~ Ontario Farmers' Pre-Budget Submission Urges Partnership to Protect
Vital Industry and Local Food Supply ~
GUELPH, ON, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - The Ontario Cattlemen's Association and
Ontario Pork met today with Ontario's Standing Committee on Finance and
Economic Affairs, as part of the pre-budget hearings, to advocate for
government support of a risk management program (RMP) to protect
against market fluctuations and to share in and limit risk.
The submissions are part of a joint effort by the beef and pork
industries to enlist both the Provincial and Federal governments to
partner with them in establishing insurance programs similar to the
successful pilot program implemented and recently extended by the
Ontario Government for the Grains and Oilseeds industry.
"Establishing a Risk Insurance Program for our farmers this year is our number one priority," says Curtis Royal, President, Ontario Cattlemen's Association and
owner of Royal Farms in Simcoe County. "Over 80,000 Ontarians make
their living on farms and more than 700,000 Ontarians work in the
agri-food industry. We form an integral part of Ontario's economic
success, especially rural Ontario."
The Ontario Cattlemen's Association represents 19,000 beef farmers in
Ontario and Ontario Pork is the marketing board that represents
Ontario's 2,000 pork producers.
In the past few years, Ontario's beef and pork industries have
experienced a severe downturn. Ontario's beef cow herd has declined
18.4% since the beginning of 2003 while sow herd has declined over 20%
since 2007. This downturn is the result of several factors including
BSE, H1N1, and a high Canadian dollar, bringing increased competition
from imports. With multiple economic threats occurring over an extended
period of time, the current AgriStability program alone is not enough
to sustain these industries.
"We have conducted major consultations with our members and the broader
farming community and there is overwhelming support for a risk
management program," says Wilma Jeffray, Chair of Ontario Pork and a
farmer of hogs, cattle, grains and oilseeds in Bruce County. "This
program would offset the difference between the current market price
and the average long-term cost of production, eliminating the need for
ad hoc government support for both the beef and pork industries in the
Under the proposed insurance program, participating Ontario farmers in
the beef and pork industries would pay premiums to the government
representing 30% of the long-term cost of the insurance program. The
farmers are asking governments to contribute according to the
traditional 60/40 Federal/Provincial split and for the province to act
immediately to kick start and fund their share of the program.
"The program is affordable, and it would capitalize on a growing
consumer demand for locally grown, safe, environmentally responsible
food," says Royal. "By partnering with Ontario's local farmers, the
Provincial and Federal governments will help sustain local food
production and strengthen the rural economy."
Ontario Cattlemen's Association and Ontario Pork are continuing to work
with the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition (OASC). The two
industries are actively lobbying the Federal government as well.
For more information, visit: www.beefporkrmp.ca.
SOURCE Ontario Cattlemen's Association
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