Federal aid for farmers announced

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Financial support for farmers and agri-food businesses has been launched by the federal government to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

Farm Credit Canada will receive an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agri-businesses, and food processors, says a government news release March 23.

The aid increases flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to help them remain financially strong during a difficult time.

“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,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

“Their continued work is essential to our plan to manage COVID-19,” Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says.

All eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program [APP] loan due on or before April 30 will receive a stay of default to allow them an additional six months to repay the loan.

The measure, which represents $173 million in deferred loans, will help keep more money in farmers’ pockets.

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.

The new deadlines for outstanding Advance Payments Program loans for grains, oilseeds, pulses, cattle and bison is Sept. 30, 2020.

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