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Crop insurance: What’s new in 2020?

The organic sector, farmers with extended grazing and high-value crop growers can all expect more insurance options this year

Crop insurance coverage is poised for another increase in 2020, according to Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. (MASC).

AgriInsurance coverage will hit $3 billion this year, with similar premiums to 2019.

Why it matters: Better production knowledge has yields, and coverage, trending up, while the organic sector and producers with extended grazing will get more safety net this year, according to MASC.

Coverage will jump for eight crops thanks to their aggressively rising yields, according to MASC. Red spring wheat, canola, soybeans, grain corn, oats, white pea beans, hemp grain and irrigated processing potatoes have all enjoyed a rising yield curve, the corporation says.

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The information was also presented Tuesday during the usual Ag Days 2020 insurance update from provincial Agriculture Minister Blaine Pedersen.

“This new value not only reflects commodity prices, but also the ongoing agronomic and genetic advances that have resulted in upwards yield trends,” Pedersen told Ag Days attendees.

Coverage levels increased 1.7 per cent last year, then-agriculture minister Ralph Eichler (now the minister of economic development and training) said last January. The province announced a 2019 coverage level of over $2.8 billion at that time.

New programs

Pedersen also announced a line of new MASC programs coming this year.

High value crops will be able to boost coverage closer to what they would expect from their buyers, MASC says. The corporation has announced a contract price option (CPO) for canola and field peas.

“The option will allow producers to blend the price from their contracted production with the base AgriInsurance dollar value (weighted by production) to better reflect expected market prices,” a MASC factsheet read.

The corporation says the option will also apply for specialty oil canola and will include a new premium to reflect the higher dollar values.

“This will help insure that higher value crops are not underinsured and will help stabilize the availability of crops important for their processing here in Manitoba,” Pedersen said.

The organic sector will also check an item off their wish list. MASC has added fall rye to the list of insurable crops for organic insurance, making it the seventh crop to be added to the list. Last year, MASC added barley, field peas and hemp.

Novel crops will also get a guard against bad spring weather. MASC has expanded their novel crops insurance to include a reseed benefit. Insured acres can now claim 25 per cent of their per acre dollar coverage if crops don’t come up by June 20.

Farmers fighting off wildlife will also get a safety net this year. MASC has extended wildlife damage compensation to grazing forages and strawberries. Strawberries will be eligible for both plant and production loss, MASC says, while the grazing benefit will extend to bale and swath grazing, as well as any standing annuals slated for grazing, including corn.

Producers will be able to claim 45 per cent of the value lost before cattle get to that feed. MASC has cited the rising economic and environmental appeal of extended grazing for the decision.

For more on this and other stories out of Ag Days 2020, check out our Jan. 30 print edition.

About the author

Reporter

Alexis Stockford

Alexis Stockford is a journalist and photographer with the Manitoba Co-operator. She previously reported with the Morden Times and was news editor of  campus newspaper, The Omega, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. She grew up on a mixed farm near Miami, Man.

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