Meetings are being held in Saskatchewan to try to encourage farmers to divert their low-yield crops to feed for cattle.
The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association are asking producers in drought-affected areas to consider the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation’s Low Yield Appraisal program, noting they’ve doubled the thresholds.
Townhall meetings are being held in Perdue Monday at the Perdue Rec Complex and Kindersley Tuesday at the Canalta Inn from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days to discuss the drought.
“Many livestock producers have been facing years of compounding drought, and the need for feed is urgent,” says Keith Day, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association board chair.
“As your friends and neighbours, we are asking for any help that farmers and crop producers are able to provide.”
“Livestock production is an integral part of our agricultural industry. Our industry is at its best when crops and livestock production are successful,” Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president Ian Boxall said.
“As a crop producer, I encourage others who may be experiencing drought conditions to consider activating the Low Yield Program as a means of helping livestock producers ensure access to feed.”
The organizations also suggested farmers with low-yield crops allow neighbours to cut and bale the crop or allow temporary fencing for grazing, noting there were many options for farmers to redirect their crops.
Ray Orb with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities said 28 rural municipalities have now declared a disaster due to the drought conditions.
He spoke about the town hall meetings over the coming days to talk with producers about the extreme drought, saying for some producers this is the sixth or seventh year they’ve experienced drought.
“We’re hoping they draw attention to the need for some federal assistance and I know the province has already reached out to request the federal government to do an assessment of AgriRecovery.”
AgriRecovery is a framework for federal and provincial governments to address recovery from natural disasters.
“The hot temperatures that we have now and really no precipitation in sight for the near future I think really raises a red flag for all of our province,” Orb said.
He said the long-term drought threatens the viability of many ranches, and said many producers are calling on the provincial government to really push irrigation projects across the province.
“We had a plan not many years ago that was brought forward where the province was requested to look at a series of dams to hold back water in Saskatchewan rivers and streams and to be able to drought-proof Saskatchewan.”
He said it was never done, but said it was time to seriously revisit that plan.