Get Insured, Urges Struthers

With another wet year looking likely, Manitoba’s agriculture minister is urging farmers and ranchers to sign up for the province’s enhanced suite of risk management programs.

“I want to take this opportunity to encourage producers to look to AgriInsurance as the first and best line of defence against such risks as excess moisture,” said Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers.

“We have one of the strongest production insurance programs in the country. As you look ahead to 2011, I want everyone to participate in insurance programs for which you are eligible. This winter, look at your farm and your insurance, and get ready.”

Struthers devoted a good portion of his minister’s address, an Ag Days tradition, to the strong possibility that the upcoming production season could be as soggy as last year, when record numbers of claims were received and over $40 million in claims paid out.

He noted that Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) payments for unseeded acres last year at $28 million – was the second highest on record. Other AgriInsurance claims for the year totalled $172 million.

Struthers added that livestock producers haven’t been left out, with 50 per cent more in production insurance available for drowned-out hayfields and for reestablishing forage crops under changes implemented in 2009.

Coverage for crop losses has been raised by 12 per cent, on average, in line with expected increases in commodity values and probable yields, he said, adding that a greater range of livestock insurance programming is being developed in partnership with the federal government and industry groups.

The forage restoration benefit and forage establishment insurance at $60 per acre will continue, as will the extended insurable period which runs until October of each year from the previous June deadline.

An overwinter bee mortality insurance program is being introduced in response to severe losses in recent years among beekeepers.

Compensation for livestock losses due to predators, big game and migratory waterfowl has been bumped up from 80 per cent to 90 per cent which will rise to 100 per cent in 2012-13.

“I can only imagine the thoughts that go through a farmer’s mind when he finds a calf out on his pasture that has been killed by coyotes,” said Struthers.

“That farmer needs to be able to count on the rest of us sometimes for some help. I want to make sure that we have the tools in place to help that farmer.”

The Pasture Days Insurance Pilot Program, launched in 2010, which allows livestock producers to protect against reduced grazing capacity due to drought or excess moisture, will be continued in the coming year.

Also, young farmers who enrol in AgriInsurance for the first time will be eligible for a credit of $300 under the Young Farmer Crop Plan Credit.

Premiums under the program are shared 40 per cent by farmers, 36 per cent by the federal government and 24 per cent by the province.

Struthers also credited the quick response to a recent outbreak of avian influenza on a local turkey farm to the province’s premises ID program.

“Within a couple of hours, we were on top of a potentially devastating situation,” he said. daniel. [email protected]

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