OTTAWA, March 7, 2018 – The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is urging the federal government to make low-cost program changes that would provide emergency income support to cash-stricken grain farmers in western Canada. Farmers get paid once their grain is delivered and the current shortage of rail cars has left many growers in a financial crisis.
Passing Bill C-49 will address long-term rail system challenges, but short-term income supports are also required, and could be implemented quickly. For example, the government could expand the provisions of the Advance Payments Program, which would offer immediate relief by giving farmers access to interest-free loans to pay outstanding bills and purchase seeds, fertilizer and other products needed to begin seeding this spring’s crop.
CFA is pleased to see that parliamentarians of all parties recognize the urgency of this situation and that Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Transport Minister Marc Garneau have raised their concerns in a letter to both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways. Today’s announcement of new commitments from CN is a also positive development and CFA is eager to see a response from CP Rail.
However, efforts to get more trains moving will not resolve the dire cash-flow crunch happening now. Grain growers require additional tools to bring their operations back to sustainable levels.
CFA and its members in western Canada will continue to monitor grain transportation challenges and propose solutions to create a more resilient industry.
CFA Director of Communications
Phone: 613-236-3633 ext. 2322