Alberta Wheat to launch "FarmCash" cash advance program


There’s new competition coming in the area of farm cash advance administration in Alberta.

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) has announced it will be launching its own program called “FarmCash” to administer advances for Alberta farmers and ranchers through the federal government’s Advance Payments Program.

Starting September 1, 2018, FarmCash will offer interest-free and low interest rate short-term loans on 45 commodities, including all major crops, livestock, and honey, through “a fully automated and efficient web-based platform,” says the commission.

AWC chair Kevin Bender says they feel there’s an opportunity to introduce a new option for accessing cash advances.

“We felt we could provide this service to Alberta growers, and we’re excited about the launch of this program. I think it’s going to be a good fit for Alberta growers and we look forward to serving them in another way,” he says, in the interview below. (Story continues below)

The federal Advance Payments Program, which is administered by approved commodity groups, provides producers with short-term, low-interest loans of up to $400,000 per year, with the federal government paying the interest on the first $100,000.

Currently, Alberta producers can receive advances through the Canadian Canola Growers Association, Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, Manitoba Corn Growers Association, Alberta Beekeepers Commission and others (find the complete list here.)

Bill C-18, which was passed in 2015, included changes to the program that allowed for increased competition among administrators. The legislation allows each administrator to issue advances for all 45 crops and livestock types covered in the program, rather than only covering specific commodities in a specific region or province.

The FarmCash program, at least initially, will be focused on serving producers in Alberta. Proceeds from the program will be used “to benefit Alberta farmers,” says Bender.

“Ensuring our programs continue to respond to the needs of farmers remains a priority for our government. With its established relationships in the province, AWC is well-positioned to offer Alberta farmers an additional option for cash advances that will help producers meet their needs and grow their businesses,” notes federal Ag Minister Lawrence MacAulay, in a news release.

Related: Cash advance program changing with passage of C-18

Editor’s note: this story was updated with quote from and interview with Kevin Bender.

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