Farmer deposits waived for 2007 AgriInvest

Farmers will get government contributions to their AgriInvest accounts for the 2007 program year without having to make matching deposits.

Leading up to a federal and provincial agriculture ministers’ meeting on Monday (Feb. 9) in Ottawa, the ministers jointly announced they would waive the deposit requirement for 2007 AgriInvest as a “transition measure.”

Only farmers who make deposits to their AgriInvest accounts will get matching government contributions starting in the 2008 program year, the ministers said in a release Friday.

AgriInvest is one of the federal/provincial business risk management programs developed under the federal Conservative government’s Growing Forward ag policy framework.

Under the program, a farmer who makes a deposit in an AgriInvest account based on a percentage of allowable net sales will get a matching government contribution.

Farmers would then have the flexibility to use the money to cover small margin declines or for investments to mitigate risk.

In Quebec, where AgriInvest is delivered provincially, accounts won’t be moving to financial institutions and will continue to be held by La Financiere agricole du Quebec, the ministers noted.

But the transition measure announced Friday will also apply to Quebec farmers, who won’t have to make a 2007 AgriInvest deposit to get the government contribution.

The ministers’ meeting Monday in Ottawa, in advance of their annual conference in July at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., will be co-chaired by federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and the host ag minister, Ontario’s Leona Dombrowsky.

In a separate release, New Brunswick Agriculture Minister Ron Ouellette said Friday he expects that ways to reduce the impact of the current economic crunch on Canada’s ag industry will dominate the discussion in Ottawa.

“It is essential that we collaborate to ensure that current programming will help members of our agriculture industry with the challenges that may lie ahead,” Ouellette said.

The ag ministers are also expected to review the status of various federal/provincial programs, which are going through the renewal process. Food safety and traceability are also on the agenda for the meeting, Ouellette said.

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