KAP opposes changes to business risk management programs
Changes to business risk management programs under the Growing Forward agreement signed Friday by the federal, provincial and territorial governments are not supported by Keystone Agricultural Producers.
“Both AgriInvest and AgriStability have been diluted – AgriStability to the point that it is questionable whether the original goal of the program is being met,” said KAP president Doug Chorney.
“It used to attempt to ensure economic stability for the farm sector and now it has a much-diminished ability to do this.”
He said a new component to AgriStability called a “limited reference margin” puts a cap on the amount of income protection a farmer can access. Under the original program, a farmer’s reference margin determined the coverage that AgriStability would provide, but now, that is no longer the case.
Enrolling in AgriStability requires complicated financial paperwork that is often done with the help of an accountant, he further noted, with significant costs that may make it hard to justify.
“This is a slap in the face for farmers and farm groups – because governments held consultations with us, and I can assure you that virtually no one in primary production would have agreed to this,” he said.
Also troubling, said Chorney, is the change to AgriInvest – a program that allowed a farmer to put up to 1.5 per cent of yearly allowable net sales into an account that was matched by governments, to a maximum of $22,500 per year. That percentage has been dropped to one per cent, or a maximum of $15,000 per year.
“This was a good business risk management tool, and now it is less effective,” he noted.
Chorney said KAP wants to work with governments in the hopes of modifying business risk management programming during the monitoring and reviewing process that has been promised over the course of the five-year agreement.
He also noted that not all programming has been finalized, and urged governments to act upon requests from the livestock industry to create a forage production insurance program, as well as price insurance on livestock.
Growing Forward 2 takes effect on April 1, 2013.