Turkey farmers say federal funding is a good first step
May 12, 2020, Mississauga, Ont. – Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) appreciates the announcement made by the federal government of a $252-million emergency fund for farmers due to COVID-19, however, the organization is concerned the announcement does not fully address difficulties faced by farmers and food processors, including turkey farmers.
TFC is anticipating a substantial reduction in turkey production this year due to COVID-19. As processing plants experience reduced capacity, increased costs due to newly required health and safety equipment and practices, and reduced demand at foodservice and in some retail channels, there are direct ramifications on farm.
“While we appreciate the support by the prime minister and minister of agriculture shown for the agriculture and agri-food sector, like others, we feel this is only a first step,” said TFC chair Darren Ference. “Additional commodity-specific programs and funding will be required to address the losses faced by the turkey value chain.
“The structure of the funding announcement appears to have little readily available support for turkey farmers and our industry. We remain concerned about how our farmers will manage increased costs due to COVID-19 on farm.”
The $50-million buyback of surplus food will assist some areas of agriculture, but lacks specifics, the TFC states, noting that the organization looks forward to working with the government to ensure the program meets the needs of the sector and others.
While the AgriRecovery and AgriStability programs are options for producers, not all will qualify and it remains to be seen if they are effective in the context of this pandemic, TFC states, noting that COVID-19 has added to the uncertainty Canadian turkey farmers are facing, as the CUSMA implementation is close and the CPTPP is in year three of implementation.
More work needs to be done, the organization states, and TFC remains committed to working with the federal government to create programs that are effective for the turkey industry.
TFC represents Canada’s more than 530 turkey farmers.