National Newswatch

Ottawa—After a late spring, a soggy fall and months of roller-coaster international markets, farmers could hardly be blamed for wondering how they will get through to 2020.

Farm Credit Canada wants them to know its staffers will be there for them, says President and CEO Michael Hoffort. “2019 has not been an easy year for Canadian farmers. Weather, along with multiple other challenges, is having a serious impact on farm operations across the country.

“We want everyone in Canada’s agriculture industry to know that we understand the significant challenges being faced, and we will work with our customers to find solutions to any short-term financial pressure that might be weighing them down.”

FCC’s farmers customers, who are facing financial setbacks due to circumstances beyond their control, will be able to depend on Canada’s leading agriculture lender to help them get back on track, he said.

“Our customers work hard throughout the year to produce high-quality food for consumers at home and abroad, so they deserve our support when facing circumstances beyond their control,” he said.

“The last days of harvest normally represent a grain farmer’s profits for the year, so for many, what’s left of their paycheque for the year is still sitting in the field. Our customers work hard throughout the year to produce high-quality food for consumers at home and abroad, so they deserve our support when facing circumstances beyond their control.”

FCC will work with customers to come up with solutions for their operations on a case-by-case basis and will consider deferral of principal payments and or other loan payment schedule amendments to reduce the financial pressure these pronounced circumstances may create.

Customers facing financial pressure are encouraged to contact their FCC relationship manager or the FCC Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 to discuss their individual situation and options.

Hoffort also urged producers to keep their mental health in mind through the trying times. “Customers facing pressures can sometimes feel isolated and don’t always know who to turn to for help. We encourage anyone who is struggling to talk to somebody for support, whether it’s Crisis Services Canada or our partner, the Do More Agriculture Foundation, which has a list of resources on their website.”

“The challenges facing producers across Canada can vary significantly,” Hoffort said.

Excessive moisture delayed planting season in many parts of Quebec and Ontario and many producers are struggling to harvest the last of their corn and soybeans. Meanwhile several operations in Atlantic Canada were impacted by damaging winds and heavy rainfall from Hurricane Dorian this fall.

In many parts of the Prairies, snow has blanketed the fields, making it almost impossible to pick up crops that have been swathed or left standing. This followed weeks of persistent rain with short sunny breaks that caused many crops to sprout, significantly reducing the quality and the producer’s return on investment.

“Many, such as Manitoba potato growers, are in back to back years of leaving a significant percentage of their crop unharvested. Even producers with strong balance sheets will feel the impact.”

FCC has its own uncertainty to deal with. The Liberals promised during the Oct. 21 election campaign promise to merge existing financial and advisory services scattered between several federal agencies into Farm Credit Canada, which will have its role expanded and become Farm and Food Development Canada, with a $5 billion annual budget.

The new entity will serve as a single point of entry to help all parts of Canada’s food economy develop, grow and export to new markets.

Alex Binkley is a freelance journalist and writes for domestic and international publications about agriculture, food and transportation issues. He’s also the author of two science fiction novels with more in the works.
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