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OFA wants changes to gov't program

OFA wants changes to gov't program

The province needs to do more work on the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program, OFA rep said

By Abbey Gallina

While the Ontario government updated the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program in the winter, the program doesn’t support all the farmers who need it, a recent OFA commentary said.

OMAFRA updated the program as of Feb. 1, following substantial consultation with producers, a government release said. Rick Nicholls, MPP of Chatham-Kent-Leamington, applauded the province’s move on Twitter.

The revised program is meant to provide:

  • more ways to provide sufficient evidence to prove wildlife predation
  • a more independent and transparent appeal process
  • better training for municipal investigators to assess predation
  • compensation that better reflects market prices

However, this program does not support all Ontario producers, Mark Reusser, vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said in Thursday’s OFA commentary. The compensation program specifically outlines livestock, poultry and honey bee farmers are eligible to receive compensation if their stock is damaged by predators. While crop farmers can also experience decreased yield due to wildlife damage, they are not eligible for this program.

And, “the current Production Insurance program doesn’t offer fair coverage to farmers who experience crop or yield loss due to wildlife damage,” Reusser said.

So, the OFA is “addressing this compensation gap with the Ontario government, asking them to create a wildlife damage compensation program for field crop farmers.”

Paul Grillo/Flickr photo

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