Saskatchewan ag minister, farmers call for action from feds on APP program changes

Frustration is brewing among farmers as changes to the Advanced Payment Program (APP) have yet to happen. The increase to $1 million cap from the previous $400,000 was announced more than three weeks ago.

Scott Keller, farmer from New Norway, Alta., took to Twitter on Wednesday calling on the federal government to do something about it.

Keller wrote: “Increases to cash advance program still hasn’t made its way through the govt red tape. Been 3 weeks since federal govt made announcement. They extending more credit limits, not inventing a whole new program. Shouldn’t take this long…”

Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister David Marit has sent a letter to his federal counterparts, made public Friday, saying the program’s effectiveness will be drastically reduced if the funds are not available to producers early in the growing season. He added that allowing producers to access the increased APP funding immediately allows them to develop their marketing plans and pay spring seeding costs.

Marit also urges federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to confirm and broadly communicate that there is a mechanism to ensure all canola producers will be treated equally for the 2019 program year, regardless of the timing of their application.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe took to Twitter to express his discontent.

Canada’s Agriculture Minister responds

In a statement sent to RealAgriculture, Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says the federal government is, “working around the clock to provide support to our farmers, taking numerous concrete actions that will help them manage the current challenge.”

However, although asked, she did not say a specific date or time frame as to when the assistance would be available for farmers.

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