Industry group hopes to learn how to assist farmers
By Kaitlynn Anderson
A lack of rainfall has challenged livestock producers across the province over the past couple of months.
In heavily affected areas, grasses have turned brown and stopped growing, Joe Hill, president of the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO), told Farms.com today.
The drought has caused many producers to take remedial measures.
“People have started to haul water and feed to cattle in pastures,” Hill said. Other farmers have brought their livestock in from pastures to “feed them in the yard like they would do in the winter.”
Some producers may have to “start feeding hay three or four months sooner than they anticipated,” Hill said.
The drought could impact hay production, leaving producers with lower supplies than usual.
To quantify some of the effects that producers are dealing with, the BFO is conducting an online survey in collaboration with the Ontario Sheep Farmers, LeaAnne Wuermli, manager of communications and marketing at the BFO, told Farms.com yesterday.
The survey, which opened last Friday, could help guide the organization’s efforts “to address the impacts of the drought,” Wuermli said.
These actions may involve working with the provincial government to obtain assistance through programs like AgriRecovery, Hill said.
The BFO is relying on producer responses to determine the best courses of action, he explained.
“We need to get a sense of how widespread and severe the issue is,” Hill said.
“From there, we can decide whether we need to start talking to the government about relief or if there’s something else we can do to help (producers in) the affected areas.”
The group encourages producers to share their suggestions.
“If you have an idea of what can be done, we’ll look at it and see if we can make it work,” Hill said.
To access the survey, farmers can use the password: drought.
SteveOehlenschlager/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo