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The March 25 federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers’ meeting resulted in a deal for farmers and ranchers. All three Prairie provinces voted in favour of removing the reference margin limit (RML), which will provide support to producers across the country experiencing declines in farm income.
The Prairie provinces also proposed that the federal government provide their 60 per cent share of the cost to increase the compensation rate while allowing the provinces flexibility in the level of funding that they can provide. A number of provinces supported this motion, representing the vast majority of Canada’s agricultural production. The Prairie provinces will continue to encourage the federal government to commit their 60 per cent share of the proposed compensation rate change.
“A majority of provinces participating in the FPT meeting voted in favour of the federal government’s $170-million change to AgriStability. This constituted the majority of agricultural production across the country. However, the federal government chose to withhold $75 million in compensation funding for farmers, costing Alberta $12 million per year in federal transfers. We are disappointed that the federal government chose to withhold these publicly communicated funds, especially when you consider that Alberta net transfers more than $20 billion to Ottawa annually.”
“Reliable business risk management programming is essential for the continued growth of the agriculture sector. Producers have made it clear that removing the reference margin limit will help the AgriStability program function as intended and make the program more effective and equitable. Removal of the RML will improve AgriStability so that producers can continue supplying the world with safe, high-quality food.”
“We have listened to producers express concerns that AgriStability is complicated and unpredictable. The reference margin limit creates additional uncertainty in the AgriStability program, especially for certain sectors of ag production, so Manitoba has agreed to remove it. We will continue to ensure our farmers and agri-food stakeholders are supported and remain a strong, sustainable sector.”
The Prairie provinces are working closely to advance policy reforms as part of the next agricultural funding framework in 2023 to improve AgriStability for all agriculture producers. The provinces are looking for solutions to make the next suite of programs simpler and more timely across all sectors.