For Immediate Release
February 9, 2022
Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) held its Semi-Annual Meeting February 2 in virtual format with opening remarks from SSGA President Kelcy Elford to SSGA’s board of directors, members and other key industry stakeholders in attendance.
In this single-afternoon meeting agenda, SSGA passed seven resolutions and shared a range of time-sensitive, relevant information designed to support livestock producers to make challenging business decisions that have a lasting, favourable and measurable effect on the ag industry in the coming months and years.
In fact, five SSGA resolutions are drought-related,” SSGA General Manager Chad MacPherson said.
“In recent years, cereal crop breeding programs have focused on developing varieties to reduce plant height to improve lodging resistance; however, dwarf varieties negatively impact producers’ ability to salvage crops and reduce biomass tonnage in drought years,” Kelcy Elford explained, “so, SSGA resolved to lobby the provincial and federal governments to dedicate research funds to breeding non-dwarf varieties.”
“We also resolved to lobby both governments to fund the development of a satellite-based forage insurance program to illustrate the reality of on-farm forage yields, which aren’t accurately reflected in existing forage insurance programs,” Elford added. “At the moment, crop insurance premiums are cost-shared with the provincial and federal governments, but livestock price insurance programs are not; so, we will propose a similar cost-sharing for those premiums as well.”
To enhance water management resources for agricultural use, SSGA discussed the possible expansion of the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program (FRWIP). Elford said, “We resolved to lobby the Government of Saskatchewan for grid power to be included as an eligible FRWIP expense ― deep wells and shallow buried pipelines require a reliable power source to pump water long distances. We need this program update.”
With a profound and widespread feed shortage underway across Western Canada, prodded by transportation issues and increased demand, SSGA unreservedly passed a resolution to lobby Canadian Food Inspection Agency to expedite the registration process of feed and feed ingredients being imported from United States.
As industry stakeholders and leaders, SSGA’s membership also passed resolutions to protect landowners and municipalities against cases of non-payment and bankruptcy by lobbying the provincial government to modernize the Surface Rights Compensation and Acquisition Act and to protect livestock from predators by allowing all licensed big game hunters to hunt wolves in all Wildlife Management Zones across Saskatchewan’s agricultural lands.
“Lessees have been stewards of these fragile crown lands for the last century and their hard work and commitment need to be recognized. If additional protections are needed for critical habitat, our preference is for an incentive-based approach, rather than exploring regulatory options,” he added.
Upon concluding the 1½-hour forum, Elford spoke on behalf SSGA’s board, members and all attendees by saying, “It all goes together. Protecting the land and using it wisely are key to our resiliency strategy, which helps us to navigate uncontrollable risk factors and survive extreme conditions. By working together and listening to one another, we are able to plan and take action that positively impacts our operations, herds, land and way of life.”