Late participation available for PEI farmers affected by June frosts

Agriculture is essential to the rural way of life on Prince Edward Island. Governments remain committed to the continued expansion and success of the PEI agricultural sector by ensuring producers have the tools they need to manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farms.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments launched April 1, 2018 to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector. Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, producers have access to a robust suite of business risk management (BRM) programs to help manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage.

Prince Edward Island experienced an abnormal amount of frost in June 2018, which caused widespread crop damage. The damage has resulted in significant income challenges for a number of producers who need support during difficult times. To ensure producers have access to the support they need, the governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island have agreed to trigger the late participation mechanism under AgriStability for the 2018 program year.

“Severe weather plays havoc for the agriculture sector and our government is committed to supporting our farmers to ensure they are equipped to recover quickly. The new AgriStability late trigger mechanism under the partnership is one tool, in addition to the suite of Business Risk Management programs, that PEI farmers can rely on to deal with farm income losses,” Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said in a statement.

The late participation mechanism, a new feature introduced under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, allows producers to join and benefit from the program after the enrolment deadline has passed in situations where there is a significant income decline in the farm sector and a gap in participation.

As part of the BRM program, AgriStability provides support to farmers when they experience large declines in profit margins. In particular, the late frosts in June came just as blueberry fields were blossoming and strawberry plants ripening, and caused many fields to be damaged.

“Those in our agriculture community deserve all the support they can during challenging times,” PEI’s agriculture and fisheries minister Robert Henderson said. “Agriculture plays a vital role in Prince Edward Island’s economy and we are grateful to be able to work with our partners in the federal government to assist our farmers who have been affected by these frost conditions.”

Rob MacLean, president of the PEI Wild Blueberry Growers’ Association, also agreed that the program could be vital to growers, “The killing frost in June reduced yields for many wild blueberry growers at a time when we’re already getting record low payments for our fruit. Getting in on AgriStability now could be a real help for some farmers.”
For more information on AgriStability, producers can visit the program website or call toll-free at 1-855-251-9695.

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