Agricultural Stabilization Board, established under the federal Agricultural Stabilization Act of 1958, is intended to provide income support to producers in periods of depressed market returns. Funds for board operations come from an annual appropriation through the budget of the federal minister of agriculture. The board has 2 means of stabilizing the prices of designated agricultural products: it may offer to purchase any commodity deemed to be in excess supply; or it may make a deficiency payment to producers of a product, the market price of which is below some designated minimum support price. The board may be, under the terms of the legislation, assisted in its work by an advisory committee of farmers or representatives of farm organizations, all of whom are appointed by the federal minister of agriculture.
Under the original Agricultural Stabilization Act (which replaced the 1944 Agricultural Prices Support Act), the support price for designated commodities was set at 80% of the average price for the preceding 10 years. The Act was amended in 1975 to provide a guaranteed price of 90% of the 5-year average weighted price for cattle, hogs, sheep, industrial milk and cream, corn and soybeans, and for oats and barley produced outside the CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD designated area of the Prairies. In 1985 the Act was amended to allow the Minister of Agriculture to enter into tripartite agreements with provinces and producers for price stabilization programs.