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Que. pledges reserve to backstop risk management programs

(Regis Lefebure photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Quebec’s agriculture ministry plans to set up a $300 million reserve fund to backstop any sudden shortfalls in provincial risk management program funds for farmers.

Speaking Thursday to the provincial pork producer group, Les Eleveurs de porcs du Quebec, Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis said the province will set up the reserve over the next two years.

The reserve, the province said, is expected to provide the province’s ag funding agency, La Financiere agricole du Quebec (FADQ), with the operating margin needed to manage year-to-year variations in income stabilization funding.

The new reserve, he said, will promote the financial stability of the province’s farms in case of a crisis.

“I hope (farmers) won’t again have to face the uncertainty seen in 2009-10,” he said in a provincial release, referring to a fiscal year in which FADQ ran deep into deficit and had to borrow to fund its income stabilization programming.

The province said its new reserve would help assure the sustainability of income stabilization programs and allow FADQ to focus on its mandate of supporting development in the ag sector.

Also, the province said, the reserve provides a “clear signal” of the government’s will to maintain adequate funding for risk management programs.

Paradis’ move comes after the province’s influential farm organization, the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), publicly warned of the province’s plans to pare back FADQ’s 2015-16 budget by $151 million.

UPA president Marcel Groleau said in April the province was, in effect, banking on favourable market conditions to allow FADQ to fulfill its mandate for the year. — Network


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