News Release Archive

AGRICULTURE/MARKETING--Farmers to Receive Interest Relief
Agriculture and Marketing Minister Ed Lorraine announced today,
Friday, Dec. 19, the establishment of a Loss Provision Program
offering interest relief for farmers acquiring, or who have
acquired, loans to deal with the loss of income and production
due to adverse weather conditions in 1997.

The program will provide a total of $4 million in interest relief
to Nova Scotia farmers over two years. The maximum annual
interest rate has been set at 7.5 per cent. Four million dollars
at an interest rate of 7.5 per cent is equivalent to interest on
$26.7 million in loans. The program will be administered by the
Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board.

"I am very pleased to be able to make this announcement today,"
said Mr. Lorraine. "Farmers have been really hard hit, and this
program will help them address some of their immediate cash flow
needs and get prepared for the next growing season.  

"This program is the result of the hard work of an
industry/department committee I established less than two weeks
ago," he said. "I want to thank the members of the team who
developed the program, especially the Nova Scotia Federation of
Agriculture, and commend them for a job well done under very
tight time lines. I would also like to recognize our premier for
the leadership he has demonstrated in making this a reality.

The committee was assigned to examine a federally proposed Farm
Income Disaster Program. In its report to the minister, the
committee noted that such a program did not solve the immediate
cash flow problems faced by Nova Scotia farmers resulting from
the extreme weather conditions experienced in Nova Scotia during

The committee recommended the Loss Provision Program to
supplement other federal and provincial programs currently
available, and it will continue to work on the design of an
effective Farm Income Disaster Program for the future.

"By establishing this program, the Nova Scotia government is
showing its support for Nova Scotia agriculture, and recognizing
the important contribution the industry makes to the provincial
economy and the jobs it creates in our rural communities," said
Mr. Lorraine.

To be eligible, the farm business must be a registered farm in
Nova Scotia and must have experienced a financial loss related to
adverse weather conditions. Businesses applying for new loans
must be able to demonstrate their ability to handle new and/or
additional debt.
Loans eligible for interest relief include new and documented
existing loans through the Farm Loan Board or any financial
institution between June 30, 1997, and June 30, 1998. Under the
program, farmers may receive a direct payment equal to the
interest on a maximum loan of $100,000 or apply the interest
savings to the loan. The maximum annual stated interest rate
considered will be 7.5 per cent. In the event that the demand for
the program exceeds $4 million, payments will be pro-rated.

Loans must be used to cover weather-related loss of production or
loss of income, for example, replacing feed supplies and
livestock sold as a result of feed shortages, and restoring
damaged horticultural crops. Applications for the program will be
available through the Farm Loan Board and regional offices after
January 16, 1998. Deadline for applications is August 1, 1998,
for the Loss Provision Program.

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Contact: Brian Smith
         Agriculture and Marketing

         Derrick Jamieson
         Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board
         Agriculture and Marketing

GM                       Dec. 19, 1997                 10:45 a.m.