On Monday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced important new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses and food processors. This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time.
In addition, all eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program loan due on or before April 30 will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan. This important measure, which represents $173 million in deferred loans, will help keep more money in farmers' pockets during these critical months.
The Stay of Default will also provide farmers the flexibility they need to manage their cashflow when facing lower prices or reduced marketing opportunities. Applicable farmers who still have interest-free loans outstanding will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $100,000 interest-free portion for 2020-2021, as long as their total APP advances remain under the $1 million cap.
"Farmers and food producers work hard to put food on tables across our country, and they should not have to worry about being able to afford their loan payments or having enough money to support their own families ," Trudeau says. "We are taking action now to give them more flexibility to meet the challenges ahead in these times of uncertainty."
"Like many Canadians, I am truly grateful for our farmers and food business owners and employees, who continue working hard so we all have quality food on our grocery store shelves and kitchen tables," says Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "Their continued work is essential to our plan to manage COVID-19. The measures announced today will provide farmers and food producers across the country with important financial flexibility they will need during these challenging times."