Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced on Thursday that the federal government will grant tax deferrals to livestock producers in Western Canada affected by the drought.
“Our government understands the situation facing livestock producers across western Canada,” Ritz said in a news release. “This tax deferral will provide producers with the flexibility they need to make decisions in the best interest of their individual operations.”
The measure applies to producers facing feed shortages in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. A full list of eligible regions is available on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website, and includes several regions around the Lloydminster area.
Under the program, producers will be able to defer the sale of their livestock for one year. To become eligible for a deferral, producers must reduce their breeding herd by at least 15 per cent. In that case, 30 per cent of income from net sales can be deferred. In cases where the herd declines by 30 per cent or more, 90 per cent of income from net sales can be deferred.
Eligible producers can request the tax deferral when filing their 2015 income tax returns.
Insufficient rain throughout the spring and summer has left producers across the Praries with record-nearing moisture levels that have resulted in dry crops and significant feed shortages.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said on Thursday that the conditions are affecting 27,000 farms and more than 5.8 million cattle. In addition to the tax deferral, producers are encouraged to take full advantage of assistance available under the suite of Business Risk Management programs.