Ag Policy Connection Ep. 4 — The future of business risk management (BRM) programs

After undergoing some major changes through the ’80s and ’90s, business risk management (BRM) programs for farmers across Canada have remained largely the same for the last two decades.

While there have been a few tweaks to AgriStability and its siblings in the BRM family of programs, AgriInsurance, and AgriInvest, the risks that farmers and ranchers face, as well as political priorities, have changed over that timeframe.

This episode of the Ag Policy Connection podcast explores the history of the current farm income stabilization or risk management programs in Canada, the issues that policy-makers should be considering when updating these programs, and what the future of BRM might look like in Canada.

While weather disasters and market volatility are front and centre at the farm level, international trade agreements, federal/provincial politics, financial literacy, climate targets, and governments’ fiscal constraints are all factors or pieces of this conversation.

Can or should environmental goals be integrated into BRM programs? The terminology seems to have changed, from income stabilization and safety nets to risk management — is this significant in terms of government’s goals? How does the move away from a rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization no longer functioning as a referee, affect the competitiveness of Canadian agriculture and the design of farm support programs? Are simple programs necessarily better?

These are some of the questions and issues we discuss with our expert panel:

  • Grace Skogstad, political scientist and professor at the University of Toronto, a distinguished fellow with the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute;
  • Steve Funk, director of MNP’s agriculture risk management resources;
  • Al Mussell, agriculture economist and research lead with the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

Listen to this latest episode of the Ag Policy Connection here, or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Ag Policy Connection is a partnership between RealAgriculture and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

Related: Ag Policy Connection Ep. 1 — The origin (and future) of the Ag Policy Framework

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