E-application system for crop cash advances goes offline

The new administrator for federal cash advances on Prairie wheat, durum and barley has asked growers to phone in their applications as its website is in mid-overhaul.

The Canadian Canola Growers Association — which already handled administration for the federal agriculture department’s Advance Payments Program (APP) on canola and 16 other field crops in some or all of the four western provinces — recently took over the program for Prairie wheat, barley and durum from the Canadian Wheat Board.

The federal government in September announced the Winnipeg-based CCGA would take over APP administration for winter wheat starting Oct. 1, 2011, and would be the issuer for cash advances on Prairie spring wheat, durum and barley starting Sunday (April 1, 2012).

The CCGA, however, recently posted a notice that the APP section of its website is undergoing "conversion and construction."

Until the work is completed, eligible farmers will not be able to apply for cash advances via CCGA’s online application. Nor will they be able to use the system to check their account balance or transactions online, the CCGA said.

Both those services must now be obtained "via telephone assistance," the CCGA said on its site. Growers are asked to call 1-866-745-2256 or contact the association by email.

The CCGA said it’s "working to be back on line as soon as this website conversion is completed."

Cash advances to eligible farmers under the APP can be obtained on up to 50 per cent of the average market price for a farmer’s crop, with values estimated by the federal ag ministry. APP advances are limited to $400,000 per producer.

The federal government pays the interest on the first $100,000 of an APP cash advance issued to a producer per production period. Producers have up until the end of the production period to repay their advance.

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