Western Canadian farmers ask for help from Ottawa

As drought conditions in the West persist, farmers say they desperately need help from the federal government.

The Saskatchewan Agricultural Producers Association (APAS) and the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) say farmers need money to feed their livestock and make up for crop losses, and they want Ottawa to work with the province to provide support measures.

“Extreme heat and below-average precipitation are causing food and water supply shortages that are jeopardizing the viability of Saskatchewan cattle ranchers,” APAS wrote in a press release Tuesday.

“(APAS) is calling for immediate government assistance to help producers deal with these extreme conditions.”

Specifically, APAS wants Ottawa to allow all cattle ranchers in Saskatchewan access to the federal cattle tax deferral program. Set up in 2018, it allows producers to postpone part of the sales of breeding stock to the following year.

According to a spokesperson for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, “Regions are targeted for deferral when forage yields are below 50% of the long-term average and the affected area is large enough to have an impact. industry.

Producers are also calling on Ottawa to work with provinces to expand and improve AgriStability registration, which helps protect farmer incomes lost due to increased costs or market conditions.

SSGA is also pushing for improvements to the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation and the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said the government was working with its provincial counterparts and reviewing applications.

“Canadian farmers have access to a range of federal-provincial business risk management (BRM) programs to help them deal with the financial implications of these challenges,” she said.

“Our government recently led provincial efforts to improve ERM’s income stabilization program, AgriStability, so that it pays more to farmers who need it most. We continue to urge the governments of the Prairies to match the federal offer to increase the AgriStability compensation rate to 80%, which would benefit struggling farmers more than ever.

Bibeau will join his provincial counterparts for a conference call Thursday, where they are expected to discuss the ongoing drought.

This story has been edited after publication.

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