The Ontario government has tired of waiting for national acceptance of the federal government offer to increase AgriStability subsidies, so is going it alone.
It will contribute its 40 per cent share of the cost to boost reference margin support from 70 to 80 per cent.
It’s going to ask the federal government to kick in its 60 per cent share which was in the offer it made last fall, but which the Prairie provinces have so far rejected as too expensive.
“We appreciate the Minister’s willingness to work with the industry to build risk management programs that work for farmers,” said Marc Carere, Chair of Ontario Sheep Farmers. “This is a good first step in that direction and we look forward to continuing the discussions.”
“We appreciate the Ontario government’s continued commitment to improving Business Risk Management programs which help many farmers manage risk and continue to invest in their farms during difficult times,” said Peggy Brekveld, President of Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “By choosing to increase the compensation rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent on the provincial portion of approved AgriStability claims, more money will be paid out to the producers who need it most.”
“The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association welcomes the increase to the provincial share of AgriStability’s compensation rate in Ontario. This leadership by the Ontario Government underscores the need to provide support to fruit and vegetable growers who had a very difficult 2020 and are still coping with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19,” said Bill George, Chair of OFVGA.
“We call on (federal Agriculture) Minister (Marie-Claude) Bibeau to join Minister Thompson in implementing this policy by funding the traditional federal share of this program change.”
The enhancements to the AgriStability program will help to ensure farmers can access additional support when they needed it in a severe or disaster event. Farm business risk management programs play a vital role in the long-term competitiveness of Ontario’s agricultural sector and its capacity to maintain our food supply.
On March 25, national consensus was reached on the federal government proposed change to remove the AgriStability program’s Reference Margin Limit, but not to increase its compensation rate. Changes to the AgriStability program require support of two-thirds of provinces and provinces representing two-thirds of program participation.
That came after the November 27, federal government offer of $170 million.
AgriStability is the main national income support program for producers and provides individual support based on a producers’ unique operation.