In the Federal Budget this spring Ottawa increased the interest-free limit on the 2023 Advance Payments Program.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says the enhancement which raises the maximum interest-free portion of a cash advance from $250,000 to $350,000 for the 2023 program became effective May 8, 2023.

The Canadian Canola Growers Association is one of the groups delivering the Advance Payments Program.

Dave Gallant, the CCGA's Director of Finance and Operations says at this time of the year farmers are applying to help get that crop in the ground.

"So far, we have over 5000 farmers who have applied to us and we have issued over $700 million at CCGA under the program. To date, we probably have about 15 per cent more farmers applying this year than last year.  I think that's primarily because interest rates are a lot higher this year than they were last year at this time."

The CCGA points out that the advance rates have gone up for some of the commodities with canola up nine percent this year, and wheat up 20 per cent.

He says with the enhancement farmers that are applying for the program now - since May 8th -  the first $350,000 is interest-free. 

"For anybody who's already got an advance, they will pay interest on anything over $250,000 from the day they took the advance or April 1, up to May 7th. But we will automatically update their accounts from May 8th forward,  so that they get full advantage of the $350,000 interest-free that the Minister just announced."

Gallant says they hope to make the process seamless and easy for farmers.

Under the program, producers can access cash advances on over 50 commodities including field crops, large and small livestock, organic crops, and honey.

The Advance Payments Program is a federal loan program that offers Canadian farmers marketing flexibility through interest-free and low-interest cash advances.

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with the CCGA's Director of Finance and Operations Dave Gallant click on the link below.