Distinct Insurance Coverage for Red Lentils New in 2017 (PCN Spring 2017) MAR 28 2017 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Pulse Crop News.
Lentils were a small acreage crop in Alberta until strong export demand from markets like India helped drive an increase in acres. Until recently, both red and green lentil types were insured based on a large green type, but the increase in red lentil acreage created an opportunity to give them distinct and separate coverage. Starting in 2017, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) will provide lentil growers with insurance coverage that reflects differences for each type.
Recently, the increasingly divergent trends for green and red lentils have caught the eye of various stakeholders in the pulse industry. Red lentils have driven the acreage expansion while greens have only experienced modest increases in the last few years.
Acreage allocated to lentils in the province has grown consistently over the last decade, and the estimate for the total lentil acreage in the province is now over 400,000.
Given the increased production of red lentils in a consistent pattern, AFSC will separate red and green lentils to give red lentils distinct insurance coverage and indemnification. “In reaching this decision, pulse growers helped significantly in understanding the workings of the lentil market,” said Jesse Cole, Research Analyst for Innovation and Product Development at AFSC.
Under the new practice, coverage and indemnification for red and green lentils will be calculated separately and based on the current market prices. Yield history averages for the two products will remain the same for calculation purposes in 2017, but they will begin to diverge in 2018 as yields are experienced.
“Splitting them will be a positive change for red lentil growers because of the accuracy that it will bring in pricing,“ Cole said.
Spring price endorsement (SPE) and variable price benefit calculations will also be separately made for red lentils in 2017.
But the change focusing on red lentils will not affect other small acre crops, with “other” lentils, such as French Greens and Spanish Browns, still receiving the same coverage as green lentils.
Unharvested acres pose a challenge for farmers and AFSC
Due to the excessive moisture and early snowfall in October and November last year, many farmers were unable to get their crop off the ground. By mid-February, producers had reported 967,569 acres as unharvested. As a result, AFSC has been processing an unusually high number of claims over the last few months. While the numbers are high, established claim inspection standards are strictly upheld by AFSC’s team of qualified and experienced inspectors.
And it is that commitment to a high inspection standard that explains why the claims processing is not proceeding faster. As each and every on-farm inspector employed by AFSC is trained and equipped with a special skillset that qualifies them for their position, employing temporary inspectors for a job that requires expertise and specialization is not considered by the Corporation to be a proper solution to speed up claim processing.
However, extra measures are being taken to address the extraordinarily high number of claims. Among these steps are allocating available resources to high demand areas and plans to combine inspections of wildlife damage with those of unharvested crop in the fields.
Despite the above average number of claims, as of February 24, a total of 1,531 claims, covering more than 75 per cent of eligible unharvested acreage have been processed with $27.2 million paid in benefits. “We estimate processing unharvested acreage benefits will be completed mid-March,” said Daniel Graham, Manager, Financial Analysis, Analysis Solutions at AFSC.
Contact a Branch Office if wildlife damage discovered
The number of wildlife damage claims is expected to rise as snow melts away and farmers determine the state of their crop still on the ground. Producers should apply to the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (WDCP) if they identify wildlife damage on their unharvested crops. If a producer has plans to put their crops to another use, they should contact their local AFSC Branch Office and indicate their requests for both pre-harvest and wildlife damage inspection, as those inspections can occur simultaneously.
The WDCP is in place to bring relief to farmers whose crops are affected by wildlife. There is no requirement for farmers to have an insurance policy with AFSC to be eligible for support under WDCP. Inspection requests must be submitted, and AFSC will need to inspect the damage before the crop can be harvested or put to another use. Information about the number of processed and pending claims is updated weekly on the AFSC website.
Producers who wish to apply to or receive more information about the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program are advised to contact their local AFSC Branch Office, call the AFSC Client Contact Centre at 1-877-899-2372 or visit www.afsc.ca.