Soaked Prairie growers’ APP deadlines stayed

Prairie crop growers hit by weather wet enough to keep them from getting crops out of their bins to sell have an extra four months to fully repay their cash advances.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on Monday announced the stay on the repayment of advances until Jan. 31, 2011 for those crop producers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia who got a 2009 advance under the Advance Payment Program (APP) through the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA).

The stay, effective as of Friday (Oct. 1) applies to growers of any of more than 25 eligible crops, including canola, oats, flax, rye, mustard, buckwheat and canaryseed.

Crop farmers who received a 2009 APP advance from the CCGA and are “adversely affected by the ongoing wet conditions” are eligible for the stay and thus have more time to repay advances in accordance with the original repayment agreement.

“We received many calls from farmers who are not able to haul their grain, and are desperately trying to avoid going into default on their cash advance,” CCGA general manager Rick White said in Monday’s release.

“Many farmers from across the Prairies have told us their bin sites are surrounded by water and it’s been that way for months,” he added.

“The stay will give farmers a bit of breathing room allowing some time for the ground to freeze in order for them to access their storage bins and market their product,” Ritz said in the same release.

The federal government said it will continue to pay interest on the interest-free portion of farmers’ outstanding advances, until the extended deadline.

The CCGA urged any farmer who has a 2009 APP cash advance through the association and is experiencing yard site flooding to contact the CCGA “immediately” at 866-745-2256 to make sure his or her 2009 advance “remains in good standing.”

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