The Ontario government is expanding the Risk Management Program a year earlier than planned, by $50 million, for a total of $150 million annually. This funding supports farmers with unforeseen challenges such as fluctuating market prices, extreme weather events like flooding or drought, and disease. Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, and Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Our government stands shoulder to shoulder with our farmers during these unprecedented times. As we chart a path to recovery, we will be there for our farmers and their workers to help them continue to put food on our tables,” said Premier Ford. “We committed to expanding this program in Year 3 of our mandate, but we are delivering on that commitment a year earlier than promised, to provide more stability, income security and peace of mind for farmers, which is long overdue. I’m proud to say promise made, promise kept.” Approximately 80 per cent of eligible commercial production, in the cattle, hog, sheep, veal, grains and oilseeds, and edible horticulture sectors in Ontario, is covered by the provincial Risk Management Program. “We know farmers face tremendous pressures and uncertainties including reduced processing capacity, increased costs and volatile markets. After listening to feedback from the farming sector, that is why we are accelerating our promise to increase the Risk Management Program to $150 million by one year,” said Minister Hardeman. “We’re committed to providing our farmers with added support at this time and advocating on their behalf with the federal government to help them continue doing their critical work of producing safe, nutritious food for our kitchen tables.” The increased investment in the Risk Management Program is in addition to a $15 million Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program. A more detailed list of what this program will cover can be found in the article on page 7. Applications for the Risk Management Program is now open, to allow eligible farmers the opportunity to apply to the program. The deadline to apply closes at midnight on July 30th, 2020. Producers should contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ delivery agent, Agricorp, to enroll in the Risk Management Program or AgriStability to discuss their individual files. In response to COVID-19, the federal and Ontario governments have added labour, as an insured risk, to Production Insurance for the 2020 growing season. Canada and Ontario have also announced up to $10 million of support for beef and pork sectors through AgriRecovery. Ontario has an estimated 49,600 farms contribute an estimated $7.6 billion annually to the province’s economy.