The Government of Canada is committed to working with agricultural industry partners to explore and develop new risk management tools that meet the needs of Canadian farmers when faced with serious challenges beyond their control.

Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, Terry Duguid, on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, was at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business today to announce federal support for a study exploring the use of new and innovative technology to track hay and pasture production. The cutting-edge research, headed by Dr. Lysa Porth in the Warren Centre for Actuarial Studies and Research at the University of Manitoba’s I.H. Asper School of Business, will play an important role in contributing to the stability to the cattle sector.

Working with the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA), with $988,000 in federal funding, the project consists of collaborative research with Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) to use new satellite-based technology to reliably estimate forage growth at the farm level in each province, and to develop a forage production index, which would form the basis for the development of new insurance tools.


“Feed is the lifeblood of any livestock operation, and our government understands the importance of helping to protect ranchers from risk such as losses to their forage crops. This project uses cutting-edge satellite technology to equip ranchers with the information they need to manage those risks and demonstrates why the University of Manitoba is renowned for its world-class research. With this targeted investment, our government is helping to ensure our ranchers remain on the cutting-edge of science, which helps to create good jobs and grow our economy.”
–  Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South

“The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association is glad to support and facilitate this research into forage insurance innovation. Grass and hay insurance uptake rates in the prairies are much lower than for annual crops. Some of this is due to program design and how programs work. By exploring satellite options perhaps we can move perennial crops closer to competitive balance with annual crops, at least when it comes to insurance programs offered. The AgriRisk Initiatives program is the successor to the program that helped to bring Western Livestock Price Insurance to the marketplace and we are glad to see the federal government continue investing in finding new solutions for producers.”
–  Ryder Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association

“This project provides a tremendous opportunity to bring together leaders in agricultural risk management and insurance, both within Canada and internationally, across academia, the private sector and government.  Satellite-derived approaches show promise for improving forage insurance, based on improved design that is cost-efficient, representative and reliable, however, more research and development is needed. Our team looks forward to working with the project partners and discussions with Canadian producers in order to help develop improved risk management for forage based on state-of-the-art technology.”
–  Lysa Porth, Director, Warren Centre for Actuarial Studies and Research, and Assistant Professor / Guy Carpenter Chair in Agricultural Risk Management and Insurance

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 focused on agri-food as one of the top industries in the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, an ambitious effort to make Canada a world leader in innovation with a focus on expanding growth and creating good, well-paying jobs.
  • Budget 2017 set an ambitious goal of growing Canada’s agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.
  • Saskatchewan farms reported 3.9 million acres of tame hay in 2016. (Statistics Canada)
  • This project is led by Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, and involves an interdisciplinary research team with members from the University of ManitobaUniversity of WaterlooNanyang Technological University, SCOR Inc. (an international agricultural reinsurance provider) and Airbus Defence and Space, along with cooperation from Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) and Alberta’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC).
  • This investment is made through the AgriRisk program which supports the research and development, as well as the implementation and administration of new risk management tools for use in the agriculture sector. AgriRisk is a Growing Forward 2 Business Risk Management initiative.

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SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Halifax

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