Canola growers want more than a cash advance

Farm groups thank federal government for expanding program, but producers demand open market and better prices

Canadian farmers are far from happy with the larger cash advances to help them overcome the canola dispute with China.

The reaction was lukewarm to last week’s federal announcement that for 2019 the maximum loan advance would drop from $ 400,000 to $ 1 million. Many farmers have said that another loan, even at a low interest rate, does not solve the real problem.

Under the revamped program, canola growers can get up to $ 500,000 interest-free, while the interest-free portion for other crops remains $ 100,000.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau also announced that the AgriStability registration deadline will be extended from April 30 to July 2.

While most farm organizations were careful to thank Ottawa for the help, farmers took to social media. They want the Chinese market to be open and better prices. Many have used the analogy of putting a bandage on gunshot wounds.

“This is not the silver bullet,” said Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president Todd Lewis.

The problem is that China has refused most Canadian canola seed shipments since late February, citing contamination, and has yet to grant Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials access to conduct. their own assessment.

Although Canada continues to approach the issue on a scientific basis, frustrated farmers say it is time for a political solution.

Glaslyn, Saskatchewan farmer Daryl Fransoo said farmers want to see a plan, not go into more debt. The family business sows about 3,000 acres of canola each year and usually takes the interest-free portion of the advance.

“Just yesterday we lost an extra $ 5 a tonne on canola and that pretty much wipes out (the extra advance) the federal government gave to agriculture,” he said on May 1.

“I think we have some real short term issues here and that doesn’t bode well for the long term of course.”

Fransoo said they won’t be taking the lead this year because they were fortunate enough to have a good year of marketing last year. But he fears that if the situation is not resolved and farmers have to repay the advance, they will start to throw canola into the market and push prices down further.

Canadian Canola Growers Association president Rick White said increasing the lead only saves growers time and individuals will make decisions based on their own circumstances.

“Over time, if China continues to be excluded from the market, cash flow will become more and more of a problem for farmers,” he said. “That’s what this program is designed to do.

Those who have already requested 2019 advances since the opening of applications on April 1 will be able to modify their requests without administrative costs.

As of April 1, the program has issued just over $ 300 million on 3,500 requests and processes approximately 100 requests per day. These numbers tend to increase by around 10 percent from last year.

The 2018 program totaled $ 1.44 billion out of 10,300 advances, White said.

Lewis said farmers could wait to apply in the fall after seeing how the growing season and the political climate unfold.

He said many farmers hold back canola and sell in June or July. The situation this year means that the move to $ 1 million could help farmers who cannot.

Meanwhile, the extension of the AgriStability deadline to July 2 gives producers more time to decide if this program might work for them this year.

Saskatchewan’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Agricultural Policy Paul Johnson said there had been an increase in inquiries and the province expected some to reconsider their participation.

Federal International Trade Minister Jim Carr is expected to lead a trade mission to Japan and South Korea in June to try to attract more buyers for Canadian canola.

Canadian authorities are also targeting France, Chile, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mexico and Germany. Bibeau is in Japan this week for a meeting of G20 agriculture ministers.

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