by MARY BAXTER
Speaking at the 2008 joint conference for corn, wheat, soybeans and coloured beans producers, here today Leona Dombrowsky emphasized the need for farmers to ensure they make their payments to the program, not just in the bad times but also in good times.
“If only 50 per cent participate, it won’t have the desired effect,” she said.
Dombrowsky also hinted heavily that the three-year program, introduced last year, would be up for review once its time is up, primarily due to a lack of federal partnership, despite repeated approaches from the province.
Most recently, she wrote to federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz when he was sworn in last year asking if he would consider a federal partnership in the program. The answer: “he was not prepared to do that,” she said.
Producer involvement would be another factor taken into account, she said.
However, Dombrowsky stopped short of saying certain conditions would have to be met for the program to be renewed.
Calling the plan “unique” with “variables,” consideration will have to be made on what will make it work the best, she said.
Using an analogy of a machine, Dombrowsky explained that the program had been designed with contribution from three sources but was receiving support from only two.
“What other parts are wearing out on it sooner, quicker?” she said. “Maybe we need to design another machine that’ll run on two cylinders; maybe we need to look for a totally new machine altogether.”
Dombrowsky said she did not know how many producers had enrolled in the program to date.
The province announced the RMP last August. Agricorp delivers the program, which is designed to offset losses caused by low grain and oilseed prices. BF