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June 22, 2004
For immediate release

New Support Program For Beef Producers

Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry

A new low interest loan for Prince Edward Island beef producers will provide $200 for each animal covered under the program. The loan program was announced today by Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Forestry Minister Kevin MacAdam.

“Prince Edward Island beef producers continue to face depressed market conditions as a result of the BSE crisis, and many are experiencing very difficult cash flow problems,” said Mr. MacAdam. “This new program reflects our commitment to help the industry through this period and our confidence in its future.”

Mr. MacAdam said the program was developed in co-operation with the Prince Edward Island Cattlemen’s Association, and officials of his department and the Lending Agency.

“With the opening of the beef plant later this year, all sectors of the industry need to work closely together to help ensure its success,” said Mr. MacAdam. The plant is expected to process more than 400 head per week for the award-winning Atlantic Tender Beef Classic brand.

Under the loan program, which is being administered by the Prince Edward Island Lending Agency, all qualified beef producers are eligible to apply for a loan with an interest rate of prime plus one percent. The maximum amount of the loan will be determined by the average number of animals shipped from their farm to a feedlot or processing facility over the past 24 months. Producers pay only the interest on the loan for the first 18 months. Principle repayments will begin in month 19. All loans are due and payable within 48 months.

The agriculture department will pay the financial assessment costs of the loans.

Since the detection of a single case of BSE in Alberta more than a year ago, federal and provincial governments have provided more than four million dollars in assistance to beef producers. Before the collapse in beef prices, the industry accounted for more than $30 million annually in farm cash receipts.

Media Contact: Wayne MacKinnon
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