Losses of $100 million for agricultural producers

Agricultural producers lose $100 million

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Agricultural producers in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean are still suffering the repercussions of the rainy spring and the delay caused in the seeding period, which resulted in losses of $100 million, for the region alone . 

“This is unheard of!” exclaimed the regional president of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), Mario Théberge.

On June 10, Fabien Villeneuve showed his land partly flooded due to heavy rains, in Normandin, in Lac-Saint-Jean.

“I haven't harvested any oats yet,” he noted on Friday, four months later. “It snowed a little [Thursday]. So I don't think we're going to harvest this year.”

The waterlogged soil was only able to accommodate its first seeds after a month's delay, and the delay could not be made up in time for the usual September harvest. The losses are major for cereal producers, in particular.

“From 250 to 275 tonnes, at 300 or 400$ per tonne”, calculated Michel Frigon, of the Ferme des Fleurs de Normandin. “So it's a hundred thousand dollars.”

More than 300 millimeters of rain fell in May and June rendered 4,000 hectares unusable for the 2022 harvest, or 10% of the cultivable area.

Nearly 132 producers have submitted a claim for compensation to La Financière agricole du Québec, which offers no specific program for such situations.

“No one had foreseen cases where it was impossible to sow because of too much rain,” says Michel Frigon. “In the future, we will need a program that takes into account what we have experienced because it will happen again.”

However, the organization recognized the exceptional nature of the situation and has so far paid compensation totaling $1.2 million.

“It doesn’t even pay for the term we paid on our lands”, lamented Fabien Villeneuve.

“Let's say that we start with that…”, added Mario Théberge.

Other sums are expected from here the end of December, but the UPA already foresees that they will be insufficient and plans to knock on the door of the government.

“What will we miss for the compensation to be fair , that it allows us to survive?” questions the regional president of the UPA.

The situation is all the more frustrating as the price of cereals was on the rise this year. Producers not only missed the opportunity to take advantage of the windfall, but they were also unable to honor agreements already signed with buyers.

“We are going to sit down with our bankers to see how much we miss compared to our forecasts”, mentioned Fabien Villeneuve. “It's money that will not be reinvested…”