Cash-strapped western Canadian producers have a new tool at their disposal.
The application process for FarmCash’s fall prepayment program opened Wednesday for farmers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Tom Steve, general manager of the Alberta Wheat and Barley Boards (the Alberta Wheat Board is the official administrator of FarmCash), said he didn’t know how much they were going to distribute funds to farms in need.
“For the fall lead, farmers need to have inventory in the bin,” he said. “There will be a lot less harvest in western Canada this year, but what they have is they can use it as a resource to get some extra cash flow.”
The program, based on farm size, offers up to $1 million in cash, the first $100,000 interest-free and the remainder at an interest rate of TD Prime less 0.75%.
“It’s an extremely low interest rate, it’s the lowest interest rate you would get for short-term finance and we certainly encourage farmers to think about it,” he said. “Especially after a very dry year, when cash flow is going to be scarce.”
FarmCash was created in 2018 and was only tested on Alberta farmers until last season.
“In the spring of this year, we offered the advance for the first time in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia, so we expanded outside of Alberta for the first time in the spring,” said he declared. “It went well, so now we are extending the lead into these other provinces for the fall period.”