You might not consider the creation of an insurance program a historic day in your profession or trade.
But consider the plight of an Ontario farmer.
A single animal in western Canada gets tagged with having BSE, and the U.S. border suddenly closes to beef exports. Including yours.
Your harvests are plentiful, but when an agricultural trade war breaks out between two superpower exporting nations, prices tumble. Including yours.
Mother Nature decides it’s time for a late spring frost, or a summer deluge, or no rain at all, or a harvest-time blizzard, and as a result crops fail. Including yours.
You plead to governments for an insurance program. Ottawa comes up with one that doesn’t work, so you and other farmers design one, and offer it up to the feds and the province. It hinges on contributions from both levels of government, as well as premiums from you. Before long the province kicks in with a pilot program that runs quite well and becomes popular. But years go by (four years, in fact), and still there’s no help from Ottawa.
Then the federal government folds, for the fourth time in seven years.
Who can do business in such an environment?
Farmers say not them. They’ve repeatedly said it’s unreasonable to expect them to feed the nation without an equitable, predictable and bankable insurance program. They finally got one last week when the Ontario budget was announced. I write about their reaction and what it means in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury.