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Hay West Program Launched in Full Force

Lisa Haynes, a cattle producer from Biggar, SK, explained that the generosity of Eastern Canadian producers and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture helped her family's herd intact.
hay west
The Hay West program is still receiving applications. Both round and square bales have been sent west.

The Hay West relief program is currently operated on a break-even basis by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. Farmers in Eastern Canada are supplying hay to be resold at cost to recipients in Western provinces. Farmers will receive hay for $0.10 per pound. 

With 100 million pounds of eastern Canada's hay on the way to the West, Hay West has already provided feed to just under seventeen thousand cows. Thus far, tens of thousands of bales have been both pledged and donated from producers in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I.. 

Several producers who received hay have explained that the program has made a tremendous impact for their operation. Some have even been able to keep their herd instead of disbursing due to feed shortages. 

Lisa Haynes, a cattle producer from Biggar, SK, explained that the generosity of Eastern Canadian producers and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture helped her family's herd intact.

"We heard about the program, did an online application, and next thing you know, we got a phone call saying ‘hey, we've got some help for you.’ Without the opportunity to get some affordable hay for our animals, I don't know where our operation would have been moving forward this winter."

Several parties have donated funds to the program, which has helped the C.F.A. distribute more hay. The C.F.A. has received $50,000 from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, $50,000 from Farm Credit Canada, and $250,000 from CN Rail. The organization is still seeking additional funds to help more producers impacted by challenging weather throughout 2021.

Last week the federal government announced it is pledging an additional $3 million to Hay West after committing $1 million earlier this fall. The C.F.A. had previously requested up to $6 million in federal funding for the program. 

The C.F.A. estimates that the 2021 drought was the worst in over sixty years in the prairie provinces. Severe feed shortages in Western Canada amounted to close to four million tonnes of deficiency.

A drought of this magnitude brings profound implications beyond food production-in particular, it compounds farmers' stress levels for farmers and farm families," said Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Hay West is also exploring the possibility of shipping hay to B.C., where recent rain and flooding have had a devastating impact on the province's producers. 

Applications for the program remain open at haywest2021.net. Selected applicants will be contacted regarding distribution dates and payments. In determining where to ship the hay, the C.F.A. prioritizes farms that have valuable breeding stock and those that have water.