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Sask. ag group asking for drought assistance

Sask. ag group asking for drought assistance

The federal and provincial governments need to do more, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A Saskatchewan ag organization is asking two levels of government to step up its support for livestock producers facing multiple challenges.

Between grasshopper infestations and ongoing drought, the federal and provincial governments need to increase its assistance for livestock producers, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) says.

“Since early June, the drought has continued to expand in size and severity―especially in areas that have experienced multiple years of well-below average precipitation, which is triggering drought-related pest infestations. Producers are rushing to harvest what little forage has grown, before grasshoppers eat it,” Garner Deobald, president of the SSGA, said in a July 13 statement.

The organization is lobbying the federal and provincial governments for additional measures to help livestock producers overcome these issues.

These include increasing the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program cost share to 75 per cent, allowing producers to make AgriInvest withdrawals tax-free and extending the Crown Grazing Lease Rental Reduction program and grazing fee freeze for the 2024 season.

Prior to the SSGA’s announcement, federal ag minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and provincial ag minister David Marit announced the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation is doubling the low yield appraisal threshold values.

A Saskatchewan community has made an ag disaster declaration because of continued drought there.

“Please be advised that the Council of the RM of Dundurn No. 314 declared an agricultural disaster as a result of the ongoing drought in 2023,” a notice on the community’s website says. “The RM is calling on the various levels of government to provide disaster relief to farmers and ranchers.”

Counties declare agricultural disasters as a tool to make the provincial and federal governments aware of what’s happening in that community. These local declarations don’t unlock emergency funding programs.

Dundurn received 69 millimetres of rain between April 1 and July 10, a weekly rainfall summary says.

Old Post and Arlington have also made ag disaster declarations.

In Alberta, Foothills County and Stettler have made the ag disaster declarations too.

No communities in Manitoba have made similar declarations as of July 17.

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