Province assessing Peace region crop losses, insurance claims

Production insurance estimators are working with Peace region farmers whose crops are snowed under until spring, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham says.

In a statement Friday, Popham called 2019 a challenging year for local farmers and rachers with only a few producers able to completely harvest their crops. Production insurance staff are working with producers who weren't as lucky, Popham said.

article continues below

"Together with each impacted farmer our staff are developing yield and grade estimates to determine if Production Insurance claims are necessary," Popham said.

"Where yields are expected to fall below the coverage a farmer purchased, interim payments are being advanced. Claims will be finalized in the spring. However, when harvests are completed in the spring the risk of not getting next year’s crop seeded goes up. Production Insurance also provides coverage against those losses."

More than 80% of the grain and oilseed acres in the Peace region are insured, Popham said.

Cashflow, however, is the "most pressing issue" facing grain and oilseed producers, Popham said, noting the federal Advance Payments and AgriInvest programs offer advance payments or matching contributions of farm sales to help producers.

Poor harvest conditions and lower canola prices are likely to result in some payments through the AgriStability program, Popham said, adding farmers and ranchers can request interim payments under that program now.

"Farmers and ranchers are a critical part of the local economy in the Peace Region," Popham said.

"The hardworking business people who own and operate these farms and ranches exemplify the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that has built our province, and we are here to support you."

Read Popham's full statement below:

"2019 has been a challenging year for farmers and ranchers in the Peace Region… but I want those who have been impacted to know that our government is listening, and that we are here to assist you through this tough time. In the post below I’m going to go through the work our Ministry has been doing on the ground to help, as well as Government programs that you can access for assistance.

"Ministry of Agriculture staff have been closely monitoring the difficulties with this year’s harvest for farmers and ranchers – which has been created by above average rains and the early onset of winter - and providing me and my executive team in Victoria with regular updates.

"Farmers and ranchers are a critical part of the local economy in the Peace Region. The hardworking business people who own and operate these farms and ranches exemplify the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that has built our province, and we are here to support you. The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with our federal counterparts, provides a suite of Business Risk Management programs to help producers manage the impacts of these events. Our Ministry has local offices in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John with knowledgeable staff to help farmers access and benefit from our programs. If you’re experiencing challenges, I’d encourage you to contact the Fort St. John Office at 250 787 3240, or the Dawson Creek Office can be reached at 250 784 2236. Additionally, you can also contact AgriService BC at 1 888 221-7141 or by emailing AgriServiceBC@gov.bc.ca and the helpful staff will be able to assist with your inquiry.

"Unfortunately, only a few producers were able to completely harvest crops before the snow came this year, leaving most farmers to complete their harvest this coming spring. Production Insurance personnel are working directly with farmers whose crops are now snowed under. Together with each impacted farmer our staff are developing yield and grade estimates to determine if Production Insurance claims are necessary. Where yields are expected to fall below the coverage a farmer purchased, interim payments are being advanced. Claims will be finalized in the spring. However, when harvests are completed in the spring the risk of not getting next year’s crop seeded goes up. Production Insurance also provides coverage against those losses. Over 80% of the grain and oilseed acres in the Peace region are insured.

"Additionally, the most pressing issue for many grain and oilseed producers is cashflow. The Federal Government does provide the Advance Payments Program which allows farmers and ranchers to borrow up to $1 million to help manage cashflow. Also available to help with cashflow is the AgriInvest program where governments make a matching contribution of up to 1% of annual net farm sales into individual farmer accounts. Farmers are free to use this money as they see fit and many choose to build account balances over several years to help manage through difficult years like this one.

"For producers most severely impacted, the AgriStability program protects farms from large drops in their financial margin. Coverage is based on the individual financial history of each farm. Generally, AgriStability triggers payments for grain and oilseed producers when there has been around a 15% to 20% decline in revenue - but that can vary based on an individual farm’s history. The poor harvest conditions and lower canola prices are likely to result in some payments. Farmers and ranchers can request interim payments under AgriStability now.

"The downward fluctuations experienced in cattle prices this fall were largely covered by the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program. Many ranchers who purchased policies which settled this fall have received payments depending on the level of coverage they purchased.

"2019 will go down as a tough year for many famers and ranchers in our Peace region. I understand the stress and uncertainty many are facing now, and will continue to deal with over the winter. Again, please know that Ministry staff are there to help, and that I continue to follow this situation closely. And in addition to the local Ministry offices you can contact me – as always – by emailing AGR.Minister@gov.bc.ca to share your story."

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Alaska Highway News welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus
Lowest Gas Prices in Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Fort St John, Tumbler Ridge
British Columbia Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.