MPP Walker welcomes additional support for farmers

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker is welcoming the government’s action to expand the Risk Management Program (RMP) 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.

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 want to thank Minister Hardeman for his commitment to working with our farmers and providing the best support possible for our producers to help them manage challenges beyond their control,” said Walker. “Our expansion of funding for the RMP follows many other actions to support the agri-food sector and to do everything necessary to keep our food supply system working at full-strength during this time of the COVID-19 outbreak. Thank you to the members of the local agricultural community for their feedback and for their contributions.”

Applications for the Risk Management Program reopened on July 16 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.

In response to COVID-19, the federal and Ontario governments have added labour as an insured risk to Production Insurance for the 2020 growing season.

Canada and Ontario have also announced up to $10 million of support for beef and pork sectors through AgriRecovery.

Ontario has an estimated 49,600 farms that contribute an estimated $7.6 billion annually to the province’s economy.