Unseeded acreage benefits available for farmers with unfit land

Wet and cool soil conditions left many fields unplanted this spring season

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[UPDATED: June 27, 2019] Farmers with unseeded acreage will have serious decisions to make by July 5, Agricorp’s unseeded acreage deadline.

Agricorp’s unseeded acreage benefit (USAB) was made for years like this, but it luckily has rarely been needed.

Why it matters: Many fields in Ontario are not yet planted. Unseeded acreage due to problematic soil conditions has farmers scurrying to arrange their crop insurance.

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On June 21, 2019 Agricorp hosted an information session for the famers of the greater Hamilton area, as the provincial crop insurance agency has done for many other parts of the province.

The meetings have been put in place to clarify confusion during this difficult time for farmers across the province, says Debbie Meneray, senior director, Program Delivery with Agricorp.

Haldimand and Niagara were two of the harder hit areas of this difficult spring, following Essex County, says Meneray.

The program is available for spring-seeded grains, oilseeds and most vegetables grown in Ontario. Compensation is offered if farmers are unable to plant in sub-optimal soil conditions by the planting deadline.

The program will pay for one third of the value of a producer’s average farm yield (AFY); it is calculated as the following:

*USAB payment = USAB benefit rate x 1/3 AFY x (unseeded acres – deductible) – ($1 x unseeded acres)

This Agricorp chart explains some examples of how unseeded acreage coverage works.
photo: Agricorp

USAB also provides farmers the opportunity for a payment if they plant a crop after the planting deadline, even though it is not insurable, and helps farmers who plant a different crop by its planting deadline by adding a new crop to the coverage and insure it if you have USAB coverage.

For a farmer to be eligible to receive a payment they must insure all grains and oilseed crops – the benefit covers full acreage and not just individual crops. As well, farmers must have previously insured or be currently insuring the crop they select as the basis for any USAB payment.

Across the province most producers with Agricorp’s crop insurance have USAB coverage, in 2018, 91 per cent of insured grains and oilseeds producers, had USAB coverage.

To sign up for USAB coverage, farmers have the option to select the crop their USAB payment will be based on – it’s in the best interest of the famer to select a crop which best fits their production and risk management needs; otherwise the crop will be assigned based on the previous year’s eligible crop with the most acres.

For 2019, the USAB crop can be changed until farmers’ report their acreage or by July 5.

To make a claim, farmers must first report their inability to plant to Agricorp – it’s important producers keep all documentation if required. Agricorp will then contact the farmers to review their claim, once the final planted acreage is reported, the claims will be paid.

The benefit the farmer receives is based on their selected or assigned crop. The claim represents one-third of the value of the farmer’s average yield – intended to represent the fixed and land maintenance costs. With tiled land the deductible is the greater of three or one per cent of unseeded acreage, with untiled land, the deductible is the greater of six or three per cent of unseeded acres, and the premium for USAB is one dollar per unseeded acre and is deducted from the payment.

Debbie Brander, manager, Product Management and Industry Relations reminds farmers across the province to remain patient with Agricorp.

“The phone lines are very busy, we appreciate your patience as we expect to receive 10,000 to 12,000 phone calls over the next few weeks,” says Meneray.

Farmers are still eligible to enroll in Agristability until July 2, a program which compensates for whole-farm large income declines due to production loss, increased costs or market conditions assessed on a whole farm basis.

*Update: The article originally stated a USAB benefit calculation at 1/2 instead of the correct figure of 1/3. The Agricorp chart was also updated.

About the author

Reporter

Jennifer lives on a farm in Cayuga, Ontario and has a lot of experience in the many aspects of agriculture.

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