Farmers made fewer claims for unseeded fields in 2013

1.5 million acres | Sask. crown corp. has received 6,000 claims this year

Saskatchewan farmers planted more acres in 2013, following several wet years that caused record unseeded acreage claims to the provincial insurer.

Shawn Jaques, president of Sask-atchewan Crop Insurance Corp., said as of Aug. 27 the corporation had paid about $67 million on 6,000 claims representing 1.5 million acres that couldn’t be seeded due to excess moisture.

Most of those are in the southeast and the Saskatoon and Prince Alberta areas.

In 2012, there were nearly 10,000 claims worth $99.4 million and representing about two million acres.

Jaques said the number of claims and payouts only tell part of the story.

“The big thing is the acres,” he said. “In 2010 we had a high of 6.8 million acres.”

However, the record payout year was 2011 at $332 million.

This year, some farmers complained they were being denied unseeded acreage claims and threatened a lawsuit.

Jaques and other top crop insurance officials met with the executive of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan to discuss those concerns. He said the meeting went well.

“There’s always going to be some producers that may not agree with how the claims are completed,” he said. “We are very flexible. We work with producers.”

A complaint can lead to a second adjustment by a different inspector and Jaques said that has occurred in some cases this year.

“In those rare occasions where maybe even that second inspection, where they don’t agree, we do have an appeal mechanism for producers where they can have their claim heard by an appeal panel, which is independent from crop insurance,” he said.

He is not aware of any at that point so far.

He stands by the corporation’s policy that it doesn’t cover permanent sloughs and that’s what some farmers may now be dealing with after the wet years.

“As it dries up, producers will probably be able to reclaim that land and start producing crops again. But if it’s going to be under water for a number of years the program isn’t designed to accommodate that.”

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