Interest rates worry agricultural producers

Interest rates worry agricultural producers< /p> UPDATE DAY

The dizzying rise in interest rates since the beginning of 2022 would worry agricultural producers. 

Many of them, not only in Quebec, but also elsewhere in Canada must therefore put expansion projects on hold, according to the Union des producteurs agricole (UPA) Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean.

“It's borrowed money, all the time! “, underlined the regional president of the UPA, Mario Théberge.

“Now investments are no longer limited to $100,000,” added Pierre Turcotte, of the Turcotte et fils farm in Saint-Bruno. Acquiring new land, modernizing one's production and buying machinery takes millions of dollars.”

Interest rates have literally exploded in recent months, now exceeding 5% and the trend should continue.

“I know a lot of producers who have put projects on hold,” said Michel Frigon of the Ferme des Fleurs in Albanel. It is certain that the viability of a project is threatened. »

The situation is all the more worrying for the UPA, which is trying to interest the next generation of farmers and facilitate the transfer of farms to family succession.

At 26 years Philippe Garneau is already a 30% partner of the Louison de Normandin farm. For his generation, interest rates represent an additional problem.

“If you end up with a property that is heavily in debt, that definitely becomes an issue,” he explained. We try to go there day by day. »

The UPA recognizes that it is difficult to seek government intervention in this type of case. The producers met, however, underlined the openness of financial institutions to find possible solutions.

From the government, producers rather expect global assistance to support the industry.

“If the government was investing in its agriculture at the time that in Bombardier, we would be by car!” concluded Mario Théberge.