Farm groups ask province to explore separating business risk programs

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Groups say a link between two risk management programs creates more paperwork as well as compensation problems

Comments

1. Interesting to note the fruit and vegetables sector get paid based on production value not on COP as RMP was originally designed. More like a top up of NISA-AgriInvest program. So basically, fruit and vegetables get a war chest payment every year plus get a higher gov't payment if they have a higher income.
2. Also very interesting to note that the livestock total payments are listed for the past two years along, with the number of producers, yet still no transparency when it comes to stating the actual COP numbers for livestock.

Nothing speaks louder about the basic incompetency of farm groups than the admission by OFA President, Mark Wales, that farmers apparently, and incredibly-stupidly, wanted RMP to be an advance on AgriStability as far back as 2007 - this farmer didn't, and has been protesting ever since. Why farm groups ever supported a system whereby farmers paid premiums into two programs, but received benefit from only one, is one of the great mysteries of all time - but then farmers support supply management and ethanol too, and neither of them makes any sense either.

That it has taken almost eight years for farm groups to admit their own mistake tells volumes about both the basic competency of farm groups, and their unwillingness to admit to their errors.

This incompetency and this delaying on the part of farm groups comes as no surprise to anyone who, like me, objected to the flawed P2/P2 inventory pricing formula in the first OWFRP program in 1999 - yet farm groups, including the OFA, bought into this accounting travesty hook, line, and sinker.

Wake up OFA and other farm groups! - you've had 15 years from the start of the OWFRP program to figure out that before you leap into things you know nothing about, and that is obviously a lot of things, it would pay handsomely to not listen especially to government, but to consult with even as few as only one practitioner first.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

As past Ag Minister Helen Johns has stated "You don't always get everything you want in a program". With respect, I strongly suggest that the linkage of RMP to Agristability was a gov't requirement, not a farm group or farmer agreed to requirement. In order to get the RMP from government, a trade off of the linkage of RMP to Agristability was required and the farm groups had to sell it as such or risk losing the RMP.

We had to wait 7 years to get changes to the inventory valuation process of OWFRP/AgriStability because farm groups, even in spite of oodles of resolutions their memberships passed, did absolutely nothing.

Likewise, we have waited 7 years for farm groups, once again even in spite of resolutions passed by their memberships, to do anything about the cross-compliance problems between RMP and AgriStability.

I believed then, and I believe now, that no farm group had either the capability, or the desire, to do the arithmetic on either OWFRP or RMP, and even worse, had no desire to even consider the adage that a flawed program is worse than no program at all.

These two examples demonstrate that, all-too-often, spineless and arithmetically-incapable farm groups are more of a problem than anything that could ever be designed by government.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

You may say it is farm groups who held up the process . You are wrong .
You have just proven with out a doubt how much you don't know .
You might be or consider yourself educated , even well educated , but you sure can prove to be dumd as a stump on certain issues that you like to sling mud at about .

Right at the get-go of OWFRP, I protested to OMAFRA about the inventory valuation process, believing it to be a typing error - in response, Ken Linington phoned me to boast that P2/P2 had been approved by accountants - I told him that if he could find any accountant who had approved of the P2/P2 process, I wanted to know who he/she was so I could report him/her to the CICA ethics committee - it was a short conversation, and Linington, quite-wisely, has never been stupid enough to try to BS me ever again - in fact, he's also quite-wisely never even tried to talked to me again, and I don't mind that at all.

In addition, quite early in the OWFRP process, I met privately with then OFA President Ed Segsworth and OFA Vice President Ron Bonnett in the office of the Huron County Federation of Agriculture - I explained the proper methodology of inventory valuation at great length, exactly the way I would explain it, and have explained it many times, to first-year Diploma students. I explained at great length exactly what was wrong with the OWFRP inventory valuation process, and with respect to the dead, and with no respect to the living, I might as well have been talking to the wall because I'm advised that Bonnett revealed years later, albeit not to me, that both he and Segsworth had been tricked by OMAFRA who told them that because I wasn't an "accountant", I didn't know what I was talking about.

Even though I was completely vindicated seven years later, the OFA never could bring themselves to publicly, or even privately to me, admit that they were, for seven years, dead-outright wrong, and that their unwillingness to pay attention to any accounting practitioner had cost OFA members millions of dollars in stability benefits which could have easily been prevented if OFA, or any other farm group, had exercised any due dliligence, and/or had paid attention to even one farm accounting practitioner at all throughout the entire process.

Furthermore, the Huron County Federation of Agriculture did, quite-early in the process, pass a resolution calling for the end of P2/P2, and it did pass at the OFA, who promptly did absolutely nothing, ever, thanks to the apparent willingness of Bonnett and Segsworth to be stooges to OMAFRA and the "very supportive Ministry accountants" former Deputy Minister, Frank Ingratta boasted about having, but, couldn't produce, even when I went through the Access to Information Act to find out who they were, when they met, and what minutes were kept of whatever meetings they had.

In addition, a resolution from Huron County to end the linkage between RMP and AgriStability did pass at the OFA a number of years ago, and once again, the OFA, not surprisingly given their intransigence about P2/P2, promptly did absolutely nothing.

Simply, and accurately stated, the Huron County Federation of Agriculture is the only farm group in Ontario to have taken timely, and responsible issue with the design of both OWFRP and RMP - every other farm group did absolutely nothing, ever, and thereby did absolutely nothing to help their members.

Therefore, that every farm group in Ontario except the Huron County Federation of Agriculture has taken seven years to discover what we knew, and tried to do something about years ago, is, given the sad and sorry history of the continually-demonstrated ability of Ontario's farm groups to screw up things that were handed to them on a plate, no surprise at all.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Forget about P1/P2 for a second please. Not withstanding the RMP-Agristability link, Gov't knows all too well how to design a program to limit payments and if program design doesn't do it as with RMP then they enact a CAP. Stephen, the RMP CAP is the far bigger fish to fry. OFA claimed the RMP CAP would not be an issue because it was highly unlikely that fruit and veg plus livestock plus grains would all draw down the program at the same time. From the Agricorp stats in article, it would appear OFA made another miscalculation.

I believe when Mr.Ritz is talking about "distorted market values" and "trade at risk" he is referring to Canada's entry into TPP. Australia,New Zealand and the US Pork producer groups have all identified Canada's income support programming as a barrier in those talks.
Press releases peticularly identified the Quebec and Ontario programs of great concern.

While it may be true that any level of income support programs could be seen as a barrier to entry to "TPP" talks for example", the far larger barrier to those talks is the Canadian support program of SM.

And not only is SM a barrier to trade negotiations, it is also a barrier to aspiring young Canadian farmers to farm in their home country, yet pork is not.

Raube Beuerman

Worse yet is the fact that a dairy farm gets funding to build what is not a new concept . About $410,000 to help build a new pack barn and parlor . All the while get their SM guaranteed price/pay check for their milk . Now that is where gov is spending money to spite young farmers who can't afford to get into SM and farming for that fact . Read page 6 B in the Ontario Farmer .
Would be nice to know how that fits into a heritage fund ?

U.S. Pork producers have said several times that Canada's subsidy programs related to Livestock (specifically Pork production) are deemed production-trade distorting therefore potentially countervailable. That would include to a lesser extent subsidy money gained from Livestock NISA-AgriInvest , Livestock CAIS-Agristability, plus Livestock ASRA-RMP plus pork buyouts due to overproduction causing low Pork prices.

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