Manitoba farmers will see crop insurance premiums fall by an average of five per cent in 2009, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk said Jan. 20.
In her annual address to the opening day of Manitoba Ag Days, Wowchuk said the reduced premiums were mainly a result of lower claims by farmers in previous years. However, the dollar values for crops are generally similar to 2008 values.
Crop insurance, now referred to officially as AgriInsurance, has also been expanded for soybean growers. Now producers in virtually all but the Riding Mountain and Duck Mountain regions are able to insure soybeans with the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation.
The corporation has extended the eligibility deadline to qualify for a forage restoration claim from June 20 to Oct. 1. The dollar coverage has also increased to $60 per acre.
Wowchuk also announced the province has contributed an additional $330,000 to create two additional positions for Manitoba veterinary students at the Western Canada School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. The additional funding increases Manitoba’s space for students to 15.
Wowchuk said the move resulted from recommendations made by a task force reviewing veterinary services in rural Manitoba two years ago. She said the report and its 33 recommendations is being reviewed by the government.
Wowchuk said veterinarians are pivotal in the province’s early detection, response and containment of foreign animal diseases, not if, but when they strike.
As well, she announced Credit Union Central of Manitoba will receive provincial funding totalling $105,000 over two years to develop a curriculum that will build capacity among its membership and help new and existing co-ops grow into successful enterprises.
The new curriculum will focus on areas such as project planning, management training, board governance, business planning, equity drives, training and mentorship of boards, operation of committees, and management and staffing of co-operatives.
Wowchuk told her audience that while the province’s agriculture sector faces many challenges, there remains many untapped opportunities in value-added processing for both specialized domestic and export markets. She said co-operatives are an important, yet underutilized tool connecting farmers and the business community.
If the province’s livestock slaughter capacity were improved, for example, producers in the province would not be as vulnerable as they are now to market disruptions related to country-of-origin labelling and the export of live animals.