Saskatchewan’s general farm organization is reminding people that farmers continue to work during the COVID-19 pandemic but will need help in the volatile economy.
The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan said farmers are about to spend billions of dollars to plant the 2020 crop in the face of the pandemic, trade disputes, weather woes and transportation issues. These have stretched financial capacity to the limit, said president Todd Lewis.
“We need the government and financial industry to assist us to make that investment possible,” he said.
Lewis welcomed the federal announcement that Canada’s large banks have access to more lending capacity to support businesses and individuals.
He asked banks and credit unions to work with producers on cash flow issues.
He said farmers may be looking for employees this year depending on how much international labour is able to enter the country, and that people who have lost jobs should consider the agricultural work that must be done to ensure stable food supplies in Canada and abroad.
‘People around the world will continue to rely on our products and we will continue to operate while other sectors slow down,” said Lewis. “However, as an industry that supports one in every eight Canadian jobs, farmers need assistance from governments and industry partners to make sure we can continue to do our jobs.”
Ottawa’s economic assistance package promises to increase near term credit for farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.
The Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada are offering $10 billion in additional support to small and medium-sized businesses and are working with private lenders on credit solutions.