Manitoba activates Hay Disaster Benefit after tough harvest

The Canadian province of Manitoba has activated its Hay Disaster Benefit (HDB) for the second consecutive year because of a forage shortfall.

Hay Cut In The Field Lies In Rows And Dries. Livestock Feed Hay
Leonid Eremeychuk | Bigstock.com

Payouts will amount to CAD5 million across 1,500 claims

The Canadian province of Manitoba has activated its Hay Disaster Benefit (HDB) for the second consecutive year because of a forage shortfall.

According to a press release from the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. (MASC), the HDB is a complimentary feature of the AgriInsurance program that compensates insured forage producers for the increased cost of hay and transportation when there is a severe forage shortfall. All producers enrolled in the Select Hay Insurance and Basic Hay Insurance programs are automatically enrolled in the HDB. When the HDB is triggered, producers receive an automatic payment based on their insurance claim.

The estimated payout for 2019 is in excess of CAD5 million (US$3.8 million) on approximately 1,500 claims.

“We recognize it has been a difficult harvest for many farmers in Manitoba,” said Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in the press release. “The Hay Disaster Benefit is one of the ways our government is supporting farmers to protect their businesses against weather-related risks, such as this forage shortfall.”

The HDB was first introduced in 2014 as part of a revamped forage insurance offering. Payments were made to producers for the first time in 2018.

Multiple years of challenging weather

Multiple years of drought conditions across several provinces in Canada have been challenging for farmers and livestock producers. In August 2019, 13 rural municipalities in Manitoba issued a joint declaration of emergency after the region went more than a month without a single drop of rain.

“Last year’s production was half of the average, this year’s production was half of last year’s, so literally we’re talking about, on average, a quarter of the forage production that we normally see,” said Manitoba Beef Producers President Tom Teichroeb, who added that his group is pleased about the HDB activation.

MASC notes that March 31 is the last day to apply for Select Hay Insurance and Basic Hay Insurance, make changes or to cancel AgriInsurance. November 30 is the last day for farmers to submit their Harvested Production Report (HPR).

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