The Ontario government is adding $50 million to the Risk Management Program a year earlier than planned for a total of $150 million annually to support farmers with unforeseen challenges.
Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Agriculture Ernie Hardeman helped make the announcement today from Craven Farms just outside of Chatham.
The funding aims to support farmers struggling with fluctuating market prices, extreme weather events like flooding or drought and disease.
“Our government stands shoulder to shoulder with our farmers during these unprecedented times. As we chart a path to recovery, we will be there for our farmers and their workers to help them continue to put food on our tables,” said Premier Ford. “We committed to expanding this program in Year 3 of our mandate, but we are delivering on that commitment a year earlier than promised to provide more stability, income security and peace of mind for farmers, which is long overdue. I’m proud to say promise made, promise kept.”
Approximately 80 per cent of eligible commercial production in the cattle, hog, sheep, veal, grains and oilseeds, and edible horticulture sectors in Ontario is covered by the provincial Risk Management Program.
“We know farmers face tremendous pressures and uncertainties including reduced processing capacity, increased costs and volatile markets. After listening to feedback from the farming sector, that is why we are accelerating our promise to increase the Risk Management Program to $150 million by one year,” said Minister Hardeman. “We’re committed to providing our farmers with added support at this time and advocating on their behalf with the federal government to help them continue doing their critical work of producing safe, nutritious food for our kitchen tables.”
The increased investment in the Risk Management Program is in addition to a $15 million Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program. Farmers and other operations have access to cost-share funding to help enhance health and safety measures for employees, such as purchasing personal protective equipment, medical testing equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and temporary or permanent modifications to enhance physical distancing. Support is also available for farmers who experience unexpected costs for housing and transportation as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak on their farm.
Applications for the Risk Management Program will reopen today to allow eligible farmers the opportunity to apply to the program. The deadline to apply closes at midnight on July 30th, 2020.
Producers should contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ delivery agent, Agricorp, to enroll in the Risk Management Program and AgriStability or to discuss their individual files.
Ontario has an estimated 49,600 farms that contribute an estimated $7.6 billion annually to the province’s economy.