It's time to get it done!

That was the message yesterday from Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman.

The two putting out a joint statement yesterday on Ottawa's proposed changes to the AgriStability Program.

The proposal was put forward during the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Agriculture Minister’s meeting in November.

Ottawa proposing to remove the reference margin limit for AgriStability, as well as increase the compensation rate from 70% to 80%.

Bibeau and Hardeman are calling on their counterparts to support the proposal saying in order for these changes to be put in place, they need the support of a large majority of provinces and territories soon.

The Federal government has confirmed its 60% contribution, and while some provinces like Ontario, Quebec and British Colombia have already agreed, they are still waiting on the undeclared provinces and territories to come forward with their commitment.

At this point Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have not yet signed on.

The Prairie provinces which have a smaller population base and are concerned about the costs had said they wanted to see Ottawa pick up a larger portion of the cost, ideally moving from the normal 60/40 split to 90/10 especially right now with the impact of COVID.

Bibeau and Hardeman believe that while the proposed changes to AgriStability may not be the perfect solution for all farmers or governments, they reflect a good start and allow Canada's Agriculture Ministers time to continue discussing enhancements to the program while still improving supports for farmers today.

They note that improving the BRM programs is a top priority.

"Farmers have shown their resiliency during COVID but could still use the added help that these short-term changes could provide."

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