Representatives from Alberta’s crop commissions held a conference call with Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier and senior officials with Alberta’s Agricultural Financial Services Corporation on Wednesday to discuss the need for intervention to help producers with the one million acres of 2016 crop still in the field.
“Team Alberta” — the provincial canola, wheat, barley and pulse commissions — is asking AFSC to allow producers to dispose of crop as they see fit without it affecting their crop insurance coverage, as seeding is already delayed due to recent snow.
“We must move away from field to field assessment and begin geographic write-offs in order to begin working on this year’s crop,” said Jason Lenz, chair of Alberta Barley, in a news release following the meeting. “There’s simply too much ground to cover and not enough time.”
The commissions say AFSC and government officials confirmed on the call that they have “streamlined their internal processes to allow crop inspectors to make quicker decisions, such as making determinations on quality downgrades caused by mice excreta.”
“Balancing the need to expedite crop insurance claims with protecting producers’ hard-earned premium payments is important to me. That’s why I’ve asked the AFSC to streamline inspection procedures to assist insured producers in completing planned harvests. I’ve also asked that the agency be prepared to move quickly if conditions don’t improve,” said Minister Carlier in a statement after the meeting.
Carlier also said he’s asked AFSC to provide him with “a fulsome assessment of the current situation and with a plan to expedite crop insurance assessments.”
Producers are working with a six week timeline for waiting for snow to melt and land to dry out, to harvest last year’s crop (which could include waiting for one of AFSC’s 130 inspectors), prepare fields for seeding, and then plant the entire 2017 crop, note the commissions.
“It’s unrealistic that farmers will be able to have any success in 2017 unless the government and AFSC allow for special provisions during this serious situation,” said Greg Sears, chair of Alberta Canola Producers Commission.
Team Alberta says provincial officials and AFSC have committed to ongoing meetings as spring unfolds.
Listen to ACPC chair Greg Sears discuss the conference call and the unharvested crop situation on RealAg Radio: