FCC supports Maritimes potato growers impacted by adverse weather

Farm Credit Canada
December 12, 2018
By Farm Credit Canada
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is offering support to customers in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick whose potato crops were impacted by an unusually wet, cold fall, causing a loss in revenue.

FCC rolled out additional specific programs in response to the adverse weather experienced and based on what relationship managers have been hearing from farmers. The programs will be available for a full year, until Dec. 2019. The year-long length of the program is to help producers who are still figuring out the impact of this year’s challenging harvest on the next season.

Potatoes need to be dry and not too cold to be harvested without the risk of damage, and there were very few days in October and November where conditions were right. This followed an extremely challenging growing season, mired by a cold spring that delayed planting, a flash frost that forced many producers to reseed and a hot, dry summer. As a result, many potato growers experienced increased costs and lost a large portion of this year’s crop.

The United Potato Growers of Canada estimate that P.E.I. has 6,800 acres and New Brunswick has between 500 to 1,500 acres of potatoes unharvested by the end of the season. These two provinces make up half of the approximately 15,000 acres of potatoes that had to be abandoned across Canada as a result of difficult harvest conditions.

“I can only imagine the frustration that many potato growers felt as they watched their crops deteriorate in the field,” said Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO. “We want those impacted to know we will help them through any financial hardship this adverse weather has created.”

FCC will offer additional support to help affected growers in making payments and managing cash flow, including payment deferrals, amendments, and restructuring.

Although FCC customer support is being offered in specific locations, FCC offers flexibility to all customers through challenging business cycles and unpredictable circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

“As a former potato grower, I know first-hand how much the weather can affect not only short-term revenue, but also the financing to put next year’s crop in the ground,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “That’s why it’s important to have FCC as a strong and stable partner that understands the sometimes unpredictable and cyclical nature of farming.”

FCC will work with customers to come up with solutions for their operation and will consider deferral of principal payments and/or other loan payment schedule amendments to reduce the financial pressure on producers impacted by adverse weather during this year’s growing season and harvest.

PEI and New Brunswick customers 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.

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