"Our farmers need an answer now": Saskatchewan premier sends stern letter to Trudeau over changes to the cash advance program

The Saskatchewan government is calling on the federal government to stick to their word when it comes to the Advanced Payment Program (APP) for farmers. On Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlining a letter he sent last month and the need for changes to the APP, especially during the recent disruption of canola shipments from Canada to China.

Changes the Saskatchewan Party proposed were: to increase the ceiling for the APP to $1 million per account, with the full amount of the program to be made temporarily interest-free. It also proposed the application deadline for the spring intake to be extended to April 30th.

“I was initially encouraged that your government seemed prepared to act quickly on our Advance Payments Program proposal,” Moe wrote. “However, it has been close to one month and Saskatchewan has yet to receive a response regarding this proposal. On top of an artificially depressed market, canola producers are facing unprecedented uncertainty entering spring seeding.”

Moe says that Saskatchewan’s Minister of Agriculture David Marit along with Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison met with federal International Trade Minister Jim Carr and Minister of Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau last month. The group discussed the need for changes to the APP and also indicated Saskatchewan’s willingness to participate “in any capacity” in a mission to China to resolve the current canola shipment issue.

The premier has yet to receive a response from the federal government; however, RealAgriculture did hear back from the Ministry of Agriculture’s federal office.

“We are listening to the requests from our farmers, producers, and provincial governments. Together with the canola industry, we are looking for the best ways to support the sector,” says Minister Bibeau. “Business Risk Management programs, as well as the Advance Payment Program, are important tools for famers that help them through challenging times. As I have said before, I’m looking at options to ensure these programs meet the needs of our farmers.”

The agriculture minister went on to say they continue to work on the issue and Canadian farmers should know “that we have their backs.”

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