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Agriculture service office returns to Estevan

An agricultural services office provided by the provincial government has returned to Estevan, even if it's in a somewhat abbreviated form. Those who gathered for the official re-opening on Aug.
Doreen Eagles did the honours in cutting the ribbon to officially open the new agricultural services satellite office in Estevan, located in the same location as the crop insurance office in the strop mall along Kensington Avenue. Holding the ribbon were agriculture producer Brian Ross (left) and farm management specialist for the Ministry of Agriculture, Ken Evans, who served as emcee for the brief opening ceremonies.

An agricultural services office provided by the provincial government has returned to Estevan, even if it's in a somewhat abbreviated form. Those who gathered for the official re-opening on Aug. 24 agreed that it was a welcome addition for local producers, no matter what form it took at first.

The good word was delivered to the local agricultural community by Estevan MLA Doreen Eagles just prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the official opening of the new agricultural offices in the strip mall just off Kensington Avenue. The agricultural services team will share office space with Saskatchewan Crop Insurance personnel to offer additional efficiencies for local producers.

The satellite office will allow producers to access crops, livestock, forage and farm business management information and advice on a face-to-face basis with visiting personnel from the agricultural services centre in Weyburn. Their various experts will make regular forays into Estevan by maintaining office hours every Wednesday.

Ken Evans, a farm management specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, served as emcee for a brief program that preceded the ribbon cutting. Others who will be in Estevan on a regular basis include Elaine Moats, crop specialist; Lorne Kleine, forage specialist and Bob Klemmer, livestock specialist as well as Dale Ulmer who deals with issues such as the Agriculture Stability Program.

"Producers in Estevan area deserve more than a toll-free telephone line or website information," said Bob Bjornerud, minister of agriculture for Saskatchewan. "This office will provide farmers and ranchers with expertise, advice and one-on-one service they need."

"The previous government closed the Estevan Rural Service Centre in 2004, leaving producers without provincial agriculture extension services," said Eagles. "We are pleased to return these services to producers in this area."

Local livestock producer, Brian Ross, was also asked to provide a few words of welcome from the recipients' end of the picture.

"Thanks for taking these steps," he said, nodding toward Eagles. "With all the attention being paid to the oil and mining industries ... and deservedly so ... it's also nice to see that the government sees the agriculture industry as important too. Extension services are very important to us. We sometimes need that one-to-one conversation and analysis. I can see where you'll get a lot of activity in and from this office," Ross said.

The Estevan office is one of seven new satellite units that have been opened this year to serve farmers and ranchers, said Eagles. The other new satellite offices are located in Lloydminster, Moosomin, Meadow Lake, Assiniboia, Shaunavon and Wadena.

There are 10 existing regional offices in Tisdale, Watrous, Yorkton, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Kindersley, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Outlook and Weyburn.

"Our goal was to improve services to agriculture and we saw that improving extension services was a part of it. When the previous administration closed those 22 rural offices, it hurt the industry a great deal. We're now doing some renewal work," said Eagles.

"Saskatchewan farmers are the best in the world, so they should get the best services. I thank our agrologists for coming back to Estevan," Eagles added.

The Estevan office will be open every Wednesday from 9 a.m. To 5 p.m. Producers are invited to book an appointment with a specialist by phoning (306) 848-2857.

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