Ottawa gives crop farmers more time to repay cash advances

Aug 20, 2014

Grain growers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. given a six-month grace period

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Farmers in Western Canada will get more time to repay their 2013 cash advances, according to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

Grain and oilseeds growers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia who have been unable to market their crops due to rail transportation issues and flooding woes have been granted a six-month extension to repay debts. The leeway is also for farmers who received an advance through the Manitoba Corn Growers Association. The Canadian Canola Growers Association announced a repayment schedule extension for producers last month.

“Our government took immediate action to get grain and other commodities moving to ensure Canada’s economy continues to grow. All Western grains and oilseeds producers that were impacted by rail transportation delays have now been granted the extra time they need to move their 2013 crops to market in order to meet their financial obligations,” Ritz said in a release.

The federal government’s Advance Payments Program (APP) provides money to farmers based on the value of their agricultural products (crops) to aid with their cash flow throughout the year. Originally, the payment deadline of September 30 has been pushed back to March 31, 2015.

Farmers will now be able to repay their advances without a penalty. The federal government says it is also working on implementing some technical changes to make it easier for farmers to repay their advances by allowing them until the end of the production period to provide proof of sale of any crop commodity covered under APP.

Interestingly, last year’s harvest in Western Canada was about 76 million tonnes, 50 percent higher than average, which put a strain on grain handling, specifically transportation. Additionally, flooding in Saskatchewan and Manitoba hindered crop movement due to restricted access to roads and highways.

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