Sask. cattle producers focus on insurance

Saskatchewan cattle producers want better insurance options for their forage.

Resolutions passed at the recent Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting call for updated yield information in the forage program and more weather stations for the rainfall insurance program.

Jack Hextall, who ranches near Grenfell, Sask., said improvements must be made.

“On our place, I know two years ago we were 60 percent of normal, last year we were 50 percent of normal and with a very, very small payout,” he said of the forage program.

“I think we’ve certainly fallen behind the crop guys big time.”

The resolution calling for more weather stations drew more debate.

Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. uses a network of 131 stations for its programs. Producers choose a station, but payouts are determined on the soil zone where they live rather than the station they select.

The resolution suggested the corporation could work with private stations, satellites or producer partnerships to properly deliver the program.

Hextall again spoke to the situation, saying the gaps have to be filled in.

“My closest station is 30 miles away and on years like this it just doesn’t work,” he said.

With private weather stations as close as his fence lines, and satellite map systems that have detailed precipitation information, Hextall said the program should be better than it is.

“The technology is there and I think we really need to move on to see that people when they buy the rainfall insurance, they’re buying it because they want it to help them when they need it,” he said.

Reg Schellenberg from Beechy agreed that producers pick a station and hope for the best.

“We don’t have the option to choose a station in our home RM,” he said.

The membership discussed what the right number of stations might be with some suggesting an increase of 25 percent and others saying there should be at least twice as many.

In the end, they agreed to leave the number open and hope SCIC responds.

This year’s crop insurance program will be announced later next month.

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