Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Commons passes advance payment changes

Legislative changes that could boost federal advance payments available to cash-strapped livestock producers as soon as late March made their way quickly into law Thursday.

The House of Commons, Senate and Governor General by Thursday had all approved amendments to the Agricultural Marketing Products Act that “will provide improved cash flow to all commodity groups; livestock producers in particular will have easier access up to $3.3 billion in loans,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release.

The amendments were aimed at allowing livestock producers to access up to $400,000 each in repayable advances, for which they should be able to apply in late March or early April, the federal agriculture department said Thursday. The amendments, as passed:

  • remove the requirement for livestock producers to use a business risk management program such as AgriStability as security for a cash advance and allow producers to use their inventory as security, thus bringing treatment of livestock more in line with other produced commodities;
  • add “severe economic hardship” as a condition to offer emergency advances; and
  • revise security requirements for emergency advances and raise the emergency advance available to producers from a maximum of $25,000 to $400,000 in conditions of severe economic hardship.

The amendments were proposed Monday as part of a package for livestock producers that also offers a $50 million program to cull swine breeding stock.

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