FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 16, 2015
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett supports government legislation to allow crop insurance to be expanded to cover livestock.
Bill 40, the Agriculture Insurance Act, will allow livestock producers to access insurance.
“This is long overdue,” Barrett said. “Livestock producers can be at the whim of Mother Nature the same as crop producers can. The challenges facing livestock producers are not just weather related, but also include predators such as coyotes and disease.”
Barrett does have some concerns with the bill though. First, it creates the program to support livestock production insurance through regulation, not legislation. Barrett pointed to the Local Food Act and the way the government dragged its heels on implementation of parts, including tax receipts for producers who donate goods to food banks.
Speaking to the bill in the Legislature, Interim Opposition Leader Jim Wilson raised concerns about which livestock commodities will be covered.
“I encourage the Minister to be open and listen to all commodity groups who may wish to be included,” Wilson said. “Which groups will be included is just one of the many questions left to be answered.”
Barrett previously advocated for beekeepers to be covered by production insurance. If that will be covered in the bill is still not certain as the regulations come after the bill is passed. Wilson urged the government to stay in contact with agriculture groups regarding what livestock should be covered.
The bill was referred to the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on Wednesday with support from the Official Opposition. Committee hearing dates are not yet set, but those wishing more information can contact committee clerk Katch Koch at 416-325-3526.
For more information contact
MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446