As the snow melts, many Alberta farmers from Red Deer to Grimshaw are faced with a challenge of getting the crops off their land that couldn’t be harvested due early snow last fall.
Unharvested acres is the most serious issue facing farmers in more than a decade with about 960,000 insured acres reported as unharvested last season. That compares with an annual average of 23,000 acres for the previous three years, according data from the Agriculture Financial Corporation Services (AFSC).
Hard-hit producers are eligible to receive both indemnities and financial support with easy terms under provincial and federal programs that could come in handy as the seeding approaches.
One of the those programs, the wildlife damage compensation program administered by AFSC, provides cash for snowed under crops if they are damaged by wildlife. There is no need for insurance to derive a benefit from the program, producers simply pay the assessment fee for an AFSC inspection to determine how much they would be entitled to.
AFSC-insured crops can also be eligible, with an inspection done for both wildlife damage and a pre-harvest assessment recommended if producers plan to not combine it and use the crop in some other fashion.
“Pre-harvest inspections are a requirement to establish the potential production of the crop at the time of the assessment to calculate the indemnity a producer can receive for insurance purchased,” said Daniel Graham, AFSC manager of financial analysis.
“It will help a great deal to speed up inspections if producers know the location and the extent of the damage on their crops,” he added.
Graham stated more than 1,900 unharvested acre claims have been assessed so far.
With the potential of late seeding as a result of the unharvested 2016 crop and the time it will take for the ground to dry enough to get it ready for a new crop, AFSC also has a program available that might benefit many farmers.
The Unseeded Acreage Benefit, which is part of a farmers annual insurance with AFSC, allows those with eligible 2017 acres not seeded by June 20 due to excess moisture to make a claim. Producers simply need to have declared their crop coverage selection option and the number of acres to be seeded.
Also, farmers who make be experiencing some cash flow problems as a result of unharvested acres can take advantage of some credit options available.
For more information and to apply, visit www.afsc.ca.