Source: Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
Severe drought conditions are creating significant concerns for beef, grain and oilseed producers in the prairie provinces and parts of B.C. and Ontario.
Extreme temperatures and below average rainfall have deteriorated pasture, hay and crops, creating limited feed resources and have some beef producers struggling to maintain their herd sizes. A top priority for beef producers is to maintain the cattle herd by working with grain and oilseed farmers to convert failed crops into suitable feed while that opportunity still exists.
Crop producers are facing extremely poor crops across most of western Canada, and are grappling with decisions such as whether or not to invest in crop protection products to protect against rapidly expanding pest pressures due to the drought, or if the crop is even worth taking through to harvest. In either case, many farms will likely need to make a crop insurance claim. Additionally, through forward contracting, some growers will be challenged to fulfil their contracts, further complicating their management decisions.
“Due to the critical timeline we are facing, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) appreciates working in close collaboration with our grains and oilseed neighbours to maintain the cow herd in devastating drought-stricken areas across the country,” said Bob Lowe, CCA President.
“This summer’s severe drought is impacting growers across western Canada. The severity and realities faced on each farm are different and as such we are joining with our partner organizations to call upon all levels of government to improve the flexibility and responsiveness of programs in the short term, said Mike Ammeter, Chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA). “We want to make sure that growers have options so they can make the best decision for their farms and if possible and appropriate, to also help their rancher neighbours.”
“Farmers and ranchers alike are facing tremendous challenges due to drought conditions. Canada’s grain growers are supportive of temporary and focused solutions to help ensure the sustainability of the ranching community,” said Andre Harpe, chair of the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC). “Many farmers are facing difficult decisions regarding their crops due to contract obligations, and may not be able to divert crops to feed, however, many others may be willing, and incentives are the best way to encourage adoption.”
In order to support the current and long-term viability of beef, grain and oilseed producers facing severe drought conditions, CCGA, CCA and GGC are requesting temporary but immediate actions be taken on crop insurance program communications and design.
Ensure Crop Insurance Corporations have enhanced communications and processes on drought related measures:
– Expedite approvals for insured crops to be designated for livestock feed or grazing purposes.
– Ensure crop insurance office staff and adjusters can assist with producer requests or questions in a timely manner through proper resourcing and internal modifications to operations to increase flexibility during this time of urgency.
Provide incentives or preferential treatment under crop insurance to allow insured crops to be grazed or converted to feed without penalty
– Increase Low Yield Appraisal thresholds values for farmers who salvage crops for livestock feed without impacting future individual coverage. This has been announced in Saskatchewan and should be widely implemented across drought-stricken provinces.
– Exclude or lower the weighted average of current year crop yields from a producer’s long-term individual yield or individual production index calculation if their crop is used for livestock feed or grazing.
– Provide a premium rebate or discount on next year’s crop insurance premiums for producers who designate crops for livestock feed