Federal funding for agriculture and agri-food sector

This week, the Prime Minister made an announcement of $252 million in funding to support the agriculture and agri-food sector. This included:

  1.  a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund
  2.  a national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million
  3.  a Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund.
  4. the intention to working with provinces and territories to increase interim AgriStability payments and an expansion to the AgriInsurance program.
  5. The Prime Minister also announced the intention to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste. The government will work with opposition parties to achieve the required legislative change

The details/criteria for these programs are still being finalized and will be shared with stakeholders as soon as possible.

Emergency Processing Fund

Woman cleaning sweet potatoes at processing facility

The Emergency Processing Fund ($77.5 million) was created to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19 so they can better supply Canadians with food during this period.

Applications will be assessed and ranked based on alignment against program parameters and their overall benefit and ability to achieve the key objectives of the program (mitigation support, production capacity and also automation technologies). AAFC will look to balance funding between large corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises.

An online application will be available soon and funding will be accessible on a rolling basis. The funding will be a combination of both repayable (e.g., investments in capital) and non-repayable contributions. AAFC will send more information when available.

AgriRecovery initiative

COVID-19 is creating reduced processing capacity and backing up supply chains. The national AgriRecovery initiative will provide up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19 such as set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants.

This new federal funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing.

Surplus Food Purchase Program

The Surplus Food Purchase Program is an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.

Work will be carried out with national food recovery agencies, and also involve corporations, for the repurposing and redistribution of existing and identified surplus food that respects the needs and health of vulnerable populations in Canada. The program is focused on surplus commodities that have resulted from COVID-19, rather than on commodities in storage waiting to go to market.

Increasing interim payments from 50% to 75% through AgriStability

The federal government will be working with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines. This change has already been enacted in some provinces.

The government has extended the deadline to enrol and pay the fee for AgriStability to July 3, without penalty. This gives farmers more time and flexibility to make business decisions and assess their program coverage needs, especially while dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about AgriStability in Ontario.

Increase to the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit

This plan to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million will support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste.

Prior announced funding and supports:

Support for Employers with Temporary Foreign Workers

On April 13, the federal government announced $50 million in funding to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers, put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad.

The government will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory isolation.

Farm Credit Canada lending capacity increases by $5B

On March 23, the Federal Government enabled Farm Credit Canada to provide an additional $5 billion in lending to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. Learn more about this program.

Comments are closed.