Stay of default granted on Prairie growers’ cash advances

(Dave Bedard photo)

Given the obstacles against shipping Prairie grain since last fall, Prairie crop growers who took out federally-backed cash advances last year now have more time to repay them.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on Thursday announced a six-month stay of default on repayment of advances, for any producers who got advances on their 2013-14 crops through the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA).

The six-month stay, effective immediately, extends the repayment period to March 31, 2015, from the original deadline of Sept. 30 this year. Interested growers can email the CCGA for more details.

During the stay period, producers will also have the option to repay their 2013-14 APP advances in cash without facing a “payment without proof of sale” penalty.

The interest-free component of the 2013-14 advance will be maintained throughout the six-month extension, the CCGA said Thursday. The stay will apply equally to all crops for which the CCGA administers the APP.

All other existing rules and guidelines associated with the 2013-14 APP continue to apply, the CCGA noted. Participating growers must still make repayments on existing advances every time they sell crop associated with the given advance.

The APP, a federally-backed financial loan guarantee program, allows for cash advances to producers of up to $400,000 on the value of their product, with the first $100,000 interest-free in each crop year.

The CCGA, which requested the stay, administers the APP for crops including barley, beans, buckwheat, canaryseed, canola, chickpeas, durum, carinata, fababean, flax, hemp seed, lentils, mustard, oats, peas, rye, soybean, export timothy hay, millet, triticale, wheat and winter wheat.

Proof of sales

“Technical changes” are also being set up to make it easier for all producers to repay APP advances, the government said Thursday. The changes would allow producers until the end of a production period to provide proof of sale on any commodity covered by the APP.

Last year’s Prairie grain and oilseed crop came in at 76 million tonnes, 50 per cent above average. The increased volume, combined with a harsh winter, put “significant pressure” on Western Canada’s grain handling system, the government said.

“Many farmers have faced challenges selling their 2013 crops and for these farmers meeting a Sept. 30 repayment deadline is almost impossible,” CCGA president Brett Halstead said Thursday.

The stay, he said, will “lessen the financial worries that many are facing, with grain still being held in their bins waiting for a marketing opportunity to open up and many facing excess moisture problems at the same time.” — Network


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