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Prairie producers facing feed shortages

Prairie producers facing feed shortages

The federal ag minister spoke with railway reps about the issue

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The feed supply challenges livestock producers across the Prairies are facing started last year.

“Starting in September, we realized we’re not going to be getting the crop we need,” Leighton Kolk, co-owner of Kolk Farms in Iron Springs, Alta., told CTV News on Jan. 24. “We were hoping to see train cars in November and that’s when we started to run towards the end of our stockpiled supply. We are still waiting for December’s unit train and it’s the end of January now.”

And Kolk isn’t the only one.

“It’s a huge concern to all sectors of the cattle beef production cycle,” Arnold Balicki, chair of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association,” told CTV News on Jan. 23. “Anytime they run out of feed or can’t get feed in a timely manner, those feed lots are going to cut back on buying.”

The feed shortage in Western Canada has become such an issue that the federal minister of agriculture is involved.

Marie-Claude Bibeau tweeted on Jan. 22 that she spoke with Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) President and CEO Keith Creel about the ongoing issue.

She shared her “concerns about the dangerously low feed supply for cattle across the Prairies,” she said. “Livestock producers have expressed their concerns that potential delays could result in animal welfare issues. CP recognized the sense of urgency and assured me that this is top of mind.” has contacted CP for comment on the feed delays and potential solutions to the issue. has also contacted livestock producers for comment on individual situations with regards to feed shortages.

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