Ontario invests $50M into provincial risk management program
By Greenhouse Canada
By Greenhouse Canada
The Ontario government announced an investment of $50 million into the province’s Risk Management Program yesterday, for a total of $150 million annually.
This funding supports farmers with unforeseen challenges such as fluctuating market prices. Ontario’s Risk Management Program includes the Self-Directed Risk Management (SDRM) program for edible horticulture farms.
“Today’s funding announcement by Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman means that growers will see a substantial increase in their SDRM benefits for this program year, one year ahead of the original timelines for this measure,” says the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) in yesterday’s release.
Under the RMP plan for edible horticulture, producers deposit funds into self-directed risk management (SDRM) accounts and the deposit is matched by the government to help mitigate risk associated with farm business.
“We recognize that this government’s platform commitment was for the third year of the their mandate, but given how dramatically our world has changed under COVID-19 and how much greater the risks are that farmers face as a result, we are strongly supportive and appreciative of accelerating implementation,” says Bill George, Chair of the OFVGA. “We believe that this action will be significant and meaningful in addressing the additional risks, increased costs and market instability growers have been facing during the 2020 growing season.”
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.
“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,” says Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“This is another meaningful investment into the Ontario greenhouse vegetable sector, and it could not come at a better time,” said Joseph Sbrocchi, General Manager of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Grower (OGVG). “Our sector is going through a number of challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is critical for our members to know that they have a solid and supportive partnership in the provincial government.”
The association’s work hasn’t stopped at provincial boundaries either. “OGVG through its partners, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers (OFVGA) and the Canadian Horticulture Council (CHC), has been working to advocate for enhancements to the national business risk management suite of programs”, said Justine Taylor, Science and Government Relations Manager with OGVG. “We want the provincial government to know that they have a committed partner in OGVG,” she added.
Applications for the Risk Management Program reopened yesterday 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.