Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound PC candidate Bill Walker has pledged to help farmers by tabling a bill to increase the amount of interest-free loans to farmers under the Advance Payments Program to $150,000.
The Advance Payments Program, also known as APP, is currently capped at $100,000. Walker said the amount needs to be revved up to better reflect today's economic climate and inflationary increases in farmer's input expenditures, namely fertilizer, fuel and seed costs.
The APP fund allows farmers to borrow the money interest free and repay the capital only after their first crops, or their livestock production period is completed.
"We need a viable food supply and we need farming to be sustainable. This is a cost-effective investment to ensure we have a sustainable source of food, and it's a good use of taxpayer dollars in my opinion," Walker said.
"In speaking with farmers across the riding, I'm hearing that the APP program works and it is a good way to help farmers. The only drawback is the amount is really too low in today's market, and so I believe we need to step up and increase it," he said.
Walker also said the small increase in additional budget amount could be found within existing agriculture funding so there should be no impact to the taxpayer.
"It's a win-win. We help our farm community and there's no new tax to the taxpayer. It's really another tool to help ensure a safe and sustainable supply of food," he said. "Without a safe food supply of food, we don't have much. I'm proud to promote this idea and will be a strong supporter of agriculture if elected as MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound."
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