GUELPH — The last two years could not have been more different in Ontario, weather-wise. From a drought to perpetual flooding, farmers had plenty of reasons to pull their hair out. But both years saw a spike in insurance claims with Agricorp, an Ontario government agency that offers production insurance for a variety of commodities.
Eastern Ontario claimed $26 million from crop insurance for reseeded, unseeded, and damaged acreage, according to Agricorp stats. In total, $86 million was given out to farms across the province.
That’s right on par with 2016’s claims. Insurance claims made by Eastern Ontario farmers in 2016 and 2017 were more than double Agricorp’s five-year average of $12 million for Eastern Ontario.
Prescott-Russell was by far the hardest hit county in Eastern Ontario, and received $6.5 million from Agricorp in 2017. Prescott-Russell historically is one of the higher claimants in Eastern Ontario, with a five-year average of $3.2 million. In 2016, however, the county got a break, only claiming $1 million for lost, damaged, or unplanted crops.
Counties on the west and east ends of Eastern Ontario were hit the hardest. In the east, Prescott-Russell, Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry and Ottawa all exceeded $2 million in claims. In the west, three counties or regions each broke $2 million, including Prince Edward, Northumberland, and Durham Region.
Renfrew was the only Eastern Ontario county to see its 2017 insurance claims lower than its 2011-2015 average.
Agricorp bases its crop prices on Chatham and Hensall track prices. Agricorp communications manager Stephanie Charest said “These price sources are used because they represent the largest production and distribution areas in the province.
“Because premium costs are based partially on forecasted prices, it’s important that price sources are consistent. Offering different claim prices for different regions would result in different premium rates,” said Charest. Insurance costs are split 60-40, with the government paying 60 per cent and individual producers covering the 40 per cent.