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Changes to the AgriStability Program in British Columbia

April 29, 2022

Changes to the AgriStability Program in British Columbia

Synopsis
5 Minute Read

Our province’s agriculture industry has faced its fair share of challenges and changes to AgriStability program could help protect you.

Partner, BC Leader Agriculture Services
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2021 saw unique challenges for agricultural producers in British Columbia. As the effects of COVID-19 continued to impact the lives and livelihoods of British Columbians, the province’s farms, orchards, vineyards, and greenhouses faced yet further challenges with the summer’s heat and wildfires, November’s devastating floods for berry growers and cold damage for grape growers and orchardists from year-end record low temperatures. These effects were compounded with the ongoing risks experienced by agricultural producers every day.

AgriStability is part of a suite of business risk management programs offered in British Columbia to support agricultural producers. While crop insurance might cover some losses; AgriStability protects against declines in net farming income due to market prices, production losses, and / or increased costs of production, like rising labour costs.

Payments are made if a producer’s current year margin falls more than 30 percent below their reference margin. The B.C. government, in collaboration with the government of Canada, has taken steps to provide producers with additional and immediate support:

  • The province has implemented Late Participation for the 2021 AgriStability program year. Late Participation means B.C. farmers that were not currently enrolled for the 2021 program year can still apply to enrol up until December 31, 2022. Late registrants in the 2021 program will receive a 20 percent lower payment rate than those who proactively enrolled.
  • Farmers who were either previously enrolled or will be enrolled as late participants in the 2021 AgriStability program year, are eligible to receive an enhanced interim payment. The interim payment rate has increased from its previous maximum of 50 percent, to a maximum of 75 percent, of the estimated final payment. The enhanced interim payment, which is potentially available within a few weeks of completing an interim application form, could improve cash flow for farmers and help them continue operations after this very challenging year.
  • Producers with early fiscal year-ends might not realize losses due to flooding until the 2022 fiscal year, meaning those losses would be captured in the 2022 AgriStability program year. Producers can enrol up until April 30, 2022 for the 2022 program year and participate without incurring any late participation penalties.
  • If you’re an agriculture producer in the southwest, southeast, central, or northwest areas of British Columbia and Vancouver Island who was affected by flooding and landslides from November 14-16, 2021, you are eligible to apply for flood recovery assistance. The 2021 Canada-British Columbia Flood Recovery Program for Food Security responds to impacts on livestock and crops by providing financial aid to help offset costs of returning to production.

Eligibility for 2021 AgriStability

Eligible applicants must:

  • Have income from the primary production of agricultural commodities
  • Have carried on the business of farming in Canada and reported farming income (or loss) for income tax purposes
  • Have completed a minimum of six consecutive months farming activity (if your farm was flooded this condition may be waived by the Administration)
  • Have completed a production cycle that includes one or more of the following:
    • The growing and harvesting of a crop (including the production of milk and eggs)
    • The process of rearing livestock
    • The purchase and sale of livestock within a program year in the case of feeding or finishing enterprises

How to enrol for 2021 and 2022 AgriStability

If you are already participating in AgriStability for 2021 and have suffered an income loss, you will automatically receive the protection that this program provides. There are no additional enrolment requirements. If you have never participated in AgriStability or have previously opted out, you will need to complete New Participant forms as follows:

  • The New Participant forms are available by calling 1-877-343-2767 or by emailing [email protected].
  • The New Participant forms must be submitted to the AgriStability Administration before the deadline. The enrolment deadline for 2021 has been extended from April 30, 2021 to December 31, 2022. Producers can enroll for the 2022 program until April 30, 2022. Final Application Process for 2021 AgriStability
  • The final deadline, without penalty, to apply for the 2021 program year is September 30, 2022. The final deadline, with penalty, is December 31, 2022. Each month or part thereof that the application is filed after September 30, 2022 is subject to a $500 penalty for AgriStability up to the maximum penalty of $1,500.
  • Producers that file on a cash basis to CRA should submit pages 1-7 of their T1273 to Winnipeg Tax Center.

Recovering after a natural disaster is never easy. To discuss the best option for you, please contact AJ Gill, BC Leader, Agriculture Risk Management Services at 250-469-6488 or [email protected] or visit MNP.ca/ARMR

This article was previously published in Orchard & Vine’s Spring 2022 publication.

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