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Manitoba doubles hog farmer loan limit

The Manitoba government has doubled the maximum loan available under its hog assistance loan program to $5 million.

“We’ve monitored the program, we know larger hog operations need to maintain higher cash flows and we are responding to that reality,” provincial Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk said in a release Thursday.

“We have also extended the application deadline to June 30 to give producers more time to access these funds.”

The province’s announcement also included the launch of a new web site designed to connect Manitoba hog producers with finishing space for their weanlings.

Larger loans

The province’s $60 million hog assistance loan program allows producers to borrow up to $35 per slaughter hog and $10 per weanling sold between Oct. 1, 2007, and May 31 this year.

The loans, issued through the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. (MASC), must be paid back over an eight-year period.

Over 140 loans for over $38 million have so far been approved or are being processed, the province said Thursday. Principal payments on the hog loans can be deferred for the first three years.

The raise in the loan limit won’t affect the interest rate schedule for loans below the previous $2.5 million limit. The first-year interest rate under the program is still 2.25 per cent on loan amounts of up to $1.5 million, with 4.5 per cent still charged on loan amounts from $1.5 million up to $2.5 million. The rate is still 4.5 per cent for all of these loans for years two and three, and six per cent for the last five years. An extra interest rate reduction of one per cent for the first three years is available for farmers under age 40.

However, for loan amounts from $2.5 million to $5 million, the interest rate will be set at MASC’s eight-year rate of six per cent for the full term of the loan.

Finisher space listings

Wowchuk also announced hog farmers with excess weanlings can try a new online service to help locate Manitoba farm operators who can take weanlings to the finished stage.

The agriculture department’s new Finisher Space Listing service is similar to the Hay Listing service, she said.

“Producers with excess weanlings and those with space for weanlings can contact their GO team offices and request their contact information be posted on the website.”

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