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Letters: BRM not ‘fundamentally broken’

It’s not true to say that AgriStability is fundamentally broken, says Keystone Agricultural Producers.

In a November 5 Manitoba Co-operator article on AgriStability reform, we read some frustration into Minister Pedersen’s comment, “And what we keep asking KAP to do is to look at the long term on this.”

KAP is intently focused on the long term. That is why our vision statement is “A sustainable and profitable future for all Manitoba farmers.”

One of our held values is “evidence based.” KAP relies on empirical data to support policy decisions and recommendations. KAP expects evidence-based decisions, policies, and direction from its partners and government.

That is why we support the Ag Growth Coalition’s call for the establishment of an industry-government technical working group that allows farm groups to actively participate in BRM data and impact analysis.

We need the data and the opportunity to review it to evaluate the long-term options on the table and to develop new innovative approaches. We need a full costing of the options and to look at the response of the programs in different risk scenarios.

Specifically, KAP is asking for:

  • Projected costs that include premium payments, administration, return on capital (to private insurance providers) and reinsurance payments, for public and private production and revenue insurance programs
  • Detailed participation rates and payouts under Growing Forward 2 (GF2) and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP).
  • Impacts of the recent change to make private insurance payouts not reportable.

As well, all stakeholders should be at the table and be transparent with their information and positions. This includes private insurance companies, reinsurance companies, and agricultural lenders.

It is not true to say that AgriStability is fundamentally broken. It was seen as an effective program under GF2, however, under CAP the coverage has decreased by more than 50 per cent because of the decrease in the trigger and coverage levels, and the introduction of the reference margin limit.

Blind consultations on options with no detail are not going to move us beyond this impasse, but openness, transparency and clarity will.

Patty Rosher
General manager, Keystone Agricultural Producers

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