The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) says it's encouraged by the results of Thursday's Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) meeting regarding the changes to the AgriStability program.

CCA says it is pleased the FPT Ministers agreed to the removal of the reference margin limit (RML) within AgriStability. The original proposal tabled by Minister Bibeau included the removal of the RML and an increase to the compensation rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent.

CCA says while they are disappointed governments could not yet agree to the compensation rate, they are pleased with the changes that will stand to benefit beef producers across the country. The group notes that removing the RML will go a long way in making AgriStability more predictable and equitable for our industry. CCA is also encouraged with the announcement, the April 30 enrollment deadline has been extended to June 30, 2021 and the removal of the RML is retroactive to 2020.

“We need to have tools that help us better manage the risks of weather, trade and production. The removal of the RML will help level the playing field for beef producers and better position our industry to contribute to Canada’s economic recovery,” said Bob Lowe, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association President. “The Canadian beef sector appreciates the work of all FPT Ministers to address risk management programs and to ensure the ongoing viability of Canada’s agriculture sector, particularly at a time when the beef sector is primed to drive Canada’s economic recovery.”

CCA notes it is pleased to see that the federal offer remains on the table for cost-shared improvements to the compensation rate and encourages all FPT Ministers to continue productive discussions on changes to agriculture risk management programs in Canada.

Meanwhile, Canadian pork producers are disappointed by the outcome of Thursday's meeting between the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture.

“We know AgriStability negotiations are not easy, but removing the reference margin limit does very little for pork producers.” Said Rick Bergmann, Chair of the Canadian Pork Council. “We expected that, in these difficult times, the prairie provincial ministers would have considered the challenges faced by pork producers.”

The Canadian Pork Council notes that over the last 12 months, pork producers in every province have faced extreme price fluctuations, border closures and processing plants shutdowns, adding that while some producers weathered the storm, others must now struggle with a program that could have worked better if Ministers agreed to changes.

“We had high expectations that provincial Ministers understood that the situation was difficult for pork producers and that they placed their hope in this program for meaningful financial assistance. Our desired outcome was for provincial ministers to support the proposed solutions put forward by the federal government, including raising the program’s payment rate from 70% to 80%.” Bergmann added.