Que. ag agency sweetens ASRA cash advances

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Quebec’s farm finance agency will put up interim interest-free loans to bump up the cash advances available from a program meant to help farmers through changes to the provincial ag income stabilization plan (ASRA).

La Financiere agricole du Quebec (FADQ) on Thursday said it would enhance the interest-free cash advance program launched last November as part of the Strategie de soutien a l’adaptation, allowing eligible farms to get the added loans to provide more short-term liquidity.

Farms that took part in the advance program in the 2011-12 program year will be able to get a larger advance, as the amount available will increase to 40 per cent of what an eligible farm paid in ASRA premiums for 2011, up from 20 per cent.

The maximum advance of $30,000 available in 2011 will increase to $40,000, FADQ added, and the deadline for the first repayment on the 2011-12 advance will be bumped ahead a year, to March 31, 2014.

A farm that only becomes eligible for the cash advance program this year will be able to apply soon for an advance equal to 40 per cent of its 2011 ASRA premium for livestock production, and of its crop production premium from the 2011-12 insurance year.

For those farms just joining the advance program, the maximum available advance will now be $40,000 and repayment can be spread out at 25 per cent per year from 2014 onward.

Farmers will be able to benefit from the additional loans available starting in January, FADQ president Robert Keating said in a release.

In the past program year, he noted, 608 farms took advantage of the advances on offer, for total loans of over $6 million. FADQ last year projected about 1,500 farms would be eligible.

FADQ said it plans to release more details on the terms of the expanded program in the coming weeks.

Related story:
Que. to offer advances on ASRA transition funding, Nov. 24, 2011