This year hasn’t been easy for Canadian farmers who’ve had unfavourable weather put a dent in their harvest, but it’s been even harder for small producers without the same insurance protections as their large-scale counterparts.
In Manitoba, a devastating winter storm that brought heavy snow this month contributed to a significant yield loss for one small farmer.
As reported by the CBC, Bruce Berry in Winnipeg had to stop offering his food box service one month early because he didn’t have enough produce to supply his customers.
Berry estimates that 30 to 40 per cent of his Swiss chard has been wiped out from the latest storm. But he said that he knows of some who have had a “complete wipeout” of their yields.
A cold spring with a drought-like summer has also been a constant headache for farmers like Berry. Him and many others with farms his size are unable to qualify for a vegetable insurance program in the province.
According to the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation’s program, a producer must have three acres of the same crop. Otherwise there is no insurance available.
“Most of my stuff would be well under that” threshold, Berry told the CBC.
His three-acre farm has 40 different vegetables and herbs that he sells through CSA boxes or farmers markets.
Berry believes that others like him are feeling the pressure with winter ahead.
“The list is just extra, super-long now of things that you would like to get done, so you have to triage, and cut away things that are less essential,” he said.
“We’d obviously like to do most of that work before the sleet starts going sideways, and so it just means more work outside when the sleet is going sideways.”