Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) held its 109th Annual General Meeting & Convention June 5-7, 2022 at Prince of Wales Centre in Assiniboia, SK―the organization’s first in-person meeting since June 2019.
“We honoured our event theme ‘The Power of Perseverance’ by announcing Gerald and Patti Anhorn of Windy Ridge Ranch in Elrose, SK, with The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA); focusing on drought preparedness; and releasing the recent findings of a meat processing study SSGA co-funded with Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture to review the opportunities and challenges for growing the province’s livestock processing sector,” SSGA’s newly-elected President Garner Deobald said.
“While our research consultants are formalizing the final report, we wanted to share this project’s findings while we had the in-person attention and availability of our industry’s key stakeholders for a panel discussion,” SSGA General Manager Chad MacPherson affirmed. “Saskatchewan is a vital beginning point of a competitive, well-established supply chain. We know Saskatchewan has the supply of cattle to meet the market needs of a new plant and look forward to sharing the details in the final report.”
In this three-day event agenda, SSGA passed 18 resolutions and shared a range of time-sensitive, relevant information by featuring sessions on irrigation; canola meal supplementation; satellite-based forage insurance; regional, national and global cattle market updates; the current costs of production; activism and public perception; and virtual fencing research.
“At the event’s conclusion, it was clear that we will need to prioritize four resolutions in particular,” Deobald added. “Saskatchewan Value-Added Agriculture Incentive (SAVI) provides tax incentives for capital investment in new and expanded value-added agriculture facilities. but has a $10 million capital investment minimum. To support the findings of our meat processing study and encourage additional meat processing operations, we have resolved to lobby the Government of Saskatchewan to lower the minimum investment.
“The Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) provides financial assistance to producers in eligible areas that have experienced financial losses due to extreme weather events―like the recent, record-breaking storms in Saskatchewan. Though PDAP is helping many producers at an already critical time, producers with more than $2 million in gross revenue are currently ineligible for assistance; so, we have resolved to lobby the provincial and federal governments to review this inequity,” Deobald continued.
“The severe drought has greatly-impacted herd sizes and cash flow for many cattle operations, so we have resolved to lobby all levels of government to setup a program for long-term, low interest loans to help livestock producers rebuild their breeding herds; and to ensure the enhancements to the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program (FRWIP) are permanent and that funding applications are processed with greater efficiency,” MacPherson said.
“Ground beef is a nutrient-dense protein that contributes zinc, iron and vitamin B12 and other essential nutrients that Canadian consumers need in their diets; so, we will be lobbying Health Canada to defeat their proposed labelling regulation that would require ground beef sold at retail to carry a high in saturated fat warning label. The potential trade implications that this labelling could initiate are dangerously incalculable.” Deobald advised.
In a look to the future, Deobald said, “Thanks to the inroads Past President Kelcy Elford, SSGA’s board of directors and General Manager Chad MacPherson have made with our trusted partners within the Ministry of Agriculture and Health Canada, we’re ready and looking forward to making all of these points clear and indisputable.”