OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Canadian cattle and hog producers facing tough financial times now have until Sept. 30, 2010, to repay cash advances under the Advance Payment Program, thanks to an extension of the repayment deadline for livestock advances announced Jan. 23 by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. Equally important, the first $100,000 of each producer's advance will continue to be interest-free.

The extension of the deadline applies to regular and emergency loans taken by cattle and hog producers during the 2008-09 production period. The Stay of Default covers more than $450 million in advances to the livestock sector.

"Thousands of farmers across the country have taken advantage of APP loans and this extension will keep them in business and provide relief during the current credit crunch," Mr. Ritz said. "This government will continue to work with livestock producers and their organizations to address the issues facing the sector."

"This is the breathing room Canadian cattle producers need to put their bottom lines back into the black," said Brad Wildeman, president of the Canadian Cattlemen.

Canadian cattle and pork producers can still apply for APP emergency advances until March 31, 2009. Regular APP advances will continue to be available. Beginning in April, producers who meet eligibility criteria will be able to apply for 2009-10 regular advances.

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