Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

August 16, 2006 13:19 ET

AAFC/Canada's New Government Introduces Program to Help Lower Income Farm Families in Quebec

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 16, 2006) - The Government's innovative new program to help lower income farm families is now available in Quebec. The Canadian Farm Families Options Program was announced on July 31 by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board.

Delivery of the program in Quebec had not been finalized at the time of the announcement. Farmers in Quebec can now apply for the Options program.

"This new government made a commitment in the May 2 Budget to help our lower income farm families," said Minister Strahl. "By providing options and assistance to farmers and farm families on strategies to adapt to today's competitive farm environment, we can help them improve their income situation in the long-term."



Following up on commitments made in Budget 2006, the Canadian Farm
Families Options Program will:

- help lower-income farm families explore options to raise their
income for the future. Applicants must commit to use business
planning and skills development programs.

- provide short-term income support to lower-income farm families.
Eligible applicants will receive a payment that will bring them to
a maximum income of $25,000 for families and $15,000 for
individuals if they have a commercial farm.


Options is a pilot program, with a federal commitment of $550 million over two years. This program also offers additional business and technical assistance for which the federal government is covering the cost.

Application forms are available on the Options program Web site at www.agr.gc.ca/options and will be accepted until October 31, 2006. Payments will be made to farmers this fall.

This announcement is part of the government's ongoing commitment to agriculture.

Producers can call the toll free 1-866-367-8506.

BACKGROUNDER

Canadian Farm Families Options Program - What Farmers Need to Know

Who can apply?

The Canadian Farm Families Options Program (Options) is a federal program open to farm families or individual farmers who have a total income of less than $25,000 or less than $15,000 respectively, in all provinces and territories.

To be eligible for this year, farmers must have gross farm revenues of at least $50,000 (before expenses) and must have filed farm income with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for 2005 and be farming in 2006.

For farm families operating corporate farms to be eligible, the family or individual farmer must hold at least 20 per cent of the corporation's outstanding common shares (voting and non-voting).

Status Indians farming on reserves who do not file returns for income tax purposes are eligible to participate providing they can supply the equivalent income information for farm and other income sources.

What will farm families need to do?

They need to apply to the Options program to receive a payment and they must commit to completing one of the following within two years of their application to Options:



- A Farm Business Assessment offered by the Canadian Farm Business
Advisory Services (CFBAS) or an equivalent OR

- An approved skills training program


How do I apply?

Application forms are available on the Options program Web site at www.agr.gc.ca/options.

How will payments be calculated?

Applicants will receive payments based on their gross farm income and total income from all sources.

The Options payment will bring the total income of a farm family up to a maximum of $25,000 or $15,000 for individual farmers each year. For example, if a farm family has a total income of $17,000, the calculated benefit is $8,000.

For more information on the Options program, CFBAS or skills training, please call toll free 1-866-367-8506.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    Minister Strahl's office
    Jeff Howard
    Press Secretary
    (613) 759-1059