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Peace Country farmers looking into compensation options after tough season

Farmers across the Peace Country are exploring their options following what they describe as a disastrous growing and harvesting season.

A number of them attended a meeting on Wednesday morning hosted by the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation to look at what kind of coverage could be available for their unharvested crops.

Riley Nooy grows peas, canola, and wheat in Saddle Hills County. He says this year was a battle from start to finish.

“When we started off it was really wet in the beginning so guys were late getting their crops in and then it was really dry so it was late with the crops coming up. Then with the early onset of some snow and some moisture this fall, it’s been a battle all the way through harvest as well.”

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Birch Hills County, Saddle Hills County and the County of Grande Prairie all declared agricultural disasters in November following a wet growing season and early snowfall.

According to County of Grande Prairie officials, between 40 and 60 per cent of crops remain in fields across the region. AFSC estimates that 1.6 million acres remain unharvested across the province.

Barclay Smith with AFSC says there are a couple of compensation options for farmers right now.

“If they have crop insurance, as long as they filed their harvested production report, they really don’t have to do anything else. They will be contacted if they qualify for any of the programs… If they do qualify for the unharvested advance or the supplementary advance or if they qualify for our new post-harvest advance.”

“If they are an uninsured client, the only thing really available to them that AFSC offers is the wildlife compensation program and that’s really more applicable prior to the spring harvest,” he adds.

Smith suggests that before farmers do anything if they have questions or concerns, they should call their local AFSC representative to find out what to do next as a crop adjuster may need to come out and inspect the unharvested crops.

While Nooy said he was satisfied with what he heard today, he adds it’s all just a waiting game at this point.

“The next steps would be to wait and see what these guys can roll out. If they come out with some great options, they’ll be a lot of happy farmers and if they don’t, they’ll be a lot of sad faces in the Peace Country.”

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