A federal/provincial program to help ranchers in parched areas of eastern and southwestern Ontario connect their animals to feed this winter will now run until the end of May.
The province on Friday announced an 11-week extension on its deadlines for the Canada-Ontario Forage Livestock Transportation Assistance initiative the two levels of government set up in December.
Eligible producers now get until June 1 to transport forage to livestock -- and until June 14 to submit the required paperwork to Agricorp, the province's ag funding delivery agency.
The initiative pledged almost $2.4 million for eligible producers in designated drought areas to buy feed for their breeding herds over winter, or to move livestock temporarily to areas with available feed.
Eligible livestock producers taking part in the initiative can get up to 14 cents per tonne, per kilometre, toward eligible costs of transporting forage -- or up to 7.5 cents per km, per head, to move animals to available feed, to a maximum 70 per cent of actual eligible costs.
The maximum overwintering period allowed under the program is still 210 days, but the start and end dates -- previously Oct. 3 to May 1 -- are now flexible, Agricorp said.
Eligible dates under the program for transporting eligible livestock to feed, meanwhile, have not changed. Outbound transportation of livestock must still take place by March 15; return transportation must take place on or before June 1.
"This extension will ensure Ontario's livestock producers have the support they need to continue to winter their herds and get ready for spring," federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Friday in a release.
"Extending this deadline until the pastures are ready will provide some of the help they need after last year's difficult season," Ontario's premier/ag minister Kathleen Wynne said in the same release.
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