Alberta’s AFSC to refund hail premiums on drowned crops

Agency taking applications until Sept. 11

File photo of stormy conditions over Alberta fields. (Larry Stickney/iStock/Getty Images)

Grain growers in Alberta’s Peace, northeastern and northwestern farming regions whose waterlogged crops are deemed “non-viable” can now file for full refunds on AFSC hail insurance premiums.

AFSC, the province’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, announced Wednesday it will accept such applications from eligible growers from now until Sept. 11. Applications will be available online through AFSC Connect.

AFSC described its offer as a “one-time initiative” for farmers in those regions insured under its hail endorsement or straight hail insurance, “who have drowned-out crops that are no longer viable, and thus would be ineligible for a hail claim.”

Premiums will only be refunded on acres deemed as having “non-viable” crops, which AFSC defines as “those where the yield possible is considered not to be worth the cost of harvesting.”

The offer will apply only in cases where farmers who bought AFSC hail insurance have over 10 per cent flooded or non-viable acres in a given field — in which case they can then have those specific acres declared non-viable for the refund.

Furthermore, AFSC said, any non-viable acres on which it has already paid out for hail damage are not eligible for the refund.

Also, the premium cancellation will be only on hail endorsement or straight hail insurance; annual crop production insurance coverage remains in effect, AFSC said.

For each affected field, clients will need to report provide legal land descriptions, part, crop type, acres insured and non-viable acres by the deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Refunds to eligible growers will be issued in the fall, as part of AFSC’s harvested production report and post-harvest activities, the agency said.

AFSC emphasized the offer is a “special refund, in response to the excessive moisture in the northern part of Alberta.”

In its Aug. 11 crop report, the province described the northeast reporting region — which includes Smoky Lake, Vermilion, Camrose and Provost — as needing “warm drier weather along with wind” to dry fields.

The same report showed the northwest reporting region (Barrhead, Edmonton, Leduc, Drayton Valley, Athabasca) as “still struggling with excessive soil moisture, resulting in delayed crop maturity.”

In that region, the province said, some crops were 10-14 days behind normal, while “in more severe cases, crops are dying off. Yield potential is impacted by wet conditions and low quality is expected.”

Meanwhile in the Peace reporting region (Fairview, Falher, Grande Prairie, Valleyview) crops in low areas were described as “thin and in poor condition, while the rest of crops look very good.”

“We recognize the challenges many farmers in the northeast, northwest and Peace region(s) are facing as they deal with back-to-back years of excessive moisture,” AFSC interim CEO Jerry Bouma said Wednesday in a release.

“Many AFSC staff are also producers, so we understand the frustration and disappointment farmers feel when they can’t harvest the crop or conditions simply won’t allow it to grow.”

The agency “realize(s) this won’t fix the problem,” he said, “but it is something AFSC can do to help farmers impacted by these extreme moisture conditions.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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