Alberta hopes for quieter hail season
By Top Crop Manager
June 30, 2014 - Last year (2013) marked the third highest amount of hail damage to crops across Alberta in the history of the province's Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC). And the organization is hoping for a quieter hail season this summer following record levels of hail damage over the past two years.
According to Jackie Sanden, program coordinator with AFSC, the organization's branches reported 522 storm cells last year that pelted crops with hail from Fort Vermilion to the US border. "The damage was widespread. Southern Alberta and 'Hail Alley' – which stretches westward along Highway 2 from Rocky Mountain House to Calgary, and eastward through Wheatland County – were particularly hard hit."
More than $257 million was paid out on more than 6,400 hail claims across Alberta last year through AFSC's Straight Hail Insurance program and the Hail Endorsement rider that most farmers add to their crop insurance. The highest claim year was in 2012 when $445.6 million was paid on more than 8,400 claims. Alberta's top three years for record hail damage have all occurred in the last six years, says Sanden, noting 2008 marked the second highest year with $263 million in claims paid out.
As farmers brace themselves for the coming hail season, AFSC is increasing the coverage levels offered through its Straight Hail Insurance program. Coverage has increased by a minimum of $75 per dryland acre and $175 on irrigated crops, with significant increases on potatoes. AFSC has also created new coverage categories for higher-value crops like chickpeas and canola, which can now be insured for $325 per dryland acre, and $425 on irrigated crops.
For more information about hail coverage, farmers can contact their local AFSC Branch or the AFSC Call Centre at 1-877-899-AFSC (2372), or visit www.afsc.ca.