With harvest season approaching, producers province-wide will soon be working diligently to ensure that their crops are taken off the field in a timely manner. From year to year, completion of the harvest process is influenced by changing circumstances, including the presence of wildlife, which can cause levels of damage to crops.

In Alberta, AFSC administers the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (WDCP), which is funded completely by the federal and provincial governments. The program provides coverage for producers who suffer crop loss or degradation due to wildlife.

To benefit from this program, a producer does not have to have an annual crop insurance policy with AFSC, but it is important to know that not all crops are eligible under this program.

Here are some basic guidelines for the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program:

  • The program compensates agricultural producers for wildlife damage to eligible annual unharvested crops, wildlife excreta contaminated crops, and silage in pits and tubes.
  • To receive compensation, at least 10 per cent of loss per crop due to wildlife damage needs to be assessed.
  • While producers pay no premium to be eligible for indemnity, a non-refundable $25 appraisal fee per inspection is required for each section of land (or portion thereof) on which the damage has occurred, and a minimum of $100 loss of crop should be assessed for payment eligibility.
  • All commercially grown cereal, oilseed, special and other crops that can be insured under the Annual Production and Straight Hail Insurance programs, are eligible for compensation. Swath grazing, bale grazing and corn grazing are eligible for compensation only up to October 31.
    • Crops under the following circumstances are not eligible:
    • Crops in granaries, bins, stacks or bales left in the field (Exceptions include silage in pits and tubes—these are eligible)
    • Crops seeded on land considered unsuitable for production
    • Crops seeded too late in the season to produce a normal yield
    • Volunteer crops
    • Crops left exposed to wildlife damage due to management practices
  • Damaged areas of the crop must not be harvested until an AFSC On Farm Inspector is able to assess the loss. Assessments are not made from representative strips or swaths.

Producers must contact AFSC at least 24 hours, and preferably 72 hours, prior to harvest, so that AFSC can arrange to have an inspector perform an on-farm inspection. Weekend inspection service is not available, if you are planning to harvest over a weekend.

Please note: Wildlife damage compensation claims have fluctuated widely over the years depending on weather conditions and circumstances affecting the harvest.

For more information related to your application for wildlife damage compensation, please contact an AFSC team member at your nearest AFSC branch office, who will also be glad to help you with your questions. In addition, you can call our Client Contact Centre at 1.877.899.2372 or info@afsc.ca