Repeated hail events caused significant damage to farms last summer, and this damage was far worse than what has been seen in recent years. The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec are thus providing up to $13 million in financial support to farmers in Montérégie and other regions in Quebec who have incurred exceptional expenses. This assistance is provided through the 2017 Canada-Québec Hail Assistance Initiative, offered under the AgriRecovery program as part of Growing Forward 2.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri‑food, Jean-Claude Poissant, and the provincial Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Regulatory Streamlining and Regional Economic Development, Stéphane Billette, made the announcement at Vert Nature in St-Patrice-de-Sherrington on December 15. This announcement followed up on the one made in St-Félicien by Richard Hébert, the MP for Lac-Saint-Jean, and Laurent Lessard, the provincial Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
The tow elected officials in the region emphasized that this was an exceptional measure in response to an exceptional situation. They also pointed out that the assistance being offered does not in any way replace the crop insurance coverage that is available to farmers. Rather, this initiative is intended to support farm businesses that have incurred extraordinary expenses related to this weather event and not covered by existing programs.
“The governments of Canada and Quebec are working together to help farmers in four regions in Quebec, including Montérégie, overcome the challenges and hardships they are experiencing as a result of last summer’s hail events,” said Jean‑Claude Poissant. “This collaboration reflects our governments’ commitment to supporting the agricultural sector and taking concrete action to help the market recover. The initiative will cover the exceptional costs associated with rebuilding infrastructure and resuming operations. What a great boost for the farms affected and the families.”
A number of extraordinarily intense hail events have hit the Montérégie, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Chaudière-Appalaches, and Bas-Saint-Laurent regions over the last year, completely destroying crops in some cases and causing damage to farm infrastructure.
Photo: President of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), Marcel Groleau, President of UPA Montérégie, Christian St‑Jacques, President of UPA Jardins-de-Napierville, Jean‑Claude Guérin, MNA for Huntingdon and provincial Minister, Stéphane Billette, federal Parliamentary Secretary and MP for La Prairie, Jean‑Claude Poissant, President of UPA Haut-Saint-Laurent, Michel Hébert, Deputy Prefect of the des Jardins-de-Napierville MRC region and Mayor of St-Rémi, Sylvie Gagnon-Breton, and Denys Van Winden from Vert Nature.