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Que. to offer advances on ASRA transition funding

Interest-free cash advances are to be made available from a fund to help eligible Quebec farmers adapt to changes in the province’s ag income stabilization program (ASRA).

The province on Tuesday said it would add an ad hoc component to its Strategie de soutien a l’adaptation to provide, on a case-by-case basis, interest-free loans equal to 20 per cent of what an eligible farm paid in ASRA premiums for 2011, up to a $30,000 limit.

An eligible farm would then pay back the advance in chunks of 25 per cent per year over the following four years.

Quebec’s farm financing agency, la Financiere agricole du Quebec (FADQ), projected Tuesday that about 1,500 farms would be eligible for the advances, and that the size of an average advance would be about $10,000.

Farmers who are eligible for the advances can expect to hear soon from FADQ directly, the province said.

FADQ on Tuesday also announced it has put administrative systems in place to streamline and accelerate processing of farmers’ financial data for the 2011 AgriStability, AgriInvest and Agri-Quebec programs.

Under the new processes, eligible farmers — or their accountants or certified filers — are invited to submit their financial data now rather than wait until the Sept. 30, 2012 deadline, FADQ said.

Speeding up the application process at FADQ’s end is expected to allow farmers to access the federal and provincial contributions to their program accounts up to a year sooner. The government contributions are worth a total estimated $200 million across those three programs.

Related stories:

Que. moves ahead with ASRA transition funding, Oct. 26, 2010

Quebec, feds put up $60M for farm adaptation, Nov. 26, 2010

Quebec to dial back ASRA premiums for 2011-12, Oct. 1, 2011

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