Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Minister Monte McNaughton and Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs visited Craven Farms in Chatham-Kent on Thursday, July 16, 2020 to announce additional support for farmers.
The Provincial officials announced the expansion of the Risk Management Program, a year earlier than planned, by $50-million for a total of $150-million annually.
Provincial officials say this funding supports farmers with unforeseen challenges such as fluctuating market prices, extreme weather events like flooding or drought, and disease.
“Our government stands shoulder to shoulder with our farmers during these unprecedented times,” Premier Ford stated in a press release.
“As we chart a path to recovery, we will be there for our farmers and their workers to help them continue to put food on our tables. We committed to expanding this program in Year 3 of our mandate, but we are delivering on that commitment a year earlier than promised to provide more stability, income security and peace of mind for farmers, which is long overdue. I’m proud to say promise made, promise kept.”
We made a promise to have farmers backs.
They’ve been hit hard and need more stability and peace of mind for future unforeseen events.
We’re boosting the agricultural Risk Management Program by an additional $50M per year to $150M so that farmers can recover faster. pic.twitter.com/QvtkKlgkvh
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) July 16, 2020
Provincial officials say approximately 80 per cent of eligible commercial production in the cattle, hog, sheep, veal, grains and oilseeds, and edible horticulture sectors in Ontario is covered by the provincial Risk Management Program.
“We know farmers face tremendous pressures and uncertainties including reduced processing capacity, increased costs and volatile markets,” Minister Hardeman stated in a press release.
“After listening to feedback from the farming sector, that is why we are accelerating our promise to increase the Risk Management Program to $150 million by one year. We’re committed to providing our farmers with added support at this time and advocating on their behalf with the federal government to help them continue doing their critical work of producing safe, nutritious food for our kitchen tables.”
Provincial officials say the increased investment in the Risk Management Program is in addition to a $15-million Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program.
Farmers and other operations have access to cost-share funding to help enhance health and safety measures for employees, such as purchasing personal protective equipment, medical testing equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and temporary or permanent modifications to enhance physical distancing, Provincial officials added.
Support is also available for farmers who experience unexpected costs for housing and transportation as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak on their farm.
Applications for the Risk Management Program will reopen today to allow eligible farmers the opportunity to apply to the program, Provincial officials say.
The deadline to apply closes at midnight on July 30, 2020.
Producers should contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ delivery agent, Agricorp, to enroll in the Risk Management Program and AgriStability or to discuss their individual files.
Provincial officials say in response to COVID-19, the federal and Ontario governments have added labour as an insured risk to Production Insurance for the 2020 growing season.
Canada and Ontario have also announced up to $10 million of support for beef and pork sectors through AgriRecovery.
Ontario has an estimated 49,600 farms that contribute an estimated $7.6-billion annually to the province’s economy.