In the wake of devastatingly bad conditions, both drought and flood, damaging crops this year, governments are working towards a risk management program for the agriculture industry. This week, federal, provincial and territorial agriculture departments met to review proposals on the plan, part of the Agricultural Policy Framework. The APF includes a business risk management program, to which the federal government has committed $1.1 billion for each of the next five years. Provinces could contribute a further $700 million or more per year. Currently, government programs to help farmers manage risk include crop insurance, a cost-shared reserve fund called the Net Income Stabilization Account, and the government-funded Canadian Farm Income Program (CFIP) which “tops up” farmers whose income falls below a certain level. Other programs include cash advances and research funding. The changes reflect government concerns about how evenly the programs are applied nationally, and about the lack of incentive to farmers to practice risk management. The programs are also complex in terms of the calculation used to devise payments, and there is doubt that crop insurance coverage is adequate. Discussion on the framework will continue this month and into the new year, with implementation planned for April 1, 2003. The goal is to have a “mature” system in place by 2006.