NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter is criticizing the Sask Party government for the big increase in Crop Insurance premiums. Link is either trying to score cheap political points or he’s not very well informed on how Crop Insurance works. On the surface, a 21 per cent increase in premiums for this year sounds large, but in this case the premium increase is a good thing. Premiums are higher because grain prices are higher and the coverage per acre is up. Lingenfelter talks about rising fuel and fertilizer costs and last year’s flooding and wonders how producers will afford the increased cost. Maybe this is the game Opposition MLAs are supposed to play, but as a producer, I’m happy to have improved Crop Insurance coverage. If I actually want lower coverage and lower premiums, I can select the Low Price Option under Crop Insurance, which is set at 85 per cent of the Base Price. By the way, Crop Insurance claims in Saskatchewan for last year total about $442 million. This is the first time since 2004 that claims are greater than producer and government premiums. Half of the $442 million in claims was for Unseeded Acreage. On top of that, another $252 million was paid outside of Crop Insurance through the Excess Moisture Program.
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