As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold the Canadian government has provided Farm Credit Canada (FCC) with an additional $5 billion in lending capacity, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada announced today.
Bibeau’s announcement comes following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement earlier today outlining more details on the Government of Canada’s plan to support the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. In that announcement, the government committed to providing necessary capital to the agriculture and food industry to ensure producers, agribusinesses and food processors are able to continue working.
Initially, FCC’s focus will be on assisting the industry in addressing cash flow challenges so businesses can remain focused on business-critical functions rather than worrying about how to access funds to keep operating through this difficult time.
“If you are a producer concerned about having the cash flow required to plant your crop, or you are a food processor feeling the impact of a lost sale due to the financial downturn, FCC is here to support you in these uncertain economic times,” Michael Hoffort, FCC CEO, says in a release.
As part of its ongoing support efforts, FCC is asking existing customers who have cash flow or other financial concerns to contact the organization to discuss alternatives. FCC has launched two programs with the new funding. Current customers can ask for payment deferrals of up to six months (where after they will have to cover the skipped payments) or for interest-free for 12 months. The organization has also enhanced their credit line to offer up to $500,000 loans. FCC loans are available to anyone in the agriculture industry along the supply chain from farmers to processors to agricultural input suppliers.
The government has also given farmers who have outstanding payments due on or before April 30 for loans from the Advance Payments Program run by the Canola Council of Canada, a Stay of Default, which will give them an additional six months to repay the loan.
Customers facing financial pressure are encouraged to contact their FCC relationship manager or the FCC Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 to discuss their individual situation and options.