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Province announces locked-in funds with MASC trusts

The province says the new trusts will keep funds cycling back to the farm

AgriInsurance and hail insurance funds will be handled a little differently in the future, and the provincial government says that will keep those funds going back to farmers.

The province announced two new trusts Sept. 21 to feed into the two insurance streams. The trust for AgriInsurance will include provincial, federal and paid-in funds from farmers, while a separate hail insurance trust will stream only funds paid by farmer premiums.

“What that means is that when a claim comes in, government doesn’t have to go and try and find the money,” Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler said. “This money, basically what it’s doing is taking it and putting it into a vault.”

All three parties pay into AgriInsurance under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, while hail programs are funded fully by producers.

MASC will remain in control of the trusts and no programming will change as a result of the changed funding stream, Eichler said.

The province says the move will ensure that funds funnelled into the trust will be dedicated back to the insured producers and that it, “protects these funds from use by future governments,” the Sept. 21 release read.

“MASC is committed to supporting Manitoba’s financial reporting initiative,” MASC chair Jim Wilson said in a release. “I also want to assure agricultural producers that their contributions to the trusts will be available to pay indemnities when protection is needed in years of adversity and challenging weather conditions.”

The province tied the move to financial transparency efforts and accountability in financial reporting mentioned in the 2018 budget.

“We don’t have to find the money,” Eichler said. “They know the money’s already there, because it’s put in a trust for (MASC) to be able to funnel out… whether it’s flood, hail, heavy rain loss, all of those things that come up for our producers, that money is now locked in forever.”

The province has released a letter to MASC stakeholders and Eichler says there will an in-person meeting on the changes in the near future.

About the author

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Alexis Stockford

Alexis Stockford is a journalist and photographer with the Manitoba Co-operator. She previously reported with the Morden Times and was news editor of  campus newspaper, The Omega, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. She grew up on a mixed farm near Miami, Man.

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