Designated regions are in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
By Diego Flammini
Livestock producers in western Canada facing extreme weather conditions are receiving support from the federal government.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced on Aug. 30 the implementation of the Livestock Tax Deferral for an initial list of designated regions in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Regions are designated when “forage yields are less than 50% of the long-term average as a result of drought or flooding in a particular year.”
This provision provides flexibility to cattle producers who have had to sell part of their breeding herd because of extreme weather, said Tyler Fulton, president of Manitoba Beef Producers.
“It doesn’t allow producers to avoid paying taxes, it allows them to defer in order to better manage the cattle to the land base that they have,” he told Farms.com.
To defer income, the breeding herd must have been reduced by at least 15 per cent.
Ag groups are unhappy with the initial list of regions.
More areas in Saskatchewan need to be considered.
“Today’s livestock tax deferral announcement is a good first step, but a large portion of central Saskatchewan should also be included based on @AAFC_Canada drought watch map,” the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association said in an Aug. 30 Twitter post.
Fulton has issue with the timing of the announcement.
In June, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan called for the federal government to implement the Livestock Tax Deferral.
An initial list of designated regions usually comes out in the fall with a final list coming in December.
Earlier implementation is better for farmers, Fulton said.
“The timing matters because it informs decisions as to whether farmers can sell some of their breeding herd or if they should be looking at purchasing their own feed,” he said. “The earlier the decision is made on what regions are designated, it gives operators in those areas more time to make the best decision for their farms.”
Fulton would like to see the timing removed from the provision.
Allowing the Livestock Tax Deferral to be available to farmers throughout the year provides extended flexibility without having to wait for the government, he said.
“This is a useful tool to help cattle producers manage their herds, which are the economic engines of their farms,” he said. “I believe the provision should be available at any point for producers to use if they experience an extreme condition that forces them to sell a portion of their herd. It would provide greater certainty and not have to wait for federal agencies to make that decision.”
The federal government has implemented the Livestock Tax Deferral each year since 2017.