Since 2008, cattle production has declined by 30% to 50%, depending on the production sector. There may be multiple causes, but the most obvious are the skyrocketing cost of feed and unprecedented competition from grain farmers. In recent years, the unprecedented swings in the market price of cattle have exacerbated cattle production risks.
At the same time, various development opportunities are available to cattle producers, particularly with the launch of the Bœuf Québec program.
Quebec has extensive forage land, allowing it to welcome new farmers. Cattle production is one of the rare production sectors where it is still possible to start on a small scale, while continuing to work outside the farm. However, even though the cattle industry is found throughout Quebec’s agricultural territory and its development generates major economic impacts in every region, it must be understood that established farmers also need government financial support to make productive new investments and to increase their profitability.
Requests to the MAPAQ and FADQ
Notwithstanding all of these findings, Quebec cattle producers have made certain requests to the MAPAQ and to La Financière agricole du Québec:
- Implement investment and support programs to revitalize Quebec cattle production (technical and financial support to farms and upstream activities (education, research, knowledge transfer, etc.);
- Reactivate the Programme d’amélioration de la productivité des entreprises bovines (PAPEB – Program to improve the productivity of cattle farms);
- Implement programs tailored to people who wish to start up cattle farming on a part-time basis;
- Enhance income security programs by immediately acting on all the recommendations of the Groupe de travail sur la sécurité du revenu (Working Group on Income Security). The goal of these recommendations is to increase the flexibility of the programs by greater consideration of the special characteristics of each production sector and provide increased protection against market risks (semi-annual, quarterly and even weekly ASRA in some sectors, collective futures programs, etc.);
- Abolish the ASRA contribution tiers in all production sectors;
- Update the calculation of the skilled worker’s wage;
- Make the necessary changes to the ASRA program to ensure adequate coverage of the operator’s work, and ultimately ensure a real return on investment for farm businesses.