Canada’s agricultural business risk management tools need an overhaul under the next policy framework because they’re currently frustrating for farmers and plummeting participation rates reflect that.
That’s what Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Ron Bonnett told the annual meeting of the Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association Nov. 14 in Winnipeg during an update on the organization’s efforts to shape the upcoming Growing Forward 3.
“We put forward a whole package of suggestions on how to reshape AgriStability,” Bonnett said. “I think one of the other things that we are asking for is restoring AgInvest to the levels it was at previously.”
That’s just one of the recommendations the group has put forward in recent months as the existing Growing Forward 2 framework is set to wind down.
Our organization started about a year and a half ago looking at the existing programming and taking a look at the needs going forward to identify what types of tools we were going to need to really move agriculture forward,” said Bonnett.
Bonnett says CFA had a few other key items in mind when taking part in industry consultations regarding the upcoming policy framework, which were held in Calgary in July.
CFA has also pinpointed the need to reduce confusion surrounding the funding application process as users have complained of unclear criteria and changing approval mechanisms.
“What we are suggesting is having clearly identified criteria for the programming and having a process and timelines with accountability. So that when people start going down the road to apply for this programming it is something that is achievable,” Bonnett said.
Bonnett adds that CFA will support the current forage insurance programs as they stand but says there is still a requirement for these programs to be continually monitored and evaluated to make sure they are clearly responding to producer needs.
CFA has also been exploring what a producer payment security program might look like.
“With the producer payment security program, we are trying to see if there are ways we can put insurance policies in place to protect accounts payable. We are hearing more from some industries that this is becoming an issue for them. So, it is one of the things we are working on right now,” Bonnett said.
In terms of research, the organization is looking at specific strategic investments in critical areas to ensure there are resources dedicated to looking at key issues.
“There is a whole series of issues within that strategic investments column that we are looking at. Everything from environmental sustainability to responding to consumers needs.”
Of course CFA has also been dedicated to market development and a number of ongoing trade deals.
“Canada is uniquely positioned in that we can produce a lot more than we consume,” Bonnett said. “But if we want to have access to these different markets, we need to position ourselves to take advantage and that will include everything from research in forage, grains and taking a look at our best management practices, so that we can position ourselves to be the preferred supplier going forward.”
CFA will hold its annual general meeting on February 22 to 24 in Ottawa.
Bonnett recommends anyone interested in putting forth a resolution for the AGM, to work through the provincial general farm organizations or commodity organizations.