Responding to concerns voiced by members of the Agricultural Producers
Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) over the past year, APAS hosted a Livestock Summit at the Saskatoon Inn on April 5. The event convened academics, producers, and industry experts to collaboratively identify solutions to the challenges currently affecting livestock producers, encompassing cattle, bison, and sheep.
"Livestock production holds a pivotal role in Saskatchewan's agricultural fabric," said APAS President Ian Boxall. "Our members have expressed apprehensions about the sector's future, grappling with the repercussions of drought, escalating production costs, and substantial spreads between farmgate and retail prices. Following a resolution passed at our 2022 General Meeting, APAS facilitated this summit to unite stakeholders and find effective solutions to these pressing challenges."
As the second-largest cattle-producing province in Canada, Saskatchewan boasts over a third of the nation's native and tame pastureland. However, recent Statistics Canada reports indicate a decline of approximately 90,000 head in the provincial cattle herd since January 2021. The potential conversion of prime livestock production land to cropland poses further obstacles to the sector's long-term success and future viability.
The APAS Livestock Summit delved into the underlying factors contributing to these trends. It explored policy and program options aimed at fostering future success, including the acknowledgment of livestock's positive ecological and environmental contributions, enhancements to business risk management programs, and ongoing initiatives related to the processing and marketing of Saskatchewan's livestock.
Ian Boxall emphasized, "We are committed to identifying the next steps to address the recommendations identified from the summit. Success for livestock producers translates to success across the entire province. Collaboration among agricultural groups is key to focusing our efforts and mutual support, leading to collective accomplishments. Ultimately, our shared goal is the success of agricultural producers.”