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Sask. budget supports ag sector
Sask. budget supports ag sector

APAS president applauds budget’s commitment to ag research

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

Todd Lewis, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) president, welcomes Saskatchewan’s new budget, which includes a record investment in ag research and continued support for risk management programs.

“The province of Saskatchewan has been a consistent supporter of ag research,” Lewis said to yesterday.

“It’s important (the sector) stays on the cutting edge of new technologies and agronomic practices. This (investment) continues with that.” 

In total, the 2018-19 budget invests $378.6 million towards the ag sector, a Government of Saskatchewan release said yesterday.

“Agriculture is a major contributor to the province’s economy and this budget will help producers increase crop production, value-added processing and agri-food exports,” Lyle Stewart, Saskatchewan’s ag minister, said in the release.

As part of funding strategic programs through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), $31.8 million will be used to support programs that encourage the adoption of new technologies, the release said.

The research budget has increased funding for Ag-West Bio, the Food Centre, and livestock and forage research. 

 In addition, about $258.2 million is invested in fully funding risk management programs in the province, including AgriStability, AgriInvest, Western Livestock Price Insurance, and Crop Insurance, the release said.

Notably, the business risk management programs have added fire insurance for pasture lands. And $3.0 million is allocated for irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation costs and irrigation asset transfer.

“Producers had a very dry season last year in southern Saskatchewan and fire was a significant risk,” Lewis said.

“Certainly, with some of the fires that happened and, depending on moisture, this (risk) may be a long-term situation. … So, it is important to have some coverage.”

The government has also increased funding for Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan. The new funding agreement will provide the organization with $800,000 annually for three years, an increase from $610,000. 

UPDATED: April 12, 2018