In a move that surprised no one, the provincial government formally announced Manitoba will take part in the newly created Western Livestock Price Insurance Program last week.
The province’s intention to create a livestock insurance program for hog and beef producers was outlined in last November’s speech from the throne, and representatives from Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives have been discussing the plan’s details at producer events over the past two months.
Still, the formal announcement is a welcome confirmation for those in the beef industry.
“Most (producers) are very happy that there is going to be an insurance program, right now cattle prices are strong, but if something crazy happens down the road, hopefully they’ll have themselves covered with the insurance,” said Heinz Reimer, president of Manitoba Beef Producers. “Once the federal announcement was made that the program was a western thing, we were pretty positive that it was going to come across here… but it’s good to hear it.”
The insurance program was first announced in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia in mid-January, Manitoba had to wait for two byelections to wrap up before making its own announcement.
Program details are expected next month.
From the Alberta Farmer Express website: Livestock price insurance pilot to cover West
“This is new territory for the Manitoba livestock sector… it’s something producers have been asking for from the province for a number of years,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn.
The program isn’t a permanent one, at least not yet. For the next four years it will run as a pilot project, then be assessed for effectiveness.
Beef producers first sought a price insurance program following the BSE crisis in 2003.
“I hope we’re going to get a good uptake,” said Reimer, adding current prices may deter some producers from signing up at first.
“But once they realize what all is involved and once we hear more exactly what the program is, we’ll have a fairly good uptake of it,” he said.
The Western Livestock Price Insurance Program is based on an existing livestock insurance program in Alberta and that province’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation will be the central administrative centre for the program, according to Agriculture Canada. However, Kostyshyn said producers in Manitoba will be able to access information on the program through the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation.
Products will include insurance for both pork and beef producers, encompassing fed cattle, feeder cattle and cow-calf operations.
Policies will provide an insurable floor price on cattle, allowing producers to manage risk and reduce price volatility.