AgriStability deadlines looming

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Individuals have until June 15 to submit their T1163


I have a few days to decide.

Do I want to enroll in the federal AgriStability program to "insure" my 85% margin? There is a big fee for this insurance program.

Do I enroll in the provincial RMP program to "insure" the value of some of my commodities at the 40% level? There is a big fee for this insurance program.

Do I enroll in both the provincial program at 40% coverage and the federal program, pay the fees for both programs knowing that the RMP monies is only an advance on the federal money. The provincial portion will be clawed by but the fees will not be rebated.

Do I pick the provincial program that only advances money or do I pick the federal "ratchet down" program that only pays when I am truly exiting farming? Both programs charge fees with the threat of an audit.

No, I think I will keep my money. The fees for these bogus programs are nothing but a tax grab with no discernible benefit to me.

When you look at the numbers, AgriStability wins, hands-down - the fees are less, and the payout can be substantial. Several hundred dollars in premiums can (and has) return(ed) up to $40,000 in benefits, and not just for somebody getting out of farming.

On the other hand, RMP premiums can often range up to five times what the AgriStability premiums are on the same farm, and often the premium expires worthless, or, if not, the benefit just barely covers it.

Yet, in the year you really could use a RMP benefit, both the premium and the benefit, disappear completely because RMP is considered to be an advance on AgriStability, and when this happens, you don't get your RMP premiums refunded - or, in other words, you'd be far-better off to not be in RMP at all.

Another way of looking at it, is that if the feds ever bought into RMP (and they won't) and if they kept the rule that RMP was to be an advance on AgriStability for both the Provincial, and Federal, part of AgriStability, it would be the immediate kiss-of-death for RMP because the claw-back would be just that much bigger.

Therefore, I'm advising my clients, especially hog farmers, that if the AGriStability claw-back provision remains part of the RMP program, to avoid RMP like the plague, but to stay in AgriStability since the fees aren't that much for most farms, and the payout can be huge.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton, ON

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