AG Ministers fall short on immediate support for farmers impacted by Trade War

Ottawa, ON (July 22, 2019) – The AgGrowth Coalition is disappointed with the lack of immediate action on requests to the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Agriculture Ministers that would provide support to farmers from the impact of escalating global trade volatility.

While the need for improvements to AgriStability was acknowledged by the FPT Agriculture Ministers in their July 19th Communique, there were no details as to how, or when, improvements would be made to address the challenges currently being faced by farmers across Canada a result of global trade disruptions. like those created by the China/US Trade war.

The agriculture sector in Canada has enormous potential, but farmers need urgent action by the FPT Agriculture Ministers to address this critical situation created by geopolitical decisions and market risks outside of their control.

“The lack of immediate action from Governments in support of farmers leaves Canadian farmers with nothing to rely on to manage global trade risks outside of our control,” said Markus Haerle, chair of the AgGrowth Coalition “Our Coalition will continue to push political leaders across Canada to provide necessary support for farmers to grow our businesses and weather these volatile times.”

“Farmers are counting on their Agriculture Ministers to create Business Risk Management (BRM) programming that will work for them in this time of unprecedented uncertainty,” said Chris van de Heuvel, AgGrowth co-chair. “Canada’s Agriculture Ministers need to implement immediate reforms to BRM programming. This investment in the future of Canadian agriculture, a key economic sector, will ensure farmers have access to the support they need.”

“Markets are blocked and prices are falling, and there will be nothing for farmers to rely on if their losses exceed their income,” says Jeff Nielsen, co-chair of AgGrowth. “It is disappointing that the FPT Agriculture Ministers did not take immediate action. “Farmers need a suite of BRM programs that are bankable and predictable to help manage risks outside of their control. And we need it immediately.”

The AgGrowth Coalition has set out a four point plan for action that would ensure meaningful support is available for farmers and the Coalition reiterates the urgent need to see this plan adopted by Canada’s Agriculture Ministers that includes.

  1. AgriStability coverage immediately adjusted to cover losses starting at 85 per cent of historical reference margins with no Reference Margin Limits;
  2. Prioritize discussions on production insurance for livestock and horticulture crops which are not currently covered under AgriInsurance;
  3. Discussions on BRM programming options to be meaningful and focussed on program effectiveness rather than funding levels; and
  4. The establishment of an industry-government technical working group that allows farm groups to actively participate in BRM data and impact analysis.

Coalition members represent farmers from across the country and include: Canadian Canola Growers
Association, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the Canadian Horticultural Council, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Grain Growers of Canada, and the National Sheep Network.

Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Laurie Karson
Director of Communications
Phone: 613-236-3633 ext. 2322

Grain Growers of Canada
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
Phone: 613-233-9954 ext. 202

Canadian Canola Growers Association
Cheryl Mayer
Director, Policy Development
Phone: 204-789-8815

Grain Farmers of Ontario
Debra Conlon
Government Relations
Phone: 416-805-4490

Canadian Horticultural Council
Mark Wales
Chair, Business Risk Management Committee
Phone: 519-773-6706

National Sheep Network
Jennifer MacTavish
General Manager
Phone: 519-836-0043