Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau rises to introduce an act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act in the House of Commons in Ottawa on May 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau rises to introduce an act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act in the House of Commons in Ottawa on May 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Make better use of existing support, Bibeau tells struggling agricultural sector

The Liberals rolled out a $252-million aid program for the industry

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says farmers and producers aren’t making enough use of long-standing agricultural aid programs.

Bibeau suggests that’s hurting her efforts to potentially secure more federal money to help the sector cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

She says that’s because the Liberals are an evidence-based government, and without farmers tapping into existing programs first, it’s hard to figure out where there are gaps in support.

Earlier this month, the Liberals rolled out a $252-million aid program for the industry, which is grappling with a cascading series of problems triggered by the pandemic.

The package was announced as the Canadian Federation of Agriculture was asking for nearly 10 times that amount, arguing that existing financial support systems weren’t enough.

Bibeau says she understands their concerns, and the possibility that family farms in Canada will go under is one of the many things she worried about as the pandemic continues.

READ MORE: ‘Underwhelming’ support for agriculture industry: BC Fruit Growers’ Association

READ MORE: Feds to buy up surplus from Canadian agrifood producers as part of $252M investment

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