Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) is calling on the Federal and Provincial governments to take immediate action to assist livestock producers facing extreme drought conditions across the province.
Saskatchewan producers are experienced planners and managers of drought conditions. But multiple consecutive years of well-below average precipitation have pushed livestock operators to the brink. Producers are facing the difficult decision to reduce herd sizes by up to 40 per cent by winter.
“Pastures are parched, hay and forage is scarce and feed costs are at a record-highs. Most producers don’t have any carryover hay. Water quality and quantity are concerns in many areas of the province. We have less than 40 per cent of normal soil moisture across most of the province,” says SSGA President Kelcy Elford.
“This is far more serious than normal year-over-year fluctuations, and livestock producers need more than crop insurance.”
SSGA is calling for time-sensitive enhancements to Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation programs and theFarm & Ranch Water Infrastructure Program(FRWIP). FRWIP changes should include an 80/20 cost share, increasing caps for drought-impacted regions and expanding the program to cover above-ground and buried reservoirs for existing pipelines.
“Ranchers will be forced to disperse significant portions of their herds before winter,” Elford said. “We’re halving our cattle and incomes.We need reliefnow.”
Based onSaskatchewan Agriculture’s Drought Preparedness Plan“all criteria are met for our government to declare a drought disaster and respond with an expedited Agri-Recovery assessment and low-yield threshold approvals,” Elford said. “What we also need now is a tax deferral with a five-year minimum deferral basis to restock. A shorter period forces producers to sell breeding stock in a down market and buy in an up market. The program should beyond breeding stock to include calves and yearlings.”