Feds announce support for farmers, food businesses and food supply

by Morinville News Staff

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors Tuesday morning as well as measures within agriculture programs to allow an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector.

Targeted support to farmers, ranchers, agricultural producers, and food processors include
creating a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19 so they can better supply Canadians with food during this period.

Trudeau also announced the launch of a $125 million national AgriRecovery initiative to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. The government says the funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing.

The feds also plan to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste.

“Canadians count on farmers and producers to provide them with the food they need to feed themselves and their families,” Trudeau said. “Today, we are giving them the support they need to keep their workers safe and food systems running during this challenging time, for the benefit of all Canadians.”

The Liberal government says it will work with opposition parties to achieve the required legislative change.

Trudeau also announced what the government says is the first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories to local food organizations that are serving vulnerable Canadians. The announcement comes with an initial $50 million commitment.

The government says it will work with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines. This change has already been enacted in some provinces. They will also work with the provinces and territories to expand the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector.

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