Photo: Bill Walker
Bill Walker MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
Queen's Park

Bill Walker MPP

Media Release:


For Immediate Release
February 4, 2019

Government for the People updating programs to support farmers

OWEN SOUND - Following consultation with farmers, farm organizations, municipal investigators and predation experts, Ontario’s Government for the People has made significant updates to the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program to support farmers who lose livestock to predators.
 
This week Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker acknowledged the important work done under Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman’s leadership to address farmers’ concerns with the program.
 
“We were told changes were needed to make the process of getting compensation clearer and more transparent for farmers. Program updates will make sure it works for eligible farmers when they lose livestock to predators without adding extra red tape,” said Walker.
 
PROGRAM UPDATES INCLUDE:

  • More ways to provide sufficient evidence to prove wildlife predation
  • A more independent and transparent appeals process
  • Better training for municipal investigators to assess predation
  • Compensation that better reflects market prices

These updates are effective for applications with a predation date on or after February 1, 2019. Training for municipal investigators will take place in February and March 2019.
 
“These updates support fair compensation for eligible losses, which is part of what our government is doing to provide those who feed our province with the tools they need to stay in business,” said Walker.
 
Additional program changes already took effect on September 4, 2018, including separate pricing for steers and heifers, and updates to the Farm Business Registration requirement.
 
Ontario is committed to reducing red tape and regulatory burden to make it easier for farmers to do business, while maintaining standards to keep Ontarians safe and healthy. Through the Ontario Open for Business Action Plan, the provincial government is removing obstacles to investment, growth and job creation in over a dozen sectors — including agriculture and food processing, manufacturing, construction and the auto sector.
 
These program updates are part of the plan and will provide greater clarity for farm business owners when applying for compensation under these programs, saving time and reducing burden so they can focus on growing their business.
 
For more information: Program resources on Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
 
MPP Walker is also pleased Ontario’s Government for the People has taken action to help corn farmers affected by high levels of Deoxynivalenol (DON) in this year’s corn crop. Walker congratulated Minister Hardeman for his announcement that the government is extending the Commodity Loan Guarantee Program (CLGP) repayment deadline from February 28 to September 30 for the 2018 and 2019 program years.
 
“Our Government has heard farmers’ concerns over the high levels of DON affected corn in this year’s crop,” said Walker. “That’s why we’re extending the Commodity Loan Guarantee deadline for loan payment, which will reduce stress and financial hardship of farmers.”
 
This extension will give producers affected by high levels of DON additional time to market to their corn. There will be no additional application fees for the extension and producers can still pay off their loans (wholly or partially) at any time before the new September deadline.
 
The government is also increasing the maximum guaranteed loan limit under the CLGP from $120 million to $200 million for the 2019 and 2020 program years.

Working closely with representatives from the grain sector, processors and other industry partners, the Ontario government will continue to develop solutions to help provide relief for our farmers and the grain sector dealing with this plant disease.

Farmers with Agricultural Credit Corporation (ACC) loans are encouraged to contact the ACC to discuss eligibility and next steps by visiting www.agcreditcorp.ca or calling 1-888-278-8807.

QUICK FACTS:

  • OMAFRA recently asked Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to initiate a formal assessment under AgriRecovery to further help producers deal with high-DON corn.
  • To help with testing the federal and provincial governments are also providing support through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help offer relief to farmers and the grain sector dealing with DON. For more information, please visit the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) website at www.ontariosoilcrop.org or call OMAFRA at 1-877-424-1300.
  • Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding is also available to support eligible, sector-level projects, addressing the DON challenge. Until Feb. 28, 2019, organizations and collaborations can apply for support on projects that will help the corn sector value chain address challenges caused by DON. More information can be found on the Agricultural Adaptation Council’s website at: https://adaptcouncil.org/program/cap/don.

Farmers whose crops are significantly impacted by high levels of DON may also be eligible for production insurance coverage through Agricorp.


CONTACT: Chris Fell | chris.fell@pc.ola.org | 519-371-2421

 
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