The HayEast drive to get Prairie hay to livestock producers in parched regions of Ontario and Quebec is expected to continue past the expiry of its government funding.
"Government funds have expired, but organizers are still assessing how many more farmers we can continue to help before the private donations run out," Mark Wales, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), one of the HayEast organizers, said in a release Thursday.
HayEast 2012, a partnership involving farm organizations across Canada and the Winnipeg-based Mennonite Disaster Service, was set up to co-ordinate western Canadian farmers’ response to the 2002 HayWest program, when eastern farmers sent hay to drought-stricken regions of the West.
The federal and Ontario governments in November pledged $500,000 for HayEast on a cost-shared basis, and to match cash donations made to HayEast 2012 on a cost-shared basis up to $2.5 million.
Access to those funds expired on Feb. 28, the OFA said in a release.
"HayEast 2012 was formed with a mission to help drought-struck Ontario farmers feed their livestock through the winter, and in many cases we were able to achieve that goal," Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) president Norm Hall, another HayEast 2012 organizer, said in the same release.
"We are still accepting private donations and as long as we have money in the bank, we’ll work to achieve our goal."
Wales said HayEast organizers "are still assessing how many more farmers we can continue to help before the private donations run out."
Private donations can still be made to HayEast 2012 at any Scotiabank branch across Canada or online.
Ontario producers in designated drought areas also have until March 22 to apply for AgriRecovery funding to offset "extraordinary" transportation costs to haul feed or to transport eligible livestock to sources of hay, silage, straw or green feed.
Forms were made available for the 2012 Canada-Ontario Forage and Livestock Transportation Assistance Initiative through Agricorp at the end of January. Producers can apply if they have eligible breeding livestock in beef cattle, elk, deer, goats, sheep and/or horses (including horses bred for meat, pregnant mare’s urine or sale of offspring).
The $2.4 million program can provide up to 14 cents per tonne, per kilometre, toward transportation of eligible feed to eligible livestock; up to 7.5 cents per kilometre per head to move eligible cattle and horses to available feed; and up to five cents per kilometre per head to move eligible sheep and goats to available feed.
A similar AgriRecovery program, worth up to $2.15 million, was announced in December for livestock and dairy producers in the Gatineau, Pontiac and Temiscamingue regions of Quebec, providing up to 14 cents per kilometre per tonne to haul feed or 7.5 cents per kilometre to move livestock.
The deadline for producers to apply to the Quebec program is March 15.
In both the Quebec and Ontario programs, funding applies to transport work done during the period from July 1, 2012 to March 15, 2013. In both cases, producers can also get support to haul livestock back home from their temporary feeding area, as long as that hauling is done before June 1 and invoices are submitted to the program before June 15.
Dry Ont., Que. farms needing feed get AgriRecovery, Dec. 14, 2012
Dry spots in five provinces up for livestock tax deferrals, Nov. 29, 2012
West marshaling feed for Hay East program, Sept. 15, 2012