Agricorp Processing Errors Come Back to Bite Farmers Hard
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Over 4,500 Ontario farmers received a letter from Agricorp this month informing them that they need to cough-up money to the provincial government dating as far back as 11 years ago. Agricorp claims that the money farmers owe is from overpayments that the agency made to farm support programs. The processing errors are on the agencies end, not the farmers. The fluke totals $30,000 million with the average payment of $6,000 each farmer involved. The agency expects farmers to pay back the money over the next three years.
Farmers are outraged by Agricorp’s request and say that the debt is so old that they can’t verify it. Donald Good a lawyer based out of Ottawa who specializes in agriculture issues is coming to the farmer’s defense saying that negligence from the government to pull this stunt and argues that some farmers shouldn’t have to pay back the money.
The unfortunate part is that Agricop didn’t fess up sooner. A 2008 report entitled “Agri-corp Far, Support Programs” disclosed that Agricrop had recorded $24 million in overpayments with no plan to get the money back. Agricorp’s demands 11 years later are causing a real hardship for farmers who have invested the money into their businesses and in some cases have since retired.
The government has put themselves in a sticky situation and mismanagement shouldn’t be a valid excuse for the government to be holding farmers accountable for their mistakes.