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Saskatchewan increases funding for Irrigation Development Program

The Saskatchewan government said the additional funding will support ready for construction irrigation projects. File / Global News

A change to Saskatchewan’s Irrigation Development Program is welcome news for the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities.

The Saskatchewan government said it is making changes to the program to allow producers to access up to $500,000 to finance irrigation infrastructure projects.

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“Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) welcomes the additional funding announcement that will further enhance irrigation development in the province,” SARM president Ray Orb said in a statement Wednesday.

“SARM is pleased the province recognizes the need for more diversification and value-adding in the agriculture sector, in addition to the Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Expansion Project that was announced previously.”

The $4-billion Lake Diefenbaker Irrigation Expansion Project will support the irrigation of 500,000 additional acres over the next 10 years.

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Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association president Aaron Gray said the new funding opens up further irrigation opportunities.

“This funding will help Saskatchewan producers advance projects that will further diversify and strengthen the province’s agriculture sector,” Gray said.

The province said the additional funding will support ready-for-construction projects and is in addition to the existing commitment under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) for this program.

Previously, the maximum program payment per applicant was $300,000.

“Increased irrigation supports the growth of diverse, high-value crops and will generate significant returns for our producers and our province,” said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit.

“This funding will provide more support for producers to develop irrigation projects and bring the sector closer to achieving our Growth Plan goal of adding 85,000 new irrigated acres in Saskatchewan by 2030.”

The province said close to 10,000 acres were brought under irrigation as of 2020 as a result of the Irrigation Development Program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

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