Ontario’s agriculture ministry won’t be making any changes to its Risk Management Program (RMP) for the 2018 program year.
Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal, in a recent letter to Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) chair Mark Brock, said he has decided not to proceed with interim changes to RMP for 2018, pending a review of federal/provincial business risk management (BRM) programming.
Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial ag ministers, at their meeting in July, accepted Ontario’s proposal for a review of BRM programs, Leal said in the letter, dated Sept. 15.
To make “best use of our collective resources,” Leal said he instead plans to evaluate the provincial RMP “concurrently” with a federal BRM review.
Ontario’s evaluation of the RMP, Leal said, will not involve changing the program’s annual funding, which remains capped at its 2013 level of $100 million.
Changes coming out of such an evaluation, he said, “need to result in additional dollars flowing toward economic need,” and need to provide “an environment which promotes demonstrable producer investment in growth, innovation and job creation.”
Also, he said, changes to RMP would need to “facilitate integration with federal BRM programs and be consistent with federal best practices in terms of risk management.”
RMP, he said, also must remain “trade compliant” and work toward expanding international markets for Ontario farm products.
The RMP, provincially funded and administered by Ontario’s farm program delivery agency, Agricorp, provides payments to producers when covered commodities’ market prices fall below a support level based on industry-average costs of production.
From where GFO sits, an interim revision to RMP right now would have led to “confusion for our farmer members, and we are pleased the minister put this on hold,” Brock said in a release last week.
“With the federal review of business risk management underway, it makes sense that the ministry delays the update to the provincial program at this time,” GFO said Sept. 20. “Ontario’s RMP should complement the federal suite, ensuring both programs work together.”
The federal BRM review, Leal said, is expected to address “challenges” outlined in the ag ministers’ Calgary statement from July, and “to assist in fulfilling the Barton report’s vision.”
The Calgary statement called for “improve(d) participation, timeliness, simplicity and predictability” in BRM programming, as well as development of private-sector risk management tools, “collaborative” emergency management initiatives, and monitoring of programs to make sure they work as intended.
Recommendations from the Barton report, released in February by the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, pointed to agriculture as a sector from which Canada could realize significant growth and suggested the country has the potential to rise from the fifth-largest to second-largest ag exporting nation.
A first draft of federal BRM program revisions is expected in 2018, GFO noted. — AGCanada.com Network