Canola farmers looking for a cash advance can now apply for it through the Manitoba Corn Growers Association if they like, or they can obtain a corn cash advance from the Canadian Canola Growers Association.
Streamlining to the federal government’s Advance Payments Program means Manitoba farmers can now get cash advances for most crops with one application, from one place — either the corn or canola growers’ associations.
The Manitoba Corn Growers Association (1-877-598-5685), which has administered cash advances for corn, sunflowers, pulse crops Kentucky bluegrass seed, alfalfa seed, annual and perennial ryegrass and baled hay (for domestic sales only), has added the following crops effective April 1: durum, canola, flax, buckwheat, canary seed, mustard, hemp seed, wheat, mustard Ethiopian, camelina, millet, barley, oats, triticale, rye and honey, said association manager Theresa Bergsma.
The Canadian Canola Growers Association, which previously issued advances on most crops, including many forages, has added Manitoba corn and soybeans, association manager Rick White said.
The canola growers also issued advances to cow-calf operators in Alberta and British Columbia in the past, but has added cattle, hogs, sheep, goats and lambs across Western Canada.
“We’re up to about 45 commodities now, from about 20 or 25, which we had historically been doing,” White said.
Cash advances on cattle are also available through the Manitoba Livestock Cash Advance Program Inc. (1-866-869-4008).
Manitoba Livestock is also issuing advances on the following crops: canola, corn, oats, rye and soybeans.
The Association of Manitoba Feeder Co-operatives Co-op Inc. (204-838-2050) is also issuing advances on cattle.
The Manitoba Pork Credit Corporation (1-866-557-5452) is also administering advances on hogs.
Advances on honey are also available through the Manitoba Co-operative Honey Producers Limited (204-783-2240 ext. 225).
Potato growers can get advances from the Keystone Vegetable Growers Association (204-239-6932).
Advances on nursery products, mushrooms, greenhouse cut flowers, potted plants and Christmas trees are available through the Agricultural Credit Corporation in Guelph, Ont.,(1-888-278-8807).
Several other changes have been made to the program.
The two per cent withheld on the advance to cover possible repayment defaults has been dropped, White said.
Farmers with advances on grain crops are no longer required to have documentation of a grain sale for repayment before Jan. 31, 2016. After that date any repayments sales have to be documented. The change dramatically cuts paperwork for the farmer and advance administrator, he said.
Under the advance payment program eligible famers can get up to 50 per cent of the expected average price for their agricultural product to a maximum of $400,000 for up to 18 months. The first $100,000 is interest free and the rest is at a low interest rate.
The program, designed to help farmers with cash flow so they weren’t forced to sell when prices were low, started off as a loan against stored crops, but was expanded many years ago to include unseeded crops. If a farmer suffers a crop failure the advance is repaid by crop insurance or AgriStability.
Some farmers prefer to wait and take an advance after their crop is seeded or in the bin, but there are fewer, Bergsma said.
“When people ask me about it I say consider taking the interest-free portion first and it gives you some money to work with,” she said.
Canola association advance payment administrators have been busy this spring, White said.
“It’s a very valuable program to farmers,” he said. “Even if the advance is interest bearing, it is very, very inexpensive. Getting money at (bank) prime (rate) without putting up significant security, other than the grain, is a very good deal for farmers.”
Even more positive changes are planned through regulation, including allowing farmers to make five-year advance payment loan agreements, he added.
“Farmers can do one big application and subsequently the four years after they just have to do incremental applications to review and renew the amounts they want (advanced) so you won’t have to do a big, full-blown application every single year because that’s a heavy burden on farmers.”