I heard an interview with our federal agriculture minister and Mr. Ritz was explaining why it took so long to come out with the AgriRecovery program announced yesterday for the livestock industry. According to Gerry Ritz, the $50 per cow and other amounts for other species took so long to announce because they had to make sure that it wouldn’t result in countervailing duties. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that. This is a per animal payment in a selected drought region. I can remember the same kind of program back in the early 80s and numerous times since. It really is rough justice because one RM or county is designated for payment and the one beside it gets nothing. Dressing the program up as pasture restoration is fine, but it’s still a per head payment. It shouldn’t take seven months for government legal beagles to come up with an opinion on whether this might be subject to countervail. I don’t want to be too hard on the feds because the money is needed, but the optics is poor. They’re announcing a drought program when the current concern is delayed seeding and flooding. And the program has come so late that producers will have already made culling decisions. Worst of all, there appears to be no precedent established for what justifies AgriRecovery and how it’s supposed to work in the future. I’m Kevin Hursh.
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