Financial Help During Trying Times

June 24, 2022 | Paul Bootsma

Financial Help During Trying Times

As we’re heading into the summer months the times seem to be getting tougher, especially for livestock farmers. Inflation and input costs are skyrocketing while erratic weather and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are disrupting grain supply chains.

Our beef herd has been shrinking, and Canadian beef cow inventories are at lows not seen for more than thirty years. At the same time, global demand for beef remains strong. The same goes for lamb.

Meeting that demand while maintaining healthy businesses and bank accounts is a complex challenge for farmers. Two programs that were recently announced could help.

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has introduced a new program that provides incentives of up to $2,000 to clients who are certified by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (or CRSB). The idea is to both reward those who are already certified and to encourage others to get on board.

CRSB certification recognizes sustainable practices that are economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible. It also signals to consumers that the meat they’re buying comes from a farmer who uses these practices. With this program, FCC is aiming to boost the number of CRSB-accredited farmers and ranchers from the current 1,300 across the country.

The Ontario Sheep Farmers has teamed up with Scotiabank to provide financing to farmers who want to expand their flocks. It’s through a bank program called Yield More Financing and it offers a revolving line of credit to farmers who have been in the business for at least two years. There’s a simple application process, and while no security is needed, a credit score is required.

Ongoing programs from governments, like AgriStability, AgriInvest and Ontario’s Risk Management program, provide a decent financial safety net for the industry. We certainly appreciated the $400 million for the AgriRecovery program announced last summer by Minister Bibeau. We’re also pleased with the two-month deadline extension for AgriStability that federal and provincial governments provided this year, given the tremendous volatility we’ve been riding out recently.

At the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, we will continue to advocate strongly on behalf of farmers for improvements to ongoing government programs that address financial risks. In an increasingly unpredictable setting, both economically and environmentally, public support for our food providers is a necessity.

Paul Bootsma is Member Relations Manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.