Monday, June 11, 2007

How Does Canada Do It? II

An email piqued my interest on what farm programs Canada has and how they are administered. The big one is:
"Beginning 2003 the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program replaces previous safety net programs available to producers. (Farm Income Disaster Program, Canadian Farm Income Program, Net Income Stabilization Account)" from the Alberta corp.
Some background: Canada has roughly 10 percent of our population and their agriculture is 2 percent of the economy, compared to our 1 percent (CIA factbook). Their federal government is weaker than ours. Their equivalent of USDA has 170 regional offices. Both provinces and federal government have agricultural programs, or rather, the federal government runs the program in some provinces and not in other. The estimated 2007 expenditures are $4,757 million for the federal and $3,127 for the provincial. about half of which is for "farm programs" (i.e., crop insurance, subsidies)

The Ontario USDA is , and its annual report is interesting. They boast about getting payments out in 6 weeks (not clear whether the comparison should be to our disaster payments or to supplemental counter-cyclical payments) but mourn the fact that processing of CAIS applications is slow. (The CAIS process looks to be more like getting a farmers home plan from the producer and making a grant based on it.)

Their equivalent to the non-recourse commodity loan and purchase program of olden days is called the "Advance Payments Program" and is administered through producer organizations. That's similar to the cotton and rice marketing cooperatives the US uses, and the producer associations for tobacco and peanuts, but apparently Canadian organizations were stronger across the board than in the US.

Alberta also delivers the CAIS through a corporation, which seems to have started as a hail insurance corporation.

We (federal employees) should be glad the Bush administration hasn't picked up on this pattern, otherwise FSA would have been privatized.

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