Statement by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau and the Honourable Jim Carr on proposed improvements to AgriStability

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OTTAWA, ON, March 17, 2021 /CNW/ - "It has been just over 110 days since we made the offer to the provinces to improve AgriStability. We are asking for a clear indication from the three Prairie provinces whether they will sign on or not.

We would like to know: have you taken the proposal to your Premiers and to your cabinets? Are they supportive of these changes?

On November 27, 2020, the federal government proposed to eliminate the reference margin limit, which serves only to reduce a farmer's payout, and boost the compensation rate to 80%. This could lead to an increased payout from AgriStability of 50%, or $170 million nationally, into the pockets of farmers who need it the most.

To give an illustrative example provided by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, these changes could mean the difference between a 2,000 acre grain farmer who would have received almost $4,000 instead receiving almost $75,000. This is something we know farmers across the country have been asking for.

We are still awaiting a clear response from all three Prairie provinces to build a strong consensus to enact the proposed changes.

At the request of Prairie Ministers, we will convene a further federal-provincial-territorial meeting. To ensure this is a productive meeting and that we can provide much-needed results for farmers, we would prefer to convene only when ministers have a decision in hand. We have had many discussions – Canadian farmers want us to act.

The deadline to enroll in AgriStability this coming year is April 30, 2021. We need to implement these changes in advance of that deadline in order to encourage more farmers to sign up, and increase farmer participation in the program. They are absolutely needed for the short term.

Discussions have started in regard to the next five-year agricultural policy framework, which begins in 2023. Through the consultation process, we will look at longer-term changes. However, consultations on longer-term fixes to the business risk management suite of programs should not come at the expense of the short-term fixes to AgriStability that farmers are asking for today."

- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and The Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies

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SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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