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APAS Says Recent Drought Relief Measures Don't Go Far Enough

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie Claude Bibeau announced the early designation last week of the Livestock Tax Deferral provision for cattle producers that may have to sell a portion of their breeding herd due to the drought.

APAS says that early designation stops short of needed enhancements to the program, which include eligibility for yearlings and other classes of cattle, as well as an extension of the deferral period from 1 to 5 years.

Ian Boxall is Vice President of APAS says the measures announced by Ottawa, don’t go far enough.

"We're going to potentially see producers that have to sell off feed stock as well with feeding cattle, and I think it needs to include every aspect of livestock. If that's what the producer needs to do to manage their risk, it should be up to the producer on which livestock they need to sell off. It shouldn't have to be based strictly on what's available to them based on a tax deferral."

APAS points out that the area designated in Saskatchewan for eligibility excludes 47% of the RMs.

President Todd Lewis say their concern is that the entire agricultural region of Saskatchewan is not included in this provision when all livestock producers are seeing production shortfalls and record-high feed prices.

Lewis says the high price and the lack of feed will result in many producers not in these regions still being forced to sell off breeding stock or, in some cases, the whole herd.

He notes the wait and see time has passed, producers need help now because many crops are too far gone.

Boxall says they're pleased to see the support measures announced by Ottawa, but stresses more needs to be done.

"I think the province and the feds need to continue working together to trigger Ag Recovery to get the livestock producers the ability to buy the feed that we know when there's a shortage like there is this year those costs go up. I don't want to see the livestock producers sell off their herd and have to defer the tax. I'd rather just keep those herds intact and for that we need access to feed, the ability to buy the feed, and the ability to, you know, get water."

APAS is requesting the Government of Canada undergo fast consultation with producer groups in its AgriRecovery assessments.  

Last week's announcement from Bibeau also included calls for provinces to makes changes to AgriInsurance and commit to increasing the AgriStability compensation rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent.

APAS notes the Government of Saskatchewan has already made changes to help expedite the conversion of insured crops into greenfeed and other feed supplies.

However, the group is reiterating its call for an increased AgriStability compensation rate and an extension of the enrolment deadline.

Lewis notes that during this extreme drought, it’s very important that governments continue to work together and provide additional support to producers.

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