Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced additional support for farmers and farm businesses, following last week’s announcement of $82 billion in various spending measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Parliament will reconvene March 24, 2020, to pass emergency legislation for these previously announced measures, and to release $5 billion in additional lending capacity through Farm Credit Canada.
Prime Minister Trudeau says this provides the “support (farmers) need to keep food growing and keep it on our tables.”
The prime minister also encouraged continued social distancing and staying home as an act of service.”Go home. And stay home,” he says.
Also announced was a six-month extension to Advance Payments Program loans due by April 30.
And if you’re a farmer with an Advance Payments Program loan due before April 30, we’re giving you an extra six months to pay it back. Because you shouldn’t be worried about covering your loan payments or making ends meet during these critical months.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 23, 2020
Farm Credit Canada says the additional lending capacity will be used to ensure cash flow for getting the crop planted, and for food processors feeling the impact of a “lost sale due to the financial downturn.”
Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO , says in a news release that FCC will use its resources to “find solutions that offer the best chance for recovery going forward so the industry emerges stronger. Initially, the focus will be on assisting the industry in addressing cash flow challenges so that businesses can remain focused on business-critical functions rather than worrying about how to access funds to keep operating through this difficult time.”
As part of its ongoing support efforts, FCC also is asking existing customers who have cash flow or other financial concerns to contact the organization to discuss alternatives, such as loan payment deferrals and products available to assist with cash flow needs.
Listen to Shaun Haney’s discussion with FCC, CEO Michael Hoffort about the announcement: