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Dairy Not The Only Ag Sector In Need Of Help

The AGgrowth Coalition is demanding support for its export-orientated farmers facing trade challenges.
 
Following Ottawa's compensation announcement for dairy producers, Coalition Co-Chair, Jeff Nielsen, says the group's trying to bring the focus back to grain farmers.
 
According to the Coalition, over 100,000 export dependent Canadian farmers producing $62 billion in farm cash receipts are facing key international market closures, however, they say the Government's support has been limited to only one sector.
 
Nielsen says they've known the dairy compensation has been coming for years, but the Federal Government's delay is just bad timing.
 
"It's poor optics in our opinion," he says. "We're just trying to bring back to the point that the Government needs to be respectful of all its sectors in agriculture. We've been trying to work with them on that for several years now."
 
Nielsen says they're not looking for compensation but want to see the Federal and Provincial Governments make changes to the Business Risk Management programs, so farmers are better suited to react to these types of situations.
 
He points to revamping AgriStability as one of the easiest changes the Government could make to help grain producers facing trade challenges, saying it could be a temporary measure until new programming is put in place.
 
Payments kick in for producers enrolled in the AgriStability program once losses reach a certain level, which Nielsen says have been watered down over the years.
 
"There's less than 30 per cent of producers who are enrolled in it now, because producers are finding it's not a program they can actually trigger," said Nielsen. "It's a very complicated formula, and that's where a lot of producers just started walking away from it."
 
On their website, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says enrolled producers can get an AgriStability payment when the current year program margin falls below 70 per cent of your reference margin.
 
In July, the Coalition called on the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Agriculture Ministers to adjust AgriStability coverage immediately to cover losses starting at 85 per cent of historical reference margins with no reference margin limits.
 
Nielsen says these reforms would put the same program measures back into place as originally implemented.
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