Grain Farmers of Ontario Reacts to Today’s Announcement of Government Loan Programs for Farmers During COVID-19

Immediate Action Needed on Further Asks

GUELPH, ON (March 23, 2020) – Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers sees today’s announcement of loan programs and delayed repayment deadlines for farmers as the first step of many that will needed to support farmers and help keep Canada’s food system functional.

Today, the government announced loans for farmers to help with the issues stemming from COVID-19, including an increase to the lending capacity of Farm Credit Canada and additional time to pay back existing advanced payment loans.

“A loan program can only be the first step in support from the government for Ontario’s grain farmers, who are already carrying large amounts of debt. More debt is not the answer and will not help farmers continue to have viable businesses and maintain food production,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario.

On Friday, in collaboration with provincial and national farm groups, Grain Farmers of Ontario asked for additional support.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Our provincial and federal government need to move quickly on these asks. We need to stabilize the agri-food economy and industry and ensure our food system’s functionality,” Haerle continued.

The additional asks are:
Federal Government
  • Immediate injection of a minimum of five percent of a producers’ 2018 ANS into AgriInvest accounts
  • Increase AgriStability trigger to 85 percent for 2019-20 Program Year and for the remainder of Canadian Agricultural Partnership
  • Remove Reference Margin Limiting
Provincial Government
  • Removal of the cap on the Risk Management Program and fund it at 100 percent, giving farmers the security they need to invest in seed, fertilizer and other inputs
  • Institution of emergency measures that ensure that required inputs (seed, fertilizer, parts, and fuel) get to farmers in time to plant their crop this spring

Victoria Berry, Communications – 226-820-6641, vberry@gfo.ca 

Barry Senft, CEO – 519-763-3342 x 203, bsenft@gfo.ca