Immediate improvements to Agri-Stability and Cash Advance programs would provide support to Canola growers in what could be a difficult year
March 28, 2019 – For Immediate Release – The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan has written Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Moe with proposals to support producers dealing with depressed prices resulting from China’s import restrictions on Canadian Canola.
“Canadian Canola producers are weeks away from planting their 2019 crop, and we are taking a multi-billion-dollar gamble on behalf of our families, and Canada as a whole,” said APAS President Todd Lewis. “We believe that trade missions and diplomatic efforts are totally essential, but our producers need more assurance from both Governments that we have your support in managing the economic fallout while discussions take place.”
Lewis pointed out that an immediate challenge faced by governments and producers are the inherent problems with the Federal-Provincial Agri-Stability Business Risk Management program.
“Agri-Stability is intended to be the program that supports producers when market or price problems put their income at risk,” Lewis explained, “but because of funding cuts, program design issues and administrative red tape, many Saskatchewan producers withdrew from the program. So, we have a potential vehicle available for Governments, if they are willing to commit to improvements.”
In 2016, fewer than 40% of Saskatchewan farms were enrolled in Agri-Stability.
APAS proposes changes to the Federal-Provincial Agri-Stability program including:
- An enhancement of Agri-Stability coverage to deal with export market issues,
- That the federal government waive enrollment fees for 2019 Agri-Stability applications,
- That the 2019 enrollment deadline be extended past April 30, and late enrollment penalties be dropped,
- That governments prepare for Agri-Stability interim payments should trade issues seriously reduce farm income
- That Saskatchewan Crop Insurance staff be available to assist producers with their applications.
APAS also proposes changes to the Cash Advance program to revise its program year limits to ensure that producers can receive an advance on stored grain from 2018 production with flexible repayment terms while still having access to the full $400,000 limit for 2019 spring advances. In addition, APAS advocates for an increase in the interest-free portion.
“For a first step, we are asking for the federal government to waive the 2019 program fees for Agri-Stability participation. Then we need to sit down as an industry and look at the need for supplemental coverage and the delivery of interim support payments to keep our farms viable through the upcoming production and marketing season. We are also requesting continued cooperation from all levels of government to commit to program changes to make the programs more bankable and effective at responding to these events,” Lewis concluded.
APAS will be attending meetings to discuss these suggestions with the Federal Ministers of Agriculture and International Trade Diversification tomorrow in Saskatoon.