Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario agriculture minister Ernie Hardeman teamed up on a July 16 visit to southwestern Ontario to announce increased funding for the Risk Management Program. This includes the Self-Directed Risk Management (SDRM) program for edible horticulture farms.
In concrete terms, growers will see a substantial increase in their SDRM benefits for the program this year, one year ahead of original timelines. Applications for the Risk Management Program will reopen July 16 to allow eligible farmers to apply to the program. The deadline to apply closes at midnight on July 30th, 2020.
Producers should contact Agricorp to enroll in the Risk Management Program and AgriStability or to discuss their individual files.
“We recognize that this government’s platform commitment was for the third year of their mandate, but given how dramatically our world has changed under COVID-19 and how much greater the risks are that farmers face as a result, we are strongly supportive and appreciative of accelerating implementation,” says Bill George, chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA). He was present at the Chatham event along with other agricultural leaders.
“We believe that this action will be significant and meaningful in addressing the additional risks, increased costs and market instability growers have been facing during the 2020 growing season.”
Growers continue to have access to other existing programs, including federal programs such as AgriStability and AgriInvest, and OFVGA continues to advocate for changes to those programs that would improve supports for growers. In the question and answer period with media, Minister Hardeman said that this moment represents a “restart to negotiations” with the federal government.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Minister Hardeman and Premier Ford for their leadership at the national level to advocate for meaningful improvements to the AgriStability program,” George states. “We are hopeful that federal and other provincial and territorial partners at the table will follow Ontario’s leadership in supporting growers.”
Source: OMAFRA July 16, 2020 news release/Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association July 16, 2020 news release