McGuinty Government Calls For Support For Hog And Cattle Farmers At Federal-Provincial Talks

Archived Release

McGuinty Government Calls For Support For Hog And Cattle Farmers At Federal-Provincial Talks

Also Moves Forward On Changes To Federal-Provincial Business Risk Management Programs TORONTO, Nov. 19 - The growing pressures facing Ontario cattle and hog farmers were a focus of discussion at the recent federal-provincial-territorial agriculture ministers' meeting, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Leona Dombrowsky said today. "There was a strong consensus on the need to respond to the rapidly developing financial problems facing these livestock sectors. We have agreed to take quick action and will accelerate support under existing programs with interim or advance payments," said Dombrowsky. "We have also directed our staff to meet and discuss proposals being put forward by the hog and cattle organizations as soon as possible. "Over the past few days I have met with representatives of the beef and pork sectors to hear their concerns and recommendations," said Dombrowsky. "We need to look at marketing, regulations, processing, and other competitiveness improvements, but it is important to send a signal of support now." In addition to the emergency discussion on livestock issues, the federal-provincial-territorial agriculture ministers' meeting also directed officials to address similar issues faced by the Ontario horticultural sector. Staff from all agriculture ministries will work with these industries to examine approaches that will provide short- and longer-term solutions. Their reports will be reviewed by agriculture ministers at a meeting early in the new year. In the interim, Dombrowsky said, Ontario will examine ways to get money out to the affected sectors as quickly as possible using the mechanism like interim payments that exist in current programs. Ministers also agreed to seek the authority to move forward on federally proposed changes to existing business risk management programs. Under the new Growing Forward initiative, AgriInvest will replace the coverage under the Canadian Agriculture Income Stabilization (CAIS) program for margin losses of 15 per cent or less. CAIS has been modified to AgriStability, a margin-based program that will provide farmers with assistance for larger declines in income. Growing Forward replaces the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), which is set to expire on March 31, 2008. "This new Business Risk Management (BRM) suite is a good base of programs for producers, but we need to do more," said Dombrowsky. "The livestock and horticultural sectors are hurting as a result of a range of pressures. As well, we continue to lobby the federal government to participate in the Risk Management Program, and to reaffirm support of supply management at the WTO talks." The agriculture ministers also discussed the other programs that are part of the current APF which address environmental, food safety and quality, science and innovation, as well as skill and market development concerns. They agreed to seek approval to extend deadlines for these programs for a year in order to ensure continuity of existing program while consultations continue with stakeholders on initiatives offered in Growing Forward. This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians are achieving results and building a successful future for the province's agriculture sector. Other examples include: - Providing a three-year pilot Risk Management Program, a price support program designed to offset losses caused by low grain and oilseed commodity prices. - Providing $55 million for the Ontario Cost Recognition Top-Up Program, a provincial 40-per-cent matching provincial contribution to the federal cost of production payment program outlined in the federal budget. - Investing $12.5 million in the Vineland Research and Innovations Centre Incorporated. The federal government is making a financial and in-kind commitment valued at $15.5 million over the next five years towards research projects that support the mission of this new Centre at Vineland. These are the first steps in creating a vital hub for horticultural science and innovation in Vineland by making it a model for research facilities elsewhere in the province and the country. Disponible en français www.omafra.gov.on.ca Contact Info For further information: Kelly Synnott, Minister's Office, (416) 326-6439; Brent Ross, Communications Branch, (416) 326-9342 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Kelly Synnott, Minister's Office, (416) 326-6439; Brent Ross, Communications Branch, (416) 326-9342