Thank you, Mr. Glenn.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.
My name is Julie Bissonnette. I represent Quebec and Ontario at the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum. I'm also the president of the Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec and a board member at the Financière agricole du Québec. In addition, I'm a dairy farmer in L'Avenir, near Drummondville.
I want to suggest some other solutions that we, as young farmers in Canada, have considered. First, I want to talk about the AgriStability program. Mr. Glenn spoke about it. When we start farming with the knowledge that we must absorb 30% of our losses before we can obtain government support, it's not very reassuring. If the coverage rate is reduced to 85%, young farmers will take on less risk.
Second, we can all agree that the first five years are the most financially demanding for any start-up business. In our opinion, a rebate for the various federal government programs would ease the pressure on businesses. For the first five years, the government would cover a portion of the young farmers' costs or contributions. This would also encourage young people to participate in the program, and they would get to know the program better.
Third, the programs must be simplified. We've consulted with some young people regarding risk management programs. In short, the programs are complex. Most young people don't use them because they don't understand them. That's unfortunate, because these programs are there to support us. Each program has a good foundation that meets our needs. However, the complexity limits the use of the programs.
We mustn't forget the supply management system. The system works very well for risk management, as long as the system is protected and fully maintained.
In conclusion, the agricultural sector must be supported. Young farmers who are starting out in farming, whether they're launching a business or taking over an existing business, need to feel supported and equipped. Any means to improve the cash flow of the business are welcome. Young farmers in Canada all have one thing in common. They love farming and they're passionate about the occupation. However, with good risk management programs, our passion will become even more enjoyable, and our stress will decrease.