Farm Support Payments and Risk Balancing: Implications for Financial Riskiness of Canadian Farms
The risk balancing literature suggests that business risk management (BRM) programs may, through risk balancing (offsetting adjustments between business risk and financial risk), lead farmers to take on more financial risk than they would take otherwise, which, in turn, increases the risk of equity loss. Business risk management continues to be the central objective of Canadian agricultural policy, and this was re-enforced with the recent introduction of the Growing Forward II policy framework. However, it is not known whether Canadian BRM programs designed to offset business risk lead to increased financial risk and possibly higher levels of overall risk for individual farm operations. This paper aims to empirically examine the impact of Canadian BRM programs on the financial riskiness of farms using a longitudinal farm data set from Ontario. Results show that: 1) the lag of payment of Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization/AgriStability diminishes the effectiveness of BRM programs in reducing business risk; 2) a relatively small share of farms exhibit risk balancing behaviour, and 3) BRM payments have no impact on the likelihood of risk balancing. Taken together, these findings suggest that the impact of BRM programs on the financial riskiness of farms is limited.
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