The Federal Government has unveiled a multimillion-dollar aid package aimed at helping farmers and food processors safely address the effects of Covid-19. 

On May 5, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new $77 million fund for food processors of various sizes, including meat packers, to help these businesses retrofit their factories and increase their capacity to deal with a backlog of livestock building up in parts of the county.

The money can be used to buy personal protective equipment for workers, adapt to health protocols, and support other social distancing measures.

The government is also adding $125 million to the AgriRecovery fund, a federal-provincial-territorial program aimed at helping farmers during disasters.

“For many farmers, this crisis means that they have to keep animals for longer periods of time, and that can be expensive. So, with this funding, we’re giving extra help to beef and pork producers so they can adapt to the crisis,” said Trudeau.

The cattle industry has been pushing for this type of funding to help cover the cost of extended stays in feedlots — something like the “set-aside” program in place during the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (“mad cow disease”) outbreak.

The Federal Government has indicated this will be the first wave of funding to help agriculture during this difficult time.