Risk management program here to help farmers

By Gary Sliworsky
Ag and rural rep

On June 29, 2011, the Ontario government unveiled the new permanent, multi-commodity, risk management program for grain and oilseed, cattle, hog, veal, edible horticulture and sheep farmers.
These programs are linked to the business risk management programs which are offered under the “Growing Forward” program.
The Risk Management Program works like insurance. It supports farmers by helping them manage risks that are beyond their control, like fluctuating costs or a drop in market prices.
It is based on proposals submitted by the commodity groups under the leadership of the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition.
The groups then worked with the province to turn them into an effective program that was designed by farmer, for farmers.
Eligible farmers who raise and sell their livestock (cattle, hogs, sheep and veal) pay premiums into the program.
When the market price drops below a certain level, farmers receive a payout, based on their sales.
Program details vary according to the commodity grown.
For the 2011 transition year, premiums are waived.
Self-directed risk management is a slightly different part of the program.
Basically, growers of edible horticulture (fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, as well as honey and maple syrup) contribute a set percentage of their net sales into an account, and the government matches.
Growers can withdraw from the account when they need it.
For the 2011 transition year, the grower contribution is waived.
Application forms for grains and oilseed producers are now available on agricorp.com.
Producers who were in the 2010 Risk Management Program Grains and Oilseeds pilot extension along with producers who have grain and oilseed crops covered by Production Insurance will automatically receive a participant package by mail.
Producers not previously enrolled with Agricorp can also request a package by mail by calling Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999.
Note that crops fed on farm can also be enrolled in the program.
The deadline for all Grains and Oilseeds applications is Sept. 15, 2011.
Application forms for other groups will be available in September of this year.
A number of Risk Management Program information sessions across the province have been announced.
There is a session scheduled for the Rainy River District on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011.
There will be a registration process put in place for information session participants. Watch for details.
Additional details about the risk management programs can be found at: www.ontario.ca/rmp
Dates to remember
•August 18-20—Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society Fair, Emo

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