The Grain Growers of Canada has written to federal and provincial agriculture ministers asking that they immediately begin planning for what will likely be widespread claims across the Prairies. “With the cold spring, delayed planting and drought across much of the cropping area of Western Canada, we have a large disaster in the making,” says Doug Robertson, president of the Grain Growers of Canada. This is an umbrella group encompassing organizations such as the Alberta Barley Commission, the Canadian Canola Growers Association, the Western Barley Growers and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers. Robertson says we are at the point where there is little hope of a normal crop and governments should begin work now in anticipation of the problems. The analysis is correct. Crop prospects are not good. What governments can do about it is less clear. Crop Insurance programs are the first line of defence, and they usually do a good job of handling claims. As for AgriStability, it reacts well after an income shortfall. AgriInvest is too new to be of much help. AgriRecovery allows for special federal/provincial responses, but no one seems to have a suggestion for how that could help at this point. So yes, there’s a big problem looming, but there’s not much that producers or governments can do about it right now. I’m Kevin Hursh.
Kevin Hursh, PAg, CAC