Sunday, February 21, 2021

Politicians call for better AgriStability

The House of Commons Agriculture Committee is calling for an 85 per cent reference margin for AgriStability and for an entirely new business risk management program related to climate change.

These are in recommendations from a pre-budget report.

The committee pondered submissions from more than 800 groups and individuals ranging across all issues that could become part of the next budget expected some time next month.

The committee also recommends a new program for farm labour. Last year farmers and food-processing companies struggled to find enough workers and were trying to cope with cases of COVID-19, especially among temporary foreign workers in group housing on Southern Ontario farms.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has already proposed better AgriStability terms to a meeting of provincial and territorial agriculture ministers in November, but the Prairie provinces have said they are too expensive.

Ontario Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman is a strong supporter of the proposals which he helped fashion as part of a special committee. He has also surged the provinces to step up soon lest retroactive funding from the federal government be lost.