March 25, Ottawa ON – While CFA is pleased to see the removal of the Reference Margin Limit (RML), which has unduly and inequitably limited support for many producers since its introduction, CFA is disappointed that it appears some provinces were unwilling to adopt enhancements to the compensation rate for farmers.
For years and throughout the pandemic, CFA and other national farm groups have been recommending to the government to enhance the AgriStability program since its capacity to assist producers in need was reduced considerably in 2013. Minister Bibeau’s proposal to enhance the program represents the first new money to be put into the Business Risk Management (BRM) suite since 2013, and has received support from a wide-range of farming organizations and stakeholder organizations across Canada.
The federal proposal from November 2020 included:
- Removing the RML
- Increasing the compensation rate from 70% to 80%
In light of this development, CFA calls on the federal government to offer the increased compensation rate to those provinces which have indicated their support for this aspect of the federal proposal.
“For years agriculture groups all across Canada have been telling their governments that these programs would not be sufficient in a real crisis. AgriStability, as a program responding solely to severe income losses, is there to help producers in crisis. And now, at a time where Canadian agriculture faces immense disruptions and uncertainty, we see critical investments in risk management treated like a political game, with politicians haggling for over 100 days while farmers have real concerns about their livelihoods over the coming year,” said CFA President, Mary Robinson.
“In order to maintain a robust and resilient food supply system, farmers need to have the confidence to invest in and grow their business. In 2020, due to COVID-19, many farmers didn’t even have the confidence to plant a full crop. Without a meaningful risk management suite that provides sufficient support in times of need, concerns about their ability to grow, harvest and sell these products leave farmers having to make impossible decisions, all of which affect the food supply within Canada,” added Robinson.
Increasing AgriStability’s support for farmers in crisis is an investment in the future of Canada’s agri-food industry. This is a sector primed to drive our country’s economic recovery, but producers need sufficient support to continue investing in their operations and ensure they can weather risks beyond their control. Since the RML’s introduction in 2013, it has unduly limited the support available to many producers and CFA is very pleased to see this inequity addressed. However, an enhancement to the compensation rate would ensure all producers have access to increased support when they trigger payments.
CFA will continue to work with the government to secure these changes to BRM programs, as the enhanced level of compensation is critical to ensure AgriStability sufficiently responds to all producers when they face unmanageable risks. CFA cannot stress enough the importance of the provinces accepting the full federal proposal as an investment in the current and long-term risk management needs of Canadian agriculture.