A NINDIGULLY grain grower who took out multi-peril crop insurance on his 2014 wheat crop is about to become the first Queensland farmer to make a claim for drought losses, describing the policy as "game changing" for agriculture.
Alistair Mace runs a mixed farming operation on Malanga and Balagna outside Nindigully and took multi-peril crop insurance with Latevo before planting his winter crop. After minimal in-crop rain, the Mace family are now preparing to harvest only part of the crop but say knowing that their costs would be covered by their claim was liberating.
"It's just been an amazing feeling to be able to farm with security," Alistair Mace said.
"Knowing that we will start the next financial year in the same financial position as we started this one is fantastic. The banks love it too.
"I personally think this will be the biggest fundamental change we will make to the way we are going to farm into the future."
Interest in multi-peril crop insurance has been growing over the past month and last week, dozens of farmers attended informal meetings organised by interested growers at Dalby, Condamine, Muckadilla, Surat and Nindigully.
Underwritten by Alliance, Latevo is currently the only company to offer multi-peril crop insurance in Australia. The policy only relates to broad acre winter crops and covers 16 "perils" including frost, drought, hail, insect and pest.
Far from a unique concept, multi-peril crop insurance is widely used by farmers in the United States, Canada and Europe where the cost of premiums is largely subsidised by their governments.
Dalby cotton and grain grower, Paul McVeigh, became interested in multi-peril insurance after following coverage of the issue in Queensland Country Life last month.
He organised a meeting of 22 farmers from across the Dalby region and said interest in the product was high.
"We need more security in farming particularly for the next generation of farmers," he said.
"It's a different game to when we started. The costs are a lot higher and our exposure to risk wasn't nearly as great as it is today."
Mr McVeigh said a small group of Dalby cotton growers who attended last week's meetings had formed a subcommittee to investigate developing a multi-peril insurance product for cotton growers. He said Latevo was keen to work with growers to get the product off the ground.
"We are going to get a group of five or six people together and collate all our information from the past couple of years and forward that to Latevo just to see if we can start to work on some sort of policy for the cotton industry," he said.
Mr McVeigh said industry might one day seek assistance from government to provide incentives for farmers to buy multi-peril insurance but he said farmers weren't looking for handouts.
"The great thing about this is that it's the industry getting on and trying to help themselves," he said.