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Farmers hit by flooding, rail delays given more time to repay cash advances

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OTTAWA - Western farmers unable to market last fall's crop due to rail delays and other transportation issues due to flooding have been granted more time to repay their 2013 cash advances.

The federal government's Advance Payments Program fronts money to farmers based on the value of their agricultural products so as to improve their cash flow throughout the year.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says grain and oilseeds producers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia are being given an extra six months to repay.

The six-month grace period also extends to producers who received an advance through the Manitoba Corn Growers Association.

The original repayment deadline of Sept. 30 has been moved to March 31 of next year.

Last year's harvest was 76 million tonnes — 50 per cent higher than average — and put significant pressure on grain handling and transportation.

Flooding across Saskatchewan and Manitoba further hampered crop movement due to limited access to roads and highways.

A repayment extension for producers who received cash from the Canadian Canola Growers Association was announced last month.

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