By Justin Seward
Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture Devin Dreeshen announced on Jan. 25 that provincial farmers would be seeing a savings in their crop insurance premiums this year.
“I am proud to announce that Alberta farmers will receive a 20 per cent reduction in crop insurance premiums this year,” said Dreeshen.
“This reduction from Alberta’s government and Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) will save farmers more than $55 million on their crop insurance premiums in 2021 and increase the competitiveness of Alberta farmers internationally. It will directly support job creators and boost our rural economy at a time when it’s needed most.”
Nichole Neubauer of Neubauer Farms in Cypress County said rates have been steadily on the rise and cuts into their bottom lines.
“So hearing that there would be a 20 per cent drop in crop insurance premiums is huge for producers,” she said.
“A lot of us probably already have our cropping strategies in place and our budget set, planning for what we can normally expect for premiums. So what it really does is it frees up some cash to allocate elsewhere and that’s good for the economy.”
Many farmers that Neubauer know does not go without crop insurance.
“Crop insurance is basically vital,” she said.
“Every farmer that I know of, certainly has to purchase crop insurance. I think the amount is between 72 and 75 per cent of farmers in Alberta purchase crop insurance obviously for various reasons. Mother Nature can interfere with weather conditions that don’t guarantee a crop and because of the cost of all the inputs—whether it’s seed, fertilizer, fuel (and) crop protection—we have to have means in a situation where we have crop failure, we have to have means of covering expenses.”
Neubauer was uncertain has to how much savings Neubauer Farms will see until the business finalizes their cropping plans in June.
Farmers will safe $8,000 this year if they have 2,000 insured acres.
The savings will help in countering the looming 500 per cent increase in federal carbon tax, the misguided Clean Fuel Standard and an impending punitive fertilizer limit regulation, which are all imposed by the federal government.
“I think certainly some of that is concerning—certainly the fertilizer one— I need to do a lot more research about,” said Neubauer.
“ It’s great that they’re collecting that as the off-setting benefit for it—getting ahead of some of those uncontrolled expenses—because farmers are price takers, not price setters. Every time there is a new cost imposed, we’re not like other typical businesses where we can then increase the price of our product when we sell it to offset increased operating cost. All those projected expenses will come right out of a farmer’s pocket.”
Neubauer added, “It’s certainly a step in the right direction.”