Posted on Feb 23, 2021
ALBERTA PRODUCERS NEED STABILITY, NDP URGE THE UCP TO SIGN ONTO FEDERAL AGRISTABILITY DEAL
EDMONTON - Alberta NDP Agriculture and Forestry Critic Heather Sweet sent a letter to Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshan ahead of the provincial budget urging him to sign onto the federal AgriStability proposal.
AgriStability is a Business Risk Management Program intended to support farmers and producers who experience losses. Currently, the payment cap for AgriStability is 70 per cent. The federal government is proposing to increase the payment cap to 80 per cent, meaning producers would only need to lose 20 per cent of profits to qualify. Alberta has so far refused to sign on to the federal proposal.
In her letter, Heather Sweet argued COVID-19’s effect on the supply chain warrants immediately signing on the federal proposal. She wrote:
“COVID-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses has extended the time that cattle must be fed,” Sweet said. “Outbreaks in slaughterhouses have extended the time that beef and pork must be fed which is particularly challenging given producers are paying record high prices for grain. These delays are an added cost for producers but provide no additional profits.
“I recognize that as Minister, you would prefer a different long-term business risk management program than AgriStability. You have said publicly that you would like to see a provincial program in place. The federal proposal is currently set until 2023. Signing onto this agreement can immediately provide much needed security to producers while also acting as an interim period to consult and consider how other future programs could be designed.
“It is my sincere hope that the needs of producers are addressed when the provincial budget is tabled this week.”
The full letter is attached to this release. The Alberta Federation of Agriculture has publicly urged the government to accept the federal government’s proposal.