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Sask. government announces additional support for drought-plagued ranchers

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Government announces additional support for drought-plagued ranchers
WATCH: Saskatchewan is offering extra drought relief for livestock producers and farmers struggling through a dry harvest. Moosa Imran takes a look at the science and the province's plan. – Aug 21, 2023

Saskatchewan is offering extra drought relief for livestock producers and farmers struggling through a dry harvest.

The provincial government announced $70 million on Monday to help offset feed costs and maintain Saskatchewan herds.

“Immediate measures are needed as farmers and ranchers deal with significant challenges due to drought,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said. “Our government is committed to ensuring livestock producers have the support they need, as they continue to provide the high-quality food Saskatchewan families rely on.”

Precipitation remains well below normal, with a prolonged drought period persisting, especially in western Saskatchewan.

The new funds will be available based on receipts and documentation for out-of-the-ordinary feed, and feed or livestock transportation.

Producers can be eligible for up to $80 per head for beef cattle, bison, horse, elk, deer, sheep and goats.

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The program is courtesy of the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation.

Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities president Ray Orb said the provincial support is promising.

“(SARM) is thankful for how quickly the province stepped up to assist those livestock producers most in need, it will certainly help,” Orb said. “We are confident that the federal government is working together with the province to assess how they can provide additional support through AgriRecovery and look forward to seeing what that much-needed assistance will be.”

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association also noted that it is waiting on support from the federal government.

“We look forward to a similar announcement from the federal government to provide their funding to ensure our producers get the help they need through these challenging times,” board chair Keith Day said.

In July, the Saskatchewan government doubled the low yield appraisal threshold of cereal, pulse, canola and flax crops that are being diverted to feed.

The 2023 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage was increased to 75 per cent for earlier access to benefits and raised the compensation rate an additional 10 per cent.

Crown grazing land lease rates for 2023 have also been frozen and rent reductions are available to those who are eligible.

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