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Alberta pilots $224 million in CAIS changes


Edmonton... Alberta will invest $224 million in an on-the-ground pilot to strengthen the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program, says the province’s agriculture Minister.

“Our producers are crunching the numbers on their operations and telling us that back-to-back disasters have eroded the ability of the CAIS program to effectively respond,” said Doug Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

“While we recognize this is a national program, we can’t sit back and watch the hurt in our industry, especially in our grain sector,” said Horner. “So we’ll share the results of our pilot with our federal and provincial counterparts to see if the changes we’re piloting make the CAIS program responsive whether there is a single, isolated disaster or many.”

The pilot will look at three CAIS program years, from 2003 to 2005, using two different methods to calculate a producer’s reference margin, (allowable income minus allowable expenses). The reference margin determines producers’ support levels when disaster strikes. One method will use the existing Olympic average formula, which drops the highs and lows of a producer’s last five years and averages the remaining three years. Another method will simply average the last three years of a producer’s financial history to calculate the reference margin.

“The pilot covers all commodities and all regions of our province,” said Horner. “While some are tempted by quick-fix, ad hoc solutions, we know they can distort markets and they’re not affordable in the long term.”

AFSC, the provincial crown corporation administering CAIS in Alberta, will automatically review all CAIS claims submitted since 2003, although not everyone will receive an additional benefit. The province expects $224 million will flow to producers over and above initial CAIS payments. Producers who have never participated in the CAIS program, or who missed applying for some years, should call AFSC at 1-877-744-7900 or visit CAIS is a whole-farm program available to eligible farmers regardless of the commodities they produce.


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