Author: AM 1250/Mix 96 News
The standing Senate Committee on Agriculture has released the details of its interim report on the farm income crisis.  The document is entitled "Agriculture and Agri-Food Policy in Canada: Putting Farmers First".  Chair Joyce Fairbairn says the report calls for strategic action to be taken to turn around the agricultural sector.  That includes 2 major components.  The implementation of a 4 year direct payment program to the grains and oilseeds sector based on historical yield and acreage data.  It would be in addition to existing income stabilization, production insurance, and other risk management tools already available.  The report does not indicate what the value of the program should be.  Plus, the committee is recommending the development of a Canadian Farm Bill which is fundamentally focused on farmers.  Keys to the bill would be the development of a national bio-fuels infrastructure, programs to increase producers involvement in the agri-food value chain, and aggressive trade strategies bilaterally and at the World Trade Organization.