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Man. ag insurance to add overwinter bee coverage

An overwinter bee mortality insurance program will be added to Manitoba’s federal/provincial AgriInsurance program in 2011.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers rolled out the province’s planned changes in an announcement Tuesday at Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon.

Many farmers suffered crop production shortfalls and quality losses in 2010, he said, noting Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp., which delivers the program, saw one of its highest claim years in its history following heavy rains during the last growing season.

On average, across all covered commodities, MASC expects to boost monetary coverage by nearly 12 per cent in 2011, citing rising commodity prices and “probable yields.”

Details haven’t yet been released on the bee mortality insurance program, other than the province noting the program is a response to “severe” overwinter honey bee losses in recent years.

Also new for 2011, the province will continue its phase-in of compensation for wildlife damage, boosting it to 90 per cent in April, up from the current 80.

Compensation will include damage caused by livestock predators (such as cows killed by wolves), big game (such as a bear damaging honey bee colonies) and migratory waterfowl (such as geese eating crops).

A move to 100 per cent compensation is to follow in 2012-13, the province said in November.

The province in 2011 plans also to continue its forage restoration benefit as well as forage establishment insurance at $60 per acre, a 50 per cent improvement over previous levels.

The insurable period will continue to October, from the previous June deadline, the province said.

The Pasture Days Insurance Pilot Program launched in 2010 will also continue, allowing eligible livestock producers to protect against reduced grazing capacity due to drought or excess moisture.

The province said it will also continue its Young Farmer Crop Plan Credit, worth $300 for young producers enrolling in AgriInsurance for the first time.

Struthers added Tuesday that the province, federal government and livestock industry will continue working on the development of livestock insurance programming.

AgriInsurance premiums for most programs are shared 40-36-24 per cent by farmers, the federal government and the province respectively. The federal and provincial governments split the program’s administrative expenses 60-40.

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