(2 March 2011)
Crop Insurance Improvements
Last year, many farmers watched helplessly as their fields were flooded by unprecedented amounts of rain. Although the experts say it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, our government is taking action to provide producers with further protection against excess moisture.
While farmers and ranchers were ignored by the previous government, we are taking steps to improve programs and address the needs of producers. The 2011 Crop Insurance Program includes record provincial funding and coverage levels, an enhanced Unseeded Acreage Benefit and other program improvements. Coverage levels are increasing by $42 per acre to $173 per acre – the highest average Crop Insurance coverage ever offered. The 2011 Provincial Crop Insurance budget is a record high $161 million. This year, the Unseeded Acreage Benefit will increase from $50 to $70 per eligible acre for producers affected by excess moisture. The 2011 Crop Insurance Program also includes improved features for young producers, increased establishment benefit values for large green lentils, canola and identity-preserved canola, an enhanced forage insurance program and an expanded number of crops eligible for the Crop Averaging Program.
The deadline for customers to apply for, make changes to or cancel their Crop Insurance contract is March 31, 2011. Detailed program and contract information is also available at any Crop Insurance office, or by calling 1-888-935-0000.
There has been a huge response to our government’s recently announced $22 million Emergency Flood Damage Program. So far, claims have been approved for seventy urban communities, seven rural municipalities and 25 individual farmsteads, with more claims being approved daily.
Record moisture levels last year and this winter are putting extra stress and pressure on homeowners, businesses and communities as they look ahead to spring when all of this snow is going to start melting and potentially create flooding issues. Engineering consultants are visiting communities as they figure out ways to alleviate potential flooding and come up with a plan to protect local homes and businesses. Some of those plans include constructing berms and diversions, clearing snow and ice from channels and culverts and sand bagging. Specific details about the Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program are available at Saskatchewan Watershed Authority regional offices, and on the Authority's website.
Support for Rural Road Enhancements
As our economy and population grows, so too does the traffic on our highways. There are also more and heavier vehicles on rural roads, which is why our government recently announced a $23.5 million investment in rural municipal roads. This investment will make those roads safer and support increased traffic due to economic growth. The funding will develop truck routes that connect to the provincial highway system and will also be used to repair and replace bridges and culverts. The construction season in Saskatchewan is short and by announcing this funding while the snow is still on the ground, RMs can get a head start on planning and pre-construction work.
Balanced Budgets to Continue
During the spring session, our government will continue to take action to move Saskatchewan forward. We will announce our fourth consecutive balanced budget, reflecting the strong state of the provincial economy. Our government is also committed to further reducing the province’s debt and the education portion of property taxes. We will also keep our promise to municipalities to increase revenue-sharing to the equivalent of a full percentage point of the PST which will allow municipalities to allocate additional resources to the important services they provide. During the session, I will be spending more time in Regina, but my constituency office staff are available to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Ken.
Past Legislative Reports