Mind Your Farm Business, Ep 51: Navigating farm support programs
If you’re frustrated by how government support programs are designed or overwhelmed by navigating the paperwork, you’re certainly not alone.
The numbers speak for themselves — enrolment in the main suite of federal programs has been dropping steadily for years. A recent letter from the Standing Committee on Agriculture to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada outlined that in 2016, 31 per cent of eligible producers, accounting for 56 per cent of market income, made use of AgriStability, for example. This represents a decline in participation compared to 2012 when 43 per cent of eligible producers made use of the program.
Marvin Slingerland, business advisor with MNP, says that changes to the program — such as a reduction in the reference margin from 85 per cent to 70 per cent — have made it far less likely that farmers will see a payout from the program. What’s more, taking part in any of the Agri-suite of government-backed risk management programs can be paperwork heavy, often requiring accountant help, and if a payout is triggered it can take a long time to see that money.
In this episode of Mind Your Farm Business, Slingerland dives in to how farm support programs work, how best to navigate them, and why the current low enrolment rate has been a sticking point in the ad hoc government support through COVID-19.
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