3 must-know support programs for farmers

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The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put new stresses on the agriculture and agri-food industries, and farmers are feeling the pinch. But there is help for producers who need it. These federal farm aid programs can help farmers face the challenges during these difficult times.

Advance Payment Program

The APP can offer cash advances to farmers which lets them maintain cashflow in lean times, riding out seasonal lows in business until they sell their products. The federal government has expanded the program, which can better help producers through this challenging time. Producers can receive $100,000 of cash advancement interest-free, with total advancements of up to $1,000,000 available, based on farm production. Specifics vary from region to region, so it’s important to check the details with administrators in your area.

Canadian Agricultural Loans Act

Loans offered to farmers under the act are an alternative to private loan options for improving or expanding their business. The federal government guarantees 95 per cent of the loan to the lender, which means lenders take on much less risk while farmers can gaini access to better interest rates and in some cases lower minimum equity requirements. Producers can borrow up to $500,000 for land purchase or building construction and improvement through CALA, offering a more stable option for necessary expansion of their operation. Anyone looking to grow, improve or even establish a farm can benefit. It’s always a good idea to compare several options.

Farm Debt Mediation Service

This federal program is designed for producers who can’t pay or have stopped paying their current debt, or who couldn’t cover that debt with the sale of their property. It brings farmers and their creditors together with a neutral mediator to reach an agreement that works for everybody. It’s free, voluntary and totally confidential. Farmers already find themselves and their business vulnerable to outside factors like drought and disease, and those stresses are compounded by the effects of a pandemic economy. The mediation service offers an alternative to costly court battles, letting producers return to business as usual sooner and more confidently.

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