Too invested

Manitoba cattle farmers struggling to pay back government BSE loans.

As tough times continued for the industry, the province gave farmers a three-year holiday on paying off the loan’s principal, effectively extending the length of the term.

As a result of the restructuring, scores of farmers won’t be finished paying off their loans until 2018 and a handful will still be whittling away at them until 2021, Kibbins said.

Sheila Mowat, general manager of the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association, said those who took out BSE loans aren’t the only farmers who are suffering. “Any producer who had loans out when BSE hit will still be struggling,” she said.

But many have invested too much of their lives and money to exit the industry, Mowat said. “They can’t afford to just pull the pin and walk away from it, because (then) they have nothing.”

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