Agri-business owners frustrated - Time for action: AgriStability costly,
complex and unpredictable

REGINA and OTTAWA, June 9 /CNW/ - As Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) governments hold consultations with producers across Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a report today which reveals farmers' glaring frustration with the current Business Risk Management (BRM) program, AgriStability.

"While governments cannot solve many of the global problems that have impacted the agricultural sector, they can certainly take steps to improve the tax and regulatory environment in which agri-business owners operate. Additionally, they can make programs like AgriStability more farmer-friendly," said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB's vice-president of agri-business.

CFIB's report: AgriStability or Aggravation, based on 1,081 responses from Canadian agri-business owners, identified several problematic areas within AgriStability such as: poor customer service, complex and large volumes of paperwork, timeliness issues, and predictability.

"It's clear the program is not responding to producers' needs when 58 per cent of those participating in AgriStability said they are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the program," noted Corinne Pohlmann, vice-president, national affairs. CFIB believes BRM tools are a last resort, but when producers do need them, they have to work. They must be transparent, accessible, predictable, and timely.

    
    Key Findings:
    -------------
    -   FPT governments do have a role to play in addressing the actions of
        foreign governments and managing risks beyond the producer's control
        (e.g. border closure).

    -   On average, producers are spending $1,984.00 to participate in the
        AgriStability program, which is almost double what they were spending
        to participate in CAIS.

    -   Customer service issues are in need of immediate attention by FPT
        governments. (e.g. timeliness, complexity, and the overall service of
        staff).

    -   AgriStability, as currently designed, is not providing an adequate
        long-term solution to Canadian producers (e.g. livestock sector).
    

"Ministers have been reviewing BRM programs since July 2008 and CFIB farm members say it is time for action. We hope the feedback from these consultations will spur governments into action to make some immediate changes to AgriStability, as well as continue to address the competitive challenges in the Ag sector by tackling such issues as: reducing red tape, reducing the total tax burden and addressing agri-business succession," added Braun-Pollon.

"We hope the July 2010 meeting of FPT Ministers of Agriculture will outline a concrete plan to address farmers' serious concerns," concluded Braun-Pollon

To view the report in full, please visit www.cfib.ca

CFIB is the business voice for agriculture, representing 7,200 independently owned and operated agri-businesses in the country.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Independent Business

For further information: For further information: please contact Marilyn Braun-Pollon at (306) 757-0000 or Corinne Pohlmann at (613) 235-2373 or email public.affairs@cfib.ca


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