The federal and Ontario governments have put up $5 million for beef farmers who can’t find a home for market-ready cattle in the wake of the COVID-19-related shutdown of the Better Beef plant Cargill owns in Guelph.
“I commend the federal and provincial governments for moving swiftly to ensure this tool and funding support was made available to Ontario cattle producers to help mitigate the impact of the disruptions we’ve experienced at processing,” said Rob Lipsett, president, Beef Farmers of Ontario.
Beef farmers can apply for funding to help cover increased costs of feeding and setting aside market-ready cattle due to COVID-19 related processing delays.
"We care deeply about the well-being of our farmers and understand the repercussions that short-term capacity reductions have on livestock producers,” said the federa; Agriculture Minister Marie- Claude Bibeau.
“This is another measure we are taking to support our cattle farmers and to continue to keep high-quality and affordable meat products available to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Ontario Agriculture Minister Ernie Hatrdeman said “we are continuing to work with our farmers and all the agri-food heroes in our food processing network to help them meet challenges posed by COVID-19 and to keep a steady supply of safe and nutritious foods available for Ontario families.”
More than 80 workers at the plant have tested positive for the virus and another 40 who were in close contact are ordered to stay in isolation until they test negative.
The plant has been shut down indefinitely, but the company said it will re-open as soon as it’s deemed safe.