Today, July 17th, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson welcomed the government’s action to expand the Risk Management Program a year earlier than planned by $50 million for a total of $150 million annually. This funding supports farmers with unforeseen challenges such as fluctuating market prices, extreme weather events like flooding or drought, and disease.
The announcement was made on July 16th by Premier Doug Ford, and Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“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 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.”
MPP Randy Pettapiece, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, agreed. “Farmers in Perth-Wellington and across the province have been asking for an increase in the Risk Management Program for years and I’m glad we were able to deliver it for them,” he said. “This funding will make a difference for farm businesses in Ontario and I appreciate Minister Hardeman’s work in making it happen.”
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.
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.
“I appreciate how Minister Hardeman has always been available to consider the local concerns of Huron-Bruce farmers. I value the fact that he, along with Parliamentary Assistant Randy Pettepiece, have come into this significant agricultural region to share the news of our government’s enhancement to the risk management program directly with local beef, pork and grain farmers”, said Thompson. “And I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes and supports the dedicated efforts and challenges of those involved in today’s agricultural industry.”