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Canadian Government Improves Farm Support

by 5m Editor
26 February 2008, at 11:05am

OTTAWA - Canada's Government says it is pulling out the stops to deliver real help for struggling farm families.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Gerry Ritz has introduced proposed amendments to the Agricultural Marketing Products Act (AMPA) which will give Canadian producers better access to cash advances as they make important business decisions.

"This Government has worked closely with producer groups to specifically target help to sectors facing severe challenges," said Minister Ritz. "Right now Canadian livestock producers are struggling with a high dollar and high production costs, but these kinds of short-term struggles can strike any agricultural sector."

Solid Support

He said that when Canadian farm families faced downturns, the Government would back them up with solid support. The aims is to get them back on their feet and improve their competitive edge within the global marketplace.

Since coming to office, the Government has already delivered flexible and bankable programs that will provide up to $1.5 billion in funding to livestock producers. Proposed changes to the Advance Payments Program (APP) through the amendments to AMPA will also ensure that Canadian producers can access up to $400,000 in repayable advances.

Ritz said that the proposed amendments to the APP will provide easier access to immediate cash flow by:
  • Removing the requirement for livestock producers to use a Business Risk Management program such as AgriStability as security for a cash advance and allowing producers to use inventory as security. This brings the treatment of livestock more in line with other produced commodities.
  • Adding "severe economic hardship" as a condition to offer emergency advances, on the recommendation of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister of Finance.
  • Revising the security requirements for emergency advances and increasing the emergency advance available to producers from a maximum of $25,000 to $400,000 in conditions of severe economic hardship.
Taken together, program improvements made in December and proposed changes to AMPA represent significant changes to advance payments. Producers will have quicker and easier access to cash advances and if all producers take advantage of the improved program, an estimated $3.3 billion in advance payments will be available.

Much Needed Help for Pork Industry

Clare Schlegel, President of the Canadian Pork Council said this was needed help.

"Hog farmers are struggling, facing the worst crisis in their farming history. What has been announced today will provide the breathing room that we have been asking for," he said.

The Government is also announcing a new $50 million initiative with the Canadian Pork Council to deliver a sow cull program that will help restructure the industry to bring it in line with market realities.

In addition, over the next two weeks, the Government will work with industry and review meat inspection user fees to assess their impact on competitiveness of the sector. It is also working to reduce costs and increase competitiveness under Canada’s enhanced feed ban. This complements the federal government’s commitment of $80 million to help the industry adjust to new feed standards.

5m Editor