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Assistance available for Saskatchewan ranchers impacted by spring snowstorm

Some of Chad Ross' cattle during the April blizzard at his ranch in Estevan, Sask. Chad Ross

Ranchers in southeast Saskatchewan are having a hard time dealing with the aftermath of recent spring storms, including death of some calves which has made the season an overall stressful one.

The Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) is available to support livestock producers who are going through significant financial losses due to the extreme weather conditions.

“We recognize the recent spring blizzards have taken a toll on producers at a critical time,” Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said. “PDAP is available to provide timely financial support to producers who have lost livestock.”

Read more: Saskatchewan snowstorm contributing to stressful calving season

Cattle rancher Chad Ross in Estevan says he heard from several producers in the area who had calves die during the storm, including one rancher who lost up to nine calves.

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“Ranchers are struggling right now,” Ross said. “It’s been a very long, tough winter and then to add these April snow storms onto it really has made it challenging just mentally for our ranchers.”

Arnold Balicki, the chair of Sask. Cattleman’s Association, said that producers need to make sure their municipalities or rural municipalities are declared a disaster area because of the storms in order to get the benefits.

He said he asked the province what happens if a calf passes away a few days after the storm from pneumonia or other injuries they sustained during the the storm  but hasn’t received an answer on that yet.

Read more: Rural Manitobans weathering spring snowstorm

The program gives assistance to producers in eligible areas that experienced damage or loss to uninsurable property as a result of natural disasters like the recent blizzards in southeast Saskatchewan. Municipalities can request designation through the PDAP office to start the assistance program for residents.

Compensation will be calculated using the rates under the Wildlife Damage Compensation and Livestock Predation Program run by the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation.

Chad Ross’ cattle during the April Blizzard at his ranch in Estevan, Sask. Chad Ross

The government is asking ranchers to take photos and videos to document all livestock loss due to recent snow storms.

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PDAP can be contacted at 1-866-632-4033 or visit their website.

— with files from Matthew Rodrigopulle

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