Province Comes to Aid of Ontario Beef Sector

    GUELPH, ON, Dec. 14 /CNW/ - The Ontario Cattlemen's Association (OCA)  is
pleased today with news that the McGuinty government will be providing
immediate assistance to the cattle, hog and horticultural industries in
Ontario. All three industries have been in crisis since mid-summer.
    "I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank The Honourable
Dwight Duncan for acknowledging the need in our sector. I also want to
recognize and thank The Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, Ontario's Minister of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for her hard work in ensuring that our
producers find some relief from this serious financial situation," states Ian
McKillop, OCA President. "The Minister has shown a dedication and commitment
to our industry from Day One and we're extremely thankful for this latest
funding. I would also like to thank our Premier, The Honourable Dalton
McGuinty. It is very encouraging to see his government take a leadership role
in recognizing the financial hurt that producers are currently suffering."
    The announcement, which came yesterday in Ontario's 2007 Economic Outlook
and Fiscal Review by The Honourable Dwight Duncan, Ontario Minister of
Finance, will infuse $150 million into agriculture "to strengthen
competitiveness", with $100 million going directly to cattle and hog producers
and $30 million going directly to horticulture producers.
    "For cattle producers, the timing of our latest crisis has been
especially poor," continues McKillop. "In many ways, these circumstances are
worse than the industry endured as a result of BSE. The big difference now, is
that every sector from the processor to the cow/calf producer is losing money.
We estimate that Ontario beef producers have lost well over $100 million in
the last six months of 2007."
    While all the details have not yet been finalized, the following
information was included with the announcement:
    -  Distribution similar to Cost of Production (CoP) payments
    -  12% average of Allowable Net Sales (2000-2004) for those producers who
       have greater than 50% of their sales in cattle and hogs
    -  A cap of $3M for individual producers
    -  No application should be necessary if a producer was included in CoP

    "We expect this announcement to distribute $40 million to beef farmers in
Ontario," McKillop adds. "Agricorp will deliver payments and we anticipate
cheques to begin arriving in February, 2008." Further calculation information
on payment amounts will be available through Agricorp.

For further information:

For further information: Ian McKillop, OCA President: (519) 868-4202;
Dave Stewart, OCA Executive Director: (519) 824-0334; Lianne Appleby, Ontario
Cattlemen's Association: (519) 824-0334

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Ontario Cattlemen's Association

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