The B.C. government is increasing funding available to farmers in crisis.
“When disaster strikes, farmers can’t afford to wait for help,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Whether it be wildfires, army worms, devastating weather conditions for grain or extreme market-price fluctuations, we are making changes to better help farmers when they most need it.”
New funding for the B.C. AgriStability Enhancement Program means that up to an additional $9 million is available for qualifying farmers over the next two years.
AgriStability is a national program providing protection to Canadian agricultural producers against large declines that threaten the viability of their farms and are beyond their capacity to manage. The B.C. AgriStability Enhancement Program is available to B.C. farmers who were enrolled in 2019 and those who enrol in 2020.
“We are increasing the compensation rate from 70% to 80%, which means that every payment in 2019 and 2020 from AgriStability will be increased by 14.3%,” Popham said. “Currently, farms with the widest margins receive the least support. We are eliminating the reference margin limit and that will address this problem.”
B.C. farmers already participating in AgriStability will automatically receive the increased protection. Those who are not participating can still enrol for 2020. There are no additional enrolment requirements beyond what is normally required to participate.
The changes announced on Jan. 30, 2020, will complement B.C.’s ongoing work with the federal, provincial and territorial partners to improve AgriStability nationally. The next meeting is in Ontario in the summer.
The B.C. AgriStability Enhancement Program:
eliminates reference margin limits, thereby increasing support; and
increases the compensation paid from 70% to 80% when margins fall below the 30% payment threshold.