It’s an announcement many in the agriculture sector in Saskatchewan have been hoping to hear in what has been a stressful year for farmers and ranchers.
On Wednesday, both the Canadian and Saskatchewan governments announced that the 2021 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage will go up from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for producers in the province.
The interim benefit provides producers enrolled in the AgriStability program with access to a portion of their benefit early, which will help support losses and cover costs.
The increase means Saskatchewan producers can apply for an interim benefit to receive 75 per cent of their estimated final 2021 benefit, before completing their program year.
“My heart goes out to those farmers and ranchers feeling the impacts of the drought. We are working closely with provinces to get farm families the support they need as soon as possible. By unlocking more AgriStability funds through interim payments, we can get more cash in hand for farmers who are making tough decisions in a difficult situation and I urge other provinces to request the same if needed,” said Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau in a statement on Wednesday.
The government notes that the interim benefit is calculated based on the estimated margin decline or loss for the year compared to the farming operation’s reference margin. Ranchers and farmers must report a decline of at least 30 per cent below the reference margin in order to receive a payment.
If a producer receives an interim benefit payment, they must still file all final program year forms and meet program requirements by the assigned deadlines.
“We are closely monitoring and responding to the challenges facing Saskatchewan producers due to the extreme drought conditions this growing season. That is why we are taking another step today to provide our producers with additional support,” Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit stated.
“This increase allows producers to access a larger portion of their final AgriStability benefit early. The AgriStability interim benefit can help producers with cash flow needs and provide them with additional flexibility to deal with the dry conditions.”
Producers can apply for the interim benefit by contacting their local Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) office, calling the AgriStability call centre toll-free at 1-886-270-8450 or by email.
AgriStability is a business risk management program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which protects Canadian producers against large declines in farming income for reasons such as production loss, increased costs and market conditions.
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