Manitoba cattle producers have renewed their call for a national cattle price insurance program based on a model operating in Alberta.
MCPA officials made the pitch during an April 18 meeting with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers, who responded “very favourably,” said general manager Sheila Mowat.
“They’re very aware of it,” Mowat said after the meeting. “They like the idea of an insurance program because it is more bankable.”
Alberta currently operates the Cattle Price Insurance Program, a price risk management tool for feeder cattle. Under the voluntary program, producers buy premiums to insure for cattle prices at various levels of coverage. If the insured price is above the sale price for a particular week, a payment is triggered.
The Alberta program backstops the program by guaranteeing losses in case of a market price collapse.
Mowat said MCPA is proposing a model similar to CPIP but with some differences. Prices would be based on Chicago Mercantile Exchange futures contracts with the Canadian dollar factored in as the basis.
The province has promised to raise the subject of a national cattle price insurance program at the federal-provincial agriculture ministers’ meeting this summer, said Mowat.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association also favours a national program based on the Alberta model.
Mowat said MCPA hasn’t decided if the program would be an add-on to AgriStability or if it would replace the margin-based program unpopular with many cattle producers.
But it would be important for livestock farmers to have because they lack the kind of production coverage grain farmers have through crop insurance, she said.
“We’d like to see some staples in our industry the same as for other commodity groups.”
In its meeting with the province, MCPA also requested a program to haul unused crop straw from areas near Winnipeg to other parts of Manitoba where cattle farmers could use it.
MCPA says the program, first proposed last November, would accomplish three things: less smoke in the city from fall stubble burning, fewer environmental impacts from burning fields, and help for cattle producers unable to grow enough feed.