Ottawa, Ontario – Following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of a $252-million relief package for agriculture and agri-food, Canada’s grain growers are left disappointed by the long-term challenges that this measure fails to address.
“While we recognize the urgent challenges faced by other commodities, today’s announcement does nothing for grain farmers,” said GGC chair Jeff Nielsen. “This relief package offers no resolution to our existing issues, which result from long-standing market access challenges, rail blockades, and 2019’s harvest from hell.”
As net farm incomes continue to plummet, the federal government has only offered relief programs that are either not applicable to the majority of farms or prioritize access to debt for already highly leveraged farmers. This relief package, unfortunately, maintains that trend.
GGC has repeatedly stressed to the federal government that the AgriStability program is the most effective way to provide a safety net for all types of farmers who need it. Not only does it already have universal buy-in among the industry’s sectors, it provides targeted support to more efficiently address the challenges that the federal government has sought to remedy.
“Our Minister of Agriculture has already indicated that programs like AgriStability ‘need to be improved’, so why not start today?” added Nielsen. “The only way forward is to implement the changes that we have asked for to support Canadian farmers this year and help us to rebuild their businesses for a post-COVID-19 world.”
For over a year, GGC has asked that AgriStability receive an infusion of funds, which will allow the program to cover losses starting at 85 per cent of historical reference margins and eliminate of the Reference Margin Limit while encouraging farmers to retroactively enroll for 2019-20.
During today’s press briefing, the Prime Minister stated that, “We will be there for our agricultural producers because they are so important to all Canadians. The hard work they do and the support they give us all needs to be respected, reflected on, and mostly, supported.” GGC hopes that the Prime Minister will act on these sentiments and support Canadian farmers.
“We have provided the government with these proactive, practical measures to give farmers the tools they need to succeed,” said Nielsen.” We ask now that the federal government take a leadership role and decisively implement the concrete solutions that we have outlined.”Source : GGC