QC gov’t reaches deal with farmers

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Quebec government reaches agreement with farmers union

Tashi Farmilo

Local Journalism Initiative

QUEBÉC – Quebec Premier François Legault recently announced the province has reached an agreement in principle with the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), representing 42,000 farmers. The agreement – submitted to the cabinet for approval – comes after five months of demonstrations by farmers demanding better support and conditions.

While exact details of the proposal haven’t been disclosed, it includes measures to assist farmers facing high interest rates and extensive paperwork. Legault emphasized the importance of addressing these challenges to ensure the viability of farming in Quebec, noting

the government focused on pinpointing current challenges and proposing effective solutions. He’s confident the agreement will benefit farmers in the short and long term.

The key components of the proposal include providing direct financial aid to farmers to help them manage costs and 14 measures aimed at reducing the bureaucratic burden they face when applying for financial aid.

Claude Vallière, Pontiac’s UPA president, is cautiously optimistic about the agreement, stressing the need for direct financial aid to help farmers cope with high costs, particularly for seasonal operations, and a reduction in bureaucracy to simplify accessing government aid, thus avoiding the need for expensive expert assistance.

Vallière also emphasized the importance of efforts to stabilize prices for essential farming inputs like seeds, fertilizers, and equipment, and more support for agro-environmental initiatives to address the impacts of climate change on farming. “In principle, the agreement is a good thing. We’ll see how it materializes. The government agreed to provide direct assistance to producers, but the details aren’t finalized,” Vallière said.

As the province awaits the cabinet’s decision, the UPA said further protests aren’t off the table. Farmers remain vigilant, ready to push for more comprehensive solutions if necessary.