Open letter to Ted McMeekin re: Risk Management Program cap

April 18, 2011
Hon. Ted McMeekin
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
77 Grenville St, 11th Flr
Toronto ON M7A1B3


Dear Minister,

I am writing to ask for clarification on the capping of the Risk Management Program. Many farmers, including program participants, were unaware that your government capped the program in 2011 year. Unfortunately, there still isn’t clear information regarding the cap.

Several stakeholder groups have publicly stated that it is their understanding is that the cap will not go into effect until 2013.

This is contrary to the statement in the 2012 Budget “The commitment remains to support the program up to a maximum of $100 million.” However, agriculture organizations appear to be receiving misleading information.

A recent Ontario Farmer article noted a Grain Farmers of Ontario spokesperson said “…GFO has been assured the existing program guidelines will remain in place and that the cap will not apply for the 2012 crop year.” A number of agriculture organizations have made similar statements including the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Ontario Cattlemen.

Your letter in Ontario Farmer was not clear on this point. Farmers deserve clear, honest and full answers.

Can you please clearly clarify – is the Risk Management Program capped at $100 million for the 2012 crop year? If so, does that cap apply to all commodities?

As many farmers have already enrolled in the program I ask you to provide this information as soon as possible.

Original signed by
Ernie Hardeman, MPP
PC Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs