23, 2004: This month, many Ontario farmers are receiving
an important package in their mailbox from the Ontario Ministry
of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). It will contain an application
form, an inventory schedule, a deposit options notice and
an estimate of their reference production margin if they participated
in previous financial assistance programs such as Net Income
Stabilization Accounts or the Ontario Farm Income Disaster
OMAF is scrambling to roll out the Canadian Agricultural
Income Stabilization program (CAIS). It is based on a new
approach to assessing the financial health of farming -- production
margins, production revenue minus production expenses. Participating
farmers will be providing OMAF with information about their
farming activities annually: inventory and production records,
accounts receivable, accounts payable and a statement of farming
income or loss. If a farmer's production margin falls below
the average of a specified number of previous years, the program
will make up the difference.
This is a good program and I urge every farmer to participate
for these reasons:
- It will be the financial assistance program for the next
- It is meant for everyone - big and small, all commodities.
- It is based on need. If your farm income declines from
past averages - defined as a decline in production margin
- you will collect.
- Persuading governments to do ad hoc programs when calamity
strikes will be much harder.
- You can't lose!
Here's what farmers need to do to participate:
- Practice thinking production margin when reviewing farm
- Open a CAIS account with a financial institution.
- Decide the level of coverage. A deposit options notice
will be provided.
- Deposit at least the minimum in a CAIS account by April
30, 2004. Those with money in a NISA Fund can roll it into
the CAIS account with a telephone call.
- Complete the application form by April 30, 2004. Missed
deadlines put you out of the program for a year!
- Submit a schedule of inventory, receivables & payables
for 2003 by April 30, 2004.
- Submit a statement of farming income or loss for 2003
by June 15, 2004 for individuals or June 30, 2004 for corporations.
I repeat. This is a good program. Go to a CAIS information
meeting. OMAF has scheduled dozens around the province from
mid-February through March. If your important package does
not arrive by the end of February call the CAIS Program at
1-877-838-5144. If you have not participated in previous financial
assistance programs such as NISA or disaster relief, call
now and get on the application mailing list. The CAIS Program
information service is operational from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00
For more information about CAIS visit: www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA/english/policy/cais/index.html
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