OTTAWA — Almost three-quarters of 100,000 AgriInvest accounts have less than $10,000 in them, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada data. Almost 11,000 accounts have nothing in them.
The data show that 73,000 farms had $10,000 or less in their accounts. AgriInvest is a federal risk management program in which the federal government matches one per cent of a farm’s annual allowable contribution to its account.
The federal government line has been that producers should empty those accounts before looking for government assistance to get through a pandemic. According to government data, each account had $28,000 in it. But that’s based on an overall average. OFA president Keith Currie has said that the average is practically useless, since COVID-19 hasn’t hit every sector equally. He has been pushing for more granular data from the government. Beef and pork organizations in particular have been saying their members “have been draining those accounts,” he told Farmers Forum. “So, to just blatantly say everyone has this sitting in their accounts isn’t fair.”
The House of Commons agriculture committee asked for the data for its analysis of the Business Risk Management programming. Last month Ag Canada came through with some of the numbers, current up to June 5, 2020.