The federal government and provincial government in Saskatchewan have agreed to give Saskatchewan producers who are in line for AgriStability payments in 2021 more of that money earlier.

They have reached a deal to increase the interim payment amount for producers who expect to be eligible for support through the business risk management program due to this year’s drought from 50 to 75 per cent.

“We are closely monitoring and responding to the challenges facing Saskatchewan producers due to the extreme drought conditions this growing season. That is why we are taking another step today to provide our producers with additional support,” Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit said on Wednesday. “This increase allows producers to access a larger portion of their final AgriStability benefit early. The AgriStability interim benefit can help producers with cash flow needs and provide them with additional flexibility to deal with the dry conditions.”

The interim payment is based on the estimated margin decline or loss for the year compared with a farm’s historical reference margin. The decline must be greater than 30 per cent below the reference margin to be eligible.

To apply, producers should contact their local Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation office, call the AgriStability Call Centre toll-free at 1-886-270-8450, or email [email protected] The province says SCIC is prioritizing Interim Benefit applications to finalize them as soon as possible.

“My heart goes out to those farmers and ranchers feeling the impacts of the drought.  We are working closely with provinces to get farm families the support they need as soon as possible.  By unlocking more AgriStability funds through interim payments, we can get more cash in hand for farmers who are making tough decisions in a difficult situation and I urge other provinces to request the same if needed,” noted federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau.

Bibeau has also proposed increasing the AgriStability compensation rate across the country from 70 to 80 per cent on a 60/40 federal/provincial cost-share formula. That offer, originally made in November 2020, is conditional on approval from at least two of the three Prairie provinces. Ontario and other provinces are on board, but Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have not agreed to the compensation rate change.

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