To aid livestock producers facing drought conditions, the provincial government has committed $119 million in direct support through the AgriRecovery program.
The joint provincial-federal program helps producers recover extraordinary costs beyond what is available through other financial assistance programs after a natural disaster. The federal government pays for 60 per cent of the cost, while the province pays the remainder.
As of the announcement on Aug. 10, the federal government had not committed to increasing its portion of the AgriRecovery dollars, which would work out to an additional $178 million. The feds did, on Aug. 6, commit to $100 million in federal AgriRecovery dollars to be shared across all affected provinces.
“We are acting swiftly to support Saskatchewan producers in retaining their breeding herd,” said David Marit, the province’s agriculture minister.
“This program will provide immediate relief and help producers make decisions that are best for their operations.”
The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) will deliver the AgriRecovery program to Saskatchewan producers, the provincial government said.
The amount of the per head payment will be finalized pending an agreement from the federal government to contribute $178 million, the province said. If the feds fully participate, the payment would be $200 per head to cattle producers, with a portion provided as an immediate per head payment and the remaining amount issued later in the fiscal year based on year-end herd numbers.
In the meantime, the province plans to issue an initial payment of $100 per breeding female.
The province said that in addition to cattle producers, funding will be available to producers of other ruminant animals.
In the province’s media release, livestock groups welcomed the new funding.
“This support will help producers navigate these unprecedented times and help level the playing field with other jurisdictions that we are competing with for feed sources,” said Kelcy Elford, the president of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association
The Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association chair Arnold Balicki said the challenges of the drought are many and varied for his members and include water availability, water quality, feed for the short term and feed for winter.
“That's why we requested a per head payment that will allow producers to manage their specific challenges.”
The province said details on how producers can apply for the program will be made available in the coming days.