Opinion: NFU calls for changes to Growing Forward 2 safety net programs

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The National Farmers Union (NFU) calls on federal and provincial agriculture ministers to improve Business Risk Management (BRM) programs under Growing Forward 2 by ensuring needed money will be directed to family farms instead of being used to help the biggest corporate farms grow even larger.

In a brief released Aug. 21, the NFU outlines 10 policy recommendations that would improve the programs for the majority of farmers in Canada. 

“NFU research shows that the largest farms are receiving an increasingly higher portion of farm program dollars,” said Ann Slater, Region 3 (Ontario) Coordinator. “The suite of BRM programs under Growing Forward 2 need to support the survival of small and medium sized family farms." 

“The agriculture budget is being cut back 10 per cent, according to the federal budget. We aren’t being given details of any planned cuts, but are being given hints that farmers will be asked to shoulder more risk,” said Terry Boehm, NFU President. “But in large part these BRM programs—other than AgriInsurance— are needed because of the impacts of the government’s direction, especially their continued refusal to address the anti-competitive behavior of oligopolistic railways, grain companies, meat processors, seed and input suppliers.”

"Until we have a food sovereignty-based agri-food policy in Canada, there will be a need for safety net programs to help family farmers survive the on-going farm income crisis,” said Slater. “A new approach is needed for Canada's agri-food policy -- one which changes the balance of power within the food system and allows family farmers to receive a just livelihood.”

Geographic location: Canada, Ontario

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