N.B. potato growers get extension on APP repayments

Citing a poor crop year due to a cold, wet 2011, the federal government will give potato producers in New Brunswick until the end of this year to repay their federal cash advances.

The government on Friday announced a stay of default on short-term loans issued under the Advance Payment Program (APP) for affected potato growers in the province, effective Dec. 22, 2011 and running through to Dec. 31, 2012.

Farmers will be able to transfer their outstanding 2011 advances to the 2012 production period and avoid default, the government said.

The federal government will also continue to pay interest on the interest-free portion of farmers’ outstanding APP payments until Dec. 31, 2012.

Eligible farmers who got a 2011-12 APP advance and may be in an overpayment position should contact Potatoes New Brunswick (506-743-3036) for more information, the government said.

"New Brunswick potato producers have worked hard to recover from this year’s cold and wet conditions which have severely reduced their crop yields and caused high storage losses," Tobique-Mactaquac MP Mike Allen said in a federal release Friday.

Potatoes New Brunswick had asked that producers be granted more time to meet their financial obligations, he said. The organization represents about 200 farmers in the province, growing processing and table varieties and seed potatoes on about 50,000 acres.

APP advances are meant to help eligible Canadian farmers improve cash flow throughout the year and thus allow them to market their products when market conditions are favourable.

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