Programs help fruit producers protect their investments

December 11, 2019

With harvest complete, planning is underway for the growing year ahead. Ontario fruit producers can protect their investment with business risk management programs, such as Production Insurance and AgriStability. Here's how programs can help.

Production Insurance

Production Insurance covers production losses and yield reductions caused by insured perils, such as weather, wildlife, insect infestation and disease. If hail or frost impact orchards or vineyards and damage crops, Production Insurance can help cover the loss in production.

Production Insurance also has coverage for tree or vine loss. Standard tree or vine loss coverage is included in Production Insurance plans for tender fruit, grapes and apples, at no cost to producers. Customers also have the option to purchase additional coverage for their trees and vines. Both fruit-bearing trees and newly planted trees are eligible for coverage.

More value in Production Insurance

Despite substantial increases in the value of fruit crops covered by Production Insurance, premiums have remained stable over the years, making it an affordable risk management option. Over the past 10 years, while claims for most fruit crops have been manageable, the value of the insured crops has more than doubled, mainly due to higher-yielding crops, advancements in management practices and strong market prices.

The following chart shows how the values have increased from 2009 to 2019.

Thanks to input from commodity groups, enhancements over the past decade have brought new coverage options to producers, offering more protection. Examples of how the plan improved in response to industry trends include grape coverage based on Brix levels and increased coverage options for fruit trees and grape vines.

How do premiums remain affordable?

The provincial and federal governments pay 60 per cent of the premium costs for most Production Insurance plans, so producers pay only 40 per cent. In addition, the program is designed to spread the impact of severe claim years over a longer period.

Agricorp maintains the Production Insurance Fund, which is used to make claim payments. The fund is in a strong financial position, which helps stabilize premiums. Following high-claim years, any excess reserves in the fund are used to minimize premium increases.

For 2020, the premium rates for most fruit crops have decreased due to fewer claims in 2019.


A lifeline in times of disaster

Fruit producers can focus on their businesses knowing their margins are protected with AgriStability.

AgriStability is a low-cost, risk management program available to all producers. It covers large declines in net income caused by production loss, increased costs or market conditions. For example, when something like frost or hail affects orchards or vineyards, AgriStability can help offset the increase in expenses for managing and sorting damaged crop and for loss of market revenue.

If a producer's program year margin falls below 70 per cent of their recent average, AgriStability helps to offset the difference.

AgriStability has been a vital lifeline for Ontario farm businesses in times of disaster. According to Agricorp's annual customer survey, a majority of customers agree that AgriStability is vital in helping stabilize their income despite risks beyond their control. For example:

  • When grape growers faced a long, cold winter in 2015 that led to low yields, AgriStability paid one in four grape growers.
  • When growers faced rising costs for greenhouse operations between 2015 and 2017, AgriStability paid each eligible customer an average of $250,000 per year.
  • When early frost damaged apple crops in 2012, AgriStability paid double the amounts of 2011 and 2013.

How to enrol

Fruit producers who want to enrol in Production Insurance for 2020 should contact Agricorp by December 20, 2019.

The deadline for 2020 AgriStability coverage is April 30, 2020.

To learn more about coverage for fruit crops, including premium rates, producers can call Agricorp at 1-877-247-4999 or visit