Yes, growers may still defer payments: OMAFRA

Ontario grain and oilseed growers will still be able to choose to defer payments from grain dealers on their deliveries, according to the province’s ag ministry.

The ag ministry’s assurance follows a warning this week from the Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA), in which it stated that the province planned to begin enforcing the language in the provincial Grains Act that lays out a specific timeframe in which growers must be paid.

The Guelph-based association backed up its warning on its website by displaying a memo to dealers, dated Nov. 26 with letterhead from Agricorp, the province’s farm program delivery agency.

The memo urged licensed grain dealers to clear any deferred-payment arrangements with growers off their businesses’ books by early January 2011.

But the office of provincial Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell on Thursday emphasized that while the province is indeed consulting with grain growers, dealers and elevator operators on the matter of deferred payments, “farmers will be allowed to operate as they always have.”

That means farmers “can choose to defer payment,” the minister’s office said Thursday, with that emphasis.

An ag ministry spokesperson said Thursday that OMAFRA had promised recently to look into the issue of deferred payments, after an unnamed grain elevator in southwestern Ontario’s Lambton County went out of business.

“We were approached by (an unnamed) producer organization that raised concerns about allowing deferred payments under the Grains Act several months ago, and we said we would look into it,” the minister’s office said in an email to Manitobacooperator.ca.

But in the meantime, the ministry said, “it is business as usual for Ontario grain and oilseed producers.”

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