RMs praise crop insurance improvements

Grain storage bags. Photo courtesy Shellbrook RCMP.

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) is pleased with changes the provincial crop insurance program.

Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced the details of the 2018 program last week.

Crop insurance coverage levels average $216 per acre in 2018 compared to $217 per acre in 2017. The slightly lower coverage is a result of lower prices in 2018, but coverage levels remain high as average yields increase, a press release said.

The average premium for 2018 has gone gown by 10 cents per acre to $8.41 per acre.

“Risk management is more important than ever for Saskatchewan producers,’ Stewart said. “The Crop Insurance Program is more responsive than ever and will be extremely valuable this year as we come off of one of the driest years in the province’s history.”

According to the media release, a number of enhancements have been made for 2018. Fire insurance for pastureland, more crops eligible for the Contract Prince Option and increased compensation rates for cattle lost for predators were all part of last week’s announcement.

“We re pleased to see these changes to forage insurance, the corn program, flooded hay land and the predation rate compensation formula,” the press release quoted Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association chair Rick Toney as saying.

“Compensating producers at a rate more in line with the expected value of the animal is important in treating livestock similar to crop loss. These changes … are things we discussed with Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) and are glad to see the positive response to industry suggestions.”

SaskBarley was also pleased with the changes.

“Malting barley is a high-value crop for Saskatchewan producers, director Keith Rueve said.

“We are happy the Crop Insurance Corporation enhanced the Contract Price Option as it makes malt barley a more appealing crop choice for Saskatchewan producers.”

SARM said its members have ben advocating for fire insurance for pastureland for several years. The organization also praised the changes to compensation for livestock lost to predators. The 2018 program will change how the minimum value paid for a lost calf is calculated, using the market price in the fall to establish the minimum value.

“Compensation for lost calves due to predation will be fairer for producers,” said SARM president Ray Orb.

“The changes to the 2018 Crop Insurance Program look to be positive and will provide producers with more choice to protect their operations.”

March 31 is the deadline for produces to apply for, make changes or renew their crop insurance contract. SCIC has 21 offices province-wide who can help producers review their options and customize their coverage.

The crop insurance program is supported through the Canadian Agricultural partnership. Premiums for most programs are shared 40 per cent by producers, 36 per cent by the Government of Canada and 24 per cent by the provincial government. Administrative expenses are fully funded by governments, with a 60-40 federal-provincial split.