In 2011, a new provincial cost-shared Risk Management Program (RMP) was created for the Ontario agriculture industry. Farmer leaders across commodity groups came together as the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition (OASC), and worked with the provincial government to design a made-in-Ontario solution to help bring “predictability, stability and bankability to the farming sector.”
In the fall of 2013, Premier Wynne tasked the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food and senior ministry staff to work collaboratively with Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition (OASC) leaders to review the RMP program and ensure the existing program and its funds were best serving farmers.
OASC announced this week that after a year of working with senior Ministry officials, and through detailed analysis measured against clear criteria, the group concluded that the current RMP program is superior to any of the other alternatives with respect to assisting job creation, bankability and predictability.
Through that review, OASC says it also became clear the mandatory requirement that all RMP participants also enroll in the federal AgriStability program was doing more harm than good given cuts to the AgriStability program and other challenges with the way AgriStability is currently operating.
To that end, the Ontario government has removed the requirement that farmers be enrolled in the federal AgriStability program as an eligibility requirement to Ontario’s risk management program.
“We need federal business risk management programs that, like RMP, work for Ontario’s farmers,” says Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. “Unfortunately, program cuts and design flaws have resulted in an eroded federal AgriStability program that is no longer meeting producer needs. I support OASC’s request to remove the AgriStability requirement for participation in the provincial RMP. This will allow Ontario farmers to have greater flexibility to choose the portfolio of tools that best meets their needs.”