Members from the Rural Municipality of Lipton are calling on governments to support farmers
By Diego Flammini
Members of the Rural Municipality (RM) of Lipton, Sask. are looking to the provincial government to take action to support farmers in the community.
Corey Senft, the RM’s reeve, who’s also a cash crop and beef producer, travelled to the Saskatchewan legislative building on Tuesday to ask Premier Scott Moe to ask his federal colleagues to assist producers.
At its November meeting, the RM declared a state of agricultural disaster to raise awareness about the struggles farmers are facing this harvest season.
The RM also sent a letter to Premier Moe, Opposition leader Ryan Meili, federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, and the provincial and federal agriculture ministers.
The crops that have been harvested are “in a damp or tough state and need to be dried, and then the costs keep increasing with drying,” Senft told the Regina Leader-Post.
One action Senft would like to see is a change to the AgriStability program.
The federal program provides payments to a farmer when his or her net farming income falls below 70 per cent of their average because of market conditions, production losses or other factors.
Increasing the threshold from 70 to 85 per cent would help more farmers through this difficult time, Senft said.
“I’ve talked to many farmers that have had tough years, and they don’t seem to qualify for (AgriStability),” he told the Regina Leader-Post. “It’s a safety net that just plain doesn’t work.”
But because AgriStability is a federal program, making changes to it isn’t an easy process.
Saskatchewan would need support from other provincial ag ministers. And changing the program could result in added costs.
“If you’re going to change the program, obviously there’s going to be a cost to it, and how does that all play out?” said David Marit, Saskatchewan’s minister of agriculture, Global News reported.