Recent History – 1999
Sept. 24, 1999
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The Whole Farm Insurance Program (WFIP) has been extended for another year, Agriculture and Food minister Corky Evans announced Thursday, with committed $6.8 million to the endeavour.
That means the B.C. government will now be able to enter into an agreement with the federal government to secure federal funding under the Agricultural Income Disaster Assistance (AIDA) program.
As well, Evans said the government is also raising the annual premium budget for crop insurance by up to $500,000 to support increased participation in all crop insurance plans and to keep the basic cost to farmers low.
“Farmers in B.C. now have even more protection against drastic drops in farm income and crop loss for 1999,” Evans said.
B.C. Agriculture Safety Net Committee member Marcus Jansen welcomed the announcement.
“I think that whole farm is a very significant piece of the puzzle in terms of safety nets generally,” he said. “I think it does a lot of things right in terms of protecting our very good farmers from a weather-related or market-driven price collapse.”
With crops to be harvested, Jim Smolik, who represents the grain sector on the B.C. Agriculture Safety Net Committee, could not be reached for comment.
Evans, meanwhile, said he hopes to make the program permanent.
“It is my desire that we number one fix it so that it has universal acceptance by the folks it was invented to serve and then number two make the argument to government that it be permanent,” he said.
WFIP was created two years ago, while AIDA, which Evans said is modeled on WFIP, began last year to help farmers deal with price-related trouble. Crop insurance, meanwhile, is meant to deal with weather-related losses. Sixty per cent comes of the funding comes from AIDA and 40 per cent from WFIP and between the two, a farmer can receive up to $145,000 for unexpected farm income losses this year.
The amount of compensation is based to 70 per cent of the farmer’s annual income over the previous three years.
“The net result, I hope, of these changes will be that farmers will have the capacity to hedge against risk, to plan their businesses for another year,” Evans said.
This year, more than 1,000 B.C. farmers will receive a total of more than $16.2 million to cover income losses in the 1998 tax year. To date, 415 claims have been processed, resulting in payment of almost $8.5 million to farmers around the province. About 125 grain growers will get $1.85 million.