N.S. rolls out insurance for maple syrup producers

Nova Scotia has announced plans to become just the second province to offer an insurance program to its maple syrup producers.

Producers will be eligible for coverage beginning with the 2010-11 production season, the province said in a release Saturday, with a plan expected to help them manage risks such as disease, weather and wildlife damage.

“Extending insurance coverage to include maple production is a ‘sweet’ boost to Nova Scotia maple producers having to deal with problems like ice storms, drought, insects or fire,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in the province’s release.

The plan falls under AgriInsurance, the business risk management program backed by the Growing Forward federal-provincial ag policy funding framework.

The Nova Scotia maple industry currently includes about 36,000 acres of trees and 300,000 taps.

About 70 commercial producers make over 140,000 litres of maple syrup and post sales of about $1 million annually, mostly in syrup form but also as maple sugar, maple butter, maple jelly and maple cream.

However, Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia president Murray Johnston of New Glasgow noted, producers “have had to deal with significant weather events and other conditions in recent years that have impacted their operations and production levels.”

The Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission will manage the new plan, as it does other such insurance programs in the province.

Quebec in 2009 became the first province to roll out such a plan for its maple syrup sector, through La Financiere agricole du Quebec.

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