as potatoes and poultry to local food banks. 

Bibeau says discussions on just how that program will work is currently underway.