The federal minister of agriculture says it’s been over 100 days since proposed funding and changes to AgriStability were announced, but she has not received a clear indication from any of the three Prairie Provinces on whether or not they will sign on.
In a press conference Wednesday morning, Agriculture and Agri-Food minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said that she wants clarification that each provincial minister brought the proposal forward to their respective premier and cabinet.
Last November, the federal government proposed to eliminate the reference margin limit and to increase the compensation rate to 80 per cent. The federal government estimates this could increase payouts of the AgriStability program 50 per cent, approximately $170 million nationally.
To give an illustrative example provided by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, these changes could mean the difference between a 2,000 acre grain farmer who would have received almost $4,000 instead receiving almost $75,000. This is something we know farmers across the country have been asking for, she says.
The deadline to enroll in AgriStability is April 30.
“We are still awaiting a clear response from all three Prairie provinces to build a strong consensus to enact the proposed changes,” Bibeau says in a joint press release with Minister Jim Carr.
She also notes that she will convene another federal-provincial-territorial meeting, at the request of the Prairie ministers, but says the ministers must come with a “decision in hand.”
“We have had many discussions – Canadian farmers want us to act,” says Bibeau.
There is no set date for the meeting as of yet.
The next Agriculture Policy Framework — under which business risk management programs are housed — is set to be rolled out in 2023.