CFA calls for immediate reforms to Business Risk Management programs to respond to ongoing trade disruptions

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Source: Canadian Federation of Agriculture

CFA is calling for immediate reforms to Canada’s Business Risk Management Program suite in response to ongoing trade disruptions.

Canadian farmers have seen significant trade uncertainty negatively affect their incomes in 2019, following a difficult 2018 season where realized net farm income declined a staggering 45.1%.

Ongoing trade challenges further threaten farm incomes, and are often out of the farmer’s control. These disruptions are having real impacts right now on their livelihoods, and will only cause further damage the longer they persist.

Erratic weather patterns are compounding these issues during the 2019 planting season. Whether it be excess moisture in many parts of the East or drought-like conditions in the West, farmers are seeking support to see them through these difficult times.

CFA supports the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to ensuring farmers can access international markets, and continues to call for a united effort from all parliamentarians, officials and industry stakeholders towards these goals. However, immediate reforms to Canada’s Business Risk Management program suite are needed to ensure they are responsive to the changing environment farmers face, particularly reforms to the AgriStability program.

CFA continues to maintain dialogue with the Government of Canada and the Minister of Agriculture on this front, and is pleased to see that officials are exploring potential solutions, such as programming for canola producers under AgriRecovery. However, global agricultural markets are posing challenges for many Canadian farmers, beyond just those producing canola.

US support programs are destabilizing global markets, as they see billions of dollars sent their way to make up for lost market access. The ongoing trade war between the US and China is creating difficult conditions for soybean producers in Canada who are seeing prices drop steadily for their product. Meanwhile, non-tariff barriers continue to limit export opportunities for Canadian pulses and wheat. Farmers across Canada are facing very difficult times that threaten not only their profitability, but the viability of their farms as well.

CFA is calling for immediate reforms to Canada’s BRM suite. These reforms include restoring AgriStability margin coverage to 85% and removing AgriStability’s reference margin limit, to ensure Canada’s BRM suite provides the credible support producers need in these trying times.

CFA continues to work with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada as partners in identifying further reforms, but it’s critical that farmers have the support they need at this critical time and implemented as quickly as possible. Any delays leave producers facing even more uncertainty, stress, and financial difficulties during a period where they’re already trying to manage risks that are, by and large, beyond their control.

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