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Interest-free loans for farmers affected by wildfires
Interest-free loans for farmers affected by wildfires

Interest-free loans for farmers affected by wildfires

Alberta government helps farmers rebuild with assistance programs

By Kate Ayers

Staff Reporter

The Government of Alberta is providing assistance programs to help farmers and ranchers rebuild following the Hilda wildfires in October.

Farmers affected by the fires will be able to apply to an Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) program for a loan. The money can be used to help fund working capital, pay expenses and help replace assets, according to a government release yesterday.

“A maximum of $25,000 per farming entity can be provided under this program … to a maximum of 100 producers,” Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, said in an email to today.

The interest-free loan term for eligible farmers is 24 months, he said.

Loans can be renewed for up to an additional 60 months following the initial interest-free period. (Interest will apply in this subsequent period.) The maximum amortization period is 84 months.

“Going through a fire is a scary experience and losing your means of livelihood makes it worse. I know that a number of producers in southern Alberta are hurting due to their losses as a result of the wildfires,” Carlier said.

“Through this assistance program we are helping producers get back on their feet and recover from the wildfires in and around Cypress and Acadia Counties.”

The Hilda wildfires damaged pastures, fields, fences and buildings. In addition, the fires claimed nearly 200 cows, according to the release.

The Wildfire Water Supply Program will also provide support to farmers by helping to replace watering systems compromised by the wildfires.

More information on the program and applications will be available on Jan. 8.

For more details, contact AFSC at 1-877-899-2372 or call the Ag-Info Centre at 310-3276.