Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan Announce Enhancements To The 2020 Crop Insurance Program
Today, Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit announced enhancements to the 2020 Crop Insurance Program.
This year, Saskatchewan producers will continue to access high coverage while seeing a decrease in premiums. The Crop Insurance Program continues to adapt to the changing agricultural landscape in the province.
“Our hardworking farmers have faced difficult weather throughout 2019 and we are committed to help them manage these risks,” Bibeau said. “Through the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Program, we are helping give Saskatchewan farmers the tools needed to deal with unpredictable weather, so they can continue producing high quality food for the world, while supporting our communities and livelihoods.”
“We are dedicated to maintaining a strong, growing agricultural economy,” Marit said. “That is why we invest in business risk management programs to provide producers with protection against the unexpected. In these times of market uncertainty and adverse weather conditions, support through a comprehensive suite of programs is important for Saskatchewan producers.”
The success of Saskatchewan’s crop production allows the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) to keep premiums low and average coverage strong for producers. On average, Crop Insurance coverage holds steady at $224 per acre, only slightly decreasing from $230 per acre in 2019.
Premiums will see a decrease to an average of $7.40 per acre, down from $8.61 in 2019. For 2020, the insurable region for soybeans is expanding to the entire province. Coverage is based on a soybean producer’s individual insured history instead of the regional average. Their experience discount or surcharge will be applied to premiums for soybean crops. Irrigation coverage is also now available.
“We are pleased with this year’s improvements and the ongoing commitment toward Saskatchewan agriculture,” Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities Division 2 Director Norm Nordgulen said. “As we continue to see diversification throughout the industry, this year’s changes to soybean coverage, along with last year’s forage and weather-based enhancements, speaks to the relevancy of SCIC’s programs.”
“It’s very encouraging to see the enhancement to the program,” Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association Chairman Aaron Gray said. “With the interest we have seen in expanding the industry in the province and the provinces growth plan including expanding irrigation by 85,000 acres in the next 10 years, changes like this help an industry to grow to its potential in Saskatchewan. Including Soybeans in the Enhanced Irrigation Program will be of benefit to irrigators. Saskatchewan irrigators can now make their decision on crop rotation based on their operations and not be penalized. Soybeans fit very nicely in an irrigators rotation. We look forward to working with SCIC on releasing the information to our industry.”
For those customers looking to return to the Crop Insurance Program, SCIC is making an administrative change. Producers now have up to seven years to rejoin the program to continue with their previous premium discount/surcharge and yields. Working with the Saskatchewan Vegetable Growers’ Association, SCIC is enhancing the Vegetable Acreage Loss Insurance Program. Insured value of vegetable crops are updated to better reflect the production costs. To allow for a longer growing season before harvest begins, SCIC is extending the fall cut-off dates. For 2020, asparagus is added as an eligible crop.
For 2020, SCIC has a new approach to the Organic Option to ensure it remains relevant to Saskatchewan producers. Premiums and coverage are updated using information from organic customers. Previously, the Organic Option was based on a combination of conventional and organic crop experience. With this change, organic insured prices are higher and premium rates are lower. Average coverage is also lower; realigning to current organic risk. The impact of this change will depend upon each producer’s production experience. Organic customers are encouraged to contact their local SCIC office to review the impacts to their individual coverage.
“We have been working with SCIC to ensure the program meets the needs of organic producers,” SaskOrganics President Will Oddie said. “This is an important insurance program for our organic growers and it is now more relevant with SCIC using historical organic information.”
Producers faced a variety of challenges throughout the 2019 growing season. Dry conditions challenged summer growing and wet conditions, coupled with early snowfall, delayed harvest. With approximately 1.3 million insured acres left out over winter, compensation for producers is estimated to reach $350 million in claims. Crops left out over winter are covered under SCIC’s Wildlife Damage Compensation Program.
This program is available to all Saskatchewan producers; Crop Insurance participation is not required. If producers notice any wildlife damage, they should contact SCIC as soon as possible. Producers with unharvested acres must contact SCIC prior to harvest, feeding or grazing any damaged crop so it can be assessed.
Ministers asked officials to change the treatment of private insurance for the 2020 program year. Private insurance revenue will be excluded when calculating a producer’s program year margin. This increases the potential for an AgriStability benefit as private insurance revenue is not factored into the producer's allowable income. Premiums for private insurance will remain included as allowable expenses.
Minister Marit reminded livestock producers, under the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program, calf price insurance policies are now available for purchase. Producers can choose from a range of coverage options every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
While Feeder and Feed price insurance policies are available year-round, the deadline to purchase a calf price insurance policy is May 28, 2020.
SCIC encourages producers to review their business risk management plans annually. SCIC has 21 local customer service offices across the province with knowledgeable staff available to discuss the insurance options best suited for each farming operation. March 31, 2020, is the deadline to select insured crops and coverage levels or make additional changes to their Crop Insurance contract. Producers need to also apply, reinstate or cancel by this date.
For more information about the 2020 insurance options, call 1-888-935-0000 or visit www.scic.ca.
Crop Insurance is a Business Risk Management program supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Under Crop Insurance, premiums for most programs are shared 40 per cent by participating producers, 36 per cent by the Government of Canada and 24 per cent by the Government of Saskatchewan. Administrative expenses are fully funded by governments, 60 per cent by Canada and 40 per cent by Saskatchewan.