Family farms and small feedlots get loan support

By Oneil Carlier, MLA for Whitecourt-St. Anne First published in the Tofield Mercury Tues. Sept. 27, 2016

The cattle industry is a key driver in Alberta‘s rural economy, and feeder associations are vital to the success of the industry. That’s why we need to keep this sector strong.

That’s why our government is making a move to support our province’s cattle feeders

Alberta beef is known worldwide for its quality. Cattle feeders add significant value to the way we produce quality food. Success in this sector relies on a large number and range of feedlots, many of which are longstanding, family-owned operations.

For many years the invaluable work of the Feeder Association of Alberta has kept our feedlots healthy. Through the Feeder Association Loan Guarantee Program (FALGP), the association supports producer-run co-operatives in obtaining competitive financing for members to buy, feed and sell livestock - both cattle and sheep - for profit.

The sector is thriving and demand is exceeding the overall provincial loan guarantee cap of $55 million.

That’s why our government is making a move to support our province’s cattle feeders, and it is why we announced Sept. 14 an increase to the overall provincial loan guarantee to $100 million from $55 million.

What this does is give the program more flexibility in meeting the demand for capital. This rise in the government loan guarantee will help cattle feeders get the capital they need to be successful, especially in a time with increasing demand and high prices for cattle. This move will benefit our new and young farmers, our family farms and small feedlot operators - all hardworking Albertans who deserve support from our government. Their work not only advances their own livelihood but also fortifies agriculture in our province.

Economic diversification is our government‘s priority and the agricultural sector plays a pivotal role. We want to ensure that our rural and resource communities have the tools they need to contribute to Alberta‘s prosperity.

This loan guarantee program has been highly successful for more than 75 years. We have worked closely with the industry to evaluate the program and make this change for the benefit of both cattle feeders and our agriculture industry. As we get into the busy fall season, I trust this loan guarantee program enhancement will immensely help many of our feeders.