GUELPH — Four years ago, Ontario’s farm insurance program manager Agricorp sent letters to almost 4,000 Ontario farmers with the shocking news that they owed almost $24 million from loans or miscalculations on grants or support programs dating back to 2001.
Critics howled that the province was looking for ways to cover its own debts. But the province did not back down and by last September Agricorp had agreements in place for repayment on almost $21 million from 3,500 farmers. At that time, 350 farmers had yet to pay one cent on about $2.5 million.
As of last month, the number of holdouts that have not started repaying is down to 343 farmers, who owe on average about $7,300 each. Interest on the money owed is accumulating.