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Farm optimism wanes


July 7, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

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NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Farm optimism wanes

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) recently released its
Monthly Agriculture Business Barometer, which shows the confidence of the
agriculture sector retreated in the month of June.



July 7, 2010, Regina, Sask.
– The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) recently released its
Monthly Agriculture Business Barometer, which shows the confidence of the
agriculture sector retreated in the month of June to an index of 51.0, well
below the national average of 66.4.

As federal, provincial and
territorial agriculture ministers meet this week in Saskatoon, Sask., the CFIB
is calling for a concrete plan to deal with farmers’ serious concerns with
AgriStability and the challenges facing many provincial farm economies.

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“Given the significant
challenges in the Canadian agricultural sector, such as the extensive flooding
in Western Canada, it is not surprising to see optimism dip eight points since
this spring,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president of
agri-business. “There is no better time to address the problematic areas within
AgriStability and make immediate improvements to the program.”

CFIB’s recent report –
AgriStability or Aggravation – detailed farmers’ frustrations with the current
programming but also identified what role government should play in assisting
producers in managing risk.

“Addressing actions of
foreign governments was the top priority, but it’s pretty clear that farmers
also believe government should assist in managing risks beyond a producer’s
control (e.g. flooding),” noted Braun-Pollon. “While government cannot, and
should not, be there at every turn, they do have the opportunity to fuel
optimism by making these risk management tools more responsive, more timely,
less complicated and more predictable.

“We are hopeful the ag
ministers are also serious about inspiring innovation and creativity in the
agri-business sector,” said Braun-Pollon. “CFIB has long called for the burden
of red tape to be lifted off the shoulders of the agriculture sector, as well
as a competitive tax environment in which farmers and agri-business owners
operate.

“Ministers have been
reviewing business risk management programs since July 2008 and CFIB farm
members say it is time for action. Our members believe many changes could be
implemented to improve AgriStability,” concluded Braun-Pollon. “Tangible
results must be delivered this week.”

CFIB’s index is measured
on a scale between 0 and 100; an index level above 50 means owners expecting
their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those
expecting weaker performance. Further details can be found at: www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/barometer.


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