AWC to provide advances under federal cash advance program

Alberta farmers who want to receive a cash advance on their crops or livestock through the federal Advance Payments Program (APP) will soon have the option of applying through the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC).

The AWC announced this week that it will serve as an APP administrator beginning Sept. 1.

Alberta growers who wish to participate in the program can apply on-line at

The AWC program — FarmCash — will offer cash advances on 45 agricultural commodities including all major field crops, as well as livestock and honey.

For now, the commission will administer applications from Alberta producers only, said AWC general manager Tom Steve.

But in the future, the AWC will review its program and decide if applications should be accepted from producers in other provinces as well.

Eligible growers across Canada can already apply for APP cash advances through a variety of organizations that also serve as program administrators, about 40 in total.

The Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) is the country’s largest APP administrator.

“We just saw a need and an opportunity for an alternative service — a competitive option — to what other service providers are offering,” Steve said.

“I think the other thing is that we want to work to expand awareness of the cash advance (program). Surprisingly, there are a lot of producers that don’t fully utilize it and it’s a very effective cash flow management tool.”

Steve said the AWC has developed a strong relationship with wheat growers in Alberta and decided to use that relationship to promote the cash advance program and its benefits.

He said the AWC will accept on-line applications that minimize paperwork and can be processed quickly.

The Advance Payment Program is a federal loan guarantee program that provides eligible Canadian agricultural producers with low-interest cash advances of up to $400,000 per year, based on the value of the applicant’s annual farm production.

The first $100,000 is advanced interest free.

Administrators have some latitude in setting interest rates on any money that is advanced in excess of $100,000.

AWC officials said full details of interest rates and administration fees will be made available to applicants as of Sept. 1, when the FarmCash program is officially launched.

In an Aug. 20 news release, the AWC said it is committed to administering a “fully transparent and accountable (program) where 100 percent of the proceeds …will be used to benefit the entire agriculture industry in Alberta.”

“We think there’s room for another competitive option, just like the other competitive options that farmers look at in their day-to-day business,” Steve said.

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