Beef producers ask for help

Beef producers are asking the Harper government for help, saying they face a “perfect storm.”

eef producers are asking the Harper government for help, saying they face a “perfect storm.” T

hey say mounting debt, inadequate insurance, unfair trade barriers and a strong dollar handicaps their foreign market prospects.

They’ve turned to the NDP to help them make their case to the Harper government, claiming aid to them would help all Canadians.

New Democrat MP Tony Martin says the Canadian Agriculture Income Stabilization program created by the former Liberal government five years ago was inadequate. And he says cattlemen are even worse off now under the Conservatives, receiving a fraction of previous payments.

NDP agriculture critic Alex Atamanenko says beef producers are making less than half what they made 20 years ago, even though exports have tripled.

Representatives from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Ontario Cattlemen’s Association and National Farmers Union are in Ottawa today to tell the federal Tories they need support in order to restructure.

Slaughter cattle exports are down 20 per cent this year while feeder cattle exports have plunged 50 per cent.

The cattle producers say they want agriculture stability, including bigger margin coverage during losses and elimination of a viability test that demands positive margins in two of the past three years.

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