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Many Ag Societies Struggling With Pandemic

Like many organizations during this pandemic, agriculture societies are struggling to make ends meet.
 
Because of the lock down and the restrictions on the size of groups that can meet safely, many societies just aren't making any money and some are in serious trouble. Given the recent outbreaks in Alberta that involved large groups, there likely won't be an easing of those restrictions anytime soon.
 
Janelle Saskiw General Manager with the Lloydminster Exhibition Association says they have been left out of the Province's plan to reopen.  "The biggest issue is that the ag societies have been left out of the reopen plan.  A lot of the other entities and industries have been allowed to operate a moderate levels yet our guidelines are still very restrictive. Alberta I am limited to have only 50 people in our facility."
 
Many people have not been booking events due to those restrictions.  Saskiw acknowledges that the societies have reached out to government without much of a response.  "We've reached out to the government.  I'll be quite honest, there hasn't been a lot of outreach back to us.  I understand that it is our entire economy and everybody is hurting, and everybody has the exact same concerns, but there hasn't been much brought back to the table to have those discussions with us to remediate this issue."
 
According to Saskiw, there are a few things that will be key for their ag society to get through this.  "There's two things that need to have done.  We need to work with the government to create some type of bridge funding.  I know everybody is in the exact same predicament where they need additional funds, but truthfully, many of us are on our very last lifeline, with us having to cancel all of our events.  The other thing is we need to be able to sit down at the table and work out a formula where we can safely open up our doors to limited people.  Considering the size of our venues, we can bring in 100 or 200 people into our venues quite safely."
 
Saskiw states that if something is not done in the near future, many ag societies will have to disband.
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