The Fédération de l’UPA (Union des Producteurs Agricoles) de l’Outaouais-Laurentides, the trade union representing farmers in the Pontiac is ringing the alarm bell about the impact of inflation, rising production costs and soaring interest rates on the financial situation of Quebec farms in a press release.
According to a province-wide survey, the increase in the cost of production inputs for farmers was up 27.9 per cent between January 2020 and September 2022, 16 points higher than 11.8 per cent general inflation rate.
The increase is interest rates is putting pressure on indebted farms.
Of the 3,675 producers from across Quebec who responded to the survey last month, two out of 10 farms reported either poor or very poor financial health, nearly five out of 10 farms anticipate a deterioration of their situation over the next 12 months and one of 10 reported they were planning to close down.
In the Outaouais-Laurentians 334 farms responded to the survey with 23 per cent of the indicating that their financial health is either very poor or poor, and 43 per cent responding that their financial situation has deteriorated over the past three years.
More than a third of respondents in the region believe that rising interest rates would prevent them from meeting their financial obligations, while 13 per cent said they are considering leaving farming altogether.
“Our region is not immune to the crisis in the agricultural sector. Like the governments of Quebec and Canada, our region has not reacted much until now to the difficulties encountered by our agricultural businesses. This nonchalance of all political parties must stop immediately. The future of Quebecer’s food is in their hands. The data for our regions is more than alarming,” said Stéphane Alary, President of the Fédération de l’UPA Outaouais-Laurentides, on the survey.
Alary added that regulatory pressures on farms adds to their financial stress.
“The excessive tightening of agri-environmental regulations at a time when the sustainability of many agricultural businesses is compromised, adds considerable pressure on the shoulders of farmers who are already wondering about their future,” said Alary.
by Brett Thoms
Pontiac April 14, 2023
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