Parched Sask. loosens crop insurance rules

Saskatchewan Crop Insurance has extended its seeding deadline for greenfeed crops to mid-July and loosened several other regulations to deal with drought in the province’s west.

The Melville-based Crown corporation said Wednesday it would extend the deadline to July 15 from June 30 for seeding annual cereal crops grown for greenfeed, including wheat, barley, oats, triticale, fall and spring rye.

As well, the province said in a release, producers who have crop insurance can now seed and insure any cereal greenfeed crop.

In areas of northwestern and west-central Saskatchewan “severely affected” by drought, an “increased number” of producers will have their claims processed without field inspection, so they can receive their payments faster, the province said.

“If necessary, Saskatchewan Crop Insurance will move adjusters to areas where additional resources are required,” the province noted.

Also, the province said, Crop Insurance customers may graze their forage or annual crops or cut their annual crops for feed. A claim payment would be issued based on an adjuster appraising the yield of the selected acres.

In those cases, however, the province said customers need to contact Crop Insurance before grazing or cutting crops.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud said in the province’s release that he will tour northwest and west-central areas this week to get a “first-hand look at the dry conditions producers are facing in that region.”

Although the western regions have seen some rainfall recently, Bjornerud, who farms in the province’s southeast, said he wants to meet with farmers to seek their input on what further action may be necessary.

“We’re always willing to work with farmers to change programs and make sure they hit the farm gate,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, a western Saskatchewan MP, said in the province’s release. “These crop insurance changes will allow Saskatchewan farmers to make the right business decisions for their farms.”

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