Response to 17-08 - Risk Management Program Enhancements
To ensure the program remains workable for producers, and that investment in the program by the province is maintained, BFO continues to work with the RMP Program Evaluation Working Group, led by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition (OASC), formed in 2009 to develop and implement the Risk Management Program in Ontario at the request of the Government of Ontario.
Despite the limits imposed by the provincial government in 2013 capping the government’s contribution to the program, the RMP still remains the most important program for our sector. We believe the program is vital to the Ontario beef industry, however we recognize that the current funding for the program cannot sufficiently cover the required need in certain years. We further recognize that the recent market downturns have not been sufficiently mitigated by current RMP funding.
BFO has repeatedly impressed upon the provincial government that if the program is to help create stability in the industry it needs to be a stable program. Constant review and waiting for budget confirmation of funding undermines the value that the program has to offer to the broader economy.
Our lobby efforts to increase the amount of RMP funding have been unsuccessful to date. The BFO board and staff have spent a considerable amount of time defending the RMP in its current form. We were pleased by the government’s commitment to leave the program unchanged for 2018. However, we are disappointed by our lack of success in obtaining an increased provincial investment into this important program.
Producers can help our lobby efforts, especially in an election year. We strongly encourage all producers and local county and district cattle associations to speak to their local MPP about the importance of RMP and the need for increased investment in the program. Because raising cattle is a volatile business with significant financial risks, MPPs need to know that, unlike farmers in grains and horticulture who have access to crop insurance and unlike supply managed farmers who maintain full Cost of Production support, non-supply managed livestock farmers have limited control over both their costs and the prices of their products. These costs fluctuate wildly depending on international market conditions.
BFO will be seeking the support of all parties for a commitment to increase the investment for the RMP if elected, in the lead-up to the June provincial election. We want them to know that our sector depends on programs like RMP to mitigate production risks as there is no effective private sector insurance option that can effectively and affordably mitigate the risks inherent in cattle production. In the coming months, we ask that you assist us by delivering this message to all local candidates.
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