Insurance tips to help you avoid risks on the farm this summer

The Co-operators is an AFA corporate partner and has many different types of farm insurance specifically designed for our agriculture sector. That includes property, contents, machinery, livestock, producer, hobby farms, accident insurance and more.

Did you know that being an AFA member also gives you exclusive access to coverage and savings on a variety of insurance products from The Co-operators? Remember to tell your agent you are an AFA member to get your discount!

These seasonal tips from The Co-operators will help prevent problems on your farm.

Drought conditions may increase hazards on your property

By summer 2015, many areas in Alberta have seen the driest conditions in 50 years. For farms with organic materials like hay and feed, plus large mechanical equipment, dry weather can mean additional potential fire hazards on the farm.

  • Keep the yard clear of brush and other flammable debris as sparks from machinery or stray cigarettes can turn litter into kindling. Keep flammable items away from heat sources.
  • Never discard smoking materials on the ground or in plant pots. Improperly extinguished smoking materials can smoulder undetected for days before igniting a fire.
  • Proper airflow and ventilation in buildings helps disperse flammable chemical vapours, silo gases and other hazardous by-products.
  • Maintain electrical equipment and keep wires safely enclosed in metal or PVC pipes to protect them from exposure to weather and animals.
  • Refuel equipment outdoors, away from open flames and as far from buildings as possible, to allow harmful vapours to dissipate.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain portable fire extinguishers. Keep extinguishers easy to find in each farm building, especially near mechanical equipment and storage areas that contain flammable materials.
  • Never leave portable heating units unattended, and avoid using heat lamps, solar lamps, trouble lights or heated watering bowls in your pets’ outdoor home (e.g., dog house). Portable electrical heating systems or temporary installations commonly contribute to fires.

When you’re away, keep your property safe

With the summer season here, extra steps may be needed to keep your home or cottage secure, and your property safe.

If you are planning to leave your house or vacation property unattended for stretches of time, call your insurance company to find out if they have a time limit for occupancy absences. Most insurance companies specify the time your property can be unoccupied and still benefit from insurance protection. You may need to have someone check the property every few days or shut off your water supply.

Next, leave your property with that ‘lived-in’ look to help deter vandals. These steps will help make your home or property look lived-in while you are away:

  • keep window coverings closed
  • put interior lights on timers
  • if applicable, have mail collected at least every 72 hours
  • have someone shovel snow or plow roads in the winter, or cut lawns or trim bushes in the summer

Remember, if you have a cottage or seasonal property, you may require a different policy for coverage. These Co-operators seasonal policies offer many kinds of coverage to suit your needs.

For more home insurance tips and information, visit The Co-operators’ Answer Centre or contact a local Co-operators financial advisor.

AFA scholarship helps next generation of agriculture students

AFA is proud to support students who are using their talents to further their studies in agriculture. The AFA Scholarship annually awards $500 for one student to use towards their studies in post-secondary Agriculture or a related program.

AFA ScholarshipAlthough you don’t have to be an AFA member to apply for the scholarship, it does help. If you are an AFA producer member, preference is given to applications submitted by you, your children and your grandchildren. This is just one benefit to being an AFA member.

To be eligible for the AFA scholarship, an applicant must be:

  • a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident and be an Alberta resident
  • attending a designated post-secondary institution in Alberta
  • enrolled full-time in the second or subsequent year of post-secondary study in a program related to the field of agriculture.

The deadline to apply for the upcoming scholarship is August 1, 2015. You can apply online or call 780-427-8640 or email: scholarships@gov.ab.ca for more information. The scholarship is awarded each November.

Recent AFA scholarship winners

Here are two of the most recent AFA scholarship winners.

  • The 2014 scholarship was awarded to Nadine Jensen of Claresholm, Alberta, then in her third-year pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Biotechnology at the University of Lethbridge.
  • The 2013 scholarship was awarded to Michelle Cradduck of Taber, Alberta, then in her third-year pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Lethbridge with plans for a career in agricultural research. Since that time, Michelle has put her AFA scholarship to good use, and will soon be finishing her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Lethbridge. She has worked in research studying the genetic make-up of wheat and related opportunities for that crop, and she is so excited about where the research is heading. She is very grateful to her university professor for opening the door to her current research project, and for the help she has received from the AFA scholarship. We will be watching with interest what this emerging agricultural researcher will bring to the table!

Apply for the AFA scholarship today! We’d love to add your name to the list!

How can you give back to agriculture?

Any business, group or individual can donate to the AFA Scholarship fund to ensure its sustainability for future years. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, or to donate in the name of the AFA Scholarship, call the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund Endowment Program at 780-427-8640.