Canadian Manufacturing

Canada’s Ministers of Agriculture agree to improve AgriStability program for farmers

The deadline for producers to enroll in the 2021 program year will be extended to June 30, 2021

March 29, 2021  by CM Staff

PHOTO: Sign at a farmers’ market in Pasadena, California/Thad Zajdowicz via Flickr

OTTAWA — Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture1, Ministers agreed to remove the reference margin limit for AgriStability, one of the business risk management (BRM) programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The removal of the reference margin limit will be made retroactive to the 2020 program year. In addition, the deadline for producers to enroll in the 2021 program year will be extended to June 30, 2021.

“This is a big win for farmers across Canada, resulting in about $95 million per year. Thank you to all of the farmers and producer groups who got behind the federal offer,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri–Food, in a statement. “Our offer remains on the table for cost-shared improvements to the compensation rate. Canadian agriculture is a shared jurisdiction and we’ve been clear BRM improvements must respect the cost-shared fundamentals.”

The objectives in making this change are to help simplify the program and help farmers in need by increasing the level of support for agricultural operations with lower allowable expenses.

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Costs for the removal of the reference margin limit will be shared, as outlined in the Canadian Agricultural Partnership; 60% by the federal government and 40% by provincial and territorial governments.

This change will help producers better manage risks and financial losses due to poor yields, low commodity prices or rising input costs. AgriStability provides support when producers experience a large margin decline.

The federal government first tabled its AgriStability proposal during the last FPT Ministers conference in November 2020. At that time, Ministers agreed that BRM programs needed to improve to better target emerging risks that threaten the viability of the farm. As well, programs should be simple, predictable, and respond quickly for producers, while treating farms fairly and equitably.

Ministers also noted that analysis continues on alternative risk management designs. This analysis will inform upcoming discussions on longer-term reforms, set to take place at their next in-person Annual Conference in Guelph, Ontario scheduled for September 8-10, 2021.