Changes to the Advance Payments Program should benefit farmers and commodity groups that administer the program, says Theresa Bergsma, Manitoba Corn Growers Association general manager.
Earlier in December federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz an-nounced several modifications to the cash-flow program, which helps producers meet short-term financial obligations like input costs.
The changes include:
- Commodity groups can now offer cash advances on any agricultural product.
- Allowing producers more options for what will be accepted as security.
- Adjusting the rules to make the repayment of advances more flexible.
Although the Manitoba Corn Growers are still reviewing the new rules, overall the changes are good news, Bergsma said.
Under the old Advanced Payments Program, the Manitoba Corn Growers provided cash advances for corn, alfalfa seed, ryegrass, pulse crops in Manitoba, sunflowers in Western Canada and honey crops. Other organizations, like the Canadian Canola Growers, offer cash advances for canola and other designated crops.
With the changes, the corn growers and the canola growers can provide cash advances for any crop.
“Now if you grow corn and canola, you can just come to one spot,” Bergsma said. “We probably won’t go outside of crops. But we will add more crops to our portfolio. We don’t have the expertise to do cattle, so I don’t think we’ll do livestock.”
Under the new and improved Advance Payments Program, producers are still eligible to receive up to $400,000 and the first $100,000 is interest free.