News that $15.6 million now available to Island farmers under the AgriRecovery program is certainly welcome.

The announcement, made just as the last issue of the Island Farmer went to press, had been anticipated for some time. AgriRecovery is not a program per se but it meant to offer one-time assistance in the event of mitigating circumstances like the disastrous growing season producers in every commodity experienced last year.

It is designed to supplement other business risk management programs like AgriInsurance. While the amount of money involved may sound like a lot at first glance, don't forget any producer of potatoes and other horticulture crops can apply to help cover extraordinary harvest recovery costs, additional field work expenses and storage/recovery costs. 

While it will certainly be a help, it will in no way cover all of the losses sustained last fall, nor could it reasonably be expected to. Not surprisingly, last year's extreme weather (which came on the heels of a dry summer in 2017, especially for growers in West Prince, has resulted in a significant hike in crop insurance premiums.

While there have been some prolonged dry periods, especially in late July and early August, the consensus is crops are in much better shape now compared to what they were a year ago. With little in the way of old crop left, hopefully potato producers will enjoy a better season in 2019, both in terms of yield and prices.

Still with potatoes, the mid-July report from Kevin MacIsaac at the United Potato Growers of Canada paints a more optimistic picture than was the case for the same period last year. In most provinces, the crop is expected to be average or a little above average. The growing season last year was essentially a disaster everywhere but British Columbia, although some areas admittedly were worse than others.

Nationally, the acreage figures show a 3.3 per cent increase going from 349,017 to 360,543 acres. However, MacIsaac said there is no cause for concern, noting much of the additional acreage is destined for new processing plants in Manitoba and Alberta. In fact, he said many in the industry were expecting the increase to be even higher.

Congratulations to Oceanbrae Farms of Miscouche, who took home the cow of the year honours from the recent Canadian Milking Shorthorn Society meeting and show in Ontario. Oceanbrae Pingerly Betty recently completed a 305 day record of 10,936 kg M at 4.5%F and 3.4%P in 3rd lactation. She is the #8 LPI cow in Canada due to her high production as well as breed-leading conformation.

As a further testament to the high quality genetics on this long-established farm, it is worth noting the other animal in the competition, Camflat Inforcer May EX-92 (4-10) bred and owned by John Campsall of Woodstock, Ontario, was purchased by the Campsall family from the Miscouche operation.

No matter what type of livestock you want to look at, Island breeders have proven time and again we take a back seat to nobody and this is just one more chapter in a long and successful story.

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