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Livestock Sector Lukewarm to Agristability


October 30, 2008
By Canadian Federation of Independent Business

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October 30, 2008- In response to a recent commitment from federal, provincial and territorial governments to review Canada’s Business Risk Management tools, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said today its agri-business members have mixed views on AgriStability, with the livestock sector being the most negative.

Including feedback from 225 agri-business owners in Ontario, CFIB’s new national report: Growing Forward – For Some, Not All, outlines survey results on the new Growing Forward programs. In Ontario, only nine per cent believe AgriStability will be very helpful in managing risk. Another 28 per cent indicated the program will be somewhat helpful, while just over one in five businesses view it as not being helpful. 

The Ontario responses varied significantly by sector. Faced with the fallout from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), a volatile Canadian dollar, and new country of origin labelling; 38 per cent of respondents in the livestock sector say AgriStability will not be helpful in managing risk in their businesses. In contrast, those with field crop and combination farms, as well as those with fruit, vegetable and horticultural farms are much more optimistic that the program will be helpful.

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“Across the board, Canada’s last business risk management tool did not work for our members,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice president of agri-business. “The Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program was time-consuming, difficult to understand, costly to participate in, and offered inadequate payments,” said Braun-Pollon.

Satinder Chera, CFIB’s Ontario director added that of those Ontario members who had qualified for and received CAIS payments, 15 per cent of respondents had been asked to repay their payments, primarily due to errors in calculations by government program administrators. “It’s no wonder our members, particularly in the livestock sector, are leery about AgriStability,” said Chera. 

CFIB survey results are timely as federal, provincial and territorial officials will be completing a strategic review of Canada’s new business risk management tools over the coming year. “Our agri-business members prefer to earn a profit from the marketplace, not the mailbox,” added Chera. “These are really programs of last resort, but when producers do need them they must be transparent, accessible, predictable and timely. That’s exactly what CFIB will be pushing for,” concluded Chera. 

The full report is available at: www.cfib.ca/agri and further Ontario data on AgriStability is available in the attached backgrounder. For more information contact Marilyn Braun-Pollon at (306) 757-0000, Gisele Lumsden or Meghan Carrington at (416) 222-8022. 

The CFIB is the business voice for agriculture, representing 6,500 independently owned and operated agri-businesses in the country.