ASSINIBOIA, Sask. — The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association membership took advantage of its first in-person meeting since the pandemic to discuss and pass 18 resolutions, one of which the provincial government has already acted upon.
Disaster assistance funding to help livestock producers who lost cattle during heavy April snow storms was improved a week after the SSGA meeting.
Newly elected president Garner Deobald said that was one among four of the resolutions that were prioritized.
The others included a need to improve the Saskatchewan Value-Added Agriculture Incentive. SAVI offers tax breaks for capital investment in new and expanding value-added facilities but has a minimum spend of $10 million.
“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,” Deobald said in a news release.
During discussion, general manager Chad MacPherson noted that a small plant currently expanding in southeast Saskatchewan is ineligible for the tax break because it isn’t spending enough money. Yet, it will be a valuable asset to the industry.
Another priority is to get permanent enhancements to the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program and to expedite approvals. Because of the 2021 drought changes were made to temporarily increase the maximum funding a livestock producer could get to construct dugouts, wells and pipelines to $150,000. That was in effect from April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022. The first $50,000 was cost-shared at 50-50 with governments, while the remaining $100,000 was funded 70 percent by governments.
The deadline to submit rebate applications for those projects was also extended to Sept. 30.
“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 set up a program for long term, low interest loans to help livestock producers rebuild their breeding herds,” Deobald also said.
The current proposal from Health Canada to label ground beef sold at retail with a “high in saturated fat” warning is also a top concern.
During the meeting the SSGA honoured Gerald and Patti Anhorn from Windy Ridge Ranch at Elrose with The Environmental Stewardship Award for this year. The Anhorns will go up against other provincial winners for national honours this summer.
Along with Deobald’s election, the executive now includes Jeff Yorga as first vice-president, Kelly Williamson as second vice-president, Chay Anderson as finance chair, and past-president Kelcy Elford.