Thank you for the invitation to speak with you today. My name is Charlie Christie. My family and I run a cow-calf and feedlot operation near Trochu, Alberta. I am currently a director with CCA and co-chair of the domestic ag committee. I'm here with Brady Stadnicki, who is CCA staff based out of Calgary.
A robust suite of business risk management programs is key for the economic sustainability and competitiveness of the Canadian beef sector. CCA believes there is a need for sufficiently funded national agriculture risk management programs that are delivered consistently across all jurisdictions without creating an imbalance between agriculture sectors or regions. Programs should minimize the risk of adverse impacts on trade, distortion of market signals and influence on business decisions.
CCA also supports some flexibility in government supporting regional or provincial livestock insurance programs, such as the RMP and ASRA programs, assuming the overall level of support is even across the country and the programs are market-neutral.
Since 2018, federal, provincial and territorial governments have been conducting a BRM review. One key area of focus under the review is program equity among sectors and regions. CCA believes that aspects of BRM programs, ranging from program spending to design and availability, provide inequitable coverage among agriculture sectors and regions at this time. We are keen to work with governments to quickly address these equity challenges by implementing the following program-specific recommendations.
CCA strongly recommends a number of changes to AgriStability to improve program equitability and effectiveness to the beef cattle sector. This includes removing the reference margin limit and payment caps, and enhancing the trigger to 85% of the reference margin.
I would like to place additional emphasis on the reference margin limit. Operations that have reference margin limiting applied require an extensive, if not devastating, drop in their program year revenue in order to trigger benefits. This significantly decreases the value of AgriStability to many producers, especially those with low-cost structures, such as cow-calf producers, who typically produce their own feed and have minimal eligible labour expenses. The removal of the reference margin limit would make the program predictable, bankable and ultimately more equitable for Canadian cattle producers, especially the cow-calf sector.
Another program we'd like to focus on is the western—