Ontario Government Supports Grain And Oilseed Farmers
Risk Management Program To Help Farmers Compete And Succeed
The provincial government is supporting Ontario's 25,000 grain and oilseed producers with a new risk management program that will provide the stability they need to compete and succeed in the global economy, Premier Dalton McGuinty said today.
"Farmers are the backbone of our rural communities and they help put food on tables across this province," said Premier McGuinty. "We're standing behind our farmers so they can succeed in international markets and continue to strengthen our economy and build opportunity in rural Ontario."
The Risk Management Program is a three-year pilot program designed to help farmers offset losses caused by low grain and oilseed commodity prices. The program will begin with the 2007 crop year. Farmers must enroll for the full three years but their premiums will be waived in the first year.
The province will fund the three-year program at the traditional 40 per cent share, while continuing to encourage the federal government to provide its 60 per cent share.
"We recognize that, from time to time, these producers encounter extraordinary pressures on their incomes," said Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "That's why we are keeping our promise to provide effective risk management programming that will help them compete in the world marketplace."
The Risk Management Program was developed in consultation with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and representatives of the grain and oilseed sector.
"We are very pleased with the announcement today of the Risk Management Program for Ontario grain and oilseed producers," said Leo Guilbeault, Chair of the Grain and Oilseed Safety Net Committee. "We would like to thank the McGuinty government for committing to their share of RMP and their support for Ontario's Grain and Oilseed industry. This is one more step towards helping to ensure the long term viability of Ontario agriculture."
"The Risk Management Program provides another tool for Ontario grain and oilseed farmers to help meet the challenges of a volatile international commodity market," said Geri Kamenz, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "We will be calling on the federal government to recognize this important program and to contribute to its success. This brings Ontario producers closer to the same type of companion programs that have stabilized farm incomes for our colleagues in Quebec."
Grain and oilseed production in Ontario is valued at about $1.7 billion, and is a key input into the livestock industry, the food processing industry and ethanol production.
The Risk Management Program is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results in rural Ontario. Other examples include:
- Delivering more than $1 billion in farm income support over the past four years
- Providing $55 million to Ontario farmers through the new Ontario Cost Recognition Top-Up Program, which provides a 40 per cent matching provincial contribution to the $400 million federal cost of production payment
- Investing $12.5 million in a Pick Ontario Freshness strategy
- Creating the five-year, $2.5-million Premier's Awards for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence -- 55 awards totaling $425,000 were presented this year across the province, and
- Providing $6 million to the Ontario BioAuto Council, a multi-industry initiative to position the province as a global leader in manufacturing auto parts and other materials from agricultural and forestry feedstocks.
"Ontario farmers are among the most creative and innovative in the world, and together we're building a world-class agri-food sector in this province," said Premier McGuinty. "We're going to keep working together to help our farmers succeed so we can strengthen our economy and build prosperity for everyone."