Staff, dignitaries and friends gathered at the new Humboldt location for the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) and Agricultural Ministry joint offices on May 17. Penny McCall, assistant deputy Minister of Agriculture, and Jeff Morrow, acting president and CEO of SCIC, cut the ribbon to open the new office at 2414 Westwood Drive. The new, spacious and well appointed location provides a win for farmers with resources of both agencies working together.
McCall kicked off a light hearted and informal presentation expressing excitement about the new office and her affinity for the Humboldt area.
“This is a fantastic day to be here to open up this new office in this new community. I’ve always found Humboldt to be an incredibly progressive area. It was always a favourite spot to go because I could learn so much from the farmers in the area.”
McCall talked about the commitment both the Ministry and SCIC have for the well-being of producers and the importance of the ag industry in the economy and plans for growth in the future. She recognized the important role producers play in the success of providing food for the world in the face of continual shifts.
“We know the ag sector faces challenges all the time. Last year was a year of drought, and we don’t know what’s coming this year. It’s great to see that seeding is under way, pastures are greening up, and there’s even some water in spots. We know that challenges will continue to face growers and it’s why, in the Ministry, we support our growers however we can.”
SCIC’s Jeff Morrow also welcomed visitors to the new space, noting its another tangible step in the two agencies’ shared mandate to support farmers.
“The relationship between SCIC and the Ministry has lasted for over 60 years,” he commented. “We’ve worked alongside the Ministry and we’ve built strong relationships between our organizations and with the producers we serve. Together we’re committed to providing effective customer services and business risk management, along with other programming options.”
Morrow acknowledged that those challenges are as variable as Saskatchewan’s weather, noting that the shift in support went from last year’s dry conditions and poor yields in the west to a delayed seeding season due to excessive moisture in the east.
The premium for producers in the new shared space is the ease of connection and the integration of supports within one office. Hillary Luchinski, agri-environmental specialist for the Humboldt region, explains.
“We serve the same clients, and sometimes you really don’t think about that. But we notice that if SCIC is serving their customers during their high sales season or doing lots of claims, it is often they’d pop over and say ‘my client is doing this on his farm, and I think you could help him’.”
Even comparing soils analysis through the agencies’ respective databases gave farmers a greater insight and a “two-for-one” advising advantage.
The enthusiasm around the cooperation and synergy was evident, said SCIC manager Bruce Huls. Their commitment to clients was evident and the staff was enthusiastic about both the expanded space and the potential for the high degree of client services under one roof.