Enhancements made to crop insurance program

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March 17, 2015 8:15 AM

The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) has made some enhancements to its crop insurance program this year, giving producers more flexibility in building a package suited to their operations.

They’ve recently added new levels coverage for producers under the Unseeded Acreage (USA) program, added hemp to their list of insurable crops and increased the base grade for oats.

“We’ve added new coverage levels where producers can pick $50, $70, $85 or $100 per acre for coverage under the Unseeded Acreage program,” said Darby Warner, executive director of insurance for SCIC. “So that gives producers greater choice for the coverage that they need for their land.”

This helps by giving growers in the dryer parts of the province the option of selecting lower coverage while growers in wetter places can purchase a higher amount if needed.

The second enhancement made to the program is insuring hemp farmers. As hemp is quickly becoming popular to grow in Saskatchewan, SCIC has added it as an insurable crop. In 2014, there were 40,000 acres in the province, which is up from just 18,000 the year before.

“The crop is newly emerging in the province so we worked with the industry and we have a year loss program in place for hemp,” said Warner. “Hemp was a minor crop in the province before and it was grown years ago for fibre. This time, they’re growing it for seed and we’re insuring the seed portion of it this time.”

The third thing they have changed is the base grade for oats. Previously the base grade used to be insured as a #3cw, but as the quality of product has gone up, SCIC has increased it to a #2cw.

“The producers in the province are growing oats now using more agronomic (methods) and that’s going to be reflected in the markets. So they’re selling better oats and when we reviewed the market it looked like the base grade should be increased to #2cw, so we’ve done that,” said Warner.

On top of these three enhancements, they have also made a change to how the U.S.A. premium is shown on a producer’s statement. The U.S.A. premium used to be included in the multi-peril premium so producers couldn’t see what the cost of it was. By splitting them up, they can allow producers to select what coverage they want for unseeded acreage.

“Premiums this year have gone down. The average premium across the province is $7.06 an acre now and that’s down from $7.47 a year ago. And at the same time, our coverage is increasing. So coverage has increased to $183 per acre averaged across the province and that’s up from $162 in 2014,” said Warner.

Those who want to do their business online can use the new customer portal, Crop Connect, at www.saskcropinsurance.com. If producers want to apply for, make changes to, or cancel their crop insurance this year, the deadline is March 31.

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