WESTERN PRODUCER — Federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland has tabled the 2023-24 budget, promising funding for a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank and more funding for eastern Canadian farmers to move away from imported fertilizer.
The budget allocated $57.5 million over five years, beginning this fiscal year, to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to establish the FMD vaccine bank and develop response plans. Ottawa intends to ask the provinces and territories to cost-share the initiative.
The Canadian cattle sector has been asking for a vaccine bank, saying the country can’t rely on the United States to share its vaccines in the event the disease arrives in North America.
Eastern farmers who rely on fertilizer largely imported from Russia will be eligible for $34.1 million over three years through the On-Farm Climate Action Fund to support nitrogen management practices “that will help optimize the use and reduce the need for fertilizer.”
The budget also proposes to provide $13 million to Agriculture Canada to increase the interest-free limit under the Advance Payments Program from $250,000 to $350,000 for the 2023 program year.
Ottawa said it will consult with provinces to find ways to get financial help to small producers who demonstrate urgent financial need.
A $333 million fund available over 10 years will support research and development of new products that use solids non-fat as the dairy sector faces a growing surplus of the processing byproduct. Limited processing capacity for SNF means lost opportunities, the budget documents said.
This budget also once again states the federal government’s commitment to establishing a Canada Water Agency. It provides $85.1 million over five years, beginning this year, with $400,000 in remaining amortization and $21 million ongoing to create the agency, which will be headquartered in Winnipeg. Legislation to establish the agency as a stand-alone entity is expected later this year.
The government said it will launch consultations this summer on right to repair and the interoperability of farm equipment.