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Farm groups respond to Saskatchewan government spending in agriculture

Agriculture groups were pleased with the contents of the Saskatchewan budget although most of the announcements were made in advance of the documents released yesterday.

Agriculture spending will reach $570.6 million for 2024–2025, an increase of $22.4 million, or 4.1 per cent, from last year.

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA) chair Keith Day welcomed the changes and expansion of the Forage Rainfall Insurance program and the increase in the number of weather stations to be located throughout the province.

“Changes to the program clearly indicate that the government listened to producers’ concerns and acted to improve the program in a way that should help producers expand their coverage and protect their operation,” Day said. “It is important that the programs available respond to the situation producers may face.”

Day said the expanded options to ensure additional forage crops, including greenfeed, mixed forage and silage should help producers select coverage that better reflects the situation on their operations.

Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) said there was a lot of good news in the budget including the $431.7 million for risk management programs such as Crop Insurance and AgriStability and $38 million going towards research and programs that support the development of new technology.

APAS Vice President Bev Pirio said if there was anything to criticize about the budget, it was the lack of a drought preparedness plan.

“So that we can have some kind of funding in place in the event this year, rather than waiting until after it happens and people are having to sell off herds of cattle because they have no grass,” she said.

Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) President Ray Orb said the budget includes many priorities the members were asking for and will go a long way to support R.M.s and those in rural areas.

He said SARM would like a modest increase in Rural Integrated Roads for Growth funding to allow R.M.s to renew and maintain roads.

“While we recognize the challenges in balancing various priorities within budget constraints, we urge the government to ensure R.M.s have sufficient funding to maintain critical rural infrastructure across the province,” Orb said in a news release.

SARM emphasized the need for continued collaboration between the provincial government and R.M.s to address ongoing issues such as agricultural sustainability, health care, and rural policing.

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