The Domestic Ag meeting was held virtually on August 7, 2020 during the CCA Semi-Annual Meeting.
Marvin Slingerland and Steve Funk of MNP presented on the AgriStability modelling work that has been completed for CCA and ACFA so far. They began by showing a chart breaking down farm commodities sorted by eligible expense to revenue ratio. The key takeaway from this chart is that intensive livestock (such as feedlots) require a smaller revenue drop to trigger AgriStability (3% to 7% range) when compared to cow-calf producers (25% to 40% range). This inequity is largely caused by the reference margin limiting provision under the program.
Ryan Brunt from AAFC joined the committee to update on the progress made on the FPT Business Risk Management Review. At the end of 2019, FPT Ministers announced two changes to the BRM suite that will be implemented in 2020. The first change for the 2020 program year is the treatment of private insurance under eligible income and expense under AgriStability. In addition, Ministers agreed to launch a pilot in select jurisdictions where both cash and accrual tax return information can be used to simplify the application process. Brunt also provided an overview of AAFC’s program changes due to COVID-19, including the announcement to increase AgriStability interim payments from 50 to 75 per cent, the AgriStability enrollment deadline being extended to July 3rd and the roll-out of Set-Aside programs under AgriRecovery. AAFC have been developing plans to engage with industry on BRM in coming months, including the National Programs Advisory Committee and with individual sector organizations.
An update was provided by Brenna Grant on progress made in establishing an Eastern Settlement Index to be delivered in the Maritime provinces as a pilot Livestock Price Insurance Program. In mid-June, the Beef Cattle Research Council approved funding for the Eastern Price Insurance project being completed by Kaastra Capital Corp. The project has two phases. The first phase (June 15 to October 19, 2020) will assess data availability for developing feeder and calf price indices utilizing data from Ontario and Quebec. An initial feasibility analysis will be completed using the data from Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and Quebec. The second phase (October 20 to April 2021) will develop the feeder and price indices and complete a historical analysis. AFSC has requested 25 years of historical analysis to evaluate big swing years such as 1995/96 and 2003-05.
David Moss and Brady Stadnicki presented on a heifer-calf holdback program concept that was drafted in May 2020 during the spring peak of COVID. The backup in cattle will likely continue well into the fall, which may have a direct impact on the feedlots' ability to place calves. This reduction in placement capacity (and demand) could necessitate the need for a heifer-calf hold back strategy. The objective of the concept is to reduce the volume of 2020 fall-run calves available for purchase by the feedlot sector so as to better align supplies to the available pen space, which has been reduced due to the back up of market ready cattle. The goal of the program is to retain up to 100,000 heifer calves across Canada.
The committee discussed whether this should be an incentivized program or whether this should remain an individual business decision, along with the proper timing of when a program like this should be deployed. It was recognized that the concept was drafted at time when there was high anxiety about future prices, plant capacity and feedlot backups. The committee agreed that CCA should not lobby for this program currently, but strongly recommended to keep it updated and on the shelf in case it is needed if this situation worsens.
An AgriRecovery and Set-Aside Program update was presented, reporting the different phases and sectors involved, as well as the number of producers who had applied at the time.
Lastly, a Provincial Roundtable was circulated prior to a Policy Review and Adjournment.
Saskatchewan Delegate and President
Young Cattlemen’s Council