Amendments to advance payments receive Royal Assent
By Government of Canada
The Government of Canada has followed up on its pledge to help Canadian livestock producers, as amendments to the Agricultural Marketing Products Act (AMPA) received Royal Assent late last week.
February 28, 2008
OTTAWA – The Government of Canada today delivered real action for Canadian livestock producers. Amendments to the Agricultural Marketing Products Act (AMPA) received Royal Assent after swift all party support in both Houses.
"This Government has always put farmers first. We listen to producers, we work with them and today we delivered," said the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. "This Bill will provide improved cash flow to all commodity groups; livestock producers in particular will have easier access up to $3.3 billion in loans. When Canadian farm families face tough times, this Government is right there, with solid support, to get them back on their feet."
The Government has already delivered flexible and bankable programs that will provide up to $1.5 billion in funding to livestock producers in late 2007 and 2008. The changes to the Advance Payments Program (APP) through the amendments to AMPA will make sure Canadian producers can access up to $400,000 in repayable advances. Farmers should be able to apply in late March or early April.
The proposed amendments to the APP will provide easier access to immediate cash flow by:
-Removing the requirement for livestock producers to use a Business Risk Management program such as AgriStability as security for a cash advance and allowing producers to use inventory as security. This brings the treatment of livestock more in line with other produced commodities.
-Adding "severe economic hardship" as a condition to offer emergency advances, on the recommendation of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister of Finance.
-Revising the security requirements for emergency advances and increasing the emergency advance available to producers from a maximum of $25,000 to $400,000 in conditions of severe economic hardship.
Taken together, program improvements made in December and proposed changes to AMPA represent significant changes to advance payments. Producers will have quicker and easier access to cash advances and, if all producers take advantage of the improved program, an estimated $3.3 billion in advance payments will be available. The federal government has worked with industry in developing the changes to AMPA.
Other initiatives designed to help Canadian farmers include providing the Canadian Pork Council $50 million to deliver a cull breeding swine program that will help in the restructuring of the industry. As well, the Government is working with industry to review meat inspection user fees to assess their impact on competitiveness in the sector. This is in addition to the Government’s commitment of $80 million to help the industry adjust to new feed ban regulations.
The Government will continue to work with the livestock industry to find ways of helping it position itself to be competitive in the long term. These measures include enhancing market access efforts, reducing the regulatory burden and examining means to reduce the cost of the feed ban implementation.