Manitoba reviewing underused forage insurance plans

About 18 per cent of forage acres insured

The Manitoba government is taking a look at its Crown crop insurance agency’s relatively under-subscribed offerings to forage growers.

The provincial ag department said Tuesday it has launched a review “to better understand the purchasing decisions of Manitoba producers when it comes to forage insurance products” available via Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. (MASC).

Over 1,200 producers in Manitoba now have MASC forage insurance. That covers over 272,000 acres, which the province said amounts to about 18 per cent of what’s eligible. By comparison, about 90 per cent of annual crop acreage has MASC insurance.

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“Manitoba forage producers have had back-to-back challenging production years,” Agriculture Minister Blaine Pedersen said in a release Tuesday. “We also know that a relatively small proportion of forage acres are insured, compared to annual crops.

“To bridge that gap, we need to better understand their risks, challenges and how the current program does or does not meet their needs.”

MASC’s current forage programs include basic and “select” hay insurance along with a hay disaster benefit, harvest flood option, enhanced quality option, forage restoration benefit and forage establishment insurance, as well as pasture insurance and pasture days insurance.

Mike Lesiuk, a former provincial director of sector policy for the ag department, will lead the review, with recommendations to be provided to Pedersen and MASC “later this spring.”

The plan is to engage producers regarding their “perceptions about insurance products, how they currently manage risks and how the program can evolve to support growth in Manitoba’s livestock sector.” Producer groups and “other stakeholders” will also be approached.

The review is also expected to include an “environmental scan” of other programs available in Canada and related research. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

Update, Feb. 20: The province’s consultation web page is now online.

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