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No pre-harvest RMP payouts for Ont. farmers

None of the crops covered under Ontario’s Risk Management Program (RMP) has triggered a pre-harvest payment to the province’s farmers this fall.

Pre-harvest market prices were finalized last week for the 2008 RMP for Ontario farmers, and the average market prices for the six-month pre-harvest pricing period are higher than the support levels for all eligible crops, the provincial farm funding agency Agricorp announced Thursday.

RMP payments are triggered only when an eligible crop’s market price falls below the support level at a producer’s chosen coverage level.

RMP is a three-year (2007-09) pilot price support program for Ontario grain and oilseed producers, intended to help offset losses caused by low commodity prices and provide price support for 27 specified grain and oilseed crops.

The program has two pricing periods per year when market prices are determined and payments could be triggered. For the pre-harvest period, market prices are calculated based on the average of forward contract prices for six months prior to harvest of each major crop. For the post-harvest period, market prices are calculated based on the average of cash or spot prices for six months during and after harvest.

Post-harvest market prices for the 2008 season will be determined next spring at the end of the post-harvest pricing period and published on Agricorp’s website, the agency said. RMP participants may still be eligible for a post-harvest payment if the average market price for their crop falls below the support level at their chosen coverage level.

Ontario farmers got provincial RMP pre-harvest payments in the fall of 2007 on all covered crops except spring and winter wheat. Market prices for those two crops were pegged at $5.58 and $5.08 per bushel respectively, above the RMP support levels of $5.47 and $4.71.

But the post-harvest payments in the spring of 2008 only covered five crops — corn, popping corn, black beans, white beans and “Japan/other coloured” beans — and payouts for those five were substantially reduced from pre-harvest payment levels.

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