The Saskatchewan deputy minister of agriculture discusses what the ministry is doing to help farmers during the pandemic
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is working to ensure farmers are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We're working closely with our federal government and industry stakeholders to ensure that the supply of safe, healthy food remains uninterrupted and continues to move,” said Rick Burton, the deputy minister of agriculture in Saskatchewan.
Although the ministry has closed its doors to help reduce the spread of the virus, staff, critical programs and services are still available, said Burton.
“If producers have questions about any of the programs or services, we encourage them to reach out to their regional offices … or to the Agriculture Knowledge Centre. It's important that producers reach out and stay in touch with us,” Burton told Farms.com.
If producers are struggling with the weight of everything, the Farm Stress Line (1-800-667-442) remains in operation and is available 24/7.
Producers can turn to multiple business risk management programs, such as AgriStability, Crop Insurance (delivered through Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp.) or AgriInvest, for support, said Burton.
If producers are struggling getting their taxes in order, they can submit a request for relief on penalty and interest charges. All the Crown corporations in Saskatchewan have implemented programs to allow for zero-interest deferrals for up to six months, said Burton.
The Saskatchewan government has created a business response team that acts as a one-stop shop for business owners to get information on what programs and services they can access. The response team can be reached by calling 1-844-800-8688 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, said Burton.
It’s also important for producers and staff at ag businesses to follow the health measures, such as social distancing, outlined by the chief medical officers, said Burton.
“We want our producers to stay healthy and stay safe,” he said. “And certainly, hope that they all have a prosperous year as we move forward during this challenging time.”
Blackdovfx/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo