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SARM calls for reinstatement of nurse program

SARM calls for reinstatement of nurse program

Saskatchewan is underutilizing trained nurse practitioners, the organization says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Saskatchewan organizations want the provincial government to bring back a program to help address nursing shortages in rural communities.

The provincial government needs to reinstate the 2014 Rural and Remote Nurse Practitioner Recruitment Strategy, which provided wages, benefits and other incentives to encourage nurse practitioners to work in communities with populations of 10,000 or less, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) says.

“Instead of recruiting, we must grow our own, right here at home,” Ray Orb president of SARM, said in a statement. “The government needs to consider incentives for Nurse Practitioners in the form of contributions towards relocation expenses and potential bonuses for hard-to-fill positions.”

SARM and the Saskatchewan Association of Nurse Practitioners (SANP) are making these calls following a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

The report indicates 1,760 nurses worked in rural and remote areas in 2022 and that number has declined each year since 2018 when Scott Moe became premier. That year, Saskatchewan had 2,234 nurses in rural and remote communities.

The province is short more than two dozen nurses, who could provide care to those in need, industry experts say.

“30 (nurse pracritioners) could immediately provide care to approximately 36,000 patients. That is equal to the population of communities such as Moose Jaw, Lloydminster, or Prince Albert,” Johanne Rust, president of SANP, said in a statement.

The provincial government says it has made changes to encourage health care professionals to work in rural communities.

Like increasing the rural physician incentive program to $200,000 over five years.

“I think this is significant and should not be understated the recent agreement with the Saskatchewan Medical Association,” Sask. Health Minister Everett Hindley told reporters on Tuesday, CBC reported. “It’s going to help in our rural communities.”

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The Investment Opportunities of Industrial Hemp

Video: The Investment Opportunities of Industrial Hemp

The fledgling U.S. hemp industry is decades behind countries like Canada, France and China, but according to impact investor and this week’s podcast guest, Pierre Berard, it could flourish into a $2.2 billion industry by 2030 and create thousands of jobs.

To reach its potential, what the hemp industry needs most right now, Berard said, is capital investment.

Last month, Berard published a report titled “Seeing the U.S. Industrial Hemp Opportunity — A Pioneering Venture for Investors and Corporations Driven by Environmental, Social and Financial Concerns” in which he lays out the case for investment.

It’s as if Berard, with this report, is waving a giant flag, trying to attract the eyes of investors, saying, “Look over here. Look at all this opportunity.”

Berard likens the burgeoning American hemp industry to a developing country.

“There is no capital. People don’t want to finance. This is too risky. And I was like, OK, this sounds like something for me,” he said.

As an impact investor who manages funds specializing in agro-processing companies, Berard now has his sights set on the U.S. hemp industry, which he believes has great economic value as well as social and environmental benefits.

He spent many years developing investment in the agriculture infrastructure of developing countries in Latin America and Africa, and said the hemp industry feels similar.

“It is very nascent and it is a very fragmented sector. You have pioneers and trailblazers inventing or reinventing the field after 80 years of prohibition,” he said. “So I feel very familiar with this context.”

On this week’s hemp podcast, Berard talks about the report and the opportunities available to investors in the feed, fiber and food sectors of the hemp industry.

Building an industry around an agricultural commodity takes time, he said. According to the report, “The soybean industry took about 50 years to become firmly established, from the first USDA imports in 1898 to the U.S. being the top worldwide producer in the 1950s.”

Berard has a plan to accelerate the growth of the hemp industry and sees a four-pillar approach to attract investment.

First, he said, the foundation of the industry is the relationship between farmers and processors at the local level.

Second, he said the industry needs what he calls a “federating body” that will represent it, foster markets and innovations, and reduce risk for its members and investors.

The third pillar is “collaboration with corporations that aim to secure or diversify their supply chains with sustainable products and enhance their ESG credentials. This will be key to funding the industry and creating markets,” he said.

The fourth pillar is investment. Lots of it. Over $1.6 billion over seven years. This money will come from government, corporations, individual investors, and philanthropic donors.

The 75-page report goes into detail about the hemp industry, its environmental and social impact, and the opportunities available to investors.

Read the report here: Seeing the U.S. Industrial Hemp Opportunity

Also on this episode, we check in with hemp and bison farmer Herb Grove from Brush Mountain Bison in Centre County, PA, where he grew 50 acres of hemp grain. We’ll hear about harvest and dry down and crushing the seed for oil and cake.



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