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Canada announces measures to shield the agri-food sector from coronavirus fallout

24 March 2020

Prime Minister Trudeau announces support for farmers and agri-food businesses under Canada’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian farmers and food businesses work hard so Canadians have quality food on their grocery store shelves and kitchen tables. In these times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make sure that they are supported so they can continue providing the good, healthy food that nourishes our families.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced important new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Farmers and food producers work hard to put food on tables across our country, and they should not have to worry about being able to afford their loan payments or having enough money to support their own families. We are taking action now to give them more flexibility to meet the challenges ahead in these times of uncertainty,” he said on Monday. 

Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time.

In addition, all eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Programme (APP) loan due on or before 30 April will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan. This important measure, which represents $173 million in deferred loans, will help keep more money in farmers’ pockets during these critical months.

The Stay of Default will also provide farmers the flexibility they need to manage their cashflow when facing lower prices or reduced marketing opportunities. Applicable farmers who still have interest-free loans outstanding will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $100,000 interest-free portion for 2020-2021, as long as their total APP advances remain under the $1 million cap.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food commented:

“Like many Canadians, I am truly grateful for our farmers and food business owners and employees, who continue working hard so we all have quality food on our grocery store shelves and kitchen tables. Their continued work is essential to our plan to manage COVID-19. The measures announced today will provide farmers and food producers across the country with important financial flexibility they will need during these challenging times.”

The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting Canada’s agricultural sector to ensure that farmers and businesses have the support they need to provide for their families and all Canadians during this critical time.

Quick facts for cattle farmers

Cattle ranchers who participated in the 2018 Stay of Default announced this summer are encouraged to contact their administrator for more details and to enquire about their eligibility for the Stay of Default.

Administrators participating in the Stay of Default are the BC Breeder and Feeder Association, Manitoba Livestock Cash Advance Inc, Western Cash Advance Programme Inc, PEI Federation of Agriculture and the Agricultural Credit Corporation.

Farmers will continue to have support under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The comprehensive suite of business risk management programmes are designed to help manage significant financial impacts and risks beyond farmers’ control.

The new deadline for outstanding Advance Payments Programme Loans is 30 September 2020 for cattle and bison producers. 

Read more information from the Prime Minister's office here


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