by SUSAN MANN
Grains and oilseeds farmers have a choice of coverage levels for the business risk management program this year but they have to pay a premium.
Those are just some of the changes introduced for this year’s program. Launched last year by Ontario’s government, the program helps the province’s farmers offset losses caused by low commodity prices and rising production costs. Payments are made if a crop’s market price falls below the annual support level, it says on program administrator Agricorp’s website. The support level is based on the cost of production that’s calculated annually by the provincial agriculture ministry.
Other changes being implemented this year include a change in the program deadline (it’s Aug. 8 for the grains and oilseeds plan) and requirements that farmers must participate in AgriStability and production insurance and have a premises identification number.
Agricorp announced the changes recently on its website along with the premium rates, support levels and other program details.
Agricorp spokesperson Stephanie Charest says 85 per cent of farmers enrolled in the 2011 grains and oilseeds risk management program already participate in AgriStability and production insurance. “That participation rate is quite high.”
Farmers can call Agricorp to enroll in those programs if they’re not already signed up and staff can help them over the phone, she says. The deadline for enrolling in AgriStability is April 30, while for production insurance it’s May 1.
Agricorp is currently contacting farmers not signed up for any of the programs by mail or phone to give them an opportunity to participate. In addition, last week it sent out renewal packages to grains and oilseeds farmers who were enrolled last year.
Charest says Agricorp won’t know how many grains and oilseeds farmers already have their premises identification until they know who enrolls in the business risk management program this year. But farmers should act now rather than wait until the last minute to get it.
Agricorp staff can tell farmers how to obtain the identification, Charest says, noting it’s really easy. The Agricorp website is: www.agricorp.com. BF