When farmer's and rancher's unharvested crops in Alberta become damaged, they are able to turn to the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) for help.

Under their Wildlife Damage Compensation Program, they compensate agricultural producers for any damage done by wildlife to unharvested crops, stacked hay, stacked greenfeed, and to silage and haylage that is either in pits or tubes.

Those who wish to use the Compensation Program are not required to have AFSC insurance or insurable interest in the damaged crop.

Other than a non-refundable $25 appraisal fee per inspection, all costs associated with the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program are covered by the provincial and federal governments.

On March 5th, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation RJ Sigurdson announced that under Budget 2024, the Alberta government will be providing funding to the AFSC, so they can increase the efficiency in processing claims.

"Budget 2024 will provide $900,000 to Agriculture Financial Services Corporation for drone services, which [they] will use to assess wildlife damage to crops and make processing claims easier and quicker," explained Sigurdson.

Drones are a cost-effective way to assess crop damage and help to increase the efficiency of processing claims.

"By embracing drone technology, AFSC will be able to gain a clear picture of how crops are being affected by wildlife damage. So far, using drone services has had promising results. We've learned that drone imagery significantly aids the assessment process. And so, today is another exciting step for Alberta as we continue to use technology to improve the assessment process for even more producers," said Sigurdson.

The images that these drones capture will allow the AFSC adjusters to provide suitable and timely coverage.

"Alberta’s government investment in our drone services is an exciting step towards improving our support for Alberta’s agriculture industry. Adjusters will continue to play an important role in assessing claims, but drones will enable us to view real-time field conditions faster," said the CEO of AFSC Darryl Kay in an accompanying media release.

This money is part of the government and the AFSC's commitment to working alongside agriculture producers and business to help create a sustainable and diverse industry.

"Agricultural work can be challenging, but the government and AFSC are committed to providing stable business risk management and insurance supports," Sigurdson says.