Fruit and vegetable growers face a triple threat each year: challenging weather, high costs, and fluctuating markets in Canada and abroad. These growers also deal with other threats as well, such as insects, disease and wildlife damage, which leads to a key question for all growers: What is the best way to protect my farm business?
For Ontario fruit and vegetable growers, Agricorp delivers a number of affordable government programs and plans that can help protect their businesses. These include
Production Insurance and
SDRM: Edible Horticulture.
"In tough times, these programs can help protect farm businesses," said Agricorp Senior Industry Specialist Rebecca Metzger. "That's why so many fruit and vegetable growers take advantage of these programs every year."
In the last five years, fruit and vegetable farmers received $300 million in payments from these programs.
"With these programs, producers can be proactive with their risk management while reducing their need for ad hoc solutions," said Metzger. "This gives them dependable coverage and peace of mind."
How programs respond
An early frost, too much or not enough rain, hail, and even windstorms can wreak havoc on crops and threaten a farm's bottom line.
In 2012, a spring frost devastated Ontario fruit farms, leading to the highest claims in the history of the Production Insurance plans for fruit. Affected apple producers received $27 million, which was crucial in offsetting their losses that year.
As the industry changes, so do programs. Recent improvements to Production Insurance plans include added coverage for trees and vines. In addition, apple, tender fruit and grape growers may now qualify for insurance coverage on their trees and vines in their first year of insurance.
Rising costs can mean the difference between a profitable year and a challenging one.
Greenhouse growers, for example, are especially affected by energy costs. From 2013 to 2016, producers received more than $30 million in AgriStability payments to compensate for declines in income.
Other growing expenses, such as equipment and labour costs, can also increase the risk that producers face.
The self-directed risk management (SDRM) plan for edible horticulture can help with general farm losses and expenses by allowing producers to access government contributions.
Fluctuating market prices and/or the changing availability of markets for fruits or vegetables can put farm businesses at risk. The fluctuating value of the Canadian dollar and unpredictable world markets can also pose challenges.
Programs can help producers who are struggling due to market conditions. When the Kraft Heinz Company stopped production in Leamington in 2013, AgriStability was a vital lifeline for many Ontario tomato growers who experienced losses because of the closure.
For more information about Agricorp programs and how to participate, farmers can call Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999 or visit the