From a release
More than two-thirds of Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) members surveyed believe that the currently available Business Risk Management (BRM) programs do not meet their needs. When OFA surveyed approximately 250 members this fall asking them to rate the performance of government-funded BRM programs, 69% of respondents felt the programs fell short for their farming businesses.
The online survey measured member opinions about three BRM programs – production insurance, Agri-Invest and Agri-Stability. The OFA will present the results to the recently established Agriculture Policy Framework Planning and Analysis Committee. This new committee, spearheaded by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, is tasked with providing program recommendations to government, identifying policy outcomes for the 2015 federal election and offering direction to government on the agri-food industry’s needs for the next agricultural policy framework, or Growing Forward 3.
OFA survey results will support discussions on how to improve BRM programs based on feedback from Ontario farmers about the three government programs.
The message sent by survey participants was very clear. BRM programs must be improved as soon as possible. The survey found 69% of respondents felt the current government programs do not meet the needs of their farm operation. However, this was an improvement when compared to a similar survey OFA conducted in 2010 that found 88% were dissatisfied.
Production insurance ranked as the most popular BRM program with OFA members – 77% said the program is easy to use, and 80% would recommend the program to other farmers.
Agri-Invest is also a popular BRM program with Ontario farmers with 76% saying they would recommend it to other farmers. An Agri-Invest account allows farmers to deposit up to 1% of allowable net sales and receive a matching government contribution. Many survey respondents said they found parts of the program confusing, but 80% agreed that when considering the time and costs required to participate the program was still beneficial to their farm business.
Agri-Stability was the least popular of the three BRM programs covered in the survey with only 43% of respondents willing to recommend the program. The Agri-Stability program is a margin-based program available to eligible farmers. Recent changes, including a reduction in coverage, have lowered farmers’ satisfaction with this program.
The OFA regularly conducts member surveys to check the pulse on key issues and gather input on our activities. The results of this recent BRM program survey provide OFA with important feedback for government and program administrators. We received a clear message that these programs must change to meet the needs of Ontario farmers. These survey results will feed OFA efforts to shape future BRM programs and government investments in the sustainability of Ontario farms.