Times are tough for Quebec farmers.
The situation remains difficult for Quebec farmers, faced with inflation that has caused their supply costs to explode. The situation is such that some say they are working at a loss and are even thinking of ending their activities.
Réjean Laquerre does not remember having known such an unfavorable context. The agricultural world, he knows it well.
This grain producer in Saint-Casimir, in Portneuf, has been immersed in it since birth. The son of farmers, he took over his father's farm and when the time comes, he will hand it over to his daughter.
In other words, he has seen crises and difficult times, but such a situation… No, he doesn't remember.
It's particular because of the production costs which have exploded. Everything has doubled over the past year, he notes.
Réjean Laquerre is flabbergasted to see how much commodity prices have changed in such a short time.< /p>
The ton of fertilizer he bought for $600 last year now costs him between $1,000 and $1,500. The liter of diesel? It started with one room, we are down to two rooms. The price of machinery parts has also skyrocketed.
This is the first time I've seen this. Worse, it's stressful, he admits. Réjean Laquerre is not the only one to suffer the full brunt of the current economic context.
Yves Laurencelle, president of the Regional Federation of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA ) Capitale-Nationale-Côte-Nord, ensures that in the community, everyone is affected.
“I can tell you that today there are producers who do not make any profit margin. »
— Yves Laurencelle, President of the Regional Federation of the Union of Agricultural Producers Capitale-Nationale-Côte-Nord
This is particularly true, according to him , for cattle farmers.
We see more and more producers who are looking for a job on the side to succeed in bringing something to eat at home because currently, with the increase in costs, they are no longer profitable.
< p class="e-p">Whatever their specialization, farmers benefit from many assistance programs put in place by the federal and provincial governments.
Ottawa and Quebec say they are d elsewhere aware of the difficulties currently affecting the industry. They claim to have put in place appropriate systems.
Inflation and soaring prices have serious consequences for farmers, whether they are breeders, producers or growers.
We have risk management programs in Quebec that take cost fluctuations into account. MAPAQ is working closely with the Financière agricole du Québec to ensure that our tools in place respond adequately to the situation, declares the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec.
< p class="e-p">Due to the current context, on April 6, I announced a change to the rules of the Advance Payments Program (APP). From now on, producers will be able to receive their entire 2022 advances as soon as they submit a request, wrote the federal Minister of Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau, in a letter addressed to Yves Laurencelle.
< p class="e-p">In this letter dated July 15, she adds: On June 23, I announced further changes to the APP to increase the interest-free limit from $100,000 to $250,000 for program years 2022 and 2023.
Governments are taking action. Réjean Laquerre and Yves Laurencelle consider that this is not enough.
“We have programs, but the programs, they don't do the job. ”
— Réjean Laquerre, grain producer in Saint-Casimir
When we talk to producers, no one gets what they want, no one manages to get their heads out of the water with these programs because they say that the programs do not take their reality into account. It takes a serious push, right away, from both levels of government, says the UPA official.
Yves Laurencelle, from UPA, says the situation is particularly stressful and alarming for farmers.
The organization expects new measures from the public authorities. For example, the immediate payment of special aid and the exemption of part of the diesel taxes for growers and producers.
If nothing changes, Yves Laurencelle predicts disastrous consequences. We will completely destabilize the industry. And it won't even be a question of destabilization. It will be a matter of closing businesses directly.
He continues: Instead of going towards food autonomy, we are going towards the destruction of our agriculture in Quebec.
A glimmer of hope in this very gloomy horizon, the current difficult context does not seem to taint the motivation of tomorrow's farmers. Philippe Auclair is a student at the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire du Québec, La Pocatière campus, and he remains determined.
Philippe Auclair wants to become a farmer.
It's really a passion for us as such to work there. Then, we will do everything for. We are going to work in such a way as to produce as much and so that it costs us less, he confides.
This week, the federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Agriculture gathered in Saskatoon for their annual meeting. They reached an agreement in principle to renew the Canadian Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture.
This agreement provides for the provision of 3.5 billion dollars over five years to help operators to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with climate change.
The soaring production costs were also mentioned during the discussions.