Emergency support is on the way for resource industries impacted by hurricane Fiona.
Premier Tim Houston announced a range of financial supports today, October 14, for the agriculture and forestry sectors.
“In parts of our province, hurricane Fiona had a devastating impact on farm infrastructure, crops and livestock, as well as private woodlots,” said Premier Houston. “Our resource-based sectors are critical to the health of our economy, especially in rural Nova Scotia. They need our support right now as they recover and rebuild after the storm.”
Provincial relief programs for the agriculture sector
- A one-time grant of $2,500 will be sent automatically to registered farms in central, northern and eastern Nova Scotia that experienced financial losses because of infrastructure or crop damage, livestock loss or extended power outages due to the hurricane. No application is needed. This funding from the $4-million Farm Emergency Response Grant Program will also help farmers with damage outside these areas. Information will be on the Agriculture Department’s website soon.
- The government is also providing $6 million through the Agricultural Response Program to cover extraordinary operational costs incurred because of the storm. A simplified application process will be announced soon to ensure funding is disbursed quickly. Up to $9 million more will be available if needed in the weeks and months ahead to help with costs to rebuild that are not covered by any other programs.
Provincial insurance and loan programs are also offering farmers relief. The Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission is waiving interest on overdue accounts for the month of September. The Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board is offering clients deferrals on payments and making working capital loans with lower interest available.
Federal-provincial cost-shared relief programs for the agriculture sector
- The new On-Farm Electrical Interruption Program is providing $500,000 in federal and provincial funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It helps offset costs to farm owners who installed a backup electrical generator immediately before hurricane Fiona or during the extended power outages that it caused. The program can cover up to 100 per cent of the cost of purchasing and installing a generator for on-farm use. The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a $3 billion, five-year (2018-2023) investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector.
- AgriInsurance provides crop insurance for naturally occurring production losses Hurricane damage is an insured event for those enrolled in the program.
- AgriStability provides protection for income losses of more than 30 per cent. Farm businesses enrolled in the program can apply for an interim payment of 75 per cent of their estimated benefit. To help support producers impacted by the storm, Nova Scotia and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have opened AgriStability to farmers who did not enroll in 2022 so they can take advantage of this important income support. As well, any producers who have not submitted their claims for 2021 are now able to submit without penalty until October 30.
- The AgriRecovery Framework focuses on extraordinary costs producers face in recovering from disasters. The Province has requested an AgriRecovery assessment to determine what support is needed to help agricultural businesses recover as quickly as possible from the storm.
- AgriInvest is a government-matched producer saving program. Producers can access any accumulated funds in their AgriInvest accounts at any time to address immediate needs.
Discussions are also underway on the immediate and long-term support farmers need to recover. This includes how best the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program can help and the Province’s recent request to launch a joint AgriRecovery assessment.
Provincial support for private woodlot owners
The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables is investing up to $4.6 million to help private woodlot owners clean up trees that were blown down or left leaning, weakened or vulnerable by hurricane Fiona and prepare for reforestation:
- $150,000 will help the Department acquire satellite imagery to help assess damage
- up to $3.45 million will help with commercial tree cleanup and secure a third-party organization to oversee this financial assistance; the organization’s work will include assessing damage to determine eligibility and doing post-cleanup inspections before disbursing funding
- up to $500,000 will help with repair of washed-out access roads, culverts and bridges
- up to $500,000 will help with re-establishing boundary lines.
There will be a cap, yet to be determined, on the amount of money a landowner can receive.
The Department expects to have a third-party organization in place and ready to start working with woodlot owners in early November. More eligibility and application information will be posted at https://novascotia.ca/hurricane-fiona-support/ as it becomes available.
I’ve seen first-hand the devastation that hurricane Fiona has had on farms in Nova Scotia. The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with the province to support farmers and their families on the path to recovery. I encourage all those impacted to take advantage of the funding and programs available to help you with your immediate financial challenges.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
I’ve spent the last few weeks visiting farms and speaking with producers and their families. I’ve seen first-hand the impact hurricane Fiona has had on the agricultural sector. We want to help however we can, and that’s why we’re putting these programs in place and making them available to as many farm businesses as possible – to get them back on their feet so they can keep putting food on our tables.
Greg Morrow, Minister of Agriculture
Private woodlot owners make a significant economic contribution to rural communities all around the province. This funding will help ensure the downed trees they’ve spent decades growing do not go to waste on the forest floor.
Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables
- there are 1,800 registered farms in Nova Scotia; support is primarily for those in the northern, central and eastern regions
- there are about 30,000 private woodlot owners in Nova Scotia; after hurricane Juan in 2003, about 200 of them were eligible for similar funding
Applications and more information on disaster financial assistance are available at: https://beta.novascotia.ca/disaster-financial-assistance-hurricane-fiona
More information on AgriInsurance, AgriInvest, AgriRecovery and AgriStability is available at: https://agriculture.canada.ca/en/agricultural-programs-and-services
Information on emergency and disaster preparedness: https://novascotia.ca/emergency-education/
Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nsemo