Although less money is earmarked for ag overall, the government increased research funding and still aims to support producers
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s 2020-21 budget is $363.9 million for the fiscal year, down $27.4 million from the 2019-20 budget.
However, the government reallocated funds to boost financial support for priority areas. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership agreement, for example, the province’s ag research budget received an additional $1 million for a total of $32.9 million, said Minister of Agriculture David Marit.
“We've always said ag research is a priority of this government and it will continue to be that way,” Marit told Farms.com.
The budget also includes $10 million to assist livestock producers facing market disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this total, the government allocated half for Saskatchewan’s portion of the national AgriRecovery set-aside program and half for the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program to help offset higher premium costs.
“With the shutdowns of processing plants in Alberta, … cattle weren't going to market and the backlog continues. The number we're hearing is still well in excess of 100,000 head of cattle in backlog to the slaughter plant. Although (the processing plants) are getting close to capacity again, this backlog will obviously take months to (address) and it presents a challenge for our cattle feeders here in Saskatchewan,” said Marit.
The budget earmarks $71.2 million for strategic programs under the Partnership and $244.3 million for business risk management programs such as AgriStability, the release stated.
This year’s budget is part of the province’s Growth Plan 2030, which aims to build a strong economy for Saskatchewan, said Marit.
“If we continue to grow the ag industry here in the province, we'll start to see more value added. We'll see companies looking at Saskatchewan to say it is the right place to do business. That's what we're really trying to do here – to grow the ag sector to an even higher degree, so it has a higher return for farmers here in the province of Saskatchewan,” said Marit.
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