Ontario Agriculture

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Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition (OASC)

 

News Release

 

For Immediate Release                                                                           March 29, 2011

 

 

Ontario Budget Delivers New Risk Management Program for Ontario Farmers

 

(Guelph ON, March 29, 2011) – The establishment of a risk management program (RMP) was the single most important action the provincial government could have taken in today’s budget, say farmers representing the Ontario Agriculture Sustainability Coalition (OASC). The new program will help ensure the economic success of Ontario’s non-supply managed commodities, which include beef, pork, veal, lamb, fruits, vegetables and grains and oilseeds.

 

OASC leaders praised the provincial government for delivering this much-needed tool to Ontario farmers, but also renewed their call for the federal government to join in the program.

 

“The Premier, Minister of Agriculture, and Finance Minister have earned our thanks as the establishment of RMP will be a critical tool to give our farmers the predictability, stability and bankability they need to move their businesses forward,” says Bette Jean Crews, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. 

 

“Today, the provincial government demonstrated its commitment to Ontario’s farmers,” adds Henry Stevens, President of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario.  “RMP was by far the best solution that offered farmers the support they have been requesting and the most hope for their future.”

 

OASC members will press all federal candidates to follow the province’s lead and provide their share of financial support for the RMP so that farmers would receive the benefits of a fully funded program. A pilot risk management program has been funded for the last four years by the provincial government for Ontario’s grains and oilseeds sector.

 

“Our farmers have benefited greatly from the original provincial pilot program, but it’s now also time for the federal government to step up and support this initiative,” says Leo Guilbeault, Chair of Ontario Grains and Oilseeds. “The establishment of a permanent program will give our farmers the confidence they need to make long-term investments necessary to succeed.”

 

“The fact that the provincial government decided to move forward on RMP during these tough fiscal times, and without the participation of the federal government, makes this announcement that much more significant to Ontario farmers; we look forward to working with the minister over the coming months to finalize program design,” adds Wilma Jeffray, Chair of Ontario Pork.

 

Ontario Pork and Ontario Cattlemen’s Association united in a professional public affairs campaign to fully communicate to all elected members of government the importance of this program and what it means to hog and beef farmers.  

 

“This announcement is a game-changer for Ontario farmers who today have good reason to be optimistic about their future,” says Mark Wales, Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Safety Nets Committee.

 

The Ontario Agriculture Sustainability Coalition was formed to help secure sustainable, bankable and predictable risk management programming for non-supply managed farmers in Ontario. Coalition members include the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Ontario Veal, Ontario Grains & Oilseeds, Ontario Pork and Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency, together with the Christian Farmers’ Federation of Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

 

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For more information:

 

OFA:                                      Bette Jean Crews             613-921-0597

CFFO:                                    Henry Stevens                 519-837-1620

Grains and Oilseeds:               Leo Guilbeault                 519-796-2289

Veal:                                     Judy Dirksen                    519-338-3083

Cattle:                             LeaAnne Hodgins            519-824-0334; cell: 519-767-8634                    

Pork:                               Mary Jane Quinn             519-767-4600 x 1303

Fruit and Vegetable:         Art Smith                         519-763-6160 ext 115: cell: 519-831-8770

Sheep:                             Murray Hunt                    519-836-0043 ext. 23;  cell:  519-766-2589 

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The Experts Agree: Ontario Building on Success in Agriculture


QUEEN'S PARK, March 29 /CNW/ - Experts from the agriculture sector agree that the management program announced in today's budget shows that Ontario farmers have a partner they can count on at Queen's Park.

DON KENNY, CHAIR, GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO
"Ontario's grain farmers should celebrate today's news…The leadership shown today by the McGuinty government sets a new standard in the province and ensures the sustainability of our family farms."

 WILMA JEFFRAY, CHAIR, ONTARIO PORK
"The fact that the McGuinty government decided to move forward on RMP during these tough fiscal times and without the participation of the federal government, makes this announcement that much more significant to Ontario farmers."

CURTIS ROYAL, PRESIDENT, ONTARIO CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION
"Today's announcement is great news for Ontario farmers, rural communities and everyone involved in agriculture and agri-food…The establishment of a permanent risk management insurance program will give our farmers the tools they need to sustain their operations so they can continue to provide high quality, locally grown food to Ontario consumers."

HENRY STEVENS, PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN FARMERS FEDERATION
"Two years ago the McGuinty government asked farmers to get together and come up with a joint solution to the many challenges our industry faced. We studied lots of options and RMP was by far the solution that offered farmers the most hope for their future. Today the McGuinty government demonstrated its commitment to Ontario's farmers."

LEO GUILBEAULT, CHAIR, ONTARIO GRAINS AND OILSEEDS
"Ontario's grain and oilseed farmers know first-hand the importance of this program as our farmers have benefited greatly from the original pilot program. The establishment of a permanent program will give our farmers the confidence they need to make long-term investments necessary to succeed."

BRIAN GILROY, CHAIR, FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GROWERS' ASSOCIATION
"This announcement is a game-changer for Ontario farmers who today have good reason to be optimistic about their future."

MARKUS WANT, CHAIR, ONTARIO SHEEP
"It's been more than 20 years since a decision of this importance has been made with respect for the agriculture sector. There is no doubt today is a historic day for Ontario farmers."

JUDY DIRKSEN, PRESIDENT, ONTARIO VEAL
"The McGuinty government has listened to Ontario's farmers and we are happy they have committed to the RMP which is our most important priority."

Why don't we looked at the numbers then?

 

Total expenditures: ($MIllions)

 

OMAFRA: Actual 2009-2010: $1,265    Plan 2011-2012:  $1,235.5 ........Decreasing commitment

 

Interest on Debt: Actual 2009-2010:  $8,719      Plan 2011-2012:  $10,289.8  ......Increasing $1.5 Billion

 

So the government is showing some love towards farmers now after 8 years of near neglect.  What the government is forgetting to mention is the fact that RMP payments are advances on Agri-Stability. 

 

He giveth in one column and taketh away in another column.

 

Sounds like the government is expanding a program that collects fees but the program has a benefit claw-back clause to return the funds.

Joann, you are not alone in your skepticism. But our organization leaders will tell us that it is the best thing since sliced bread.

 

I which it was just skepticism John.... but we have the deductions to prove it.

 

We did get a RMP payment a couple of years ago but the amount was deducted from the Agri-Stability cheque.

 

We paid for 2 programs. RMP premiums and Agri-Stability premiums were remitted but RMP monies are deemed advances on Agri-Stability monies.  If the Province is getting a refund on farm support programs then you would think we would get a refund on the premiums we paid... wouldn't you?

Nope...... Agricorp is loaning the Province of Ontario 100's of millions $$$$ of farmer's monies..... and you have to ask how and why Agricorp has such a huge balance sheet..... yet they are ready to accept more RMP premiums from us.  Its a win-win for the Provincial coffers.

 

It would appear the Province is double-dipping on farm program fees.

 

 

John Schwartzentruber said:

Joann, you are not alone in your skepticism. But our organization leaders will tell us that it is the best thing since sliced bread.

 

Joanne, this evening I was on Minister Carol Mitchell's town-hall, conference call and asked the question about paying premiums on two programs but only being able to collect on one.

 

Her reply was that the RMP was written by farmers for farmers and it was approved as they brought it to her.

 

Hmmmm.

 

I replied that I am astounded that my industry reps would, without my knowledge, write up the program in such a way. If indeed they did, they will be hearing a bit more about this.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Also, the "polls" that were being run during the conference call all lacked one answer/option - "None of the above" .

 

 

Now that the budget has been approved, farmers and farm groups will keep working on the programs details. At Ontario Pork's AGM I said:

This is an insurance program so there would be premiums, but it will be a voluntary program. In our proposed model, premiums are calculated by taking the difference between the 10 year average price and the floor price. We want to ensure that the program is affordable to producers and to government so we’re asking that premiums be adjusted to ensure producers pay 30% of the long run cost of the program net of AgriStability savings. What I mean by that is because of a linkage with AgriStability some of the funding you would receive under RMP you would have already received under AgriStability, we’re asking that premiums be based on 30% of the additional coverage available under the proposed program.

Should be no double dipping. If you have a question or comment, contact your farm organization.

My thoughts?

 

The first one that popped into my head was from a quote by William Somerset Maugham"


 “Money is the string with which a sardonic destiny directs the motions of its puppets.”

 

It is rather unfortunate that our Minister would respond in that manner. 

 

The RMP was a 3 year program with the Provincial supposedly paying a portion.  Correct me if I am wrong but there were a few stipulations when a farmer enrolled.

1. Had to enroll in Agri-Stability

2.Had to enroll in Production Insurance

3. Had to enroll ALL grains crops.

4. Had to pay RMP premiums, Agri-Stability premiums and Production premiums by deadline dates.

 

If a farmer received a RMP payment, it was deemed as an advance on Agri-Stability. 

If a farmer received a production claim, it was deemed income towards Agri-Stability.

 

What we see with RMP is a number of things.  Triple premiums with possible triggers essentially entangled as one support program.  It does not take a genius to understand why the feds will not participate in RMP.  It will be a matter of advancing their own money in a duplicate program.  How redundant is that?

 

But the RMP served another important purpose.  It is a self-auditing program. The numbers the farmers provide are cross reference with the Agri-Stability and Production Insurance.

 

If Minister Mitchell is confident that the latest government announcement is beneficial on the account "RMP was written by farmers for farmers and it was approved as they brought it to her" as you say..... then that statement truly astonishes me.

 

The farmers wrote many resolutions, approved many resolutions at their AGM's and brought forth the many resolutions calling for the audits of Agricorp, OFPMC ......yet she appears to be very selective on what she presents to the public.

 

One also has to ask WHY Agricorp is loaning 100s of Millions of $$$$ to the Province.  How did Agricorp collect that surplus money? From Whom?

John Schwartzentruber said:

Joanne, this evening I was on Minister Carol Mitchell's town-hall, conference call and asked the question about paying premiums on two programs but only being able to collect on one.

 

Her reply was that the RMP was written by farmers for farmers and it was approved as they brought it to her.

 

Hmmmm.

 

I replied that I am astounded that my industry reps would, without my knowledge, write up the program in such a way. If indeed they did, they will be hearing a bit more about this.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Also, the "polls" that were being run during the conference call all lacked one answer/option - "None of the above" .

 

 

I cannot repeat verbatim what she said (there was a lot) but the implication clearly was that the RMP gave farmers what they asked for.


A recorder would have been handy.

 

Joann said:

My thoughts?

 

The first one that popped into my head was from a quote by William Somerset Maugham"


 “Money is the string with which a sardonic destiny directs the motions of its puppets.”

 

It is rather unfortunate that our Minister would respond in that manner. 

 

The RMP was a 3 year program with the Provincial supposedly paying a portion.  Correct me if I am wrong but there were a few stipulations when a farmer enrolled.

1. Had to enroll in Agri-Stability

2.Had to enroll in Production Insurance

3. Had to enroll ALL grains crops.

4. Had to pay RMP premiums, Agri-Stability premiums and Production premiums by deadline dates.

 

If a farmer received a RMP payment, it was deemed as an advance on Agri-Stability. 

If a farmer received a production claim, it was deemed income towards Agri-Stability.

 

What we see with RMP is a number of things.  Triple premiums with possible triggers essentially entangled as one support program.  It does not take a genius to understand why the feds will not participate in RMP.  It will be a matter of advancing their own money in a duplicate program.  How redundant is that?

 

But the RMP served another important purpose.  It is a self-auditing program. The numbers the farmers provide are cross reference with the Agri-Stability and Production Insurance.

 

If Minister Mitchell is confident that the latest government announcement is beneficial on the account "RMP was written by farmers for farmers and it was approved as they brought it to her" as you say..... then that statement truly astonishes me.

 

The farmers wrote many resolutions, approved many resolutions at their AGM's and brought forth the many resolutions calling for the audits of Agricorp, OFPMC ......yet she appears to be very selective on what she presents to the public.

 

One also has to ask WHY Agricorp is loaning 100s of Millions of $$$$ to the Province.  How did Agricorp collect that surplus money? From Whom?

John Schwartzentruber said:

Joanne, this evening I was on Minister Carol Mitchell's town-hall, conference call and asked the question about paying premiums on two programs but only being able to collect on one.

 

Her reply was that the RMP was written by farmers for farmers and it was approved as they brought it to her.

 

Hmmmm.

 

I replied that I am astounded that my industry reps would, without my knowledge, write up the program in such a way. If indeed they did, they will be hearing a bit more about this.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Also, the "polls" that were being run during the conference call all lacked one answer/option - "None of the above" .

 

 

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