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Farm business optimism continues to be low

Business group calls on federal and provincial minister to address barriers to farm financial health

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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found in its latest monthly Agriculture Business Barometer that optimism in the agriculture sector is being weighed down by recent trade disputes, difficult harvest conditions in many parts of the country and costly carbon taxes. In fact, CFIB’s agriculture index finished the month of November at 51.1 – five points below the national average.

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Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president of Western Canada and Agri-business called for challenges in the sector to be addressed by the federal-provincial-territorial agriculture ministers at their meeting in Ottawa this week.

Despite challenges in the sector that might be weighing on the optimism of farmers, the CFIB found in a poll that farmers ranked at the top of the groups that Canadians respect the most, ahead of government, unions and large companies.

“The priorities and concerns of farmers should be given careful consideration by policy makers meeting this week,” said Braun-Pollon.

Within a letter to Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, CFIB outlined the policies needed for Canadian agri-businesses to continue to succeed.

  • Federal carbon tax: Exemptions for farmers should be extended to include natural gas and propane used to dry grain and heat livestock facilities
  • Trade and export: All Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments need to focus on improving market access for Canadian agricultural products
  • Regulation and paper burden: All levels of government need to continue to reduce the burden of red tape on farmers so they have more time to grow and expand their business
  • Business Risk Management programs: Ensure programs are transparent, timely and predictable
  • Intergenerational farm transfer: Make it easier for farmers and all small businesses to transfer or sell their business to a family member

The public opinion survey was conducted by CFIB from Sept. 11 to 13, 2019 with a representative sample of 1,510 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French. The poll is accurate to within +/- 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled.

About the author

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Jennifer Glenney

Jennifer lives on a farm in Cayuga, Ontario and has a lot of experience in the many aspects of agriculture.

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