Nova Scotia farmers are expected to get compensation for livestock losses and crop damage caused by wildlife under a new program announced Thursday.
Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor said the program, to be cost-shared through a recently extended portion of the federal/provincial Agricultural Policy Framework, will provide assistance to farmers who experience damage to eligible products or animals due to “the activities of wildlife.”
Eligible products include plants, trees and vines grown as commercial crops, as well as farmed livestock, including dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, plus beehives and beehive contents. Poultry is excluded.
Crop producers who apply are not required to have crop insurance, the province noted. Livestock damages eligible for compensation must be caused by black bears, foxes, coyotes, ravens, crows or birds of prey. Damage caused by dogs is excluded.
Compensation rates for livestock range from $75 for goat kids to $400 for dairy cows. Crop compensation ranges from 11 cents per pound for cabbage and 80 cents per quart for strawberries to per-tonne rates of $125 for barley, $150 for corn and $240 for soybeans.
Minimum eligible crop damage is $250 or two acres. Livestock producers can claim for loss or injury of one or more animals.
The Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission will administer the program. Farmers will have to call the commission as soon as possible — no later than 72 hours — after damage has occurred.
Commission staff will have to confirm the cause or probable cause of losses or livestock deaths.
Commission chairman Avard Bentley described the wildlife program as a first in Atlantic Canada, “which will build upon the risk-management options currently available through our insurance-based programs.”