Cattlemen facing drought are concerned about being left off 2018 tax deferral

By Leah Murray
September 21, 2018 - 3:17pm Updated: September 21, 2018 - 7:34pm


JENNER, AB – The federal government released a map last week detailing areas across the country eligible for a 2018 Tax Deferral due to extreme weather conditions.

Most of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan along with areas in Manitoba and even British Columbia are eligible to receive the tax deferral due to drought like conditions.

The drought has led to less than sufficient hay crops and a competition to find extra grazing land for cattle this winter.

The demand is already pushing up costs for hay and feed in Albert and Saskatchewan according to Brad Osadczuk, advisory councillor for Special Areas #2.

Special Area’s #2 include communities north of CFB Suffield, like Jenner, Buffalo and Bindloss.

While they have experienced the same drought conditions as their neighbours in Cypress County, just five kilometres to the south, they are not included in the list of areas eligible for the tax deferral.

“All of Western Canada is looking for feed, right from Manitoba to northern Alberta right into B.C., so we’re competing with the rest of Western Canada for hay and for feed for the winter months,” said Osadczuk. “That’s going to impact us the same way as the rest of the province.”

Due to the drought and the high cost of feed many farmers and ranchers may find themselves having to sell off parts of their breeding herd in order to afford feed for the rest of their livestock.

The 2018 Tax Deferral program allows them to push a portion of the sales to the next year if they are forced into that situation, avoiding a larger tax bill in a year where they’ve struggled to make ends meet.

In order to defer income, the breeding herd must have been reduced by at least 15%.

“We’re going to be moving cattle and minimizing our herds just to minimize the impact of the feed costs,” Osadczuk explained. “But, it’s going to be tough.”

Osadczuk said the drought doesn’t just stop at county lines and he will be reaching out to his federal counterparts to find out why they’re not being offered the same assistance as their neighbour in Cypress County and Newell County.

“The fact that we were left out and our neighbours around us were lumped into this tax deferral, I’m not sure what the logic was to leaving us out,” he said.

Regions that fall under the prescribed list must have forage yields are less than 50% of the long-term average as a result of drought or flooding in a particular year.

According to the Government of Canada website, a final list of prescribed drought and flood regions, including previously announced regions, is usually made in December when finalized forage yield information is available. That means more regions may be added to the list.

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