Saskatchewan crop loss relief

Saskatchewan farmers are feeling the effects of the drought. Recently the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. (SCIC) put two more crop insurance enhancements into action.

When Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud toured the drought-affected areas he found that Kindersley, Rosetown, and west of Kindersley, were badly affected. In some areas, the ground is so dry that the crop never started to grow.

Even with rain coming now, it will be too late for these crops. The SCIC announced that its fourth of five new measures will be raising the threshold for producers to be eligible for a full payment, in case of a crop loss. Different crops will have specific thresholds. For example, wheat yields below five bushels per acre, will now qualify for relief and full payout. In the past, the level was 2.49 bushels per acre.

This zero production claim allows the farmer to immediately spray the field, till it or put cattle on the crop.

The fifth enhancement from SCIC, allows farmers to till or spray out their crop to qualify for summer-fallow coverage in 2010. This crop must be taken out of production before July 15, if they want the summer-fallow classification. There was no summer-fallow coverage available prior to this change.

It is expected that many of the crop producers will want to spray the crops so that some of the nutrients in the soil can be saved. This will also help to anchor ground soil and prevent a "dirty 30's" dust.

The new SCIC enhancements come in addition to three measures recently put forward. These measures include the deadline for seeding and insuring greenfeed was extended from June 30 to July 15.

This gives an opportunity for the producers that didn't choose greenfeed coverage as an insurance by March 31. The second measure introduced allows producers with crop insurance contracts, to now add greenfeed to their selection.

The third measure permitted an increased number of producers to have their claims processed without field inspection. This sped up the time it takes to receive their payments.

Recent update
The drought conditions in western Saskatchewan could brings costs of billions of dollars to Canada's economy. The reports in August show that there is little crop or none in the Rural Municipality of Kindersley.

Grant McLean reports that the areas around Rosetown, Kinderley, Kerrobert and Unity are the hardest hit in Saskatchewan. McLean is a crop management specialist for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.

The extreme aridity is affecting the livestock farmers. The water supplies are drying up. The usual for the area is about 12 inches of precipitation and they have had about an inch and a half of rain.

The insurance answer is crop insurance but this will only cover part of the costs for the farmers and will not give them the profits they would like to see to carry them into next year.

It is important to understand how much a disaster dry conditions can be. Prairie drought is one of Canada's worst climate hazard. The effect of a drought is felt by everyone in the region. The potential of the billions of dollars of cost to the economy has far-reaching effect.