July 5, 2000
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The New Brunswick share of federal funds available for farm safety net programs will rise about nine per cent to $5.3 million annually under a framework agreement signed here today during the annual meeting of Canadian agriculture ministers.
The Framework Agreement on Agricultural Risk Management is a 60-40 cost-shared, three-year deal that calls for a commitment of $3.3 billion from the federal government. It also requires a corresponding contribution of up to a maximum of $2.2 billion from the provinces, making a total of up to $5.5 billion available to Canadian farmers over the three-year lifespan of the agreement.
"This agreement sets out the funding allocation available from the federal government for each Province and what cost-shared programs are eligible for those funds," New Brunswick Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Paul Robichaud said. "I'm very pleased to sign this agreement with federal Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief and my colleagues from across Canada, which will make more federal funds available to New Brunswick producers."
Agricultural safety net programs eligible for funding under the agreement encompass five components: the Fall Cash Advance Program; the National Income Stabilization Account (NISA); Crop Insurance, a national agricultural income disaster program; and province-specific programs.
The Fall Cash Advance Program provides farmers, with eligible storable crops, with limited interest-free loans to buy seed and other agricultural inputs to plant crops for the next year, for example.
The NISA program provides producers a mechanism to assist with the stabilization of their income in times of fluctuating prices and is co-funded by the farmer and both levels of government.
The New Brunswick Crop Insurance Program will receive premium and administrative financial support under the terms of the agreement, ensuring the continuation of this important safety net program.
Farmers experiencing a financial crisis because of natural disasters or price collapses can trigger funds under the Agricultural Income Disaster program.
There is also room in the agreement for provinces to design and implement other province-specific programs with funding from the agreement, depending on their own particular needs. Such programs would require federal agreement and would be designed according to principles set out in the agreement.
The signing of the agreement comes in the middle of the annual Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture conference which New Brunswick is hosting this year. The meeting wraps up July 6 at the Sheraton Fredericton Hotel.
MEDIA CONTACT: John White, communications director, Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, 506-453-5451.