Feds make changes to farm loan guarantee program
Changes to the Advance Payments Program come on the heels of the recently announced Agricultural Growth Act
SASKATOON, Sask.—The Harper government has made several changes to a program that helps support Canadian farms.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on March 30 highlighted changes to the Advance Payments Program (APP) that should streamline administration; provide greater flexibility in repayment options; and make accessing the program easier for producers.
The changes come on the heels of the Agricultural Growth Act, which was announced in February 2015 in an attempt to strengthen federal agriculture legislation, support innovation in the Canadian agriculture industry and enhance global market opportunities.
Many of the changes implemented under the Act will take effect on April 1, 2015, for the 2015 Program Year.
What’s new for 2015:
- Producers can receive advances for all commodities through one application with a single administrator;
- No requirement for a producer to be principally occupied in farming;
- A repayment schedule in line with the perishable date of non-storable products thereby avoiding the need for proof of sale;
- Repayment of advances can be made without proof of sale without penalty;
- When a producer waits to market the commodity until conditions are more favourable; or if the agricultural product becomes unmarketable through no fault of the producer.
The Agricultural Growth Act also introduced changes to the Farm Debt Mediation Act which will streamline interaction between the APP and Farm Debt Mediation Services to ensure all necessary parties are involved in a mediation process. For producers, this means the right people at the table to negotiate repayment arrangements, making it easier to resolve their situation.
Changes targeted for 2016
- New commodities to be eligible for advances, including specific classes of breeding animals intended for market;
- A new streamlined application process will reduce paper burden and treat farmers like returning clients;
- More options for producers to secure an APP advance;
- Additional flexibility for allowable repayment methods;
- Streamlined approach to obtaining guarantees for companies with many members.
The APP is a federal loan guarantee program that helps agricultural producers benefit from the best market conditions by improving their cash flow throughout the year.
Across Canada, more than $1.9 billion in advances has been provided to close to 21,000 producers for the 2014 program year to date.