The federal and provincial governments announced changes to the 2021 Crop Insurance Program on Tuesday.

According to the province, crop insurance coverage will reach a record level due to higher commodity prices and increased yield coverage. Coverage will increase 22 per cent, from $224 per acre in 2020 to $273 per acre in 2021.

“The changes introduced to the Crop Insurance Program today, will continue to build on previous program enhancements,” Deputy Premier Donna Harpauer said.

The province said there has been a 42 per cent reduction in average premium cost per dollar of coverage over the past 10 years, including a 20 per cent reduction from the financial position of the program.

Due to increased coverage, the average premium for producers will increase this year, from $7.40 per acre in 2020 to $8.59 per acre in 2021.

New this year is the Commercial Vegetable Program to provide stand-alone coverage for damage to cabbage and pumpkin crops.

“These are pilots, so we’ll continue to work with the vegetable association, and if there are other crops that we can expand into, we will do so in the future,” said Jeff Morrow, acting president and CEO of Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC).

In 2021, the establishment benefit values for canola lentils, chickpeas and corn have increased. Additionally, producers growing tame hay will have additional options when insuring their hay acres, and forage producers will see an increase in Native Forage Establishment Benefit coverage.

“Generally, it does serve the agriculture community well when we have more coverage,” said Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities.

Saskatchewan also updated the base grade for Kabuli chickpeas to reflect current production patterns.

“The changes to the chickpea base grade calculation just better reflect the size and the quality of chickpeas that Kabuli chickpea producers are producing these days,” said Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. “This is a welcome development, and one we look forward to seeing in the marketplace.”

President of the Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), Todd Lewis, said he was glad to hear of this year’s crop insurance additions.

“There’s a large part of southern Saskatchewan that’s dry this year, going into spring here, so producers are concerned,” Lewis said. “Crop insurance is a valuable backstop for our producers in the province.”

The deadline to select insured crops and coverage levels, or make changes to contracts, is March 31, 2021.