Ontario and Ottawa announce measures to help farmers impacted by the plant disease
By Diego Flammini
The federal and provincial governments are helping support grain farmers affected by a plant disease that can make corn unmarketable.
On Monday, Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s ag minister, and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s federal ag minister, announced a tiered corn salvage benefit to help farmers who dealt with DON in their corn crops last year.
Beginning this year, growers who have DON levels of 3-5 parts per million (ppm) will receive a benefit amount of 52 cents per bushel, Agricorp says. Farmers with DON readings from 5-8 ppm will receive 79 cents per bushel, and producers who had higher than 8 ppm will receive $1.08 per bushel.
The benefit is also expanded to include organic corn producers.
Producers like Larry Davis, a Brant County farmer who had DON levels of between 3 and 4.5 ppm last year, appreciate the governments’ attention to the disease situation.
“It’s great that both governments are working on something for farmers on this type of situation,” he told Farms.com. “Diseases haven’t typically been on the radar, so now that they are, things will be good for research dollars and possibly for recovery dollars.”
The governments also outlined some legislative avenues of support for corn farmers.
Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), industry reps will join forces with Grain Farmers of Ontario on research into developing best management practices for mitigation and storage of corn with high DON levels.
The support also includes launching a cost-share program through the Partnership to provide assistance to farmers experiencing revenue loss.
Provincially, the Ontario government extended its Commodity Loan Guarantee Program repayment deadline from Feb. 28 to Sept. 30 and increased the maximum guaranteed loan limit from $120 million to $200 million for the 2019 and 2020 program years.
Producers will welcome the additional time to make loan payments, Davis said.
“If a farmer is having a difficult time finding a market, they’ll have a longer period of time to pay back that loan, which will definitely be of some assistance,” he said.
Farms.com has updated this article to clarify the 2019 launch of this new tiered corn salvage benefit.