© Copyright AgMedia Inc
by SUSAN MANN
Ontario cattle and hog farmer representatives are pleased the federal government is giving cash strapped producers more time to repay cash advances under the Advance Payment Program.
The deadline for repaying the cash advances has been extended to Sept. 30, 2010, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced recently. In addition, the first $100,000 of each producer’s advance will continue to be interest free.
The repayment deadline extension applies to regular and emergency loans taken by cattle and livestock farmers during the 2008/09 production period. The Stay of Default covers more than $450 million in advances to the Canadian livestock sector.
For hog farmers it means “they’re going to have a little breathing room in having to repay that money the government loaned to them,” says Curtiss Littlejohn, chair of Ontario Pork’s board.
Provided “there’s some black ink in 2009, this will allow producers some time to rebuild their businesses and adjust to realities as we see them today,” he adds.
Littlejohn says organizations representing pork producers worked hard for the past couple of months to get “this small achievement” for their farmers.
Paul Stiles, assistant manager at the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association, says organizations representing beef farmers had asked the federal government for an extension of both the repayment deadline and of the emergency advance program for another year.
Beef producers are grateful the federal government is giving them more time to repay the cash advances. But they are still waiting to hear if the program will be extended for another year “to make it available to people who had not participated,” Stiles says. BF