What insurance?

Another whine list from a farmer may not interest suburban dwellers or government, but here goes more preaching to the choir.

We are among the “lucky” ones with hay insurance; sounds good, but it comes with qualifiers. One half is fenced to accept cattle with the exclusion of a water source. A.F.S.C. won’t pay for the hay until we put cattle on it, which in turn requires fence repair, hauled water, daily maintenance and a hired truck to haul to and from. Two other quarters we were magnanimously told to cut what we could and they would deduct the hay from the insured total. That requires total input with no savings because you have the same distance to travel regardless of the yield. Then they would pay in October. Since when is it acceptable for an insurance company to tell the insured to sell parts of wrecked vehicle and they would pay the difference?

Another catch is they pay 3.8 cents a pound on a one bale per acre basis on a field that normally yields 2 ½ to 3 bales per acre. Market rate today is 7 to 10 cents per pound, a difference of 3.2 to 6.2 cents per pound. To put that in perspective, the hay insurance pays $49.40 per 1,300 lb. bale. The cost in reality is from $91 to $130 per bale, even if that is reachable. They hay is at the far corners of the province or mostly in other provinces that may add 50 to 100 percent for trucking.

To continue, we are helped along by government “programs” that let you defer taxes. If that, from my perspective, isn’t the wounded it comes awfully close. If you don’t have the money now, what makes them think we will have it later when we are struggling to buy back our stock at three times what we sold them for? Which opens the door for large restart loans. “We’re from the government and we are here to help.” I don’t think that float in the look what we are doing for you parade.

If you sell off stock, defer the taxes, what do you think happens to the money? It goes into saving what is left. When and if things turn around, you now face a higher hill of double tax payment.

If you sell out 100 per cent, that leaves years of investment in corrals, watering systems, handling systems and equipment laying dormant; the rural equivalent of blocks of reposed houses and decaying infrastructure in bankrupt cities.. In some views, this may look like I think the sky is falling, but chicken little only has to be right once. Then there is no going back, only retrospective foresight: An oxymoron I’m sure the government can put into their collective vocabulary.

Jack Nafziger

Botha, AB.

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