Programs alleviate farm risk

© AgMedia Inc.

A fourth Ontario agricultural commodity organization plans to approach governments with a risk mitigation proposal in hand


When people outside the farm community read comments like:

- "They can't recover these costs from the marketplace", or
- "price declines due to a glut of imports flooding the market",

they could easily conclude that farmers don't believe they have much, if any, responsibility to do anything about these sorts of problems, but that government does.

More importantly, the first thing anyone learns in business school is that if you can't recover your costs from the marketplace, you're either in the wrong business, or you're doing something fundamentally wrong, because the marketplace is NEVER wrong.

Therefore, while insurance is a good thing in any business or industry, and while I've paid into, and collected from, programs like RMP, as an ag economist I'm deeply concerned that any such program, if implemented on a continuing basis, will be immediately capitalized into either land rent, or land prices, or both, thereby leaving the taxpayers of Canada with nothing to show for their troubles except a good reason for resenting the farm community.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Unfortunately any major world coutries, eg. U.S.A have many more saftey nets and subsidization programs than canda tipping competition in an unfair way. Governments in these situations have every role to play. In addition good farming practices work but there is a weather and disease or pest evironment related risk that cannot be acounted for in a normal business strategy. To ignore agriculture is foolhardy as any good ageconomist should know. There are to many businesses aside from agriculture dependant on it to not protect agriculture. Were not looking for handouts like the auto industry. We are looking for risk stability which is good for the rest of the economy as well.

One of Canada's few young farmers, Rich Feenstra Beamsville, ON.

I don't really disagree, but since farmers know, or should know, all the things you have so-eloquently stated, we should be prepared to assume these risks as part of our normal business strategy, but for some reason, we don't, and insist government must do what we don't want to do ourselves.

Moreover, protecting agriculture, while always popular with farmers, too often results in protectionist measures which do little except ratchet up long-term expectations of continued government support, and get capitalized into asset values - resulting in more wealth for us old-guys to retire on, and increased barriers to entry, and expansion, for younger farmers.

One of the few old-guy farmers concerned about young farmers -

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

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