Support for Livestock Producers Falls Short of What is Needed

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council says support announced last week by Ottawa for livestock producers falls short of what is needed to carry them through possibly their worst crisis ever, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 December 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Canadian pork and beef producers have been calling for improved safety nets and a short term loan program to help them survive until markets improve.

Last week agriculture minister Gerry Ritz announced plans to accelerate payments under CAIS 2006, AgriStability 2007, AgriInvest and the Kickstart program and changes to make it easier to access loans under the Advance Payments Program.

Canadian Pork Council president Clare Schlegel says, at this point, it appears the announcement is simply an enhancement of existing programs with no new money.

Clare Schlegel-Canadian Pork Council

The situation is dire.

In 28 years of farming I'm not sure I've seen another situation quite like this.

We all remember 1998 when prices were extremely low so that would be perhaps the second worst situation but this time it's not only a financial crisis but a crisis of confidence of being able to compete.

That's really a result of things happening to us that are beyond our control and one could even argue that it's government responsibility areas.

The one is the large macro area of currency and the huge fluctuation there which has to do with how the world is organized and we certainly think that's not an individual producer responsibility but a government responsibility.

The second one also is the whole ethanol policy area.

We do believe grain producers deserve the price that grain is at now.

We need them to be good suppliers but we do believe that eventually pork will move up worldwide to respond to those higher feed prices and we need support to get from where we are until that happens.

Schlegel says, while the changes to the Advance Payment program are appreciated, the program is still being developed, it's not available in all provinces and, in many cases, it simply replaces credit already available to livestock producers.

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