SaskPower is doubling investments into the Farmyard Line Relocation Program
By Diego Flammini
A Saskatchewan Crown corporation is doing more to help keep farmers safe.
SaskPower announced on July 29 it is doubling investments into the Farmyard Line Relocation Program from $2 million to $5 million for 2021-2022. This new amount will fund upwards of 300 projects.
Safety is SaskPower’s top priority, and the Farmyard Line Relocation Program is about making Saskatchewan safer,” Shawn Schmidt, vice president of distribution and customer services at SaskPower, said in a statement. “Line contacts involving farm machinery happen in farmyards each year and one way to help prevent this is to move these power lines underground.”
The program has been around since 1995. It allows farmers to have power lines buried or removed from their properties at a subsidized cost.
SaskPower fronts approximately 75 per cent of the costs while landowners cover the remaining 25 per cent up to $2,000.
Each year, SaskPower responds to hundreds of instances of pieces of farm equipment coming into contact with power lines.
The service provider estimates an average of about 300 per year.
2020 had 17 line contacts and seven have been reported this year as of July 26.
One of those incidents occurred on June 22.
A farmer near Estevan “remained in his tractor after hitting a power line,” SaskPower said on its Twitter account. “When crews arrived, the line was still energized. The decision to stay put may have saved his life.”
Another happened six days later.
A producer “had his tractor set to auto-steer when he drove onto a live power pole,” SaskPower said on social media. “Pay attention to your surroundings and always remember to #LookUpAndLive.”
Power line accidents can be fatal
In 2007, for example, a 55-year-old man from Melfort lost his life when a steel grain bin he was unloading came into contact with a power line, CBC reported.
Farmers are pleased to see the additional funding for the relocation program.
Any initiatives to keep farmers safer is welcomed, said Todd Lewis, president of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.
“Equipment is only getting taller every year, so anything we can do to get power lines out of the way and reduce potential contact with producers is great,” he told Farms.com.